Page 355 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 13                       337


                when Ethel Merman opened in Gypsy at the Curran Theater in San
                Francisco...all the photographs and papers that fill my archives.
                    I dance to remember and to think.
                    This is done because my friend, Sam Steward had tutored me
                early on with his good example. Sam had saved pubic hair he had
                stealthily clipped from Valentino while blowing him, potpourri from
                roses in Gertrude Stein’s garden, Alice Toklas’s hand-written hash-
                brownie recipe, a ceramic rose chipped off Oscar Wilde’s tomb in
                Pere-Lachaise, sailors’ caps, and police patches which I helped him
                collect.
                    To remember, when we are old, and to think, Sam wrote,


                    We need all the inner resources, or at the very least a trea-
                    sury of memory to sustain us. Since our emotional lives are
                    fragmented, we should have a vast stock of tangible things
                    to invest our love in: mementos, memorabilia, photographs,
                    an old  blue  cloak..., a  water  glass his lips had  touched,
                    anything which can stimulate us, can make us remember.
                    (Chapters from an Autobiography, page 141.)



                July 1979: No Drummer issue released because of Embry’s illness and
             censorship problems with the printer. With my staff working daily, Al
             Shapiro and I used this months-long hiatus to re-conceptualize Drummer
             even more by bringing up from the sexual underground never-before-
             published homomasculine S&M themes for future issues. Separately and
             together, Al and I set out actively seeking new angles on the new sex styles,
             and recruiting new BDSM writers, artists, and photographers who had not
             yet dared come out of the 1960s closet enough to be published and publi-
             cized in 1970s Drummer.

                July 7, 1979 (Saturday): Art, Civil Rights, and Murder. Almost exactly
             ten years after Stonewall (June 27-28, 1969), late in the evening of July 7,
             1979, Robert Opel was shot to death in his Fey-Way Studio gallery. His
             partner Camille O’Grady, unharmed physically, survived, and disappeared
             underground in the City and then in LA. Urban legend whispered that
             Opel had been set up by the SFPD, because of his anti-cop performance
             art, “The Shooting of Dan White by Gay Justice,” which, with a handgun
             he had borrowed from Drummer photographer Jim Stewart, he had acted
             out “live in Civic Center Plaza” at the Gay Parade on June 24 before he was
             murdered thirteen days later.



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