Page 485 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                465
                Jack Fritscher: Is it ironic that when you began to have a movie
                  night, the first 16mm film you projected on the screen in the
                  Mineshaft main bar was Cruising?
                Film critic, Gary Morris, wrote in Bright Lights Film Journal #16
             (April 1996):

                Friedkin’s sweaty tableaux of leather-clad, popper-snorting, fist-
                fucking, sadomasochistic hedonists was bound to trigger a reac-
                tion from gays who feared society would assume all homosexuals
                were busily engaged in these activities. . . .This sounds danger-
                ously similar to the middle-class queens who complain about
                the presence of leather, drag, or nudity in gay marches. . . .What
                they failed to note is how Cruising points the finger for a violent
                decadent society far past the gyrating leather queens, who come
                off more as fun-loving party-boys than sinister psychopaths. . .it’s
                the leather boys [from the Mineshaft] who are the targeted inno-
                cents. . .while the cops (read: society) are shaking down, brutal-
                izing, raping, and probably murdering gays. . . .
                Here’s my two-cents’ worth of contribution to original scholarship:
             Cruising is the unspoken dark “back story” of the kind of Mafia-and-
             cop-subculture that tyrannized the Stonewall Inn and all the other gay
             bars in New York in the 1960s. It explains why that gay rebellion was so
             self-defensively energized and important. That homophobic, authoritar-
             ian, and Fascist subculture of cops did not evaporate in the vapor trail of
             the Stonewall Rebellion, June 27-28, 1969. It was pervasive nationally. In
             Chicago, when Chuck Renslow opened the world’s first leather bar, the
             Gold Coast, in 1957, he had to pay off both the cops and the mob well
             into the 1970s. On April 11, 1976, the LAPD raided the Mark IV Bath
             and arrested forty-two people at the fund-raiser, the Drummer “Slave Auc-
             tion.” Harassment continued in New York even as the Mineshaft opened
             its doors in 1976 under legal and civic threats exactly like the fire-code
             and health-code dodges used to close the Mineshaft doors in Novem-
             ber 1985 ending the sacred shrine’s fabled nine-year and nine-day sleaze
                What further original analysis I can add from my own experience is
             that the 1970s vanilla culture of Manhattan gays was terribly upset, set
             up, and misguided by a seminal anti-S&M screed written by the infamous
             Richard Goldstein at the Village Voice.

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