Page 357 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 13                       339


             to the finish of Drummer 33, I was in and out of the office—when Embry
             was absent—in order to make a smooth transition.
                I didn’t care so much about the ailing shyster Embry as I did about the
             ailing innocent Drummer.
                At the same time, Embry was cherry-picking my incoming editorial work,
             articles and photos, and removing some of my bylines—which only became
             known when the issues finally appeared on the news stands. Immediately
             after my conversation asking Embry to pay or else, Mark Hemry and I drove
             to Reno to photograph the Gay Rodeo which, suddenly, I had decided I was
             no longer covering for Drummer as I had originally planned.


                August 5, 1979 (Sunday): Outing “gay cowboys” twenty years before
             Brokeback Mountain, Randy Shilts and I, as reporter and photographer, cov-
             ered the Gay Rodeo in Reno, with Mark Hemry assisting me on our first
             publishing venture together, even as he gambled life and limb, and our
             future matrimonial bliss, as a bull-rider. The Associated Press (AP Wire
             Service) published Shilts’ article and my several “gay cowboy” photographs
             nationwide in newspapers on August 6, 1979. The Shilts-Fritscher piece
             was the first introduction into mainstream media culture of the concept of
             “gay cowboys.”



                               Footnote #4: Inside the Timeline:
                      Randy Shilts, Reno Rodeo, Queering the Cowboy Myth


                        On August 7, 1979 (Tuesday), the day after the AP cov-
                    erage of the Reno Gay Rodeo, Dave Wilson, the working
                    cowboy I photographed, was fired from his ranch job. When
                    he signed his photo release, I asked him if he was sure
                    about coming out so publicly. He said he was willing to risk
                    that ride. He was handsome and blond, and his sunny open
                    face can be seen smiling in the San Francisco Chronicle,
                    August 6, first section, page 3, column 1.
                        Because of the tensions within  Drummer, I withheld
                    my gay rodeo  photos  from  Embry.  His  distemper  was
                    Drummer’s loss because Dave Wilson would have been one
                    of the hottest Drummer covers ever.
                        I saved all my Reno cowboy photos for my coffee-table
                    photo book, American Men, and for the cover of the fiction
                    anthology, Rainbow County and Other Stories, as well as
                    the zero-degrees cover of the British edition of the novel,
                    Narrow Rooms, by my friend James Purdy who was also the

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