Page 56 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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36                                      Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
            tongue in cheek calling itself a “Slave Auction,” was raided by the LAPD
            who with “straight” face announced that they had acted in the interest of
            freeing the slaves from their bondage. Among the hundred or so arrested
            that day was Drummer publisher John Embry. Righteously angry, he left
            Los Angeles as soon as he could, and moved to San Francisco, bringing
            the promising magazine, and his now fiercely populist political activism
            with him.
               Tucked away in our minds are memories of moments that we can’t
            even remember forgetting, memories that long ago escaped the bondage
            of effortless recall, but which come again, bright and loud and full of
            life, when summoned by a chance sequence of words. Jack, in midnight
            phone calls that cut through the thick bright white San Francisco night
            fog, cautiously weighed the opportunities and consequences that might lie
            ahead. Becoming editor of such a magazine carried with it the potential
            to be a life-changing event, a county fair midway littered with landmines.
            Wearing the ringmaster’s top hat would require him to surrender a large
            measure of personal security, and to commit his reputation to the climate
            of another season. His decision was never driven by dollars and cents.
            With a leap of faith, he gambled that he would be afforded the freedom
            to  cultivate  Embry’s  undeveloped  Drummer  with  thoughts  heretofore
            unspoken, opening up for many, the more often than not unseen leather
            brotherhood — its past and its present — for the future.
               A very few erotically exclusive groups had started to find their
            own voice, most specifically wrestling, which had come together both
            regionally and nationwide. There was also some action in underwear and
            water-sports. Jack used Drummer to celebrate a multitude of out-of-the-
            ordinary, unusual, pursuits in the process de-stigmatizing many activities,
            which opened them up to others who previously may have only dreamed
            of being included. Jack created a midway where even the most marginal
            act could have an audience, and everyone could be entertained. Those
            with some religious or political aversion to cigar-smoking midget Argen-
            tinean amputees, or bearded behemoths, or even sleazy, sweaty, tattooed
            carnies . . . well, they could either welcome the occasion to widen their out-
            look, or move on to another booth in this panoramic midway, to continue
            the pursuit of their own special kewpie doll.

            In my idiosyncratic manner, I resisted actually meeting Jack face to face,
            for many months. All the while, however, we engaged in a thought-pro-
            voking and wide-ranging telephone conversation that moved forward,
            several hours each night every night (and that continued for years after

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