Page 539 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 519
             resting his butt against the lighted pool table. All around me in the dark
             corral of boxes, men were stroking themselves under the dim red light,
             sharing joints, and nipping at one another, but I had eyes only for the
             leatherman who stared from under his leather Muir cap like some dude
             from Ipanema into mid-distance. After twenty minutes of teasing myself
             up to eruption, I felt someone (watching me watching the leatherman)
             slip a bottle of popper up to my nose. I sniffed and strode hard-on-first
             directly up to the leatherman whose long legs and boots were kicked
             out and crossed at the ankles. I straddled his leather chaps and looking
             directly into his mirrored shades, I shot hot white clots all over his thigh.
             He screamed, “You can’t do that!” I said, “Why not?” He said, “I’m from
             LA!” The surrounding audience roared with laughter and applause. Like
             The Reluctant Debutante, he rushed out of the bar, pulling at his costume,
             running from his reviews, shouting “That’s not my scene!” Did he know
             he had caused me to suspend my disbelief? (I thought he was a man.)
             Did he realize he had been paid the ultimate compliment of orgasm? Did
             he appreciate the improvisational stand-up comedy of gay bars in the
             1970s when in situ radical sex upended tradition through the unexpected
             juxtaposition of opposites? Did he comprehend that a man shooting  San
             Francisco cum on his regal LA leathers was a comedy of manners virtually
             born among the groundling humor at  Shakespeare’s Globe Theater?
                It does not harm the deep-dish metaphor of leather as a fetish to
             point out the quite literal theatrics of leather culture. Before irony decon-
             structed the roleplay “scene” in the 1980s, performance sex had to be
             honored if I were to create a reciprocal editorial policy for a magazine
             that voiced — and echoed — the identity of the readers. They were all
             suddenly actors, activated by the times, relieved from the passivity of
             the closet as they cast about to find their new playmates, partners, and
             friends. The behavioral keywords of early leather culture — as it got “the
             show on the road” from the 1950s through the 1970s — were, pointedly,
             theatrical terms.
                Drummer was always a theatrical magazine filled with a colorful cast
             of actors, scenarios, erotic sets, exotic costumes, bizarre props and fetishes,
             stage-y sex in “play” rooms, and casting calls for role-playing characters.
             S&M sex is at essence theatrical ritual. In leather bars, we were “Method
             actors” kitted up to signal the part we would play in the “costume drama”
             of ritual acting: leather + denim + tit clamps + yellow hankie on the left.”
             Under dim red lights, we cruised for “leading men” with the standard
             1960s-1970s opening line: “What’s your  scene?” Eyewitness evidence
             exists in the fourth word of the title of the handmade magazine, The Way
             Out Scene, whose publisher, D&W Enterprises, described in Volume 1,
             Issue 8 (September 1975) that the little samizdat folio was a thousand

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