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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 37
             we met). So the time finally came that I met Jack in person, with the
             quite natural result that our friendship, and our ongoing deliberations,
             observations, and points of view blossomed. Looking back, I may have
             appeared to be a greater fount of wisdom than I actually was. Jack, how-
             ever, was an idea man, and I gave him resonance and reverberation. A
             favorable consequence of our collaboration was the recurrent appearance
             of my own modest photographs (and sometimes words) displayed by Jack
             in Drummer, exhibited in manner I might not have considered or dared.
                It became clear, once I had finally met Jack face to face, that he had
             an insatiable interest in what I had done or collected, starting with my
             earliest work, nude photos and slides taken in 1968. In the intervening
             eight years or so I had done some Super-8 filming, and for several years
             I had been making audio recordings of men having sex, or talking about
             it. Video was still a few years away. The audiotapes were, and remain,
             enormously significant. They are an oral history of what was still a silent
             era. The speakers are primarily the disenfranchised, hustlers, ex-cons,
             outcasts of one sort or another. In an atmosphere absent of pressure, alone
             and speaking their thoughts out loud, the most startling things were often
             revealed. Many of the audios continue many stops beyond frightening.
             My ears perked up! With photos, what started out as random projects
             started to unify into something entirely different than I had initially fore-
                To keep this long story short, Jack flattered me, and that encouraged
             me. Even though I had been working as a photographer since 1968, and
             was able to provide for myself in this manner, however modestly, I didn’t
             get much respect. If a magazine mentioned me at all, it was almost certain
             to be in a negative light. Nevertheless, I was eating regularly, and didn’t
             feel a mandate to change my style or the subjects I cared about. By the
             time I met Jack, I had already been arrested, tailed, subpoenaed, lied to,
             betrayed, cheated and ignored, and I bore some scar tissue, so to speak.
             Jack, unlike many others, was enthused by what I showed him. Once he
             became editor of Drummer, he tirelessly promoted my photos and tapes,
             and on several occasions invited me to contribute an article or review.
                I recall Jack bringing his friend Robert Mapplethorpe over to meet
             me, before he was touched by fame. I was especially delighted when he
             asked to buy some black-and-white prints of a favorite Old Reliable model,
             Mongoose. I declined any payment, rewarded instead by the pleasure of
             sharing the joy these photos obviously brought him.
                While Jack may have had to drag me kicking and screaming into
             the world, I never doubted that I was being dragged, at least, in the right

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