Page 247 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 247

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 9                        229

             happen at all, I limited my scope mostly to my work, not out of ego, but
             out of respect for others’ copyrights which death has made mostly impos-
             sible to trace. To clarify copyright, the bibliography of all my own writing
             and photography, signed and unsigned, was published online and in the
             book Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer, pages 679 to 705. Any claim
             jumpers thinking Drummer is community property or that the copyright
             law is a joke might meditate on this punchline: “While publishers may not
             be able to find the copyright holder, the copyright holder will always find
             the publisher.”


             How clueless was Embry about the essence of Drummer? In Drummer 1,
             Embry, as “Robert Payne,” offered for sale through his Alternate mail-order
             Leather Emporium a set of bed sheets made from Naugahyde (!) which as a
             faux fabric was anathema, taboo, and camp joke to genuine leather fetish-
             ists. Among bar buddies, one line tossed off to dismiss a leather wannabe
             who was too new or too plastic to “dig the scene” was: “Lips that touch
             Naugahyde will never touch mine.” (See Naugahyde as insult: Drummer 1,
             page 9.)
                In 2003, Embry, the first publisher of Drummer, told Robert Davolt,
             who in late 1997 became the last editor and nominal publisher of Drummer,
             that he, Embry, “never foresaw the impact that Drummer would have. ‘It was
             a big surprise to me....I’m amazed.’”
                Knowing Embry, I suspect that his ingenuous “Butterfly McQueen”
             quote is true. Revising history in Drummer 188 (September 1995, page 23),
             he boldly claimed he invented Drummer solo, himself, alone, as an almost
             “immaculate conception”—his exact words—inside his Leather Fraternity
             Newsletter which was—he did  not say—cloned out of the early gay-lib
             H.E.L.P./Drummer  newspaper  and  the  1960s  magazine  Drum.  Robert
             Davolt wrote about Embry’s wriggling revisionism:

                After [my] extensive conversations with...[Embry, he]...either claims
                the [Mr Drummer] contest as one of his most brilliant ideas or
                blames it on staff members [Shapiro and Fritscher], depending
                on how the conversation is going....Val Martin was picked by the
                publisher or the staff (depending on who is telling the story...).
      , March 11 2002.

               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-16-2017
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