Page 338 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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320      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

               Drummer 29, May 1979). Domino and Mapplethorpe, both gritty
               New Yorkers walking on the wild side, were drawn to Enger’s blond
               California brightness. Their dark East Coast interpretations of
               Enger’s universal appeal were contrapuntal and useful because
               Enger, so publicly in bloom in 1970s California, was more in the sun-
               kissed tradition favored by straight and gay photographers besotted
               with him in San Francisco and LA. A star on the straight physique
               contest circuit where he was often invited as the Guest Poser, Enger
               was simultaneously the most ogled and desired man on the streets
               of San Francisco and in the beach-and-gym cliques in LA where on
               Sunday afternoons at a certain steroid doctor’s Hollywood Hills pala-
               zzo the bodybuilders stood on one side of the pool and the check-
               books stood on the other.
                   One Sunday, walking south with Enger on Castro Street in front
               of the Spaghetti Factory restaurant, I watched as Rudolf Nureyev
               and his party walked north toward us. As we passed, Enger, as
               always, kept the custody of his eyes straight ahead. I, however,
               couldn’t resist turning around to glimpse Nureyev from the rear,
               and what I saw was Rudy turning around, in slow full 360-degree
               pivot, to take one more look at Enger which he confirmed with a
               direct look, a big grin, and a thumbs-up to me! Then Rudy sailed
               on to the north, and Enger and I to the south leaving no ripple. As
               for my own artistic interpretation, Enger, as symbol, influenced my
               various homomasculine articles such as “Fucking with Authentic
               Men” (Drummer 24).
                   Enger, who honestly enjoyed exhibiting himself in public, never
               allowed his photographs to be published in Drummer or any other
               gay venues. When I arranged for Robert Mapplethorpe to photo-
               graph Enger in the unforgettable star-feud shoot on March 25, 1980,
               Enger, as it turned out, would not sign a release as he had not for Jim
               French at Colt. He was a physique celebrity, and, not unreasonably,
               he wanted to approve the photographs that he felt we were co-creat-
               ing with Robert. But Mapplethorpe, always wily and thinking ahead,
               had shot several frames of Enger’s torso pictured from the neck
               down. One of those headless torso shots of Enger was produced by
               Mapplethorpe as a color greeting card sold in museum gift shops;
               and it was reproduced by Tony Deblase with my Mapplethorpe obitu-
               ary in Drummer 133 (September 1989), page 14. Earlier in 1979, a
               Castro photographer, one of the street paparazzi who loved Enger,
               had snapped the two of us, Enger and me, hooked together at the
               hip, and holding court “in our spot,” leaning against the sunny west
               wall of Donuts and Things, one Sunday afternoon at 18  and Castro.
               Every weekend the sidewalks were jammed with thousands of cruis-
               ing immigrants and sex tourists strolling in concentric circles in a kind

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