Page 203 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 203

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 7                        185


             He explained in the video shot in San Francisco, May 28, 1995, that, while
             the famously international sex inside the Mineshaft was sleaze, the mascu-
             line-inflected music, designed to discourage women and the New York disco
             crowd, was way more than sleaze:


                People talk about the sex at the Mineshaft, but sex was not what it
                was all about. First of all, I had a policy that the music was never
                so loud that you couldn’t hear the person next to you. I made the
                tapes myself. We played anything in the world, from western to
                classics. A lot of classics actually. At the beginning, it was electronic
                variations on classic themes. Ella Fitzgerald. Jazz. We tried to avoid
                basic disco, references to females, references to “let’s dance,” things
                like that. But the music became kind of famous because we didn’t
                follow the mainstream. We had a somewhat older clientele.

                For writers as for everyone else, dues must be paid. Six years after
             Stonewall, Drummer was a wonderful entry point for emerging writers keen
             to write erotica. Is penning porn a rite of passage? Is a gay writer really a gay
             writer before he makes readers cum?
                Gay writing begins with one stroke of the pen and ends with many
             strokes of the penis.
                Who has ever jerked off to the usual nominees in the gay East Coast
             literary follies? Have they paid their homage to Eros?
                Perhaps Manhattanites had legitimate fears about approaching
             Drummer after East Coast writer John Preston and New York photogra-
             pher Robert Mapplethorpe, a friend of Edmund White, reported back to
             New York warning how Embry had treated them. Or, perhaps, Manhattan
             gays themselves bought into the on-going anti-leather rants of the shameful
             Richard Goldstein at the Village Voice. In 1979, they certainly hit the sum-
             mer streets of Greenwich Village protesting the location shoot of the leather
             film, Cruising (1980), directed by William Friedkin whom they still hated
             for directing Mart Crowley’s verite transcription of Manhattan queens, The
             Boys in the Band. Perhaps the “professional” writers, who were fellow trav-
             ers with the bourgeois white-bread Advocate, thought Drummer, seemingly
             filled by passionately authentic “amateur” experts, was too erotic and outre
             when it was meant to be sexy, forward, and “far out.”
                These bicoastal pop-culture clashes are early examples of the never-
             ending civil wars in the gay community analyzed in many magazines and
             dramatized in Some Dance to Remember. As an eyewitness observer of gay
             folk, I have never met anywhere such a contentious group of people in my


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