Page 376 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 376

358      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

               San Franciscans held so much contempt for The Advocate in the 1970s
            that almost as soon as Goodstein chose to move his editorial and his “pink
            pages” sex-personals office to San Francisco, he realized that the City had
            too ironic and hip an attitude toward his bourgeois Southern California
            rag, and that he had better quickly return to the gay fundamentalism of
            LA with its Werner Erhard philosophy, its WeHo lingua franca, and its
            Hollywood veneers. Embry, who had been forced to move Drummer from
            LA to San Francisco, rejoiced that his archenemy had “retreated” the way
            that his early publishing competition at H.E.L.P. and Dateline had disap-
            peared. Still feuding in 1979, the triumphalist Embry, whose publishing
            tentacles always remained deep in LA, could not resist printing a satiric
            screed, full of Los Angeles vitriol, trashing Goodstein and “The Advocate
            Experience” in the cover feature, “The Thing That Ate the Advocate,” writ-
            ten in LA by alleged former Advocate employee, Dean Gengle, for Alternate,
            issue 9, edited by Rowberry who listed on the masthead his old pal, Rue
            Dyllon, as Los Angeles correspondent, and Embry’s Slave Auction attorney,
            Al Gordon, as Los Angeles legal counsel.


            At the end of the twentieth century, in the thirty-year swirl around Drummer
            history, Embry, no longer owning Drummer, embraced Robert Davolt like
            a new John Rowberry. As a smiling ventriloquist whose lips rarely moved,
            Embry always needed a talking sock puppet in which to shove his fist of
            sticky fingers. He liked the fact that Davolt had managed to be hired by the
            third publisher of Drummer, Martijn Bakker, conveniently out of the pic-
            ture in Amsterdam. He figured that Davolt, thus embedded, could be hired
            as a double-agent—working inside Drummer, while spying on Drummer,
            and stealing from its library of original photographs, drawings, and manu-
            scripts that Embry coveted as if it were his own private heritage. Davolt’s
            character as a reliable historian—that is, as a mouthpiece for Embry and
            a spokesman for Drummer—must be judged on how Embry and Davolt
            colluded. Davolt, who was much loved in the bars, exuded blond bonho-
            mie. Behind the public face, he had the blond ambition of a social climber
            arriving late after the main party was over. When Embry met Davolt, the
            1970s party was long gone, Drummer was dying and dead, and the pair
            bonded like two geezers at one of those historical re-enactments of a past
            gone with the wind.
               Truman Capote would have recognized Davolt and his glomming on to
            Embry. In Answered Prayers, Capote wrote:

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