Page 158 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 158

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


               However, it was disappointing that circumstances caused her to excerpt
            my bespoke text without consultation. That, I admit, is an editor’s profes-
            sional prerogative. What author and editor always see eye-to-eye? But it was
            the first time in twenty years that anyone at Drummer edited my writing
            simply to cut costs, and to fit the page, in an issue cluttered with what
            amounted to “filler.” It was an opportunity lost to leather history that fewer
            than twenty-five of the anniversary issue’s eighty-two pages (32 percent)
            covered Drummer history. Even with Bean, Embry, and me attached to
            the issue, it seemed de rigueur that an editor who was not disabled by the
            publisher would have also included essential eyewitness histories from two
            of the several founders of and original contributors to Drummer: Jeanne
            Barney and Larry Townsend.
               Judging that decaffeinated anniversary issue, a journalism student grad-
            ing it might ding Stamps’ editorial choices which seem cornered by Bakker
            as much as Sanchez’s advertising choices seem driven by Bakker. In the
            ratio of the few pages of low-budget editorial content to the dozens of high-
            income pages of video advertising, what could have been a splendid anni-
            versary issue missed its historical purpose within the leather community.
            That issue flopped because it gave little to the Drummer faithful and never
            became a popular-culture success and was never coveted as a collectible.
            Anniversary issues existed to excite readers’ continuity of loyalty, and to
            drum up subscriptions. Had Stamps not been hobbled, and had the good-
            natured Sanchez any instinct for BDSM design heat, she might have helped
            sustain Drummer by making what could have been a rich and glamorous
            anniversary issue one for the ages. Historically, that was what Embry tried
            to do with Drummer 50. It was what DeBlase intended when he published
            Drummer 100. It’s not as if Drummer had no autobiographical tradition in
            writing about itself in special issues dedicated to preserving its institutional
            memory.
               Stamps worked against the odds to fill pages inexpensively, but was a
            picture really worth a thousand words? A larger-than-necessary reprint of
            the famous Robert Mapplethorpe cover of Drummer 24 failed to give any
            editorial mention of the historical importance of Drummer to Mapplethorpe
            or his importance to Drummer. The old photos were a slight to monthly
            subscribers always demanding new porno. Most likely not aware that the
            graphics assigned to him had been previously published, Sanchez recycled
            juiceless pictures and reruns of large Bill Ward drawings that ate up the
            pages, squeezing out seminal Drummer photographers such as David Hurles
            (Old Reliable), Mikal Bales (Zeus), and Lou Thomas (Target), as well as
            ignoring key artists such as Tom of Finland, Rex, the Hun, and A. Jay (Al


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