Page 87 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
P. 87

Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 67
                In an interview with the critic, John F. Karr, from The Bay Area
             Reporter in June 1989, Fritscher described himself as “an iconoclastic
             visual artist.” He certainly began in a time of artistic frenzy, the 60s
             and 70s, standing in a crowd that included the Gay Golden Age of John
             Waters and Divine, the Cockettes, Sylvester, David Bowie, Lou Reed,
             and Andy Warhol. Yet he has never had to go out of his way to prove
             himself because his ideas and writing and photography are unique across
             the genres because they speak for themselves, and he has always stood out
             among his peers without effort — in fact, without trying to do so, as he is
             rather reticent and reclusive.
                As Winnie the Pooh once said, it is best to start at the beginning.
                Jack was born John Joseph Fritscher on June 20, 1939. A fellow Gem-
             ini, he entered the world during the noon hour on the summer solstice,
             the brightest light of the year’s longest day. In high school, he was the
             senior-class reporter and author of the all-male musical comedy, Conti-
             nental Caper, 1959. He translated religious texts from German for Ameri-
             can publication between 1960 and 1966. More than twenty of his early
             short stories and features, many of them coded gay stories and articles,
             were published in unsuspecting Catholic magazines. Teaching university
             journalism and literature beginning in 1964, he was that generation of
             professors who introduced a fourth genre to literary interpretation, “film
             interpretation,” which was added to fiction, drama, and poetry.
                Fritscher received his B.A. in Philosophy and English (1961) followed
             by graduate work in Aquinian Theology (1963) at the Pontifical College
             Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. During that conformist Catholic time,
             he started his school’s first student magazine, aggressively called Pulse,
             which had the priest in charge pounding on his desk in fury. He spent the
             very early civil-rights summers of 1961 and 1962 as a “worker priest” on
             Chicago’s South Side in the heart of the ghetto at 63rd and Cottage Grove
             where he worked directly in the African-American community with the
             legendary radical, Saul Alinsky.
                In  1966,  he  received  his  master’s  degree  in  English  from  Loyola
             University with his thesis, When Malory Met Arthur: Sex and Magic in
             Camelot. In May 1967, he came out formally regretting he had the year
             before told Tennessee Williams that Williams could not, mmm, depend
             on his kindness. In February, 1968, he completed his doctorate in Ameri-
             can Literature/Creative Writing and Journalism, and took off for swing-
             ing London’s Carnaby Street, as well as Paris, Madrid, and Amsterdam
             which all were in the throes of student revolution in the streets — from
             which he did not shy away.
                In 1969, he signed a contract for his nonfiction book, Popular Witch-
             craft: Straight from the Witch’s Mouth, which he wrote in San Francisco

           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
   82   83   84   85   86   87   88   89   90   91   92