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60                                      Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
            attitude. Instead, his siren call was, “See what can be yours, if you have
            the balls to reach out and grab it.”
               But along with reports on such unquestionably “popular” phenom-
            ena as jock sports (Drummer 19), punk rock (Drummer 21), and rodeo
            (Drummer 26), Jack didn’t hesitate to make detours into the precincts of
            “high culture.” No, he didn’t review opera, but he did write one of the
            smartest pieces ever on Pasolini’s difficult film, Salo (Drummer 20); he
            urged readers to take Pasolini’s cautionary politics as seriously as his art.
            And if Jack’s greatest discovery, Robert Mapplethorpe, eventually became
            one of the most widely known (if least understood) artists in the world,
            other enthusiasms of his, like the filmmaker Derek Jarman (review of
            Sebastiane) and the photographer Arthur Tress (four poems accompany-
            ing a gallery feature in Drummer 30), remain relatively esoteric delights to
            this day. But Jack wrote about them — and Mapplethorpe and the artist
            Rex (both in his “New York art” issue, Son of Drummer, 1978) — without
            a trace of condescension, as if every Drummer reader would just naturally
            care as much about their work as he did.

            Bondage, a theme close to my own heart, is something Jack returned
            to several times in Drummer and elsewhere (particularly his own later
            zine, Man2Man). He wrote about this fetish or practice more perceptively
            than anyone before or, probably, since. “Bondage: Blest Be the Tie That
            Binds” (Drummer 24, September 1978, the Mapplethorpe cover issue) is
            an interview with a New York City bondage master. Like many of Jack’s
            best pieces, it’s illustrated mainly with photos he himself shot for the
            article (using the name of his then longtime lover, David Sparrow, who
            co-owned the camera given to him as a birthday gift by Jack). His other
            illustrations are several of his appropriate “found” images, like a San Fran-
            cisco Ballet photo of a male dancer suspended from ropes tied to his limbs
            and flying in a body harness. Whether this is, as Jack claims, the first
            feature to analyze bondage in the gay press or not, it was the first to come
            to my attention that not only turned me on but made me think about why.
               So much of Jack’s bondage article is quotable, better not to start; and
            anyhow you have the whole thing in this book. Whether the ideas sprang
            from Jack (with his years-long background in the spiritual disciplines of
            the Catholic priesthood), or from his interview subject, or emerged in
            the interplay between them, here is the ur-text for the now commonplace
            notion that rigid, immobile bondage is a form of meditation, a way of
            stilling the mind, and thus releasing it, and thereby the body as well, from
            everyday cares and tensions. You’ll also find the idea, not surprising given

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