Page 500 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
P. 500

480                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
               word of mouths. So for you and them I hope that the mystery,
               the myth, the magic, the music, and the men remain hot for at
               least five years if not for one hundred.  — Wally
               My own experiences at the Mineshaft, which I attended religiously
            for years, are glossed, of course, in my 1977 feature article in which I was
            tub-thumping for the Mineshaft as a place of necessary pilgrimage for any
            grown-up masculine-identified gay man. As editor in chief, I presupposed
            my Drummer readers believed Auntie Mame’s first commandment that
            life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.
               Back in that day, I lived bi-coastally between New York and San
            Francisco all during the 1960s and 70s. When I was in Manhattan, I’d
            see the latest films during the afternoon, the latest plays in the evenings,
            and after a tour of the leather bars, I’d alternate the late nights between
            the not-so-vanilla Everard Baths, a filthy, glorious, matchbox maze which
            burned often (one of many times in 1977, and finally in 1985), and the
            Mineshaft (which was so wet it burned partially only once) with its more
            extreme action of nipples, slings, fisting, piss, bondage, whipping, and
            scatology.
               At the Mineshaft, the group dynamic was such high energy that a
            man had to be in control of himself so as not to get swept away in action
            that was too extreme for himself. That meant grass and poppers — and
            staying away from acid, MDA, and angel dust.
               Sometimes the very personal is the way to, if not universality, at least
            to historical feel.
               Eyewitness Scenario 1: Interior Mineshaft. 2:30 AM. A very hand-
            some leatherman and I, both stripped to the waist, pec to pec, nipple to
            nipple, began bumping belt buckles, and playing with our leather belts,
            which turned into a mutual belting session, chest and back and shoulders,
            which “turned on” a third man who joined us, increasing the round of
            beltings, as the energy shifted and two ganged up on the third, and the
            trio of us migrated slowly away from the crowded room to a more private
            corner, and the belting increased to the intensity of, say, two guards in a
            Georgia prison beating an inmate, escalating in consensual intensity until
            the ferocity rose to a level of awareness of what “being beaten by belts”
            was about, to the moment where the quintessential intellectual curiosity
            is satisfied, is transcended, and the scene having reached its apogee begins
            to descend into nothing but physical subjection to brutality, and I said,
            stop, and they continued, and I said, No, stop, and they continued, and I
            crawled out from under them and said, Really, no, stop, and they stopped
            in the wonderful bonding, knowing finally that I meant stop. I got the
            point — the experiential definition of what belting and beating is — and

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