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432                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
            ing Ken Kesey’s brown leather jacket and dreaming of Neal Cassady after
            whom I lusted.
               In 1961, so much had drawn me to San Francisco. That summer of
            1969 so much kept drawing me back to Chicago. It gives me a palpable
            chill to write this, but that “Summer of 69,” that summer of Dom Ore-
            judos and David Sparrow, that summer before Stonewall even happened,
            this erotic leather-salon “incest” signified a brotherhood of homomascu-
            linity. That summer of 1969 focused a very high-energy on sexual libera-
            tion in the gay male world. Everything went wild. In Chicago, and other
            large cities, very “out” elaborate and scheduled orgies happened on the
            erotic numerology date 6/9/69.
               As told, Sam Steward, who had been mild-mannered enough to
            be an intimate of Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, James Purdy, Chuck
            Renslow, and Dom Orejudos, was a university professor teaching English
            in Chicago when he took up tattooing in 1952 in a parlor under the El
            tracks around the Loop in order to get his hands on the tough straight
            guys that for him, and for many gay men, are the sine qua non of desire.
            He told me he learned how to tattoo by practicing on potatoes. Sam
            Steward was Chicago’s Jean Genet. DePaul University, hearing of his
            “inappropriate activities” at first refused to give him tenure and a raise.
            In fact, his biographer Justin Spring wrote to me on July 3, 2007, that
            DePaul decided not renew his contract and told him to resign. Like his
            friend James Purdy (and I) who quit teaching university because he was
            underpaid and wanted to write full time, Sam traded the ivory tower of
            academic sheepskin for the tattoo parlor of death-before-dishonor cheap
               Having had a “quarrel” with Renslow, Sam exited Chicago for Cali-
            fornia in 1967 at the age of fifty-eight. Playing the “old gent” card as
            if he were seventy-eight, he was the male version on the West Coast of
            Quentin Crisp playing the female spinster on the East Coast. Drawn to
            the university ambience of Berkeley, he wisely bought a property with two
            houses, one of which, he rented to generate income.
               In 1974,  the first post-Stonewall decade, before  the liberated gay
            world had heard of its forbear Sam Steward, I received a National Endow-
            ment for the Humanities (NEH) Grant at UC Berkeley, and a Western
            Michigan University Research Grant to finish several hours of interview
            of Sam Steward and his fabulous life that I had begun audio-taping in
            1972. He modestly said he was interesting because of his friends like
            Gertrude and Alice and Kenneth Anger and Etienne, but I thought he
            was interesting in himself. Sam and Etienne were similarly modest and
            self-effacing, but they brooked no shit. Frankly, I loved Sam as a friend.
            In many ways, we were doppelgangers who did not fawn over each other.

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