Remembering the Upstairs Lounge: Artist Skylar Fein Resurrects a Tragic Event in New Orleans' Gay History
In June 1973, a fire broke out in a gay bar in New Orleans' French Quarter. The fire at the Upstairs Lounge took 32 lives — bodies burned beyond recognition. Approximately 20 people escaped the blaze, which was set by an arsonist. The likely suspect was a customer who had been thrown out of the bar the night of the fire.
Press coverage of the fire, which was the worst in New Orleans history, was brief, sensational. No city official would make a statement about it.
So artist Skylar Fein (pictured, below) has decided to make one.
In an exhibit curated by non-profit No Longer Empty and Dan Cameron, which recently opened in New York's Chelsea neighborhood, Fein has brought the bar's story back to life in a hybrid of art and history which is certainly worth seeing if you're interested in either, and definitely worth seeing if you want to learn about a piece of gay history (perhaps the most significant event in the gay history of New Orleans) that has faded away.
I paid a visit to the exhibit last weekend and have some more photos and words on it,
AFTER THE JUMP...