Page 447 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
P. 447

Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                427
             many talented people — and an erotic magazine requires a salon of even
             more specifically talented people, all having tons of sex (often with each
             other). It was, in fact, former Renslow-Orejudos family member Sam
             Steward who first used the word salon to describe the team of friends and
             pals I pulled together around Drummer in the 1970s.
                I made sure there was less than one degree of separation between
             Chicago leather and San Francisco leather in Drummer. Dom appreci-
             ated my fidelity to my Chicago leather roots. He was an enterprising
             businessman who saw publication of his drawings in Drummer as free
             international advertising for the Renslow-Orejudos Chicago enterprises
             that had worldwide consumer appeal. Wally Wallace, the founder of the
             Mineshaft in New York, wrote in the Mineshaft Newsletter that he felt the
             same way about my coverage hymning the Mineshaft to leather tourists
             from around the globe in Drummer 18 (December 1977).
                When I took over the reins of Drummer, I did not know that my
             allegiance to Chicago leather, which was so formative to my personal
             coming out, would be questioned by publisher John Embry. He wanted
             to compete with Renslow and Orejudos who had invented their Inter-
             national Mr. Leather contest from their experience running sanctioned
             AAU physique contests in venues like the Lawson YMCA.

                               Chicago: The Lawson YMCA

                    I feel compelled to make this eyewitness  tableau vivant
                aside: The Lawson YMCA was a block from where I lived at 60
                East Chicago Street at the foot of Rush Street and not far from
                the cruise-y Oak Street  Beach. I had  rooms above  a socialist
                bookstore that was bombed one afternoon in 1964 while I was
                writing What They Did to the Kid. (Luckily, it was a small bomb.)
                In the 1960s, when I was in my twenties, the Lawson YMCA was
                a sperm-o-rama orgy party from the roof sundeck down through
                the rooms and toilets, down through the stairwells where I had
                to step over writhing bodies, down to the showers and the pool.
                This was the Chicago scene in which Renslow and Orejudos flour-
                ished — years before Stonewall.

                Meanwhile, back at Drummer, I watched Embry grow green with
             envy (in my opinion) over the new idea of IML. He immediately ordered
             me to begin a Mr. Drummer contest. (I refused.) That arm-wrestle is
             detailed in Gay San Francisco: The Drummer Salon.
                It was in my Drummer 31 (September 1979) that I wrote the first
             national and international coverage of the first IML in order to salute and
             support Renslow, Orejudos, Chicago, and IML.
           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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