Page 303 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 303

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 11                       285

             photographs and original art that belonged to the creators and copyright
             holders. None of that intellectual property was given to Drummer to keep.
             It disappeared into what garbage can, what leather closet, what university
             archive, or what eBay auction?
                As a back-story of evidence, in January, 2006, Bijou Video in Chicago
             advertised at its site that it was selling back issues of Drummer in a way that
             would have seemed to violate copyright. When I alerted Larry Townsend he
             alerted Jeanne Barney who alerted John Embry who wrote a well-distributed
             email dated January 9, 2006.
                Embry stated that he had bought the Drummer archives from Robert
             Davolt. He stated this, significantly, only after Davolt’s death: “While in
             charge, Davolt sold the files, the inventory, and the office lease to us.”
                Had Davolt ginned up the claim that he had somehow gained owner-
             ship of the Drummer files and was permitted to sell them? He tried to fix his
             lie into history. Talking through his hat and up his sleeve, he told historian,
             Dusk Peterson, some untrue tales that did not belong at Peterson’s truetales.
             org. The skeptical Peterson, leading off with the telling words, “considered
             himself,” wrote of Davolt:

                Davolt considered himself to be the guardian of Drummer’s legacy.
                He was the man who claimed rights over the publication (though
                another claimant existed) [A major point; who was the other claim-
                ant? Publisher/owners Embry or DeBlase or Bakker?], and who kept
                what he called the “mortal remains” of Drummer: the magazine’s
                existing records.

                Perhaps Davolt held the Drummer papers and artwork hostage because
             he could not wrest his wages or ownership control of the magazine itself
             from the Dutch. Whatever transpired around Drummer in fin de siecle San
             Francisco was a continent and an ocean away from Amsterdam. As Davolt
             admitted in interviews, he was desperate for money for his personal expenses,
             for publishing Drummer, and for producing the Mr. Drummer Contest.
             About his ownership, he might have lied to Embry who, for once, could have
             been repeating the lie as a “truth” he’d been told. When Davolt asked me for
             donations of my books and videos, I sent some to support him, and asked him
             to return all my photographs still stuck in Drummer filing cabinets.
                Did Davolt ever have the right or the authorization to sell art work and
             photographs he did not own? With so many Drummer contributors dead
             from AIDS, who knew what former lover or what straight niece inherited the
             copyright to the intellectual property? Was Embry like some rich art collector

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