Page 457 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                437
                Etienne’s view of the homomasculine ideal is of an iconic Olympus
             populated with men as leather gods as imagined in a mix of Brando’s The
             Wild One (1953), Steve Reeves’ Hercules (1959), and Kenneth Anger’s
             Scorpio Rising (1964). His talent for dramatic movement and story arcs,
             developed on stage in his choreography, informed his cartoon-strip narra-
             tives. Nevertheless — and this is the elephant in the X-rated room — Eti-
             enne’s work, quite important historically, is, like A. Jay’s, revered for its
             heart and humor and qualities other than generating a universal mas-
             turbatory response. Unlike cum-minded artists Rex, Skipper, Domino,
             Martin of Holland, and the Hun, Etienne had other goals than causing
             guys to jerk off.
                Much of Etienne’s work — and this is nothing against its inherently
             beautiful esthetic — was zoned “commercial” in that it was produced as
             posters and advertising for venues and events within the leather world
             invented, owned, managed, and promoted by Renslow and Orejudos.
             Etienne was exceptional in that he is one of the few gay artists who actu-
             ally made a living from his art.
                He succeeds historically because his images relish the fun of leather
             sexuality, and because he maybe even dares to satirize the golden gravitas
             of the 1960s and 1970s leather scene that was ruined in the 1980s when
             leather culture went all balls-up, kumbaya, and commercial in the gay-
                One thing is certain, and this is no idle eulogy, because it was true
             when he was alive: the person Dom Orejudos was a sweet, gentle, and
             beloved man. In that regard, he was exactly like the very sweet and gentle
             A. Jay and the sweet and beloved Tom of Finland, and very like his men-
             tor, the universally beloved Sam Steward.
                •   A. Jay (Al Shapiro): February 7, 1932 - May 30, 1987
                •   Tom of Finland: May 8, 1920 - November 7, 1991
                •   Etienne (Dom Orejudos): July 1, 1933 - September 24, 1991
                •   Sam Steward: July 23, 1909 - December 31, 1993
                •   Skipper (Glenn Davis): November 14, 1944 - Living

                For anyone wishing to consider the link between the private art of
             Sam Steward and the popular art of Etienne, Sam’s heretofore mostly
             unseen drawings, engravings, and paintings can be surveyed in the book
             The Visual Art of Sam Steward by Justin Spring, forthcoming from Ely-
             sium Press.
             II.  The editorial promotion essay as published in Drummer 19,
                December 1977

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