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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                463
                A notorious Hollywood “fictionalization” of the Mineshaft, fea-
             turing real Mineshaft “regulars” as atmosphere extras, was the William
             Friedkin film Cruising, finally released censored and cut in 1980. The
             Cruising script was loosely based on a fact-based novel of the same name
             by New York Times reporter Gerald Walker. During the film’s 1979 loca-
             tion shooting in the streets of the Village, crowds of gays picketed the
             filming because they feared that Friedkin’s dark image of gay leather men
             as murderers would cause a backlash against gay liberation.
                Talk about the double standard in queerdom! These same anti-leather
             gays nonetheless defended drag queens and guys in butterfly costumes on
             roller skates as normative in the broad daylight of Pride Parades. Perhaps
             their attitude was bitchy payback against Friedkin whom they hated for
             his outing — ten years earlier — of the self-hating archetypal bitch-queens
             in his acerbic film of Mart Crowley’s lacerating play The Boys in the Band
             (1970).
                The fearless Friedkin also trolled the nihilistic dark side of drugs,
             satanism, and gangsters in classics like The French Connection (1971), The
             Exorcist (1973), and To Live and Die in LA (1985). Friedkins’ sharp nihilis-
             tic formalism on screen was, I think, very like the formal, perfect-moment
             dark side of Robert Mapplethorpe, a Mineshaft charter member, who was
             honored by leatherfolk and disdained by the majority of the eponymous
             “gay community.”
                Some scholar needs to investigate how this disconnect within queer
             culture is similar to the culture war waged by straight fundamentalists
             against homosexuals. I addressed this dramatically in the “gay-politics
             civil war” story arc in Some Dance to Remember: A Memoir-Novel of San
             Francisco 1970-1982 (1990).
                Wally Wallace gave his eyewitness testimony about Cruising, Fried-
             kin, and the allegedly corrupt French Connection cops in the video Jack
             Fritscher Interviews Mineshaft Manager, Wally Wallace, March 28, 1990:

                Wally Wallace: Cruising was not filmed at the Mineshaft but it
                  gave us notoriety. We had a lot of sex tourists from all over
                  Europe. One time I had [in a kind of shocking statistic wor-
                  thy of both Kinsey and the Center for Disease Control] our
                  doorman keep tabs for one week — we called it “Seven Days
                  in May,” but it was really ten — on where everybody was from
                  who came through our doors, and I think it was something
                  like thirty-three states and over forty countries. . . .About the
                  only countries not represented were from behind the Iron
                  Curtain.
                Jack Fritscher: The CDC might like to profile that statistic.

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