Page 109 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 4                         91


             the newsprint magazine combining Townsend’s H.E.L.P Newsletter with
             Embry’s small zine-version of Drummer which Embry had first published in
             November 1971. The new merged title was H.E.L.P./Drummer. The Black
             Pipe itself was bothering no one out on La Cienega near Venice in West LA,
             a deserted light industrial area similar to San Francisco’s South of Market.
                The Advocate headlined “Massive Bar Raid,” September 12, 1972.
                Gay activists, Morris Kight and the leathery Reverend Troy Perry,
             helped raise bail; and H.E.L.P. carried the costs. The charges against Larry
             Townsend were dropped and the last defendant cleared on June 21, 1974,
             one year before H.E.L.P./Drummer, with its personal ads, evolved through
             a civil war with Townsend into Embry’s iteration of the slick, large-format
             Drummer  magazine  on  June  20,  1975. In  those  early  years,  Embry  had
             shown up at H.E.L.P. riding his Trojan High Horse and announced to
             Townsend that he could design the group a much better-looking newsletter.
             He took over like a Greek bearing gifts, but without the charm.
                It was a tectonic shift.
                During the four-year period 1971-1975, Embry wrested Drummer into
             and out of H.E.L.P./Drummer while the H.E.L.P. organization disintegrated
             with internal political strife stoked by him because he used the LAPD mess
             with the Black Pipe to further the destruction of H.E.L.P. Even so, his inter-
             necine actions with Townsend continued. In 2008, a week after Townsend
             died, I was helping his sister Tracy Tingle archive his papers, and found a
             revealing file of clippings and letters documenting what Townsend hated
             to admit was the “bitch fight” that Embry had plotted to check-mate him.
                In the late  autumn  of 1973,  the deposed  president  of H.E.L.P.,
             Townsend, resigned as an ex-officio member of the H.E.L.P. board of direc-
             tors with a cynical letter he sent to Embry, the new president of H.E.L.P.
             He was making his competitive moves against Embry, and landing on his
             feet politically. In its October 10, 1973 issue, The Advocate reported that
             Townsend was chosen by David B. Goodstein, president of the San Francisco
             Whitman-Radclyffe Foundation, as its Southern California representative.
             Even then, Goodstein’s name set Embry’s teeth on edge, a full year before the
             bourgeois Goodstein bought The Advocate so envied by the scofflaw Embry
             who could not afford to buy it.
                Carefully crafting his air-kiss-off, Townsend coded his “press release”
             with ironic praise that partially revealed the politics of how quickly Embry
             had moved in on him and made him redundant. He described the H.E.L.P.
             coup that took Embry only eight months, referring to “the very fine lead-
             ership of yourself [Embry] and your fellow board members for over eight
             months,” adding, in the smirk of simmering lifelong indignation he was


               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-14-2017
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