Page 530 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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510                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
               Gay theater in the 1970s raised its profile in New York with Al Car-
            mine’s musical, The Faggot (1973); A. J. Kronengold’s Tubstrip (1974)
            starring Casey Donovan aka Cal Culver, the star of Wakefield Poole’s
            film, The Boys in the Sand (1971); Christopher Hampton’s Total Eclipse
            (1974) which in Hampton’s 1995 film version starred Leonardo DiCaprio
            and David Thewlis; Lanford Wilson’s Hot L Baltimore (1973) featuring
            Richard A. Steel whose play Isomer was published in Drummer 5 (March
            1976); Terrence McNally’s satire of the Continental Baths, The Ritz
            (1975); James Kirkwood’s A Chorus Line (1976); David Rabe’s Streamers
            (1976), and Harvey Fierstein’s International Stud (1978). Besides Isomer,
            the most directly related to Drummer were Kenneth Brown’s The Brig and
            Doric Wilson’s West Street Gang (1977) which was staged in the leather
            bar, the Spike, near the Anvil bar, not far from the Mineshaft. My TV-
            Guide-like Thumbnail for West Street Gang: a hot young gay basher is
            caught and put on trial by the leather-bar patrons. (My longtime sexmate
            from 1969-1974, Don Morrison, was one of the owner/managers of the
            Spike, and one of the producers behind West Street Gang. Another owner/
            manager/producer was Morrison’s partner, Frank Olson, who was also the
            lighting director for the CBS-TV soap, The Secret Storm. Because of our
            incestuous sex synergy in 1970, Olson gave me an old-leather-boys-club
            entree to The Secret Storm director, cast, and set in CBS Studio 43 when I
            was writing my book on “electronic” theater, Television Today, published
            in 1971).
               Outside New York, gay theater in San Francisco in the early 1970s
            was  mostly  drag  versions  of  warhorses  like  Hello  Dolly,  staged  by my
            friend, the actor-director Michael Lewis, at the Yonkers Production
            Company which also produced my one-act Coming Attractions (1976).
            There were notable exceptions mirroring the tremendous art behind gay
            liberation. In 1977, the Gay Men’s Theater Collective created, after the
            style of A Chorus Line, the theatrical event titled Crimes Against Nature.
            It caused a sensation and gay culture-vultures may note that Crimes was
            the first gay play in San Francisco to be videotaped. Directed by Edward
            Dundas, a three-camera video copy of this original production saved an
            extraordinary documentary of the Titanic 1970s. As I have mentioned
            elsewhere, because of corporations warring over VHS and Beta formats,
            the new consumer video cameras and VCRs did not reach ordinary people
            until 1981 and 1982. As a result, the first decade of gay lib in the 1970s is
            virtually invisible because what moving images exist were mostly shot on
            film and were mostly silent — and as a result were mostly porn. The 1970s
            corporate war over VHS and Beta was a gay tragedy. Had video existed,
            the 1970s would be critiqued quite differently by those who missed the
            era, and only attended the 1980s after-party.

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