Page 444 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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424                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
            Orejudos with a photograph (page 74) of artist Orejudos lying in front of
            one of the large murals he painted for the Gold Coast Bar which he and
            Chuck Renslow, his partner from 1950-1991, had founded in 1958. By
            means of having their traveling “personal leather salon” spontaneously
            congregate at various Chicago bars, Renslow and Orejudos invented the
            first distinctly leather bar during the first five years after Marlon Brando
            brought leather biker culture out of the closet in The Wild One (1953).
               Born in 1933, Dom Orejudos was seventeen in 1950 when the twenty-
            one-year-old Chuck Renslow spotted the muscular teenager on the sand
            crescent that is the Oak Street Beach, a block north of the Drake Hotel
            and the Miracle Mile. The man who would be their significant mentor,
            Samuel Steward, was forty-one, and living in Chicago since 1936.
               All this Chicago leather action occurred during the 1950s-1960s
            beat-hippie-gay-leather revival on the Near North Side of Rush Street and
            Old Town. Doing research at the Newberry Library in the early 1960s, I
            often stared out the windows down into the trees and bushes and path-
            ways of Bughouse Square to watch the hustlers signaling the johns cruis-
            ing around the block in cars. It was while he was hustling there that the
            teenage David Sparrow — three years before he became my lover — was
            hired by Renslow and Orejudos as a back-bar bottle boy for the Gold
               Dom was twenty when he gayed up his middle name to the French
            “Etienne” for the publication of his first art work in Tomorrow’s Man
            #8 (1953) published by Irv Johnson who ran the gym that Renslow and
            Orejudos would buy in 1958.
               As a matter of fact, I grew up on Renslow-Orejudos’ homomasculine
            tastes. When I was a closeted teenager, Tomorrow’s Man was my favorite
            guilty-pleasure magazine. I was so imprinted and impressed that in 1965
            I mentioned Tomorrow’s Man specifically in my first novel What They
            Did to the Kid (1965 and 2001), page 112. (Much of Kid takes place in
            Chicago; Kid is the prequel to my memoir-novel Some Dance to Remember
            which is the story of the main character in Kid moving from Chicago to
            San Francisco where he becomes editor of a magazine very like Drum-
            mer.) Beginning at age fourteen, my personal erotic maturation in homo-
            masculinity was zero degrees of separation from Renslow’s models and
            Orejudos’ art direction. I understood that Tomorrow’s Man was an occa-
            sion of mortal sins against purity — as I confessed to  priests — because it
            tempted me to masturbation, but I could not stop looking. I did not know
            then that Dom (1933-1991) was only six years older than I and Renslow
            (born 1929) only ten years older. People ten years senior to or younger
            than a person are that person’s generation.

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