Page 482 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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462                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
               Jack Fritscher: The Mineshaft helped shape the way we were in
                 the 1970s and 1980s.
               Wally Wallace: I think we allowed everything. We gave guys a
                 sense of freedom, to sort of sow their oats.
               Jack Fritscher: Sow their oats and spill their seed.
               Wally Wallace: Right. Sex is many things, never a cut and dried
               Jack Fritscher: Including sex, the Mineshaft provided much sup-
                 port to the community.
               Wally Wallace: Stonewall didn’t happen over night. The Stone-
                 wall Rebellion was one night. It didn’t just grow spontane-
                 ously. It took a long time and a lot of people to develop what
                 some people think exploded all at once in 1969.
               Jack Fritscher: You ran a gentlemen’s club for some wild gents
                 who were building that first decade of gay liberation.
               Wally Wallace: The staff and I gave a lot back to the community.
                 We were there when people needed things, especially when
                 they needed a space for a fund raiser. All these special-interest
                 organizations came out: gay bankers, and the gay chorus need-
                 ing tuxedos for their concert at Carnegie Hall. We raised a lot
                 of money for charities and politics, and gay churches, and then
                 AIDS. Just read the Mineshaft newsletters. The Mineshaft was
                 so good at raising money that we caused people for the first
                 time to realize the importance and the power of gay money.

               Harold Cox was partners with Wally Wallace in the bar, The Lure,
            in the 1990s. Cox is the legendary editor of the magazine, Checkmate
            Incorporating DungeonMaster. He told me:

                   When it came to money, Wally was no crook. He was per-
               sonally very honest, but he had worked for some shady types. So
               when we started The Lure, kind of to give him a job after the
               Mineshaft closed, we had to tell him he did not need to drive
               to New Jersey to buy liquor, and he did not have to pay people
               under the table. We were not a Mafia bar.
               I wouldn’t say the Mafia was slow on the pick up, but in 1984 profits
            dropped so sharply at the Mineshaft that the good fellas called in Wally
            Wallace and his staff, one by one, and accused them of skimming the cash
            register. It took nearly six months for the godfather to believe what Wally
            Wallace said: AIDS was killing their paying customers.

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