Page 212 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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194      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999


            Embry and me there was “minus zero degrees of fuck.” In fact, I never
            sighted Embry in any louche leather lair lower than a bar. He was, suum
            cuique, not a gonzo journalist, not a leatherman, and not a player at the
            after-hours clubs and baths on Folsom Street, nor at private orgies at the
            Catacombs, nor homes about town. In 1997, he admitted in Manifest Reader
            33 (page 5) that he had been a recluse in the 1970s when he recalled the
            super parties like Night Flight and Stars which I reported on in Drummer.
            He wrote:

               ...I remember devoting a lifetime avoiding such affairs – It was
               only reluctantly that I even attended our own [Drummer] parties
               in those days.

               Jeanne Barney told me when I asked specifically:

               I always felt that John was a leather poseur, but why? I don’t know.
               To compete with the famous leather star, Larry [Townsend]? To
               distinguish himself from every other unattractive guy at the bar?
               Because there were better pickings at the leather bars where hungry
               bottoms will go with almost anyone who will top them?

               Embry’s occasional appearance in leather bars was always about busi-
            ness. He swanned about like a Kiwanis Club booster glad-handing bar own-
            ers and popper manufacturers to solicit advertising dollars for Drummer and
            Drummer “one-offs” like his Spring 1980 magazine, The Folsom Attitude,
            tagged as “A Drummer Action Guide to Folsom Street,” whose entire edito-
            rial content plugged bars, baths, and businesses like a press agent’s brochure
            for sex tourists. Embry, constantly copying other business models, longed
            to muscle in on the territory of Bob Damron who was the publisher of the
            Damon Guide series of popular travel books as well as the founding owner
            of several bars including Febe’s leather bar at the southwest corner of 11
                                                                          th
            Street and Folsom. Embry, imitating Damron’s travel guide, and wanting
            to clone the quintessential leather appeal of Febe’s, opened up his Drummer
            Key Club on the northwest corner of the same intersection.
               Years later after  Drummer  was made even more international by its
            new Dutch owner, Damron chanced the wisdom of buying a full-page
            Drummer ad touting the company’s “travel services since 1964.” (Drummer
            159, December 1992)
               Regarding  the  success  among  masculine-identified  gay  men  of  the
            grass-roots homomasculinity concept as framed in Drummer, the famously


              ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-14-2017
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