Edith and Thea
(thanks to cookie and via wow)
|Our Lady of the Lizards|
|Madonna of the Mardi Gras|
|Our Lady of the Daylillies|
|Our Lady of Lourdes|
Gay Weddings and 32 Funerals: Remembering the UpStairs Erik Ose
"...To fully understand recent events, it's important to remember a tragedy that happened thirty-five years ago, and how much things have changed for gays and lesbians since then.
On the last Sunday in June, 1973, a gay bar in New Orleans called the UpStairs Lounge was firebombed. The resulting blaze killed 32 people. At the time, the bar had recently served as the temporary home for the fledgling New Orleans congregation of the Metropolitan Community Church. Founded in Los Angeles in 1968, the MCC was the nation's first gay church...
That Sunday was the final day of Pride Weekend, the fourth anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising of 1969. Yet there was still no Gay Pride Parade in New Orleans. Almost two dozen gay bars dotted the French Quarter, but gay life in the city remained largely underground...
Original site of the UpStairs Lounge at 141 Chartres Street as it looked in Spring, 2008.
Before moving worship services to their pastor's home earlier in June, congregation members had been holding services at the UpStairs on Sundays. But the bar was still a spiritual gathering place. There was a piano in one of the bar's three rooms, and a cabaret stage. Members would pray and sing in this room, and every Sunday night, they gathered around the piano for a song they had adopted as their anthem, United We Stand, by The Brotherhood of Man.
They sang the song that evening, with David Gary on the piano, a pianist who played regularly in the lounge of the Marriott Hotel across the street. The congregation members repeated the verses again and again, swaying back and forth, arm in arm, happy to be together at their former place of worship on Pride Sunday, still feeling the effects of the free beer special.
At 7:56 pm a buzzer from downstairs sounded, the one that signaled a cab had arrived. No one had called a cab, but when someone opened the second floor steel door to the stairwell, flames rushed in. An arsonist had deliberately set the wooden stairs ablaze, and the oxygen starved fire exploded. The still-crowded bar became an inferno within seconds.
The emergency exit was not marked, and the windows were boarded up or covered with iron bars. A few survivors managed to make it through, and jumped to the sidewalks, some in flames. Rev. Bill Larson, the local MCC pastor, got stuck halfway and burned to death wedged in a window, his corpse visible throughout the next day to witnesses below..."
|Here's the inner cover, with the Baron and Baronne de Rothschild at their Surrealist Ball of 1972|
|Table of Contents|
"This remarkable change in his fortune was effected by a bisexual, party loving antique collecting, multimillionaire Chilean guano baron, Arturo Lopez Wilshaw" who snatched the young de Redé up and set him up in high style. "This remarkable menage a trois survived over 20 years...and Redé and Lopez-Wilshaw's widow remained close friends after his death."
|The Grand Duke Alexandrovich at Czar Nicholas 2nd's Romanov Ball|
|Camel riders at the Cuevas Ball in 1953|
|Warhol at the Black and White Ball|
|Marisa Berenson as Marchesa Luisa Casati for the Rothschild's Proust Ball in 1971. That, by the way, must be one the most fabulous sentences I've had the joy to type.|
|La Liz at the Proust Ball|
My favorite part of the book so far is from Cecil Beaton, (about whose sex life I learned more than I ever wanted to know a few months ago) in regards to this (his) photo:
"I have always loathed the Burtons for their vulgarity, commonness and crass bad taste, she combining the worst of US and English taste, he as butch and coarse as only a Welshman can be. She wanted compliments. She got none. I felt I must be professional and continued, but not without loathing at this monster. Her breasts, hanging and huge, were like those of a peasant woman suckling her young in Peru. They were seen in their full shape, blotched and mauve, plum. Round her neck was a velvet ribbon with the biggest diamond in the world pinned on it. On her fat, coarse hands more of the biggest diamonds and emeralds, her head a ridiculous mass of diamond necklaces, sewn together, with a snood of blue and black pom-poms and black aisprey aigrettes. Sausage curls! Alexandre, the hairdresser, had done his worst. And this was the world's biggest draw! In comparison everyone else looked ladylike." - via The Unexpurgated Beaton Diaries, 1970-1980