Page 456 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
P. 456

436                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
               ders, a household word in LA fifteen years before he began writing
               and publishing the Probe newsletter from December 1980 through
               the arson fire in September 1983. In the zero degrees of separa-
               tion, Saunders sold Probe disco to the man who founded Frontiers
               magazine after asking Saunders for permission to approximate
               his Frontier title. For years, Saunders and I shared — without then
               knowing we were sharing — a significant lover who was a great
               beauty in his day, and about whom we still compare (sniggering)
               notes while time marches on across the two-timer’s face.


                   Search elsewhere  in this  Gay San Francisco  Eyewitness
               series for “gay bars as art galleries” and for “Tom of Finland” in
               Gay San Francisco: The Drummer Salon. See also the  related
               articles I wrote on Etienne’s peer group of artists: “Tom Hinde,”
               Drummer 16 (June 1977); “The Leatherneck,” inclusion of A. Jay,
               Drummer 18 (August 1977), “Rex Revisited” (Son of Drummer,
               September 1978), “Domino,” Drummer 29 (August 1979), “Mar-
               tin of Holland,” Drummer 31 (September 1979), “A. Jay,” Drum-
               mer 107 (August 1987), and “Chuck Arnett: His Life, Our Times,”
               Drummer 134 (October 1989).


               Like the homomasculine Tom of Finland, Etienne had a natural
            erotic eye untrained by any academy. His style, open to eros and comedy,
            was like the best sex graffiti lifted off the walls of the toilets from Lascaux
            to Montmartre to the present. In the way one can tell a Pissarro from a
            Picasso, and a Monet from a Manet, one can immediately identify an
            Etienne drawing or painting in a line up of his equally distinct peers,
            Tom of Finland, Rex, A. Jay, Skipper, Domino, and the Hun — all of
            whom followed Etienne into leather publishing and owe him respect as
            an activist pioneer who helped remake the laws that made their graphic
            careers legal in the United States. Many fans compare Etienne to Tom
            of Finland, but Etienne compares perhaps more closely to A. Jay with
            his comic-strip style of images, dialog, and humor which he debuted as
            his Harry Chess in Queen’s Quarterly magazine in 1969. Etienne and A.
            Jay linked themselves together forever with their joint show at Fey-Way
            (1978). In their particular artists’ salon, Tom of Finland and Etienne and
            A. Jay were personally the best of friends.
               Etienne’s style was suitably hyperbolic for a commercial leather
            culture that in the psychedelic 1960s and 1970s saw gay sex through a
            gorgeous haze of pot and poppers. Arnett, who was a primal artist, saw
            masculine sex through a rainbow quiver of acid and crystal meth.



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