Page 248 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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230      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

               Embry was a generation older than I in gay years, particularly in the
            youth culture of the 1960s-1970s. He was born October 14, 1926, thirteen
            years before I was born June 20, 1939. When he hired me, I was thirty-seven
            and he was fifty-one. As an adult who came out in the 1940s-1950s, he struck
            me as kind of an “LA, Johnny Ray, cocktail-lounge lizard.” He was distinctly
            different from me who as a teenager also came out in the 1950s, not in a
            bar, but in a nice boys school run by the Pope. There from 1953 to 1963,
            I survived the tsunami of Vatican II and experienced firsthand the temper
            tantrums of queeny priests and draggy bishops which prepared me to deal
            with the mercurial publisher of Drummer. My schoolmate for six years at
            the Pontifical College Josephinum was Bernie Law who grew up to become
            Bernard Cardinal Law of Boston made famous by his illegal coverups of
            priest molestations of minors as dramatized in the film Spotlight (2015),
            Oscar winner Best Picture. The Pope disciplined Bernie, that “Prince of the
            Church,” by recalling him to Rome and sentencing him, with no Vatican
            irony, to a life of powerful luxury in his own palace attached to Basilica di
            Santa Maria Maggiore.
               Embry, before Drummer, was a salesman from Winslow, Arizona, and
            an advertising copywriter wandering in his job searches as far as Hawaii.
            Insofar as Embry’s was the name that floated to the top out of the interne-
            cine squabbles among the several possible LA “founders” of Drummer who,
            except for Barney and Townsend, seem lost to history, I give him this salute.
               Entrepreneur Embry was, I agree with Jeanne Barney, the “motivated
            force” who caused Drummer to “be” as a business.
               In the same way, Barney and I were, along with Al Shapiro and a few
            early contributors like Robert Opel and Ed Franklin and Fred Halsted,
            part of the “dedicated force” that caused Drummer to “become” a reader-
            reflexive leather community voice.

            “WHAT I DID FOR LOVE”

            In 1977, I cleaned up Embry’s verboten content that had caused censor-
            ship trouble in LA, and introduced new content, themes, and styles that
            became ongoing or repeated staples in Drummer till the day it closed in
            1999. Noting this, Drummer editor Joseph W. Bean, who began editing
            the magazine one hundred issues after the last issue I edited, wrote his own
            eyewitness in the Leather Archives & Museum newsletter, Leather Times,
            Issue One, 2007:

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