Page 225 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 8                        207


             romancing of guidos when he stated that “Taormina is a polite synonym for
             Sodom.” In the 1930s, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, calling this erotic
             stereotype of young Italian males “pornography,” sent his Fascist police to
             destroy von Gloeden’s glass negatives in much the same way as Senator Jesse
             Helms tried to destroy the photographs of the most famous leatherman who
             ever lived, Robert Mapplethorpe.
                In the controversial crime drama Flipping (1997), a handsome under-
             cover cop falls for the muscular wise guy he meets in a toilet. This very
             Drummer plot builds on dramatic gay-and-Mafia “archetypes” rather than
             cop-and-gangster “stereotypes.” It reveals the psychology of homomasculine
             love in the male world of back-slapping Mafiosi. The film itself was for a
             long time unavailable because of a scandal reported to be about its fund-
             ing and distribution which was a mob-style way of censoring the gay guido
             storyline.
                The Mafia have played an erotic shadow show inside gay culture for
             more than a century. The Genovese Family owned the Stonewall Inn which
             was managed by Matty “The Horse” Ianniello who was the Boss of the
             West Side. He made cash money off “lewd and lascivious” gay behavior and
             paid off the NYPD for that privilege until cops, not on the take, busted
             the bar looking for evidence of mob activity. In the perspective of that June
             27-28, 1969, raid, gays were, to both the cops and the mob, merely collateral
             damage—until the patrons seized the moment to strike back against police
             brutality.
                From 1976-1985, the mob ran the legendary Mineshaft bar which,
             because of the sensational torture-murder of several patrons, figured docu-
             dramatically in the leather-guido plot of the gay film, Cruising, directed by
             William Friedkin who said of Ianniello:


                He was a guy I knew.... Virtually every business on the West Side
                of New York was either owned or partially owned by him or pay-
                ing him protection. I asked him if I could film in the clubs. I went
                down there and saw a number of people I knew and they allowed
                me to film. They had no problems with me filming in there with Al
                Pacino.” (“The Queerty Interview of William Friedkin” by Jeremy
                Kinser, Queerty.com, June 16, 2015)

             In my historical story titled “Stonewall, June 27, 1969, 11 PM,” the drag
             queens brag about Mafia sex inside the Stonewall bar. The quotation is from
             the Harrington Gay Men’s Fiction Quarterly, Volume 8, Issue 1:




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