Friday, August 24, 2018

Coffee with a canine: Robert Fieseler & Chompers

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Robert Fieseler & Chompers.

The author, on how he and Chompers were united:
It’s a long story that involves a sad breakup, but I’ll condense the drama and just say that Chompers became my sole responsibility in 2006 at the end of an acrimonious yet unofficial gay divorce. My ex, a good person who spearheaded our getting a puppy from an online breeder somewhere in Arkansas, was unable to care for the animal when we separated.

Thus, I got Chompers in the divvying up of emotional belongings. I still feel bad when I look back on that time, but the reality of most gay breakups is that one person gets the dog or that packs of dogs get separated. Visitation, or co-ownership, doesn’t really work, as it’s best for everyone to take the breakup seriously and make a clean start.

So, at age 24, I became another one of those overgrown Peter Pans with an untrained dog counting on me for everything. Like the movie Three Men and a Baby but instead called One Man and a Poochie. Predictably, this small, stubborn little creature somehow trained me in adulthood—teaching me responsibility, forcing me to set a schedule for walks and feedings, compelling me to plan for his daily happiness and my future. He became...[read on]
About Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation, from the publisher:
An essential work of American civil rights history, Tinderbox mesmerizingly reconstructs the 1973 fire that devastated New Orleans’ subterranean gay community.

Buried for decades, the Up Stairs Lounge tragedy has only recently emerged as a catalyzing event of the gay liberation movement. In revelatory detail, Robert W. Fieseler chronicles the tragic event that claimed the lives of thirty-one men and one woman on June 24, 1973, at a New Orleans bar, the largest mass murder of gays until 2016. Relying on unprecedented access to survivors and archives, Fieseler creates an indelible portrait of a closeted, blue- collar gay world that flourished before an arsonist ignited an inferno that destroyed an entire community. The aftermath was no less traumatic—families ashamed to claim loved ones, the Catholic Church refusing proper burial rights, the city impervious to the survivors’ needs—revealing a world of toxic prejudice that thrived well past Stonewall. Yet the impassioned activism that followed proved essential to the emergence of a fledgling gay movement. Tinderbox restores honor to a forgotten generation of civil-rights martyrs.
Visit Robert W. Fieseler's website.

The Page 99 Test: Tinderbox.

Coffee with a Canine: Robert Fieseler & Chompers.

--Marshal Zeringue