Kristian Day joined Harvey Morton on Queerly’s Stage and Screen Podcast to chat about The Last American Gay Bar which premieres on OUTflix on 3rd July 2024. Kristian is the creator, director and producer of the six part series which explores the legendary history of The Blazing Saddle, Iowa’s oldest gay bar, and the community that built it.

When speaking about the inspiration behind creating the series and why he chose The Blazing Saddle, Kristian said “I felt like their story’s been untold. You hear kind of like these horror stories of gay communities in conservative states, people running around trying to get out of here because it’s dangerous.And that is just not true. People thrive here. And this community, which really started back in the early 70s, late 60s, built this by hand. And it’s really kind of around these like six guys that, you know, three of them were Vietnam vets and decided they were going to stay here and support everyone. And Bob Mongo, who’s kind of the hero of this story, put his community before himself.”

Kristian Day The Last American Gay Bar
Kristian Day is the creator, director and producer of The Last American Gay Bar

The documentary series is especially important given the number of recent closures of important queer spaces all around the world. Reflecting on this and why The Blazing Saddle has survived so many years, Kristian said “we always need to know where we come from. And we also need our history. And we also need to know about the people that fought for what we have now and all of the challenges and things that brought us here. But also to understand that queer spaces are all over this world, and they’re not just in major cities like either London or Los Angeles, San Francisco. They can thrive everywhere. I mean, in Iowa, which is notably a very conservative state now, especially used to be more purple and very open, but has become more conservative. I know my friends down in Texas understand, especially in Austin, that we all face similar challenges here. But these communities can still thrive, and there’s still a fight to be fought, and you hold your ground. And so these folks that built this community here who are still around, this is not only just a tribute to them, but also this is the legacy, and this legacy will continue. There will always be something that needs to be fought for. And I hope this builds that encouragement to continue on.”

Harvey asked Kristian about his first experience in a gay bar “It was 2009… Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance started playing when they switched over to the DJ. And I watched the crowd just light up, push all the chairs and the tables out of the way and everyone just started dancing.  So, it was, it was just, it was just like, there was this community that I felt welcomed in, you know, you, you felt like you belonged. And I, I mean, I remember that day like it was yesterday and I was with a group of friends and it was just, it was wonderful.”

You can listen to our full interview with Kristian Day on Queerly’s Stage and Screen Podcast below:

The Last American Gay Bar is streaming on OUTflix now!