Page 228 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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210      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999


            Why Not?” at 517 Ellis in the Tenderloin. Within six months in 1962, the
            SFPD closed the Why Not? when Tony himself was entrapped in his own
            bar. That arrest, contributing to the founding of the Tavern Guild (1962),
            made him, like Jose Sarria, a popular local personality years before the rebel-
            lions at Compton’s Cafeteria (1966) and Stonewall (1969).
               San Francisco was awakening. North of Market Street, the neon
            Tenderloin  was  too  policed.  South  of  Market,  the  dark  industrial  area
            looked outlaw. The leather crowd migrated from NoMa to SoMa. In 1962,
            having promised sex-tourist Chuck Arnett a job during the run of the Why
            Not?, Tony found him other work when in 1963 the Louisiana-born Arnett
            returned to San Francisco. Expert at networking, Tony steered him forward
            to a creative job at the Tool Box. Having apprenticed under leather artist
            Etienne at Chuck Renslow’s Gold Coast bar, Arnett debuted by painting
            his iconic mural and became the star artist of Folsom Street even as Tony
            became a star serving on the creative crews of nearly every bar and bath
            South of Market in the Swinging 1960s and Titanic 1970s.
               With other players crashing in the hippie-leather flat over the Stud bar
            near Febe’s, Arnett imported the psychedelic drugs of the Haight-Ashbury
            to Folsom Street. During the sex wars of gay lib, bartenders often prescribed
            the recreational medication needed to survive the battles. Dispensing pur-
            posed party favors in bars, Chuck and Tony and their friend Jack Haines
            introduced fisting as a new sport. According to eyewitness bar stories, Tony
            had been one of the first men fisted in recorded modern times. In fact, he
            told me that in 1960, two Marines had hung him upside down in a shower
            in an Oceanside motel and plunged on in through his cherry. By 1963, Jack
            and Tony were hosting fisting parties at 111 Gilbert Street in a SoMa ware-
            house where Jack’s father cleaned and restored used refrigerators and stoves.
            By 1974, Tony was tutoring newcomer Steve McEachern who opened his
            legendary Catacombs fisting palace in May 1975. In 1977, I shot Super-8
            films of Tony fisting a bottom tied butt-up in the wooden stocks in room
            226 at the Slot. Folsom Street sexuality rode on Tony’s fist and forearm. In
            the free spirit of the times, he liked nothing better than seducing “virgins”
            into anything they had never done before.
               In 1978 when the SFPD asked me as the editor of Drummer to take the
            current crop of police rookies on a “freshman orientation” tour of Folsom
            Street, I arranged with Tony to give them some sensitivity training at the
            Slot Hotel. When Tony on the loudspeaker announced as a courtesy that the
            expected police were in the house, the doors of nearly every room opened
            fast and wide with exhibitionist leather twosomes and threesomes compet-
            ing to be outrageous. Halfway through the fifteen-minute tour, one of the


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