In New York, change is part of the landscape. Cherished stores, theaters and bars close and neighborhoods are always in flux. Case in point: The Starlite Lounge, Brooklyn’s oldest African-American-owned bar for gay people of color, was founded in 1959, the same year as Brown vs. Board of Education and ten years prior to the Stonewall riots in Manhattan. Mackie Harris, one of New York’s first gay black business owners, wanted to create a safe, non-discriminating establishment for his community in Crown Heights and it remained open for over 50 years. But all of that came to an end last summer when the Starlite Lounge received notice to vacate. Filmmakers Kate Kunath and Sasha Wortzel were intrigued by the story of a beloved neighborhood bar and cultural institution forced to shut its doors. Their new full-length documentary The Starlite Project asks the questions: “How does an institution like the Stonewall survive, but the Starlite cannot? Who decides what cultural and historic landmarks are preserved and what memories can be erased?”
This Sunday, catch a sneak preview of a rough cut of the film with Kunath and Wortzel, followed by a discussion with owners of the Starlite, Gay New York author George Chauncey and other special guests. The screening will take place 6-9pm at the Guggenheim Lab First Park (Houston at 2nd Avenue). For more on the project, visit the site here.