5 episodes

In the early seventies, The UpStairs Lounge, a little known queer Oasis in the French Quarter of New Orleans, was a second home to its patrons, a place where they felt safe and free to be themselves in the world that was rampant with discrimination. 

Then on the night of June 24th, 1973, someone doused the entrance of the bar in lighter fluid and lit it on fire, causing a blaze that would kill 32 people. Until the tragedy at Pulse Orlando in 2016, the fire at The Upstairs Lounge was the single deadliest attack on the queer community in the US on record, and it remains one of the deadliest fires in modern New Orleans history.

The Fire UpStairs Podcast is a miniseries about the 1973 UpStairs Lounge arson, exploring its lesser-known history and present-day themes. Over the course of the season, we'll be joined by notable members of the queer community to discuss the story of the UpStairs Lounge; its role in the larger arch of queer history, and themes that are just as relevant to the queer community of today as they were fifty years ago. Guests include: drag superstar Ben DeLaCreme, journalist Robert Fieseler, HRC's Cathryn Oakley, political strategist Brian Derrick, journalist Clancy Dubos, UpStairs Lounge survivor Ricky Everett, and documentarian Robert L. Camina. The Fire UpStairs is hosted and co-produced by Joey Gray, executive produced by Ryan Killian Krause, and edited by Citizens of Sound.Presented by Equal Pride and Provincetown Brewing Co.Sponsored by Sean x Val, Malin & Goetz, Double Scorpio, and Halloween New Orleans.

The Fire UpStairs Dear Uncle Vito,

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 23 Ratings

In the early seventies, The UpStairs Lounge, a little known queer Oasis in the French Quarter of New Orleans, was a second home to its patrons, a place where they felt safe and free to be themselves in the world that was rampant with discrimination. 

Then on the night of June 24th, 1973, someone doused the entrance of the bar in lighter fluid and lit it on fire, causing a blaze that would kill 32 people. Until the tragedy at Pulse Orlando in 2016, the fire at The Upstairs Lounge was the single deadliest attack on the queer community in the US on record, and it remains one of the deadliest fires in modern New Orleans history.

The Fire UpStairs Podcast is a miniseries about the 1973 UpStairs Lounge arson, exploring its lesser-known history and present-day themes. Over the course of the season, we'll be joined by notable members of the queer community to discuss the story of the UpStairs Lounge; its role in the larger arch of queer history, and themes that are just as relevant to the queer community of today as they were fifty years ago. Guests include: drag superstar Ben DeLaCreme, journalist Robert Fieseler, HRC's Cathryn Oakley, political strategist Brian Derrick, journalist Clancy Dubos, UpStairs Lounge survivor Ricky Everett, and documentarian Robert L. Camina. The Fire UpStairs is hosted and co-produced by Joey Gray, executive produced by Ryan Killian Krause, and edited by Citizens of Sound.Presented by Equal Pride and Provincetown Brewing Co.Sponsored by Sean x Val, Malin & Goetz, Double Scorpio, and Halloween New Orleans.

    Chapter Four: The Legacy

    Chapter Four: The Legacy

    On the final episode of this season, we cover the state of the affairs for the LGBTQ+ people in the United States. What is life like for queer people in 2023 and how does that differ from life in 1973? In what ways have we made progress since the days of the UpStairs Lounge and in what ways might we be backsliding? To learn more, host Joey Gray chats with Cathryn Oakley, State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel at the Human Rights Campaign and political strategist Brian Derrick. They dis...

    • 59 min
    Chapter Three: The Community

    Chapter Three: The Community

    For the next two episodes of The Fire UpStairs Podcast, we'll be zooming out to discuss how the themes surrounding the events of the arson at the UpStairs Lounge are still very much relevant today.On this episode, host Joey Gray is joined by international drag superstar BenDeLaCreme to discuss the importance of queer spaces. The two chat about the recent drag bans popping across the country, the importance of fostering community, how queer people pass culture down through generations, and why...

    • 41 min
    Chapter Two: The History

    Chapter Two: The History

    On this episode, host Joey Gray talks to journalist Robert Fieseler, author of Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation. They discuss how the arson fits within the larger arc of queer history, as well as the cultural and societal climate at the time of the attack and how those factors influenced the events leading up to the fire and its aftermath. Visit Robert's website to read more of his work and purchase your copy of Tinderbox.

    • 44 min
    Chapter One: The Story

    Chapter One: The Story

    On this episode, host Joey Gray shares the story of The UpStairs Lounge: the bar, the people who called it home and what it meant to them, and that terrible Sunday night in June when it all came burning down.Guests include: UpStairs Lounge arson survivor Ricky Everett, journalist Clancy DuBos, and documentary filmmaker Robert L. Camina.

    • 28 min
    Trailer: The Fire UpStairs

    Trailer: The Fire UpStairs

    A podcast miniseries about the 1973 UpStairs Lounge arson, exploring its lesser known history and present-day themes.Over the course of the season, we'll be joined by notable members of the queer community to discuss the story of the UpStairs Lounge; its role in the larger arch of queer history, and themes that are just as relevant to the queer community of today as they were fifty years ago. Guests include: Drag superstar Ben DeLaCreme, Author Robert Fieseler, HRC's Cathryn Oakley, Poli...

    • 2 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
23 Ratings

23 Ratings

Joeandangie123 ,

Everyone should listen

I know about the UpStairs Lounge fire from living in New Orleans. Thank you for sharing these stories. I got chills when we all sang, “United We Stand” at the end. We will continue to stand and fight for what is right.

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