Page 139 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 5                        121


             paint me nude, bearded like a mountainman, and standing with elbows
             upright alongside my head as in the statues and paintings of “The Flaying
             of Marsyas.” Beside me, he painted Mark Hemry, fully clothed in buckskins,
             his long blond “Buffalo Bill” hair flowing, seated with his black-powder rifle
             on his lap: the warrior-lover protecting the author going naked in public
             with so much historical information. The painting was very Drummer.
                Drummer was too down on its luck and was suffering with too much
             post-traumatic stress by that time to bother with the very erotic and real
             journal I had written of the making of the Bound for Europe films that Mark
             Hemry and I dubbed Trouble in the Rubble. But, what fun! We had traveled
             Europe inside a gonzo leather fantasy, shooting verite S&M sex scenes with
             the most verite leathermen in the most verite locations in legendary leather
             bars, the cellars of bars, and high-tech dungeon bordellos.
                In fact, in the early months of the epic AIDS year of 1989, I had a
             choice of shooting porn, or defending porn, when Tony DeBlase, for whom
             I was an editorial consultant, queried me about my availability for testify-
             ing for the trial of pioneer Steve Toushin who had been arrested in 1988
             on Federal obscenity charges for producing and distributing S&M videos,
             including films Drummer loved like the perfect fisting film Erotic Hands.
             I had first encountered Toushin’s work in the 1960s during my graduate
             school nights cruising Chicago’s Old Town where he managed the Aardvark
             Theater Cinematheque and screened underground movies like Jack Smith’s
             Flaming Creatures, and Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising—despite the censo-
             rious six police widows, mothers and grandmothers, who ran the Chicago
                                                   th
             Film Board out of police headquarters at 11  and State Street until public
             resistance killed it in the mid-1970s.
                In the mise en scene of grief in 1989, a person could not be involved in
             every cause and had to choose. My former sweetheart, Robert Mapplethorpe,
             died of AIDS in March, and by June, the censorious United States Senator
             Jesse Helms, was launching his government attack on what he called
             Mapplethorpe’s pornographic photographs. I countered my grief with extra
             busy-ness. I was proofing the final galleys for Some Dance to Remember
             which Knights Press was publishing, and was also in pre-production for
             several video projects. I told DeBlase that having six video features to shoot
             on location in Europe for Roger Earl at Marathon Films, and twelve fea-
             tures to lens for my Palm Drive Video, I had no time to testify, but that
             I would be pleased to address censorship alternatively by writing a feature
             obituary about Robert Mapplethorpe, the most famous, and most censored,
             leather photographer in history. DeBlase published that “Pentimento for
             Robert Mapplethorpe: Fetishes, Faces, and Flowers of Evil” in Drummer


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