Page 189 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 189

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 7                        171


                Even Elizabeth Gershman balked at first. In 1985, when I queried her
             at Knights Press in Stamford, Connecticut, she rejected the manuscript on
             February 3, 1986: “It is a bit more erotic than I like to do....You must make
             a fortune writing about sex, because you do it very well.” Two years later in
             1988 when former Drummer editor Tim Barrus was hired by Gershman,
             he educated her about the esthetics of gay writing and handed her the very
             same manuscript which she then re-read. On February 14, 1989, she wrote
             to me: “I’d fucking kill to publish Some Dance to Remember.”
                My own West Coast Drummer editorial policy of dealing inclusively
             with authors coming out of closets anywhere indicated I would have wel-
             comed any of those gay East Coast writers into the pages of Drummer—the
             way I gladly published Mapplethorpe—if only they had approached San
             Francisco gay culture the way so many other New Yorkers were shrewd
             enough to do. Harvey Milk went west to Castro Street to do what he could
             have never done on Christopher Street. Mapplethorpe flew directly to me
             at Drummer so I could, in his words, “nationalize his Manhattan reputa-
             tion.” Wakefield Poole left Manhattan to shoot films in his studio on the
             Panhandle of Golden Gate Park where I interviewed him for Drummer in my
             feature “Dirty Poole” and gave sexy coverage of his movie stills inside and on
             the cover of Drummer 27 (February 1979). New York entrepreneur Michael
             Maletta, the mega-party producer, transplanted himself to the Castro and
             connected his startup, the San Francisco Creative Power Foundation, to
             the creative power of  Drummer  publicity while creating “Night Flight”
             and “Stars,” the parties from whose resultant frisson the White Party was
             invented. These “gypsies, tramps, and thieves,” all migrated east-to-west in
             what San Franciscans dubbed the “Manhattanization of San Francisco.”
             Manhattanization had as much to do with invasive East Coast cultural
             “attitudes” as it did with the shock of new high rises changing the City’s
             traditional skyline from horizontal to vertical.
                After I exited Drummer on December 31, 1979, Felice Picano’s “Hunter”
             was published in  Drummer  39 (August 1980). John Embry, wanting to
             widen sales to East Coast readers, generously promoted Picano with “name
             above the title” status. He heralded the short story in the cover copy as
             “Felice Picano’s ‘Hunter.’” That seemingly autobiographical story, based on
             an “author’s” summer-seminar experience at an East Coast literary colony,
             was, for all its genre merits as a mystery, not a particularly Drummer story
             because the sex was vanilla; there was no S&M in psychology or ritual;
             and two women characters—one suicidal—intruded into the sanctuary of
             male space that subscribers demanded of stories in Drummer. Inside on
             the Drummer masthead, the billing, plugging Picano’s literary pedigree,


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