"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
With two landmark Supreme Court rulings, today’s date will undoubtedly be added to the canonical dates of the struggle for LGBT equality, made all the more meaningful by its close proximity to the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which gave birth to the gay rights movement in America almost exactly 44 years ago, and the Supreme Court’s first major pro-equality decision 10 years ago today.
Shortly after midnight on June 28, 1969, police in New York raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, arresting and harassing the gay clientele. It was like countless previous police raids on gay clubs until a series of escalating events led to open rebellion in the Village, and sparked the beginning of the gay equality movement. A year later, June 28 marked the first Gay Pride protests in a handful of major cities. To this day, most Pride rallies, including those in other countries, are still held at the end of June in honor of Stonewall, and this weekend’s festivities in San Francisco, New York and other cities promise to be all the more buoyant, given the Supreme Court’s rulings.
Coincidentally, today also marks the 10-year anniversary of the day the Supreme Court handed down its landmark ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down anti-sodomy laws. It was an early victory in a string of legal advances for LGBT equality, leading to today’s.
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.More Alex Seitz-Wald.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)