Page 595 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
P. 595

Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                575
             even basic 1970s de rigueur facial hair — was almost as wrongheaded a faux
             pas as was his widely scorned “Cycle Sluts” drag cover on Drummer 9.
                In this mise en scene, I tugged on Tiffenbach’s photo-image — as if
             it were one of those new 1976 “Stretch Armstrong” dolls — to reference
             the hit TV series The Six Million Dollar Man (1973-1978). (Its bionic
             hero, pop icon Lee Majors, Drummer 25, page 70, led to the complete
             bio-machinery of the perfectly cast action puppet, the never-erotic Arnold
             Schwarzenegger, in The Terminator, 1984.) As it turned out, these desert
             photos, and this poem, anticipated by more than a year the gasoline-and-
             leather epic of the sandy desert outback, Mad Max (1979), featuring the
             debut of the gay leather favorite, Mel Gibson, before he outed himself as
             a seeming homophobe and drunken anti-Semite.
                To twist the Tiffenbach pictures into a specifically Drummer theme,
             I made his literal concept symbolic (or at least fetishistic) by turning the
             wheels into a rolling sex machine and the hairless twinkie body into a kind
             of android car.
                Under Embry’s retro taste and penny-pinching, I held my nose and
             dropped the pics into a poem sidebar to — what turned out to be — the
             first magazine article ever written on gay sports, the cover lead feature
             article: “Gay Jock Sports: Wrestling, Boxing, Rollerballing, Soaring,
             Scuba, Bodybuilding, Dune Bodies, and Films,” Drummer 20 (January
                But was that enough? Of course, not. This was Drummer!
                John Embry was the prince of reprints. The general observation was
             that his re-run reputation eventually hurt Drummer subscriptions and
             sales because of the way he repeated stories and recycled photos and draw-
             ings. His practice also dismayed some writers and artists, and photogra-
             phers like Mapplethorpe, who often felt they had not been paid royalties
             for such reprint rights.
                Some battles are not worth fighting when faggots work together in a
             creative environment trying to turn out a magazine that is so interactive
             with the reader that it causes orgasm.
                Nevertheless, I was chagrined, but not surprised, when nine months
             later, Embry squeezed one more dime out of Tiffenbach’s twinkie’s ass.
             Perhaps thinking that “sand is sand,” he had art director Al Shapiro paste
             three spreadeagle-bondage photographs from the sands of Palm Springs
             into the copy of my desert-sands article, “Arab Death,” in my special edi-
             tion, Son of Drummer (September 1978).
                Embry might not have dared cross swords had he decoded my byline
             on “Arab Death” which I signed as “by Denny Sargent.” I suspect he had
             no idea who “by Denny Sargent” was on page 9, but all he had to do
             was turn to page 41 where I published an excerpt from my 1969 novel,

           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
   590   591   592   593   594   595   596   597   598   599   600