Page 332 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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314      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            and make us his whipping boys. Over Embry’s eleven years of “Plantation
            Boss” behavior, hundreds were hired, and hundreds quit. Is it at all revela-
            tory that his personal favorite movie covered multiple times in Drummer was
            the plantation and slavery pot-boiler Mandingo. His favorite author was Kyle
            Onstott who, mixing race, slavery, and S&M, had written both the novel
            Mandingo and its sequel—titled what else?—Drum.
               September 1978: Publication of Drummer 24, the famous Mapplethorpe
            cover. Embry was turned on by the fresh “takes” of Robert Mapplethorpe’s
            work. In an envious plagiarism, he tried to restage and shoot Mapplethorpe-
            like photos to fill future issues without having to pay royalties. Jealous, he
            took to a fatuous denouncing of Mapplethorpe who had, during Halloween
            1977, arrived very sweetly at the Drummer office to introduce himself to me
            on his enterprising trip to San Francisco. The start of his trip on “Saturday,
            October 16, 1977” was documented by petite British author and resident of
            the Chelsea Hotel, Victor Bokris, in his book, Beat Punks (1998). Bokris also
            wrote Patti Smith: An Unauthorized Biography (1999). Embry was miffed
            at the personal Mapplethorpe-Fritscher bicostal affair which lasted passion-
            ately—nearly the whole time I edited Drummer—from October 1977 to
            its sweet evaporation over health-and-hygiene issues during spring 1980.
            Robert,  the New Yorker, was frequently sick  intestinally and I, the San
            Franciscan, was not, and I had to back away to protect my health.

                              Footnote #1: Inside the Timeline
                        Mapplethorpe, the Mainstream, and Drummer

               Here, inside this timeline, it is appropriate to show how influential
               Drummer  was, and  how  Drummer, properly written and  properly
               edited, could transcend itself with a readership far sleeker than crit-
               ics might guess, and certainly smarter and more sophisticated than
               scoffers thought it to be.
                   The zero-degrees model to illustrate this is Robert Mapplethorpe,
               and how he was featured in Drummer in the years from 1978, when
               I introduced him, to 1989 when I wrote his obituary..
                   Drummer connected me by one degree of separation to Patricia
               Morrisroe as informant for her biography, Mapplethorpe (1995). My
               own insider gay-verite book, in progress since 1978, Mapplethorpe:
               Assault with  a  Deadly Camera, was published in 1994, the year
               before Ms. Morrisroe’s outsider book. While doing interviews and
               writing her book, she may have suffered, I alleged, a “gay panic”
               attack about the rough subject matter of homomasculine culture
               ranging across racism, promiscuity, drugs, S&M, and dirty sex. Or,

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