Page 283 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
P. 283

Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                263
             him in front of his camera, appearing with Russell Van Leer in Blood
             Crucifixion (1977).
                Gene Weber’s multi-media film work has been archived since his
             death at the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco.
                As a kind of jokey internal signature, because Drummer 17, the
             second anniversary issue, had not yet been sophisticated to include a
             byline for “producer,” I appeared — like Alfred Hitchcock signing his
             films by walking through a scene — in the Weber photograph at the
             top of page 11.
                In the zero degrees of separation within our Drummer salon, my first
             “author’s byline” in Drummer appeared in Drummer 18 (August 1977)
             at the top of my article, “The Leatherneck Bar,” featuring photos, again,
             by my longtime friend and roommate Jim Stewart. (My first bylines as a
             writer were nineteen years earlier for my short story, “Timothy and the
             Shamrocks,” in the bi-weekly national news magazine, The Josephinum
             Review, March 12, 1958, and for my poem in America Sings: The Anthol-
             ogy of College Poetry 1958.)
                Our first-generation salon around Drummer was a crowd of cordial,
             and mostly Catholic, artists and writers, ex-pats from the Midwest and
             Manhattan. Jim Stewart was raised in the Church of Christ and, like the
             Catholic Mapplethorpe, tucked glimpses of Christianity into his pho-
             tographs. In the Titanic 1970s, before gay lib turned into divisive gay
             politics, we weren’t horn-locking male “arteests” aping Gauguin and Van
             Gogh who cut off his ear in a quarrel over which whore liked him best.
             Gay San Francisco, especially in the early art scene South of Market was
             more supportive than competitive.
                As both Drummer editor in chief and as Robert Mapplethorpe’s bi-
             coastal lover, I was eyewitness to a certain jealous evolution: competition
             among SoMa artists did not really ignite until after Mapplethorpe — who
             exhibited at Fey-Way Gallery — rose up out of gay ghetto art and began to
             become an international, and rich, artist celebrity. Dancing to remember,
             I detailed the minuet in our SoMa salon in “Take 10” and “Take 11” of the
             book, Mapplethorpe: Assault with a Deadly Camera (1994), pages 138-166.
                In the 1970s, during the leather virilization of the pre-lib sissy stereo-
             type, it was de riguer for gay male artists to have a female muse on their
             arms. Robert Mapplethorpe in New York had writer-singer Patti Smith as
             well as bodybuilder Lisa Lyon as his. (My 1977 intuition of Patti Smith’s
             relationship to Robert is a fantasy of her singing a cover of the perfect
             short-story poem in Hair, “I Met a Boy Named Frank Mills.”)
                In San Francisco, the poet-singer, Camille O’Grady, an immigrant
             from Greenwich Village and CBGB and the Mineshaft, showed us what
             was the “state of being” when a gay man lives inside a woman’s body which

           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
   278   279   280   281   282   283   284   285   286   287   288