Page 241 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 241

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 9                        223

             questions asked about Drummer actually fit all kinds of small gayborhood
             entrepreneurial businesses run by amateurs lacking financial discipline. I
             saw several gay businesses in 1970s San Francisco snorted zip up the noses
             of their owners who had a taste for drugs and hustlers. As far as I witnessed,
             Embry did neither drugs nor tobacco, but he was not averse, according to
             Drummer photographer Jim Wigler, to fluffing models like Scott O’Hara
             during shoots when Wigler allegedly snapped incidental documentary shots
             of Embry giving the talent a helping hand.
                Wigler told me on June 7, 2011, that he began working freelance for
             Embry shooting stills and video at Drummer in 1981, as Embry was trying to
             start up his own Drummer video production company. In 1982, Wigler told
             Embry he had to exit the madness at Drummer or he would take up drink-
             ing again. Angry, Embry refused to agree to let Wigler collect unemploy-
             ment. This was Embry’s management countermove against so many of the
             hundreds of laborers he hired. Wigler insisted on going to an Employment
             Board hearing. Embry refused, then agreed. Wigler demurred to say exactly
             why Embry caved, but a detective might suspect the possible existence of
             fluffing photos that called Embry’s bluff.
                If Embry snorted Drummer, it was to suck it dry of cash for real estate,
             and to produce the recording career of his unemployed Spanish immigrant
             lover, Mario Simon, who, seven years after the founding of Drummer, was
             insinuated onto the masthead like a carefully crafted “Trophy Wife.” In
             2000, Embry admitted in Super MR #1, page 36, that Mario had “some-
             what of a language problem.” As a ringer listed among actual working
             staff, the aspiring musical-theater actor Mario Simon, listed as “Mario
             Simone,” played the part of “General Manager” from  Drummer  59 (
             November 1982 to Drummer 66, July 1983), and then “Co-Publisher”
             from Drummer 67 (August 1983) to Drummer 98 (June 1986), Embry’s
             last issue. If Drummer had been run like a business investing in itself, it
             might have survived on page, screen, and internet beyond 1999. It was a
             brand name that could have been a media franchise like the constellation
             around The Advocate.
                In  Drummer  13 (March 1977), Embry kited another facet of what
             seemed part of his “Robert Ripoff” hustle in “The Leather Fraternity.” On
             the full inside back cover, he trumpeted his own travel deal. “The Leather
             Fraternity Announces Three Big European Leathermen Tours for Fall
             1977.” Managed by “Travel Coordinator” Bob Rose, the escorted tours were
             to be to Amsterdam/Germany for Oktoberfest ($1295), Greece ($1595), and
             Italy ($1395). The deadline for the “space limited” tours was June 1, 1977,
             precisely the moment Drummer was in absolute turmoil during its escape

               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-16-2017
   236   237   238   239   240   241   242   243   244   245   246