Page 117 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 117

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 4                         99

                into one person the way others later confused “Robert Mapplethorpe”
                and “Robert Opel” into “Robert Opelthorpe.”] Because John and
                Larry both used the same mail drop at 525 Laurel, Larry continu-
                ally received complaints that “he” [Townsend] had not sent mer-
                chandise ordered from “Robert Payne.” Larry printed something
                explaining the difference. John also was very late in paying Larry
                for his books that he sold mail order.

                Compare both The Advocate and Embry each spinning a Rashomon eye-
             witness perspective of this history, “Triumph of the Black Pipe: Cops and
             Leathermen Clash in the Biggest Raid of All Time,” Drummer 3 (October
             1975), page 36.
                Six months after his Black Pipe H.E.L.P. feature article, Embry set about
             hosting two of his own “Slave Auctions.”
                1) Larry Townsend told me, “Embry tossed his own first little Slave
             Auction at the Detour on New Year’s Eve 1975 and hardly anyone showed
             up but the LAPD who warned him, ‘Don’t ever try this in LA again.’” Those
             were fighting words. The LAPD acted. Embry reacted, and double-dared
             them. In the best laid plans of mice and men, a raid would be good for busi-
             ness because it could create a newsworthy Stonewall-like event to earn the
             then six-month-old Drummer free publicity, and gain Embry a crusading
             publisher’s reputation in gay history.
                2) Despite the LAPD warning, Embry, Jeanne Barney remembered,
             proceeded to advertise a second, even bigger, Slave Auction for Valentine’s
             Day, February 14, 1976, which was bumped to April 10, and into history as
             the “Great Drummer Slave Auction.”
                Embry mailed “invites” to his private membership list, the “Leather
             Fraternity” list, and then he broadened the mailing to his general direct-
             mail list. That maneuver shifted the shifty private event into a shiftier public
             event, and alerted a Postal Inspector who alerted the LAPD. See Drummer
             6 (June 1976), page 14, for details about one Kenneth Elesser aka Kenneth
             Schmidt of Post Office Box 71002, Los Angeles.
                Jeanne Barney added on September 5, 2006:

                As for an eyewitness that would be me [Barney]. He went pub-
                lic with the invitations because the Leather Fraternity members,
                being mostly out-of-towners, were not responding in the $ amount
                Embry had hoped for. In a “what-the-heck” attitude, he told me
                that he was going to send to the direct mail list. The Postal Inspector
                was not on the Fraternity list, but on the direct-mail list. [Drummer

               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-14-2017
   112   113   114   115   116   117   118   119   120   121   122