Page 437 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 417

                Summary: In LA, Drummer had been strangely conceived by eros out
             of politics. Drummer 9 camped up a virtually “suicidal” drag cover that
             had readers threatening to cancel subscriptions. And 1) when Drummer
             was ten months old, the publisher and editor in chief got busted by the
             LAPD for hosting a “Slave Auction.” At that point, the infant Drummer
             imploded, and nearly died. Then 2), the publisher became at least a bit
             distracted from editorial production by the lawyering and by his court
             appearances stemming from his LA arrest as well as from his culture-
             altering move of Drummer from LA to San Francisco that changed the
             Drummer staff, the talent pool, and the demographic. Finally, 3), the
             publisher seemed rather withdrawn because of what turned out to be the
             worrying onset of cancer in 1978, and unavailable during his Spring 1979
             cancer surgery and recuperation when he turned over production of the
             magazine to art director Al Shapiro and editor in chief Jack Fritscher.

                My mission was to keep “camp” out of Drummer — which didn’t
             work in these “Steve Reeves” captions referencing the pop culture of the
             cruising novel Looking for Mr. Goodbar, the musical A Chorus Line, and
             television commercials for Charmin Toilet Tissue: “Please, don’t squeeze
             the Charmin!” I added the sexual slam against comedian Richard Pryor
             (who was from my hometown) because Pryor had in 1977 ranted against
             queers and fags during his performance with Lily Tomlin at the Holly-
             wood Bowl: “You Hollywood faggots can kiss my happy, rich black ass.”
             The slap against John Briggs was included because he was the California
             legislator who began the anti-gay “Briggs Initiative” (Proposition 6, 1978)
             that cost the gay community so much in time and money to defeat so that
             gays could continue to teach in public schools. Briggs was the West Coast
             pal of cuntry-western singer Anita Bryant in Dade County, Florida.
                In San Francisco, Drummer had to change its essence in order to
             reflect the readers. (Note my inclusion of the East Coast code for wearing
             chains on the “left” or “right” versus the West Coast code.)
                Here was the theorem I concocted: Drummer got its identity from
             the identity of the readers and then reflected their identity back to them.
                I had grown up in a family of priests and sales people. My father was
             a champion salesman; my mother worked in marketing. As a teenager, I
             sold Hoover vacuum cleaners door to door, learning empathy for shut-ins
             and how to deal with the human condition in the privacy of lonely peo-
             ple’s homes. I was a teenage seminarian from age fourteen to twenty-four.
             I was like a visiting priest, but, more, I was a visiting writer. I learned how

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