Page 156 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 156

138      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            and how he wanted us to carry on whether he lived or died. He said he had
            confidence in all of us. He shook my hand. I believed him.
               When he returned full-time, Al Shapiro and I were driving Drummer
            in a new direction of an American masculinity wider than the simple
            leather identity of the “Leather Fraternity.” Dumping Embry’s obsession
            with Puritan LA cops and local LA bars, Al and I wrote gonzo sex articles
            about actual guys having real erotic experiences in real sex venues in San
            Francisco and New York where gay liberation was in full swing. Our switch
            to a national point of view was noticed by readers and by Embry. We both
            wrote our New Journalism from insights and experience gained in the erotic
            life we were living among thousands of leathermen who, the mornings after
            the nights before, exchanged sexploits over braggadocio brunches at cafes
            such as the Norse Cove across the street from the Castro Theater. Because
            I had been one of the founding members of the American Popular Culture
            Association in 1968, and was one of the speakers at the follow-up American
            Studies Association conference on October 31, 1969, I was motivated to add
            an inclusive “tag line” to Drummer to brand the our new content and direc-
            tion on the masthead beginning with Drummer 25: “The American Review
            of Gay Popular Culture.”


            In the 1990s, against all odds, Wickie Stamps became the “editorial man-
            ager” and then the “editorial director” of Drummer when what staff remained
            turned to her for help, and she stepped up to keep Drummer on life support
            from Drummer 183 (March 1995) to Drummer 208 August 1997. Like every
            other person who ever worked for Drummer, she was caught in a web that
            was bigger than any one of us. Examining the monthly issues Stamps pro-
            duced under the most difficult circumstances, I have the greatest empathy
            and sympathy toward her efforts, and toward her who is so talented. She
            told me that as a woman, she would not herself have applied for the job,
            but she stepped up when the staff of five, fearful for their own jobs, asked
            her to deal with the new publisher Martijn Bakker who, she said, quickly
            subverted her authority as editor. Among that staff, she was the only person
            involved in BDSM.
               Seeking content, she found the archival filing cabinets were in disarray,
            and that most of the previous contributors Drummer relied on were dead.
            She could not recruit new writers and photographers because Drummer was
            deep in debt. In a corporate outsourcing move, Bakker hired a designer
            named Sam Sanchez who, she said, had “minimal if any exposure to the

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