Page 366 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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348      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            within seven months, gay activists Milk and Opel could be shot to death,
            was the gay press the next target of some bullet or ballot? Or could we
            expect yet another raid on our Drummer office by the SFPD who on May
            21, 1979, charged down Castro Street, pounding the pavement with their
            billy clubs, pumping themselves up before invading the Elephant Walk
            Bar, at the ground-zero “rainbow corner” of 18  and Castro, where they
            blocked the doors and beat the patrons crawling under tables and scram-
            bling for safety into the small toilet crammed with nearly twenty terrified
            gay men and lesbians, all of an age old enough to remember primal fears of
            pre-Stonewall violence being resurrected as they were being attacked in the
            new culture war spearheaded by onward-marching Christian soldiers led by
            Anita Bryant.
               Once again sex and death combined. It was open season on gays. It was
            suddenly the wrong autumn for Embry to come barging in on the offensive
            after his spring and summer absence dealing with his own cancer.

               December 31, 1979: After a Sisyphean two years and ten months (March
            1977 to December 1979), I resigned officially as founding San Francisco
            editor-in-chief of Drummer, and continued on for years in my day job as
            manager of my staff of a dozen writers at Kaiser Engineers, Inc.

               February 9, 1980 (Saturday): Five weeks after exiting  Drummer, I
            was hired for two jobs by straight publisher Michael Redman. He asked
            me to write “lesbian-themed” fiction for the straight male readers of his
            San Francisco Pleasure Guide, and to be the founding editor of his new
            gay tabloid venture, the California Action Guide, whose first monthly issue
            appeared July, 1982, featuring the debut of a dozen feature articles I had
            written originally for, but never published in, Embry’s Drummer. My “les-
            bian” fiction, played for fun, followed the tradition of pop-culture camp in
            Andy Warhol’s underground films like Chelsea Girls (1966), Russ Meyer’s
            movie of Roger Ebert’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970), and Wakefield
            Poole’s The Bible which I featured on the cover of Drummer 27 (February
            1979). Ebert, the international film critic, was an ardent devotee of Meyer’s
            raunchy comedies, and he gave—at that time in our new sex revolution—
            a certain cachet to the pop art of “sexploitation writing” as practiced in
            Warhol’s Interview, Drummer, and in my San Francisco Pleasure Guide sto-
            ries with my titillating news stand titles like: “Nurses Who Play Doctor,”
            “Fit to Be Tied,” “Goddess Worship Love Temples,” and “Pussy Pussy Bang
            Bang.” As penance, I later wrote a proper, and well-reviewed, lesbian literary
            novel, The Geography of Women: A Romantic Comedy.

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