Page 110 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 110

92       Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999


            known for, that he was convinced that “this organization, which means so
            much to me, is in exceptionally capable and dedicated hands....my contin-
            ued work and assistance are no longer necessary to the furtherance of the
            goals of H.E.L.P.”
               Embry, in turn, air-kissed back. To hitch his own little-known wagon
            to that of the star author Townsend, Embry turned the resignation letter
            into a self-serving press release that he sent to The Advocate which head-
            lined “Townsend Resigns from H.E.L.P. Board.” The six-paragraph “spin”
            reported: “Embry said H.E.L.P. ‘is heavily in debt to Larry Townsend for
            his years of service to us, and we wish him well in his new endeavors.’”
            Pulling his frenemy close to capture his voice and to link to his fame, Embry
            trumpeted that he “...understood that Townsend would continue to write a
            column for H.E.L.P./Drummer, the organization’s official newspaper.”
               Embry’s press release was like a birth announcement: this was the first
            ever mention of Drummer in The Advocate, December 19, 1973. This rec-
            ognition gave him the “win” he longed for: validation by Dick Michaels and
            Bill Rand’s popular Los Angeles magazine. Yet within two years of becoming
            president of H.E.L.P., Embry’s machinations finally helped kill that organi-
            zation because he was litle interested in H.E.L.P. except as a hijacked plat-
            form to launch Drummer as his political power tool. Ever the High Priest of
            Calumny, Embry scared off even the last sympathizers of H.E.L.P. when he
            reported, warned, and bragged in Drummer 3 (October 1975), page 43: “The
            word was out: to have anything to do with H.E.L.P. was to invite disaster.”

            FEUDING, FUSSING, AND FIGHTING


            History is like Akira Kurosawa’s 1951 classic Japanese film,  Rashomon,
            which in eighty-eight minutes tells the same story four times, each time
            from a different participant’s point of view. When Embry and Townsend
            squared off at H.E.L.P., eyewitnesses of their power struggle sometimes felt
            like collateral damage in their ego issues. Steve Schoch, the vice-president of
            H.E.L.P., became so frustrated that in 1973 he turned whistle-blower and
            bought four pages of advertising space in the Los Angeles magazine, Action,
            to publish his essay, “A Time for Truth.” His insider and specific accusa-
            tions seem prescient because the management of H.E.L.P. by Embry and
            Townsend foreshadowed Embry’s management style at Drummer. Schoch
            testified:

               Due to the tremendous controversy which has emerged concern-
               ing the battle which has been raging for some time now over the


              ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-14-2017
                  HOW TO LEGALLY QUOTE FROM THIS BOOK
   105   106   107   108   109   110   111   112   113   114   115