Page 223 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 8                        205


                    After many adventures in San Diego’s Marine shit-chutes, I
                wandered up to San Francisco and worked in a leather bar, then a
                leather shop, then for John Embry at Drummer. Jack Fritscher had
                taken Embry’s soft-core mag and made it gritty (and saleable), but
                they had clashed too often, and Fritscher had departed just before
                I hired on. Embry was a self-defeating wacko with a monumen-
                tal temper, but he had the cunning and the cash (plus the Mafia
                contacts) to keep cranking out issues (though always long past the
                deadlines). Problem was, with Fritscher gone, most of the mags were
                just that—dead lines, very dead. Embry gave Drummer form, but
                it needed Fritscher to add the content. The big gap was that Embry
                wanted campy humor, but Fritscher was focused on fleshing out a
                new word he had added to the English language—homomasculinity:
                the display of manly attributes by men for other men.

                Rick Leathers was correct about the content. Because of Embry’s
             Blacklist, I could not offer early 1980s  Drummer  my evolving cycles of
             ongoing leather articles, gender-identity fiction, and fetish photography.
             So the substantial lot of my 1980s writing on leather and fetish was pub-
             lished by other editors in the emerging new vanilla magazines that liked
             to stir in the leather spice of a Drummer-style story. When my editor Bob
             Johnson flamed out on cocaine and died high in his apartment overlooking
             the Sunset Strip, John Rowberry, fired from Drummer by Embry, replaced
             Johnson at George Mavety’s Modernismo Publishing. Duty-bound to pack-
             age six magazines monthly for the gay-friendly Mavety who three months
             before the first issue of Drummer had founded Mandate magazine in March
             1975, Rowberry bought around thirty of my virtual Drummer stories for
             Mavety magazines such as Skin, Skinflicks, Uncut, and Inches. Mavety, who
             reputedly fathered a dozen children, also founded dozens of gay magazines
             including Playguy and Honcho which Embry envied as his main competi-
             tion. Mavety’s Modernismo broke the embargo of Embry’s Blacklist when,
             beginning in 1980, Johnson and then Rowberry published stories like my
             six-chapter novelization of the film J. Brian’s Flashbacks in Honcho and my
             novella Titanic in Uncut. When Larry Townsend pulled his advice column
             published in Drummer from 1980-1992, he moved it to Honcho where it
             ran until four weeks before his death in 2008. The only thing Mavety and
             Embry had in common was their pornographer’s zeal for turning magazine
             profits into real estate holdings.
                Considering the undertow of Mafia and gay connections, I think of
             eleven years of tales of the City told me by my longtime best friend, the


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