Page 451 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                431
             had a rose tattooed on his own chest. As Gertrude might have claimed,
             the link of ink may have signified nothing more than “a rose is a rose is a
             rose.” The S&M theme of beauty inflicting pain was the subtext of Kris
             Studio’s photographs and of Etienne’s artwork of heroized sadists.
                Sam was especially fond of Williams’ short story about a stunning
             young sailor, “One Arm,” which he told me that he wished he himself
             had written. Sam appreciated my writing of the first doctoral dissertation
             on Tennessee Williams in 1967. He also appreciated that my doctorate
             was from Chicago’s Loyola University where he himself had taught for
             ten years (1936-1946) before transferring to DePaul University, also in
             Chicago. In 1964, before we knew each other, we had both met Tennessee
             Williams, separately, when Williams was in Chicago for the premiere of
             Eccentricities of a Nightingale at the Goodman Theater. On Sam’s book
             shelf, he had an autographed copy of the New Directions anthology called
             One Arm with its final story “The Yellow Bird.”
                In the helix of art and imagery, Sam made Dom aware that his first
             short-fiction anthology was Pan and the Firebird (1930). Dom himself
             famously  choreographed  both  The  Firebird  and  Metamorphosis of the
             Owls. As the resident literary guru in the Renslow-Orejudos clan, before
             he fell out with Renslow and Orejudos (they later reconciled) and took off
             for greener pastures in California (tattooing Sonny Barger and the Hells
             Angels), Sam Steward also suggested the name for the Renslow drag-show
             bar “Sparrows.” The Renslow-Orejudos Chicago Eagle, like Eagle bars
             everywhere, is part of this almost universal gay-bird bar imagery whose
             roots lie somewhere in the mythic rising of the phoenix firebird.
                A veteran of the Renslow-Orejudos family and the Stein-Toklas
             charmed circle, Sam Steward required “salons.” When he moved to
             Berkeley, six years before Drummer began, he moved into the 1970s San
             Francisco leather salon of Jim Kane and Ike Barnes and David Sparrow
             and me which he remained part of until his death in 1993 — even after
             I exited that group because Kane wanted my Sparrow, and I wasn’t a
             bottom. Individually, Sam and I had much in common in personality
             and synchronicity. In 1966, again, three years before we met, we had
             both attended the wild Chicago premiere of Kenneth Anger’s  Scorpio
             Rising at the Illinois Institute of Technology in the company of Chuck
             Renslow, Dom Orejudos, Cliff Raven, Bob Maddox, and a gang from
             the Gold Coast. In 1969, Sam was introduced to me by my longtime
             leather partner, the S&M Catholic priest Jim Kane, with whom I toured
             the American West by Harley-Davidson in June 1969. Kane and I cycled
             from Denver to Santa Fe and Taos where one night of a thousand stars,
             tripping, I floated barefoot, in jeans, shirtless in a swimming pool wear-

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