Page 135 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 5                        117

             Opel’s young nephew, Robert Oppel (the family spelling), interviewed
             O’Grady, Thompson, and me for his documentary film, Uncle Bob, which
             in 2010, was featured at the Frameline San Francisco International Gay and
             Lesbian Film Festival. In 2014, thirty-five years after our first interview,
             O’Grady once again sat down with me for a long chat in my studio as I
             filmed her intimately spelling out her own eyewitness details of that night
             of horror in Fey-Way when she was held at gunpoint and saw her boyfriend
             Opel terminated.

             14. “THE GREAT ‘S/M’ MURDER MYSTERY”

             This loudly touted “cover” essay, serialized in three issues (Drummer  9,
             Drummer 10, Drummer 11) was an expose of the S&M murders in LA that
             the LAPD could not solve. Embry published it as “Murder in California,
             The Golden State’s Gay Victims: The Great ‘S/M’ Murder Mystery?!”
             Jeanne Barney told me in 2006 that she and John Rowberry, who spent
             fifteen years in a sine wave of loving her and trashing her, had interviewed
             people from West Los Angeles to San Diego who were “99 percent certain
             of the identity of the murderer.”
                It was, according to Los Angeles Magazine (June 1976), that “...string of
             unsolved murders [that] was the real reason for Ed Davis’ raid of that gay
             [Drummer] Slave Auction, according to LAPD insiders. Police believe a
             local S-M ring may be responsible for savagely....”

             15. RACE WRITING; THE “N” WORD

             The provocative use of the word, nigger, to describe a convict “top man” who
             is threatening to defecate on a prison punk’s face—not a good idea in itchy-
             twitchy LA where cops, since the 1965 Watts Riots, were under pressure to
             keep the peace in prisons and in the streets, as well as in the Pantages Theater
             on trashy, draggy, funky Hollywood Boulevard where Mandingo (1975) was
             screening to throngs of charged-up audiences of Blacks and the whites who
             love them; photographs of the beautiful boxer Ken Norton from Mandingo
             appear repeatedly as a main theme in early Drummer (Drummer 1, “Whips,
             Paddles, Pitchforks, Pain Dominate Mandingo”; Drummer 6, “Mandingo:
             Revisiting Falconhurst”). See photographer Roy Dean’s color photograph
             of a Black “Mr. Drummer” in The Best and the Worst of Drummer, page 41.
             Dean’s “Mr. USA” could be one of Emerson’s “Representative Men.” The
             statuesque photo is about the sweet-looking man’s nonchalant masculin-
             ity. He is nude but for his brown boots and a drum strategically hanging

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