Page 217 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 217

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 8                        199


             which he had dreamed would make him a fortune in his mail-order busi-
             ness. In truth, the only Drummer publisher to produce viable Drummer-
             worthy videos was Tony DeBlase with his wild USSM series of BDSM films
             shot in the 1990s by Mikal Bales, founder of Zeus Studio. Like the Skulls
             of Akron’s intense BDSM dungeon videos of the 1980s (some shot at the
             Mineshaft), DeBlase’s USSM series was also censored by government agen-
             cies and pulled from circulation.
                In the 1970s, as always, the first thing out of the mouth of a customer
             entering a porn store was, “What’s new?” I lay awake at night pondering
             what could be “new” to Drummer readers notorious for trying everything
             once. In that lay an answer: the young men always know. So I went to them.
             In the way a music producer goes to underground clubs to listen for new
             sounds, and a fashion designer hits the streets to see what new look the kids
             have thought up, I, who, unlike Embry, was both eyewitness and player,
             went into the streets, the bars, the bruncheries, the baths, the clubs, the play-
             rooms, the prisons, the rodeos, and wrote notes in my journal, bought film
             for my camera, shot the shit, and brought back verite material for Drummer
             from venues like San Quentin (Drummer 21) and the Academy Training
             Center (Drummer 145).
                Everything I wrote for Drummer was grounded in fact rinsed in the
             conscious erotic rhythms of authentic sex.

             PAY UP, OR CALL THE MAFIA

             If Christopher Isherwood could say about his stint in Berlin, “I Am a
             Camera,” the same is analogously true about my eyewitness-camera mon-
             tage of my early leather adventures in Amsterdam, Paris, London, West
             Berlin, Tokyo, Kyoto, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
             It was the 1960s and 1970s, and gay men lived on jet planes. On May 1,
             1969, I had flown to England on a narrow-bodied Pan Am 707 with three
             seats on each side of the one aisle. The bone-shaking experience gave me a
             full understanding of the hysterical camp “conversion” of frightened hooker
             Sally Mckee (Jan Sterling) tissuing off her whore makeup on a damaged
             airliner conking out over the Pacific Ocean in The High and the Mighty
             (1954). On my trans-Atlantic flight, I’ll never forget how the beautifully
             dressed young mother, sitting next to me and traveling without her husband,
             handed me her baby to hold while she rested for a couple hours. She calmed
             two little boys at once.
                In Amsterdam, two weeks later, a newspaper headline announced
             that the first Jumbo Jet was debuting in LA. This was one month before


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