Page 186 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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168      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999


            parrying and thrusting of her competition. In 1991, Knights Press went out
            of business which would have probably happened anyway when Gershman’s
            daughter soon after married Teddy Kennedy, Jr., and Gershman became a
            Kennedy grandmother.
               For an objective correlative about gay power struggles, see “Inside the
            Gay Mafia,” a “true confession” credited only “As told to Kevin Blass” in the
            gay magazine, Instinct, November 2002.
               Novelist Picano with his Violet Quill peers, and Alyson, were local
            colorist writers focused on a circle of East Coast gay authors—none of
            them “leather” and some of them academics—who found, perhaps, tribal
            solidarity in their own zero degrees of separation, onanistically publish-
            ing, promoting, and reviewing one another in the gay vanilla genres they
            understood. Years later, East Coaster David Bergman wrote the Manhattan
            Rashomon of the Violet Quill aka, in gay trash talk, the campy “Violent
            Quill” and the “Vile Quill”: The Violet Hour and the Making of Gay Culture
            (2004). In his book My Life as a Pornographer, erstwhile Drummer author
            John Preston, himself a New Englander, complained bitterly about his play-
            ing second fiddle competing with “Ed White [Edmund White who] might
            have the crowd from the New York Review of Books...” See Drummer 188,
            page 20. The Violet Quill was rather like the Violet Crawley of Maggie
            Smith in Downton Abbey, politely exclusive, unlike the Drummer Salon
            which was extremely inclusive. At core, some of this literary clique acted
            as if they’d all sprung from the elite Radcliffe Publishing Program then at
            Harvard.
               Charles Bukowski and other straight West Coast writers like John
            Steinbeck had long pointed out the difficulty of a publishing civil war
            between East Coast publishers as well as reviewers who tend to ignore West
            Coast writers.
               In 1984, Steven Saylor, author of a prodigious series of mystery nov-
            els set in the ancient Rome of emperors and vestal virgins and gladiators,
            was writing for Drummer as “Aaron Travis.” In Drummer 78, he penned a
            fine book review of Urban Aboriginals: A Celebration of Leather Sexuality
            authored by the professional biochemist and beloved West Coast leatherman
            Geoff Mains, PhD (1947-1989) for Winston Leyland’s Gay Sunshine Press
            in San Francisco. Saylor’s “thumbs-up” critique skirmished like a skilled
            gladiator. But, in the third last sentence of the last paragraph, the review
            spun its peplum, stumbled, and surrendered to the whiplash of bicoastal gay
            combat in which Saylor drew a gratuitous line in the arena sand by allowing
            an unnamed “New Yorker,” made “down-to-earth” perhaps by little more
            than subletting a rent-controlled bedsit in Queens, to give his anonymous


              ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-16-2017
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