Page 261 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 261

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 9                        243


             Press, Washington, DC. However, in March 1978 with Drummer 21, Old
             Reliable who had worked at his craft for years became an “overnight” star.
                Embry did not want “stars.” Heaven help any editor such as Jeanne
             Barney or me, or any contributor, such as Halsted (who left in a boil) or
             Mapplethorpe (who left in a rage) or Opel (who left in a hearse), who out-
             shone the publisher or the magazine. The very visible Embry thought he was
             playing the invisible starring role, the “one singular sensation,” around whom
             all of A Chorus Line circles. He quickly turned against Old Reliable who had
             run, since 1971, his own mail-order business selling his own erotic audio
             tapes and his own one-reel, four-minute Super-8 films to fans of dangerous,
             hyper-masculine, young American men who were hustlers and ex-cons from
             Polk Street, Union Square, the Transbay Bus Terminal, the Zee Hotel at
             141 Eddy which was the hustler hotel of the Tenderloin, and the Old Crow
             hustler bar at 926 Market Street.
                David approved the true line I wrote to characterize him and his extreme
             verite documentary photography: “Terror Is My Only Hardon.” When Rex
             assembled Speeding: The Old Reliable Photography of David Hurles (2005),
             our mutual friend Trent Dunphy asked me specifically who wrote the terror-
             hardon line, Hurles or Fritscher, perhaps because Rex figured that sentence
             as “true north” in the character of Old Reliable and wanted to credit the
             source properly. In point of fact, my line, quoted at my site from my feature
             “Call Him Old Reliable” in two publications Skin (2 #5, May 1981) and the
             California Action Guide (1 #3, September 1982), apparently rang so essen-
             tially true in fact and cadence to John Waters that in his book Role Models
             (2010) his third sentence about Old Reliable was “Danger is the turn-on for
             Mr. Hurles.” The Googling Waters tipped no hat to acknowledge the coinci-
             dental source of his paraphrase, perhaps figuring that his softening of terror
             to danger and hardon to turn-on made my original rhetoric somehow his.
                Hurles may have begun his career with Dr. Womack, but his muse was
             Bob Mizer who in 1970 became Hurles’ artistic mentor, business model,
             and friend for whom Hurles wrote a perfect and loving eulogy for Outcome
             magazine, issue 12, in 1992. In 1980, Hurles introduced me to Mizer, and
             I interviewed him poolside in the backlot of his AMG studio. He gave me
             his personal tour of his sets and his film-archive building behind the stu-
             dio which was also his home where he had grown up and where for years
             every Saturday night he hosted an open house, showing his newest photos
             and films and introducing his models to guests with checkbooks. Embry,
             meanwhile, was continuing his Blacklist. So my feature on Mizer, “AMG
             Duos,” a “Virtual Drummer” feature, was published in Skin 2 #5, May
             1981, alongside my article on Hurles. In 2004, Hurles, asking for editorial


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