Page 282 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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264      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            hard sell.” I handed Opel a paper towel and said, “Why can’t you be like
            other publishers and just let me mail it in.” I was ever so thankful that I did
            not have to read my erotic material personally to John Embry.
               Before I wrote Shapiro’s obituary in Drummer 108, Embry never gave
            any indication that he had ever read anything of mine that he had pub-
            lished in Drummer. He thought of me as inches, column inches, faithfully
            filling Drummer against its deadlines. With my training for the Catholic
            priesthood, I sometimes thought of Drummer as a droll parish bulletin sent
            out nationwide to instruct and thrill reader-subscribers who were only then
            learning how important it was to uncloset the homomasculine lifestyle in a
            gay culture whose media image was dominated by drag queens and effemi-
            nacy. As a humanist, I had to ask if a political masculinism existed, shouldn’t
            it be equal to feminism?
               Regarding Davolt, what college credential or professional training did he
            have for writing history? He majored in political science at the University of
            Missouri. He listened to Embry’s version of Embry’s eleven years at Drummer
            which as a magazine lasted twenty-four years, including the thirteen years
            when Embry as persona non grata to both the second and third owners
            was not privy to its internal workings. If Davolt simply double-checked
            the ongoing masthead of Drummer issues, he could have sorted the fact
            that by the time John Rowberry became editor with Drummer 40 (January
            1981), the Titanic 1970s were dead as disco, and the “early” (Davolt’s word)
            Drummer of wild sex had collapsed into the new normal of safe sex. In my
            archeology, “early” Drummer occurred in LA with Jeanne Barney helming
            the first eleven issues, and concluded in Drummer’s teens with my first fully
            San Francisco issue, Drummer 19 (December 1977).


            If ever a character deserved a “character sketch” it was John W. Rowberry
            whom I grew to know extremely well and worked with off and on for sixteen
            years from 1977 to his death in 1993.
               Scene 1, Take 1: Beginning after my departure, while following my
            editorial production of the last issues of the 1970s (31, 32, and 33), Drummer
            found new digs at 15 Harriet Street where, once he moved in, the territorial
            Rowberry never left his desk to go home to “a kitchen table,” for fear his
            seat would be taken by Embry’s next “slave-boy” hire. That “position” of
            servitude was a running joke in the office. Rowberry, for instance, seemed
            intimidated when Embry  succumbed to the wiles of the  self-identified

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