Page 130 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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112      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999


               The only common denominator among Drummermen is a cock-
               hardening interest in masculine men, masculine images, masculine
               fantasy, and masculine reality.

               Joseph W. Bean wrote in the 20  Anniversary Issue, Drummer 188,
                                            th
            page 18, that “The move toward masculinity by gay magazines happened
            more because of Drummer than any other publication....The very existence
            of  Drummer  magazine...began to undermine the monopoly of inexperi-
            enced, shiny smooth, and tiresomely youthful models.”
               The original tag line for Drummer was “America’s Mag for the Macho
            Male.” Also to be interpreted: Opel’s historic obituary for the homomascu-
            line “Tool Box” (Drummer 2); Bernie Prock’s and Toby Bailey’s very-XYY-
            chromosome “Leather Journal” column (Drummer 6) which is the exact
            kind of “Masculinist Manifesto” I fictionalized in Some Dance to Remember
            to chronicle this theme of homomasculinity in Drummer. In addition, some
            of the Prock-Bailey topics confirmed LAPD suspicions about “Compulsive
            Public Sex.” The centerfold with Durk Parker aka Durk Dehner was titled
            “Studies in Masculinity,” Drummer 15, page 39. (Canadian Durk Dehner
            early on worked in advertising with  The Advocate and then in 1984 as
            founder of the Tom of Finland Foundation; see photograph of Dehner with
            “homomasculine art pioneer Tom of Finland,” Drummer 137, page 35.)
               Years later in Drummer 131 (July 1989), a letter to the editor, page 5,
            complained that the twenty-one-year-old “Mr. Drummer 1988” Ron Zehel
            (1966-2016) was too soft and too young to represent “all around mascu-
            linity” which was the purported aim of the Mr. Drummer Contest. I was
            one of the Mr. Drummer judges who voted for Ohioan Zehel because he
            seemed something new and healthy on the leather scene. On the surface, he
            was handsome and minted off the Eagles’ Hotel California album—he was
            the “New Kid in Town” and he seemed to the judges to be what Drummer
            marketing needed to keep its demographic fresh for its so-called “old guard”
            readership.
               What a dismissive term. Drummer loyalists never used it. There never
            was an “old guard.” Leather is always “avant garde.”
               Unfortunately, the leather community assessment of Zehel was that
            he turned out to be rather much a leather mirage during the AIDS plague
            of wishful hope. Even though he advertised his photos and services in
            “Models Nationwide” in Drummer 125, he seemed too shy and immature,
            even though his modeling ad promised to give a portion of his profits “to
            fight AIDS,” to shoulder the public relations responsibilities of a proper Mr.
            Drummer on the order of the glorious Michael Pereya, winner of the 1988


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