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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                433
             We were living the same life thirty years apart — him thirty years ahead,
             with me following in new improved, more liberal times. He thought so
             too. We both had in common: higher education in Columbus, Ohio; sex
             and university teaching in Chicago; gay and non-gay writing, S&M, cops,
             Catholicism, bad boys, Drummer, and on and on.
                Sam and I appreciated critic Michael Bronski who linked our erotic
             writing together in his seminal article “S/M: The New Romance” in Gay
             Community News (Boston), Volume 2, Number 30, February 16, 1985. It
             was too narcissistic for us to have sex. “Take off just your shirt,” he’d tease,
             because neither of us was the other’s type. I gave him police patches for
             his fetish collection to feed his addiction to cops. After I went undercover
             as a gonzo reporter for Drummer in 1989 to role-play with real cops at
             the famous Academy Training Center, Sam invited me to lunch, and at
             the steam-table cafeteria he preferred near his home, he milked me for
             details beyond what I published in Drummer 145 (December 1990). His
             only real-world request to me had been that I not use the information on
             my tapes until after he was dead, because he said, “I have to live off these
             stories in my writing and lectures.”
                 On April 23, 1990, Sam, who was a superb memoirist, wrote me a
             letter about my novel Some Dance to Remember:

                My god, what a book! . . . a real page-turner . . . beautifully handled
                crises of the golden age, all gone and lost . . . . I wouldn’t be sur-
                prised if you have written what will come to be looked on as that
                period’s Great American Gay Novel . . . . you really got me with
                the ten pages of Ryan’s memories [the operative word behind all
                my writing of gay history] beginning on page 35. What lovely
                stuff! Thanks . . . especially for page 19 . . .
                ©Estate of Sam Steward administered by Michael Williams. Used with permission.

              . . . on which I mentioned him because I owed him for pioneering the path.
                In early 1970, reading Sam Steward’s fiction, published in Europe
             but unknown in the United States, I decided, with this precise verb, to
             resurrect him. (He had no American identity and I thought he should be
             a gay “brand name” like Etienne, like John Rechy, like Kenneth Anger.
             In 1990, smirking, he thanked me for priming the post-1978 stream of
             “gay groupies,” and literary fans like John Preston, who sought to pay him
             court after his publication in Drummer.) I edited him by lightly updating
             several of his stories which I told him to send to Jeanne Barney who was
             the editor of Drummer in LA in 1975. Because of Sam, his friend James
             Purdy also sent a story to Drummer, but, as Purdy himself told me in
             2007, his agent blinked and withdrew the story.

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