Page 297 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 297

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 11                       279

             a week for food...[while admitting he] was technically homeless” because he
             lived on a cot inside the Drummer office.
                I could only shake my head and be thankful that for the nearly three
             years that I edited Drummer by night and on weekends, I also had a “day
             job,” a real career managing the publications and marketing departments
             at Kaiser Engineers, Inc., in Oakland. Never dependent on Drummer for
             my livelihood, I felt free to experiment and push the gonzo journalism of
             our editorial content just to see what grass-roots power lay latent in the very
             concept of Drummer as a formative voice in the leather community it was
             helping create.
                Surrounded by the Great Dying during the 1990s, Davolt seemed to
             me, loving, sympathetic, and understandably a bit panicked by his illnesses
             during his tour of duty at Drummer.
                However, had he slowed down from the distractions of his S&M trav-
             els, leather contests, and blogs, and had he thoroughly studied back issues
             of Drummer, he could have examined the primary evidence of Drummer
             culture. He could then have put a gyroscope under Embry’s spinning oral
             history, and under his own redesign of the magazine thwarted by the sabo-
             tage of Dutch wooden shoes thrown into the machine.
                At the Leather Archives & Museum, on whose Board Davolt once sat,
             the keepers of the “Leather Timeline,” who have the patience of monks
             illuminating manuscripts, also know the benefit from an accurate hands-on
             turning of the Drummer pages in search of the telltale heart of the leather
             timeline beating within Drummer.


             The Michigan anthropologist, Gayle S. Rubin, PhD, who emerged in her
             teen years in the 1960s as a feminist in the Midwest, was a woman in the
             1980s daring to write San Francisco men’s history, the reverse spin of which
             no man would dare do. Earning her doctorate, she set good academic exam-
             ple in San Francisco. She studied Drummer, San Francisco’s longest-run-
             ning LGBT magazine, as a primary source of men’s leather history, and she
             wrote for Drummer. Her essay, “The Catacombs: A Temple of the Butthole,”
             appeared in Drummer 139 (May 1990), twelve years after I wrote the first
             feature on the Catacombs with my documentary photographs in Drummer
             23 (July 1978).
                As a fellow academic who also once taught university in Michigan,
             I was professionally interested in how my leather colleague, as a feminist

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