Page 218 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
P. 218

198                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
            found out about his second career. Masculine image input came from
            everywhere, and Larry’s “Leather List” was read, re-typed, and mailed
            from Manhattan to Los Angeles.
                In San Francisco, Harvey Milk opened a vanilla photo shop to com-
            pete with photographer Walt Jebe’s leather-identified camera store on
            19th Street in the Castro. In 1970, my lover of ten years, David Sparrow,
            and I posed duo for Jebe’s leather photo magazine, Whipcrack, which pre-
            dated Drummer by five years and provided a few more early gay images
            for the emerging leather analysts like Townsend and artists like Domino
            and Bill Ward. So it was that the leather cadre in Chicago and Manhat-
            tan gene-spliced the commercial leather genesis that was simultaneously
            combusting like wildfire in San Francisco and Los Angeles where Larry
            Townsend was busy working the leather pop-culture scene on the leather-
            bar and bike-run circuit at venues like the Black Pipe, Griff’s, and Larry’s
            (no relation to Townsend), with leather superstars like the respected Brit-
            ish movie actor Peter Bromilow (Camelot, The Railway Children). Even
            in San Francisco and LA, curious leathermen filled out Larry’s leather
            questionnaire and mailed it to Los Angeles.


            Did the Roman Empire have gladiator bars? Ask Aaron Travis. Ask Steven
            Saylor. The original gay leather bar was an Italian-American invention
            inspired by the leather world’s nicely capitalistic drive to make money.
            Ask the Mafia. Gay liberation, originally and in fact, was successfully
            and openly driven by gay capitalism much to the later chagrin of a suc-
            cessive generation of lesbigay Marxists with a taste for tuna casserole
            “fund-raisers” because they quit their day jobs. Sex, a recession-proof
            industry, always drives money. And vice versa. The Leather Bar had to be
            invented or all of us etwas neues leathermen — always seeking “something
            new” — would have been like Marlon Brando in the Ur-Leather movie,
            The Wild One, a biker sans biker bar. Sexmeister Tony Tavarossi (d. July
            12, 1981) designed the basic leather bar as the 1950s became the 1960s:
            first in New York and then at the Why Not in San Francisco. The original
            decor has never needed improvement: black paint + red bulb = leather bar.
               In Manhattan, leather begot Keller’s and the Anvil where Jerry Tor-
            res, the star of the Maysles film documentary, Grey Gardens, took Jackie
            Kennedy Onassis.
                Following faster than a speed trip was the very leather-identified
            club the Mineshaft, managed tongue-in-cheek by stand-up impresario
            Wally Wallace who in the 90s runs the Lure, another leather S&M venue

          ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
   213   214   215   216   217   218   219   220   221   222   223