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ITHACA, NY—Founded by an African American for his gay community in 1962, the Starlite Lounge in Brooklyn became a legendary pre-Stonewall safe-haven by catering to multiple generations of every race, creed, color and sexual orientation.

The Out of the Closet and Onto the Screen series at Ithaca College will present a free public showing of the documentary “We Came to Sweat: The Legend of Starlite” on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. in Textor 103.

(Image courtesy

The film tells the story of what happened when the survival of the Starlite came under threat after nearly 50 years, as its patrons mobilized to protect an institution that represented a family, a legacy, a safe haven and a living history of the LGBTQ community. The document of their movement explores the matrix of gay visibility, race and economics in America.

The showing is part of the Out of the Closet and Onto the Screen series, sponsored by the Ithaca College Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Education, Outreach, and Services. For more information, visit

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.