6/23/23: Gail Golec

Gail Golec will premiere the final episode of her podcast series about the first gay bar in Vermont, Andrews Inn in Bellows Falls, on Friday, June 23 at 7:00 PM at Stage 33 Live, 33 Bridge Street in Bellows Falls. Limited seating, reservations are recommended; the event will be recorded and filmed. Read the press release.

Gail Golec: history of Andrews Inn final episode premiere at Stage 33 Live

BELLOWS FALLS — Gail Golec is a professional archaeologist and the creator, writer, editor, producer, and researcher for a podcast called The Secret Life of Death. A cemetery nerd, Gail started the podcast as a way to draw lines from the past to the present by showcasing the life and times of a random regular person buried in one of the thousands of historic cemeteries throughout New England.

Lately, however, she’s taken a deep dive into the history and times of the Andrews Inn, which from 1973 to 1984 was located in the current Hotel Windham in Bellows Falls. It was the first gay bar in the state of Vermont.

Gail will premiere the sixth and final episode of the series in a listening event at Stage 33 Live, 33 Bridge Street in Bellows Falls, on Friday, June 23 at 7:00 PM. The previous five episodes are available on The Secret Life of Death website at www.thesecretlifeofdeath.com.

Gail will make introductory remarks, and field a question-and-answer session after playing the episode. The episode’s run-time is about 40 minutes.

Admission to this listening event is free; reservations made by 6/22 are recommended. Donations will be accepted for Out in the Open, a nonprofit organization that connects rural LGBTQ+ people to build community, visibility, knowledge, and power. See www.weareoutintheopen.org for more information about Out in the Open.

THIS EVENT MAY REACH ROOM CAPACITY. Reservations made by 6/22 are recommended: email stage33@stage33live.com with a name and how many people will be in the party. If capacity is reached via advance reservations, that will be prominently noted on the stage33live.com website. All reservation emails will receive a response (note the response isn’t likely to be immediate, as Stage 33 Live is a human-driven machine). The name and party size provided in the reservation email will be on a list at the door. There are no physical tickets.

A synopsis of the first five episodes of the “Identity” series exploring the history of Andrews Inn:

In 1973, the Moisis Family of Bellows Falls, VT bought the historic Hotel Windham building, cleaned it up, refurbished it, and opened a nice sit-down restaurant with the look and feel of the town’s former 19th century glory. But this fine dining experience didn’t seem to fly in the blue-collar old mill town.

Then the family found a clientele interested in the good food, dancing, and socializing they were offering.

By 1979 Andrews Inn, now operating as a “gay nightclub” as well as a sit-down restaurant and bar, was doing well. Though the locals didn’t always understand and weren’t always happy about the LGBTQ+ crowd it attracted, they were inclined to leave well enough alone.

That year the Moisis family were looking for buyers, and found some: Thom Herman and Jeremy Youst, an openly gay couple. Openly gay business owners was a first for the town and it wasn’t clear how people would respond. Radical social change doesn’t happen in places like Bellows Falls, VT, does it? Or does it?

After the sale of Andrews Inn to Thom Herman and Jeremy Youst and some of the fervor of the anti-gay protest march that took place in its wake had died down, life got on in Bellows Falls. The Inn, its owners, staff, and patrons had forged a mostly civil, and at times fruitful and supportive, relationship with the town. But in 1982, things began to change.

That year, Andrews Inn was sent reeling from a set-up and raid by authorities, and their business struggled in the aftermath. That was also the year that AIDS broke into the public consciousness.

The sixth and final episode of the series will be premiered by its creator, researcher, writer, editor, producer, and host Gail Golec at a listening event on Friday, June 23 at 7:00 PM at Stage 33 Live, 33 Bridge Street in Bellows Falls.

Stage 33 Live is a casual and intimate industrial-rustic listening room in a former factory hosting local, regional, and national performances and presentations of original material. No bar or kitchen, the stage is the mission; coffee / soda / juice / water and a variety of snacks are available by donation. More info about the nonprofit, all-volunteer project, and this and other upcoming events, online at stage33live.com

Masks continue to be optional but welcome at Stage 33 Live events. If community guidelines change, so will the venue’s protocol. A pair of high-capacity air purifiers run during shows. The courtesy of not going out and being a vector if you’re not well has always been a good idea, even before Covid-19.

Stage 33 Live gratefully acknowledges the help of so many individuals without whom none of this would be happening, and institutional support this season from The Island Corporation, the Vermont Arts Council, the Bellows Falls Opera House, the Rockingham Arts & Museum Project, and WOOL-FM that helped fund improvements and maintenance, and generally smooth out a lot of the rough edges. Stage 33 Live is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and all donations are deductible to the fullest extent. Volunteers run the thing from stem to stern.

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