Page 594 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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574                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
               Embry insisted he had paid good hard cash for the photos which I did
            not like because they seemed like Palm Springs “camp” starring a blond
            twinkie who did not drip “essence du Drummer.” The willowy model
            was perfectly fine if an audience got off on young vanilla twinks; but
            my judgement was based on the criterion of how he would be received or
            rejected in the leather bars or leather bathhouses frequented by Drummer
            readers. Embry and I had a heated discussion over what was “the Drum-
            mer Look.” (Our first tiff was over Tiffenbach.) A publisher trumps an
            editor, but mostly I surrendered because I respected some of Tiffenbach’s
            other credentials. Historically, Joe Tiffenbach (aka Lou Alton) was the
            founder with Bud Berkeley of the crusading anti-circumcision group, the
            Uncut Society of America (USA), and he had directed sometime Drum-
            mer columnist and full-time LA leather personality Fred Halsted in the
            film Truck It (1973). After his photos appeared in Drummer, Tiffenbach
            went on to direct videos in the 1980s, and with Bud Berkeley penned the
            book, Foreskin: Its Past, Present, and Future (1984); he died, age 67, Janu-
            ary 27, 1992.
               Even though Tiffenbach’s twink, who had no tread on his nipples,
            was too much the tyro to be leather, the desert images were — if I screwed
            up my eyes and squinted to erase the “camp” — at least vaguely fetishistic
            in a “sports sex” sort of way. The sunny photos themselves lacked the
            shadows and drama essential to S&M art, and were not ominous the way,
            for instance, that Mapplethorpe made his outdoor photography fetishistic
            and threatening.
               At a glance, the subject was a neutrally naked male solo in the sand
            dunes. Like a human “4-wheeler all-terrain vehicle,” he was spreadeagle
            horizontally holding onto (not tied to) one axle with two hands while his
            feet stretched out to a second axle. Both axles were fitted out with two
            bicycle tires. The male body was taut between the axles, his butt was high
            off the ground, and he seemingly was rolling face down through the sand
            on the four wheels. Because I was well advanced in prepping my “Gay
            Jock Sports” feature article, I figured I could shoehorn the twink in if I
            tried to re-conceptualize him as a kind of “Arthur Tress man” as “sports
            machine.” (See “Meditations on Arthur Tress, Drummer 30, June 1979,
            pages 22-25.)
               Muddying the aggressive butch theme of Drummer 20, Embry at
            first gave no indication that he was planning to put the deadpan twink on
            what was to have been the lively cover of the homomasculine gay sports
            issue which was based on an original theme that I had built conceptually
            from the ground up almost two years before anyone even heard of Tom
            Waddell’s scheme for his Gay Olympics. I wanted Drummer and leather to
            be sexually avant garde. Embry’s retro garde 1950s camp twink — lacking

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