On June 24, 1973, an arsonist set fire to a gay bar in New Orleans called the Up Stairs Lounge in the largest mass killing of gay people in U.S. history. Thirty-two people were killed and some bodies were never identified because their families were ashamed that the victims were gay. Churches refused to allow memorial services.  The press either ignored the story or treated it with indifference. Talk radio mocked the victims. No public officials or civic leaders even recognized the tragedy. No one was ever charged with the crime.

Robert Camina will be the special guest at the North Louisiana Gay and Lesbian Film Festival's festive Opening Weekend Reception from 6 – 7:30 pm, Saturday, Sept. 19th, and will conduct a Q & A following his 7:45 pm documentary film Upstairs Inferno. On Sunday afternoon, Sept. 20th, Camina will conduct an extended Q & A on film-making following another screening of his film. A third screening will take place later in the week.

The NLGLFF's opening weekend films and Saturday reception will also feature additional filmmakers to be announced soon!

Reception tickets can be purchased online beginning Aug. 24th at the film festival website www.nlglff.org for $25 ($30 cash at the door). All film tickets will be available from the Robinson Film Center (617 Texas St., 318-459-4122; www.robinsonfilmcenter.org) starting Sept. 1st.   Watch the web sites for announcements of additional films and special events during the festival.  Both the opening weekend reception and film (tickets purchased separately) are expected to sell out.

For more information about PACE, north Louisiana’s leading advocacy organization for the LGBT community, go to www.pacelouisiana.org. For more information about the film festival, visit www.nlglff.org.