Page 162 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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144      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            published Drummer story “Foreskin Prison Blues” and then, without per-
            mission, cutting its 5,000 words down to three columns of text (Drummer
            186, July 1995) while splurging a half-page on my drawing by the artist
            Skipper that I had commissioned for that story.


            The blond and bearded Robert Davolt, whose life and talents were about
            much more than Drummer, arrived fully formed in San Francisco in 1996.
            His name first appeared on the masthead of Drummer 202 (February 1997)
            making him the last  Drummer “operations manager” while Stamps was
            “editorial director.” To his many friends and fans, Davolt was a hale fellow
            well met who, despite some vagaries, I truly respected even as the death of
            Drummer consumed him. In a sad coincidence, he himself, like Embry,
            became ill with cancer. Stamps told me, “I believe Robert was pretty chal-
            lenged by his drinking which affected his professionalism, but boy did
            he work hard and when we had conflicts, he worked to flesh them out. I
            appreciated that.” Mister Marcus who wrote his leather “gossip column” for
            thirty-eight years in the Bay Area Reporter took his own measure of Davolt
            at Drummer and labeled him in print as “Robert Revolting.” In Marcus’
            obituary for Drummer, he wrote that “Martijn Bakker, the Dutchman was
            the sole killer of Drummer and all it stood for.” This is the turmoil in which
            Wickie Stamps was trying to work.
               Davolt’s “operations manager” title on the masthead of Drummer 201
            (January 1997) expanded fifteen months later to “publisher and editor”in
            Drummer 209 (April 1998). Between 1998 and 1999, Davolt produced only
            six issues of the “monthly” Drummer, ending when Drummer ceased publi-
            cation with Drummer 214 (April 1999), and the business closed on Folsom
            Fair weekend in September 1999.
               On January 6, 2001, Davolt, over lunch with Mark Hemry and me at
            the Café Flore, personally handed me his “Outline” for his proposed history
            about the “fall of Drummer magazine” which he had, quoting Wagner and
            straining to be clever, provisionally titled Götterdämmerung: Twilight of the
            Odds. “That title’s a mouthful and too obscure,” I said, “It’s too camp. Make
            it a high-concept title telling exactly what it is. Sort of what I’m doing on the
            manuscript I’m writing, The Rise and Fall of Drummer. ”
               Davolt had charmed Embry who fell for his blondness. Embry flattered
            Davolt in his new publications by listing him as associate editor and by
            publishing his article, “Guide to Painfully Correct Leather Bar Behavior,” in
            Super MR, January 2000, just ninety days after the death of Drummer. He

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