Page 201 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 201

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 7                        183


                [Embry  responded in ALL CAPS] THANK YOU FOR
                NOTIFYING  ME.  ALTHOUGH LARRY’S  AND  MY
                RELATIONSHIP IS IN ABOUT THE SAME STATE AS HIS
                AND JEANNIE’S [Sic]. BE THAT AS IT MAY, I WISH HIM
                WELL AND WAS VERY DISMAYED AT FRED’S PASSING
                [Fred Yerkes, Townsend’s partner of forty-four years], WHICH I
                AM SURE WAS VERY HARD ON HIM.
                John Embry

                I point out this rather unsavory tale of two-timing cities because the
             need to move Drummer from LA to San Francisco was not so much because
             of the Slave Auction arrests by the LAPD, but was more because the LA
             founding staff of Drummer were a circular firing squad of love and hate.
             In order to find its center, the young Drummer could not survive such bad
             gay behavior in LA. Luckily, fate, occasioned by the LAPD raid on the
             Drummer Slave Auction, caused the magazine to flee to San Francisco, not
             to New York, to continue finding its true identity, purpose, readership, and
             salon of contributors.
                In perspective, back in the 1970s, to literary book mavens sniffy about
             high culture, gay magazines were a new and untried post-Stonewall inven-
             tion in gay popular culture. What was this new genre lately sprung up on
             the West Coast? When Drummer debuted (June 1975) in LA, there were
             only two other considerable large-size slick gay mags on the racks: the new-
             ish self-identified Queen’s Quarterly (1969) in Manhattan; and the pretty-
             boy Blueboy (1974) in Miami, founded by TV Guide advertising executive,
             Don Embinder, who was no Embry. Not until July 1976, did Michael
             Denneny and Charles L. Ortleb found New York’s glossy Christopher Street
             magazine.
                QQ, Blueboy, and Christopher Street had sophisticated publishers and
             a well-paid class of professionals writing, photographing, and designing
             them for mainstream vanilla gays. One deceptive business quirk at Queen’s
             Quarterly, where future Drummer art director A. Jay worked, was that to
             seem “up and running” in order to sell advertising, QQ began publishing
             with issue two; there was no issue number one.
                Drummer, a wild orphan of the leather tribe, was run by the poor-man’s
             Bill Sykes, Embry, who, I’m coloring up here, abused Drummer as if it were
             Oliver Twist. He may have known how to pick a pocket or two in his mail-
             order business, but he knew next to absolutely nothing about people or the
             finesse of publishing when Drummer fell into his lap in 1975 through his
             machinations (1972-1975) inside the struggling H.E.L.P./Drummer political


               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-16-2017
                   HOW TO LEGALLY QUOTE FROM THIS BOOK
   196   197   198   199   200   201   202   203   204   205   206