Page 108 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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88                                      Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
               Having arrived in San Francisco the first time in August 1961, I expe-
            rienced personally, sexually, and esthetically the growth of Folsom Street
            culture in many ways: streets, bars, baths, backrooms, clubs, restaurants,
            galleries, and theaters. On March 13, 1976, my one-act comedy Coming
            Attractions was the first gay play written in San Francisco about contem-
            porary San Francisco and produced in San Francisco. It opened South
            of Market at the SIR Center Theater (Society for Individual Rights) pre-
            sented by Michael Lewis and the Yonkers Theater Production Company,
            famous for its Hello Dolly (1975). The double-bill also featured Lanford
            Wilson’s The Madness of Lady Bright. The plays were noticed by the San
            Francisco  Chronicle  and were headlined on the cover of the Bay Area
            Reporter (BAR), Volume 6, Number 5, March 4, 1976.
               (Coming Attractions was the first appearance of my female character
            Kweenasheba aka Kweenie who plays a major role as the “Sharon McK-
            night” cabaret chanteuse “Queen of the Castro” in Some Dance to Remem-
               The same spring 1976, the buzz around San Francisco was that a
            newspaper centered on Folsom Street life was about to begin publication
            and be distributed free in the South of Market bars and restaurants. It
            was to be called The Bridge, but despite it being a great idea it never took
            off because, at the same time, San Francisco leather men began to hear of
            Drummer in Los Angeles. By the time Drummer began its slow six-month
            move to San Francisco in February 1977, the idea of The Bridge had col-
               From my eyewitness recall, the San Francisco leather community
            early on — even with the vanilla Bar Area Reporter and Vector magazine
            starting up — had a need for a dedicated newspaper or magazine when
            Drummer blew into town. Having worked in magazine editing and writ-
            ing for twenty years at that time, I sensed support was there not only in
            potential readers but in a talent base eager to be tapped to fill the pages
            of a leather publication.

            Gay history is a medium distorted by decades of irony, gender politics,
            and disease. The time has come for forward thinking about the leather
            past in San Francisco which was way more than what most first-wave
            GLBT historians have so far written, for instance, about what ultimately
            proved to be the reductive archetypes of “the Catacombs” and “the Society
            of Janus.”
               For years I was a participant in both clubs. I loved the Catacombs’
            founder Steve McEachern whom I hired to work for me as my personal

          ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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