Page 284 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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266      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999


            Sammut, at City Hall in 1979, with Catacombs owner Steve McEachern
            as best man. (Sammut’s eyewitness email of January 8, 2012, endnotes
            this chapter.) Embry seemed absurd and unprofessional exploiting young
            leathermen’s sex needs and neuroses to run his publishing sweat shop. When
            it came to social justice, no wonder he and I did not see eye to eye.
               I was looking for creatives.
               He was looking for submissives.
               Embry knew how to top Davolt, because he had practiced on Rowberry
            and Preston and hundreds like them.
               Barney, Barrus, Bean, Shapiro, Townsend, and Fritscher no more
            bowed to Embry and his Blacklist than did Halsted, Hurles, Mapplethorpe,
            Menerth, and Sparrow.
               When the aggrieved Rowberry fled Drummer because of DeBlase, he
            decided to tell Embry a thing or two himself, and thus moved from accom-
            plice to persona non grata on Embry’s Blacklist. Rowberry followed the exact
            exit journey I had taken moving from my publisher Embry at Alternate
            Publishing to my publisher George Mavety at Modernismo. As strange bed-
            fellows, Rowberry and I strategically bonded in a marriage of convenience
            when he came to work for Modernismo to replace my drug-addled and
            dysfunctional friend, the editor, Bob Johnson, with whom I had first joined
            forces creating the premiere issues of Modernismo magazines such as Skin
            on January 4, 1979, with still a year to work as editor-in-chief at Drummer.
            The other magazines Johnson and I started together pre-Rowberry were
            Skinflicks (1980), Inches (1980), Studflix (1981), and Just Men (1982).
               Johnson and I exchanged a vast correspondence chronicling the state
            of gay publishing from 1979-1984. His archived letters are filled with
            anguish apologizing for spending his money on drugs and not paying his
            writers, and begging for me to please send him one or two stories for the
            next issue, because he “really, really, really” would pay up. I stood faith-
            ful to him because unlike Embry, Johnson ultimately always paid up.
            Mark Hemry and I last visited Bob Johnson in his stylish house over-
            looking the Hollywood Strip during Thanksgiving 1985 to console him
            after Rowberry’s takeover. At that time, glass-top tables were all the rage
            because their surface made chopping cocaine into lines with razor blades
            easy. Mark Hemry and I stood back, askance, watching Johnson bent over
            the table snorting again and again, while outside in the pouring rain the
            red taillights of traffic slowly headed west out Sunset Boulevard. It was a
            scene from a movie. One we didn’t want to be in. Soon after, the ravaged
            Bob Johnson, whose real name was not his porn-business name, joined the
            disappeared.


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