Page 174 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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156      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            add practical how-to features (from our communal night games) similar to
            the articles I had already developed about the Society of Janus (Drummer
            27, February 1979) and the “Dr. Dick” health column I wrote, beginning in
            Drummer 21, March 1978), from my ongoing interviews with the amiable
            Dr. Richard Hamilton (1945-1989) who was, with Dr. Earl Baxter, one of
            the two practicing San Francisco doctors involved with our Drummer Salon.
               For example, in 1980, Dick Hamilton saved the life of my longtime
            friend, Hank Diethelm, a post-war immigrant from Germany, who was
            suffering from an accidental drug overdose that caused him to hallucinate
            for weeks that he was still a fourteen-year-old member of the Hitler Youth
            fleeing to the West to escape the Nazis before he was rescued by American
            troops in Spring 1945. Having dived into the gay American melting pot,
            Diethelm founded the legendary Brig bar in 1979 on the 1347 Folsom Street
            site of the earlier No Name bar and the later Powerhouse bar. Like Tom of
            Finland, Diethelm as a boy was sexually attracted by Nazi style, and sexually
            terrified and turned on by Nazi cruelty. Tom transposed his fears into draw-
            ings, and Diethelm deflected his PTSD paranoia by using S&M games as
            sensual counterphobic rituals. In May of 1970, the Denver leather priest Jim
            Kane introduced me to Diethelm who had invited Kane, David Sparrow,
            and me to crash with him for a month at his 708 Waller Street home. Three
            days later I shot eyewitness evidence of Hank’s concentration camp fantasies
            in my Super-8 color film of him suspended, naked and spreadeagle upside
            down, so that “erotic Nazi torture” could jolt his balls to orgasm with the
            wicked snap of a rubber ring triggered by castration pliers. In another bond-
            age scene at his next home at 226 Bemis Street, Hank Diethelm was mur-
            dered, and set on fire allegedly by a trick from the Brig, in what may have
            been an assisted suicide, on April 10, 1983.


            In sum, I had great empathy with Wickie Stamps and Robert Davolt. Their
            experience with the absent third Drummer publisher was a cracked-mirror
            of my experience with the first absent publisher.
               In the late 1970s, Embry was torn between his joy at the sudden new
            success of Drummer and his patriarchal envy that we younger leathermen
            who were bringing that success were more avant garde than he with his dated
            camp humor from the 1950s. In Manifest Reader 26, page 53, he looked back
            at his first four years at Drummer and, still challenging the staff who saved
            him twenty years before, insisted that in 1976 he was the one “feeling avant

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