Page 202 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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184      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            organization. He thought of the writing and photos in Drummer as little
            more than bait luring mail-order customers to buy the dildos, cockrings,
            and poppers he hawked in the center of the magazine.
               Embry’s reputation and cheap production values probably made
            Drummer unattractive to some hoity writers. Out of necessity, I tried to
            make cheap seem attractive and underground and outlaw and exciting to
            men who, like New Yorkers Robert Mapplethorpe and Rex, understood
            the romance of high-toned slumming at nights with bad boys and danger-
            ous men in rundown piers, dark alleys, skid row hotels, sleazy baths, and
            rough leather bars—which I referenced when I published Rex’s “T. S. Eliot
            ‘Prufrock’” drawings of “restless nights in one-night cheap hotels and saw-
            dust restaurants” in Son of Drummer.)
               Because of my cover feature, “Remembrance of Sleaze Past,” in Drummer
            139 (May 1990), the Manhattan author and Catholic lady Patricia Morrisroe
            wrote in her Mapplethorpe biography, published nearly a year after my San
            Francisco Mapplethorpe memoir, that I was “the king of sleaze.” She meant
            to be insulting, but she, who went on to write a book about her love of shoes,
            did not understand the inverted and ironic gay-culture definition of the
            word sleaze anymore than she understood the mise en scene of Mapplethorpe
            whose shoes she could not walk in, and seemed neither to understand, or
            like, in her judgmental book.
               Apparently, Morrisroe was unaware that sleaze is a gay “good thing,”
            and that director John Waters is the anointed “King of Sleaze” I am but
            a reporter reflecting the kind of sensuality that sweaty Drummer readers
            wanted to read about, especially after the advent of HIV that destroyed the
            baths, the sex clubs, and, in a way, promiscuity itself.
               In his The Golden Age of Promiscuity (1996), New Yorker Brad Gooch
            used the word sleaze in his description of the music played at the Mineshaft
            in the Titanic 1970s.

               The music...was trance music...that included Philip Glass, Steve
               Reich, and many of the other minimalist artists Sean and Annie
               [Gooch’s two characters] had listened to at the Chelsea [Hotel],
               music that was labeled ‘sleaze’ by ‘disco’ adherents. By dawn there
               would always be full electronic Vangelis chords mixed with Mahler.
               (Pages 154-155)

               Earlier, in search of eyewitness authenticity as to what were the drivers
            of the “sleaze” that I had written about in Drummer, I interviewed Wally
            Wallace, the manager of the Mineshaft, about the music in the Mineshaft.

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