Page 172 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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154      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            Drummer covers featuring a film, such as Sex Tool or Born to Raise Hell or Pec
            Stud in Black Rubber, were sourced not from corporate entities but from grass-
            roots artists with boutique studios. With no editor funded to acquire and vet
            genuine leather content, this cover suffered a disconnect in featuring Falcon’s
            model “Max,” one of the least authentic actors in 1990s corporate porn.


            As editor-in-chief in 1979, I wanted to lift the Drummer esthetic from page
            to screen to harvest some box-office profits that could help fund the maga-
            zine. Having shot 8mm films since the 1950s, I pitched a plan to Embry to
            launch, direct, and shoot an X-rated line of brand-name Drummer films in
            Super-8. Drummer contributor David Hurles of Old Reliable had been sell-
            ing Super-8 sex films since 1974. Embry warmed to my idea, but he could
            not match it with a believable, equitable, and guaranteed business plan.
            Once again we agreed to disagree. Three years later in 1982 when consumer
            video cameras began to be sold, Mark Hemry and I founded Palm Drive
            Video, and Embry founded his Wings video. Casting and technical prob-
            lems plagued him as a producer. He soon enough changed his producer’s hat
            for a distributor’s cap because he could make more money with less effort
            selling other videographers’ features through his mail-order business located
            South of Market where he had twice moved the Drummer office after my
            departure from the Divisadero Street office.
               The back rooms of that new Natoma Street office became the back
            lot for his Wings studio where he hired cast and crew for several stereo-
            typical S&M scenarios such as Slaves for Sale and Slaves for Sale II starring
            Scott O’Hara, one of the blonds Embry said he preferred in his Epilogue.
            As “director Robert Payne,” Embry was certainly no Hitchock filming
            blonds in peril and most certainly no Warhol filming hot young superstars
            in his avant garde Factory in Manhattan. Conflating the Drummer brand,
            he stepped on his print-magazine Drummer to launch his onscreen “video
            magazine” by naming it with the exact same title as an earlier special print
            issue of Drummer: The Best and the Worst of Drummer. Touting his plastic
            VHS cassette as a “rare” and “limited-edition” “video magazine,” he trum-
            peted in Manifest Reader #17, page 69, “We can only sell 500 of these!” He
            should have been so lucky. And why only five hundred when video copying
            costing pennies was an endless resource?
               Finding video production a struggle of great technical, legal, and emo-
            tional difficulties, Embry saw the wisdom of turning a quicker buck by

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