Page 475 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 455
                Jack Fritscher: He couldn’t shoot from the hip in spontaneous
                  conditions. He needed the formality of a studio.
                Wally Wallace: . . .I liked Bob, although we weren’t close friends. . .
                Jack Fritscher: We were.

                Mapplethorpe and I were bicoastal lovers from October 1977 until
             our lovely affair evaporated into simple friendship in the Spring of 1980.
                Robert Mapplethorpe shot many photographs in the Mineshaft,
             including the print he gave me of David O’Brien, “Mr. Mineshaft 1979.”
             Over the years, Wally Wallace grew quite conscious of the documentary
             value of photography within the Mineshaft where history was made
             nightly. In his flyer, “MINESHAFT FIFTH ANNIVERSARY, OCT 25
             1982,” his archetypal sense of Mineshaft identity was evident: “The Men!
             The Music! The Mystery! The Magic! The Myth!” He wrote that! Most of
             the Mineshaft photos shot by Mapplethorpe have disappeared, presumably
             into the vaults of the Mapplethorpe Foundation, because, perhaps, they
             are not as formal and “perfect” as Robert’s exquisite studio photography.
             (See the outlaw memoir of what happens to outlaw art, Mapplethorpe:
             Assault with a Deadly Camera.) For all his bad-boy reputation as an artist
             as well as his involvement with Wally Wallace socially at the Mineshaft,
             Mapplethorpe really preferred private sex to public sex, and told me so
             frequently. With regard to uncloseting gay photography, the Mineshaft
             truly did break the historical taboo against cameras in gay bars and baths.
             Thousands of photographs, shot by dozens of photographers in the Mine-
             shaft, actually exist, as do videos such as Fisting Ballet shot by the Skulls
             of Akron and long-since proscribed by government censorship.

                Wally Wallace: Bob liked Black men and he had heard of a Black
                  bar in Midtown in the 40s [between 40  and 49  Street]
                                                   th
                                                           th
                  called “Blues”. . .and Bob was afraid to go there. . . .So I went
                  up there with him one time. He was like a kid so eager to go,
                  but afraid to go alone.
                Jack Fritscher: His insecurities were endearing. I squired him
                  around town on his first trip to San Francisco to introduce
                  him to everyone in the leather scene.
                Wally Wallace: You might have thought we were headed to the
                  depths of Harlem. The night we were there, there weren’t
                  many hot men, but only a couple of drag queens with their
                  white boyfriends. It was not what he imagined.
                Jack Fritscher: “Blues” was not the Mineshaft. [When Map-
                  plethorpe broke through the calla-lily-white ceiling of his
                  racial fear — he had no racist fear — he created brilliant

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