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276      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999


            ROBERT DAVOLT: BLOND AMBITION AT CAFÉ FLORE

            In San Francisco on Market Street, over lunch at Café Flore on January 6,
            2001, the blond and bearded Robert Davolt queried the blond and bearded
            Mark Hemry and me about the possibility of our helping him sketch out
            his history of Drummer.
               Something made Davolt seem dubbed like Steve Reeves in Hercules. His
            lips moved, but Embry’s voice came out.
               I blanched at his request to narrate to him the personal details of my
            early Drummer history, not only because I had already been writing and
            publishing parts of this very book in print and at my research website for
            years, but because I figured his not-so-secret agenda was to report back to
            Embry what progress I was making on my Drummer history. Davolt seemed
            blind-sided by Embry whose ancient gravitas he seemed to think gave him
            the gravitas of the long-lost son come home to papa.
               Davolt voiced an identification he said was “ironic” that Embry was the
            first publisher, and he himself was the last. He confused irony with coinci-
            dence. I never really believed he was truly the “publisher” of Drummer. It
            sounded good, but if he were “publisher” under the third owner, publisher
            Martijn Bakker, the definition had changed from what Embry and DeBlase
            were.
               However, as a university journalism professor and as Drummer editor-
            in-chief, I never discouraged young writers. I promised Davolt enthusiastic
            support if he wanted to be a fellow surveyor of the narrative arc of Drummer.
            I figured he was as expert an eyewitness of his experience at the end of
            Drummer as I was analytical about mine twenty-some years earlier. History
            needs all its Rashomon points of view.
               I knew that Embry was using Davolt to erase my 1970s contributions the
            same way that Henry Luce made his co-founder of Time magazine, Briton
            Hadden, disappear. I may not have been an LA co-founder of Drummer,
            but I was the founding San Francisco editor-in-chief of Drummer who was
            hired to nurture the arriviste Embry. He owned the business of Drummer,
            but he seemed incapable of giving the magazine any resonant human heart,
            soul, or sensibility. Without mouth-to-mouth intervention in San Francisco,
            Drummer would have smothered to death in its Los Angeles crib and Embry
            would have struggled on publishing his true passion project, The Alternate.
               At the Café Flore lunch, Davolt confided his plans and gave me his
            outline and completed sections of his book titled GotterDrummerung [sic]
            or The Rise and Fall of Drummer Magazine which abbreviated “the rise” of
            the 1970s to focus largely on “the fall” that Davolt himself had experienced


              ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-14-2017
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