Page 320 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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300                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
               Had Embry been left to his own devices, Drummer would have died
            after issue 11 when Jeanne Barney exited.
               Al Shapiro and I had a new 1970s vision for “San Francisco Drum-
            mer.” We wanted to make the pages reflect the heights to which gay sex
            culture was rising in San Francisco and New York where we both had been
            playing with leather, S&M, and art since the early 1960s.
               During Embry’s long absence, we set our sites on a high concept of
            Drummer as a magazine using leather as a hook and metaphor for present-
            ing the breadth of homomasculine identity, culture, and sex play.
               We both knew armies of masculine gays who were sophisticated and
            sexual, and we wanted to reflect them, so we could reflect the reader to
            himself, or to a new liberated “identity image” of himself.
               No longer was Drummer to be an LA rag preoccupied by LA con-
            cerns. If San Francisco Drummer was to survive, a whole new national
            and, eventually, international, team had to be recruited to fill its pages,
            and that was quite fun for Al Shapiro and me to do: one at a time, bed
            after bed, bath after bath, club after club, friend after friend.
               That’s how we created the Drummer salon that created Drummer.
               Recruitment was essential, because it wasn’t every day that a fully
            functioning artist like photographer Robert Mapplethorpe walked into
            the Drummer offices (and fell into my bed for two years).
               Unlike the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the
            twenty-first, when everyone with a laptop is a “writer,” and everyone with
            a digital web-camera is a “photographer,” in the Titanic 70s, even actual
            writers and real photographers were so swept away by the glorious avail-
            ability of sex that they were not producing on any dependable schedule.
               I had to beg friends, acquaintances, and fuck buddies for material for
            Drummer the way A. Jay requested this letter to the editor from me.
                Surprisingly, something as thin as this little letter was the Trojan
            horse I rode into Drummer where, at first, I had not known I was to
            change anything.
               Finally, apropos this letter to the editor, the average Drummer reader
            in the 1970s knew popular culture and was hot for the much-talked-about
            military, uniform, and torture film, The Battle of Algiers (1966). Director
            Gillo Pontecorvo was nominated for an Academy Award as best director
            for this black-and-white epic shot in an extremely real documentary style
            (cinema verite) depicting the Algerian revolution against the French colo-
            nial army. Driven from Vietnam in the 1950s, the French had something
            to prove in Algeria, and they did it with amazing scenes of classic torture
            which inspired Algerian guerillas to place small terrorist bombs under
            tables in crowded cafes. Time magazine noted ominously in 1966 that The
            Battle of Algiers had the distinction of introducing bombing as a means of

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