Page 298 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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280      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            anthropologist, parsed Drummer and our masculine-identified tribe around
            Drummer.  Her  arrival in  San  Francisco  reminded  me  of  anthropologist
            Margaret Mead arriving in Papua New Guinea, after which she wrote the
            1935 tract, popular with feminists, Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive
            Societies. However, when I sought to read her 1994 dissertation, The Valley
            of the Kings: Leathermen in San Francisco, 1960–1990, the University of
            Michigan said it was not available. Two friends who were librarians, includ-
            ing Jim Stewart, retired department head of the Social Sciences and History
            Department at the Chicago Public Library and author of Folsom Street Blues,
            also pursued this intellectual inquiry. Because of the notion that disserta-
            tions, including my own Love and Death in Tennessee Williams (1967), are
            written to discover and publish new knowledge, I finally asked directly. She
            responded on February 1, 2014: “My dissertation isn’t available.”
               Ever professional, she did, however, kindly attach three pdfs of her essays,
            totaling fifty-six printed pages, all of which I’d read previously in anthology
            books such as Mark Thompson’s Leatherfolk: Radical Sex, People, Politics,
            and Practice (1991). In that volume, her essay on “The Catacombs” followed
            my essay on Folsom Street artist, “Chuck Arnett,” in which I memorialized
            the iconic founder of the Tool Box bar profiled in Life magazine (June 26,
            1964). In the endnotes of Leatherfolk, she graciously credited Drummer and
            my writing of leather history:

               For further reading on the Catacombs, see Jack Fritscher’s knowl-
               edgeable and affectionate memoir of the Twenty-First Street
               Catacombs in Drummer 23, 1978. The article is accompanied by
               [his] priceless photographs of the interior. (Page 140)

               Sweet words. No wonder I wanted to read her complete dissertation.
               It was for just such a new generation of leatherfolk like Davolt and
            younger academics like Rubin that, as editor and writer, I consciously shaped
            Drummer editorial policy in the 1970s with an eye to our community future.
            Having been one of the founding members of the American Popular Culture
            Association in 1968, I knew that gay popular culture was valuable even as I
            was “inside the moment” of the Titanic 1970s helping Drummer create the
            very leather culture it reported on.
               When I added the tag line, “Drummer: The American Review of Gay
            Popular Culture,” it was because I was always, from my childhood diaries
            and journals during and after World War II, a devoted documentarian con-
            scious of future history. Anticipating the next gay generation, I wrote very
            explicitly, for instance, in Drummer 24 about the Castro Street Fair, “Castro

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