Page 479 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
P. 479

Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 459

                    Reporting a  pickpocketing  incident is important,  but
                when you report it, give facts! Where were you when you first
                noticed something was gone. . . .Who was around? Were there one
                or more? Were your pants up or down? Who do you suspect?
                Remember that all pickpockets are not Black or Hispanic! [The
                Mineshaft was famously international and inter-racial.] . . . .Our
                batting average has been good lately, but we remember a time
                in the early days when we had a real problem it took a long time
                to cure. Finally it was discovered that it was a team of three.
                One was really hot and always nude. His partners were the pass
                off men. He’d pick the pocket and pass it off to one of the who
                would relay it to another! Naturally the nude was never the sus-
                pect nor was the runner — a naked runner.

                The Mineshaft could easily have disintegrated into a den of thieves.
             In the demimonde of leather, sex, drugs, and haute culture, a diversity
             of outlaws sometimes took advantage of its consensual and permissive
             milieu. In 1985, sex and art and death collided coincidentally in the S&M
             ritual-murder of model, Eigil Vesti, detailed by David France in Bag of
             Toys: Sex Scandal, and the Death Mask Murder (1992). As if playing the
             stabbing “E-E-E” violin notes from the shower scene in Psycho, France
             wrote on page 312, “When the phone rang outside the Mineshaft, on the
             morning of September 20, 1984. . . .”
                Almost from its opening night, the urban legend of the Mineshaft
             became part of American popular culture. Most urban legends are larger
             than life, but no urban legend can begin to capture nightlife inside the
             Mineshaft. According to Wally Wallace’s report in the Mineshaft Newslet-
             ter (January 1977), a member named Howard went “beyond the call of
             duty [sucking off] 74 loads in one night.”
                Former  Drummer  editor Tim Barrus tried to capture the private
             club in his novel Mineshaft, and Leo Cardini tried in his picaresque book
             Mineshaft Nights which opened with a good description of the Mineshaft
             as a theater stage set up for erotic performance. It’s what I tried to do for
             the Mineshaft with my article in Drummer which I dubbed on its mast-
             head: “The American Review of Gay Popular Culture.”
                The very word  Mineshaft  grew to connote a certain de Sade-like
             shock value of sex beyond the pale.
                Wally Wallace kept the Mineshaft ship on course. He wrote in his
             Mineshaft Newsletter (January 1977): “. . .we want to acknowledge the guys
             who have done so much to make THE MINESHAFT a pleasurable expe-

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