Page 279 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 279

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 10                       261

                matter how we disagree with what they say, we are violating the very
                freedom we are trying to defend. Drummer’s only censorship is that
                no group attack any other. After all, everyone among us belongs to
                some minority. Thank you for taking time to let us know how you
                feel. —Robert Payne [aka John Embry]


             Embry’s angry Hit List began in LA and grew enormously over time in San
             Francisco. His Blacklist was a red badge of courage. If you weren’t on it,
             you weren’t as avant garde as you thought. As Embry alienated more people
             in San Francisco, word spread about him and his lover Mario Simon, the
             two dramasexuals, sitting, as Jeanne Barney wrote, on their weekend deck
             at the Russian River piously clucking on about everyone who had done ’em
                Immigrants to new cities need orientation. When Davolt moved to San
             Francisco to work for Drummer and found craziness in its office, he him-
             self decided to court Embry who upon meeting him took control of the
             relationship. Perhaps Davolt wanted advice, but he did not stand a chance.
             Embry never met an immigrant he couldn’t turn into a wage slave, or a sex
             slave, or a ventriloquist’s sock puppet. Fresh from the Heartland of Missouri
             and Wisconsin, Davolt, who had belonged to the Young Republicans, was
             too naive to first investigate how San Francisco sexual politics might work
             against him if he hooked up with a scam artist like Embry whom leatherfolk
             had long since dismissed as a trickster. In short, his liaison with Embry hurt
             Davolt’s reputation. Nearly every time he would mention that he was the
             “new editor and publisher” of Dutch Drummer, his next words would be
             about Embry, and all the help Embry was in “reconstituting” the past. Of
             course, Embry was trying his utmost to rewind Drummer history and, with
             most eyewitnesses dead, make it his own gospel, and he wanted Davolt to
             be one of his key evangelists. Sadly, Robert Davolt’s young life was cut short
             when he died suddenly from skin cancer on May 16, 2005.
                Frankly, I tried not to include Davolt, whom I liked, in the seamy parts
             of Drummer history, but he made himself part of it and what he did is a
             marker, but not a mark, on his character as an apparatchik keeper of leather
             history. Davolt may have been mouthing what he believed to be true, but
             some of the history he’d been told was disinformation. And he was, as he
             revealed about himself in his memoirs, a self-admitted ambitious man keen
             on getting ahead in leather publishing.

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