Page 364 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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346      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999


               December 1979: Publication of  Drummer  33, Holiday Issue. Two
            months before I finally waltzed out the door of Drummer on New Year’s
            Eve 1979, I edited the first draft of the entire contents of this 88-page issue
            which I had planned as our “Great Big Finish for the 1970s.” While groom-
            ing contributors, I also penned nearly a dozen pieces of writing which were
            reduced by Embry to five pieces of writing and two photographs, including
            “Chapter Five” of my edit and serialization of John Preston’s ten-chapter
            Mr. Benson. My little written bits that Embry did not delete were “The
            Drummer Christmas Gift Guide,” and the two columns I had invented
            which he came to rely on: “Tough Customers,” and “Tough Shit.” On the
            masthead, Embry credited “Robert Payne,” as editor. I was the last of only
            two “editors-in-chief” of Drummer. After Jeanne Barney and me, everyone
            else was simply “editor.”


               December 4, 1979 (Tuesday): For “the Drummer novel,” Some Dance to
            Remember, written in my journals during the 1970s, I invoked the romanti-
            cism of Wuthering Heights with my “Corona Heights” scene of transcen-
            dental  masturbation  on  the rocky  mountain  outcropping  that overlooks
            the Castro: Reel 5, Scene 13. Part of character Ryan O’Hara’s “Garden
            of Gethsemane” anguish reflected my sadness at having to part ways with
            a magazine I loved owned by a publisher I found impossible. Also, that
            December 1979, after the shocking trial of Dan White, everyone was feeling
            instant nostalgia for the decade that had surprised everyone with its wild-
            child sex, drugs, and rock and roll. With only days till New Year’s Eve, the
            glorious 1970s were about to be lost in the auld lang syne. That December
            was worrisome. It was mere days before the unknown new decade of the
            1980s. It was eleven months before the election of Ronald Reagan as presi-
            dent. And too many guys were getting sick and heading back home where
            they came from never to be heard of again. It was less than eighteen months
            before anyone read the headline of “Gay Cancer.”

                              The Titanic 1970s: 1970-1982
                           From the Harakiri of Yukio Mishima
                          to the Folsom Fire at the Barracks Bath
                                 and the Advent of AIDS

               The 1970s actually lasted until 1981. The Leather Decade that began
            with the famous harakiri of S&M leather-muscle author Yukio Mishima
            on November 25, 1970, ended with the Folsom Fire when the legendary
            Barracks baths burned down on July 10, 1981. And the dying began. The


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