Page 115 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 4                         97


                know they wouldn’t be willing to swap checks with me, or whatever
                they’re doing to pretend that people like Steve Schoch are actu-
                ally paying for their articles [paid advertisments]....The reason I am
                writing at all is because Larry refuses to involve himself in what he
                calls a “bitch fight.”


             J. R. defended Townsend’s name change, and launched a litany of offenses
             “committed” by Schoch, alleging his ripping off the gay clients of his own
             heating and air-conditioning business, being too drunk and too sick to
             acquit his own H.E.L.P. duties as vice president, and hampering Townsend’s
             effectiveness as president.


                Despite the fact that he was unwilling (or unable) to do the work,
                Steve wanted the titles that went with these [political] jobs. For
                months, Larry was after him to carry his share of the load, and
                eventually got pretty pushy about it....There is a hell of a lot of dif-
                ference between a man doing the work and taking some pride in
                his accomplishments, and the one who simply seeks the title while
                avoiding the work. If Larry had gone through the year in his presi-
                dency with a dependable, supporting vice president, he would have
                accomplished more than he did.

             EMBRY ECLIPSED BY THE SHADOW OF TOWNSEND

             During that first decade of gay liberation after Stonewall, the competition
             was fierce in LA among emerging publishers eager to catch the gay market,
             the pink dollar, and the leather crowd. If I were writing a byzantine LA
             screenplay fictionalizing this transition in leather history, I could dramatize
             moves on this chessboard that would shock Iago. And Iago, with his motive-
             less malignancy, would be too easy to cast.
                The rift opened up further between leather impresarios Embry and
             Townsend who poured himself a double when the LAPD drove Embry
             out of LA in 1977. For six years, Townsend was conspicuously absent
             from Drummer until the 1980s. In 1978 when I was editor-in-chief, I took
             Townsend to supper at the cozy Haystack Restaurant on San Francisco’s 24
                                                                            th
             Street and tried to persuade him to write for Drummer. He said he did not
             want to endure thirty-day deadlines, and, in any case, he wanted nothing to
             do with Embry.
                Strictly speaking, Townsend never really wrote “for”  Drummer.
             Townsend was never what was known as “a  Drummer  writer.” He was


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