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How A Gay Bar In Eastern NC Provided Refuge For Decades

 In the early 1970s it was not easy for LGBTQ people to be open about their sexuality no matter where they lived in the U.S. But those in the South had an especially difficult time finding safe and supportive spaces. 

So when a gay bar named The Paddock Club opened its doors in Greenville, N.C. in 1973, it quickly became a refuge for many LGBTQ individuals in eastern North Carolina. They frequented the space for evening drinks and dancing, weekend ‘family dinners,’ and popular drag pageants.

When the club closed in 2003, it was one of the longest-running, continually-operating LGBTQ businesses in America. The story of the club is told in the documentary “Dickinson Avenue: The Mostly True Story of the Paddock Club.” The film screens Sunday, Aug. 13 and Thursday, Aug. 17 as part of the North Carolina Gay + Lesbian Film Festival in Durham. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Michael Bojtos, the film’s director and producer, and Jeremy Jordan, longtime patron of The Paddock Club and co-owner of Crave Uptown Restaurant and Bar.

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.