Page 385 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 385

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 15                       367

             as in Liliana Cavani’s darkly romantic psychological film, The Night Porter
             (1974)? Or Lina Wertmueller’s dark Seven Beauties (1975)? Or even in Don
             Edmonds’ pop-cult classic, Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS (1974) that played to eager
             leather fans for two solid years at the Strand movie theater on Market Street?
             What was Goldstein really on about when, after he went slumming in gay
             bars like the Eagle, he condescendingly slandered gay S&M sex, art, and
             leather uniforms, by connecting our erotic disciplines to Nazi punishments?
                His only insight into our folkways was a truth we all know, and one
             that was not original with Goldstein because it came out of the mouth of
             an unidentified leatherman he interviewed: “Sadism, if you really want to
             call it that, is really forcing someone to do what he is already eager to do. It
             has the same kind of feeling as a flood of tears in a movie—it’s a dramatic
                He abridged the 1970s rise of “gay liberation for all” when he, as an
             aggressive gay separatist, trashed the ritual and emotional validity and per-
             sonal choice of S&M, fisting, piss, and scat; hanky and key codes of left and
             right; leather-heritage bars like Keller’s, the Anvil, the Spike, and the Eagle’s
             Nest (the actual name of the bar that guys called “The Eagle”); leather-
             heritage stores like the Pleasure Chest and the Marquis de Suede; bike
             clubs like the Praetorians, Empire City, Wheels, Trash, and CYA (Up Your
             Ass); straight leather folk heroes like performance artist, Chris Burden, and
             leather sculptor, Nancy Grossman; and artists like Tom of Finland (Eons
             Gallery, Drummer 13), and especially my longtime crony and sometime col-
             laborator, the Drummer artist, Rex, whom Goldstein labels a “Naziphile”
             for his book Mannespeilen (Les Pirates Associes, Paris, 1986). On page 41,
             Mannespielen featured the Rex drawing for the cover of my book, Leather
             Blues: A Novel of Leatherfolk (1984).
                In his insular Manhattan trashing of our international leather art,
             Goldstein, had he rounded out his research, would have been confounded
             in his gay theory by the moxie and sophistication of one of the first and
             finest sources of mid-twentieth-century S&M photography, the iconic
             British discipline studio, Studio Royale, established in the early 1950s, and
             beloved by Tom of Finland (mentioned by Goldstein), and Tom’s friend,
             Alan Selby, founder of “Mr. S” leather fetish clothing. In Royale’s erotic
             catalog of esthetic images of S&M, each single-frame tableau was as perfect
             a moment as any “Perfect Moment” shot by Mapplethorpe. Partly printed
             on marvelously opaque onionskin paper, those pages, in the 1960s, arrived
             at my American home in plain envelopes from 110 Denbigh St., (near the
             bed-sit of Quentin Crisp), London S.W.1. Royale’s “story board” series of
             approximately fifteen frames each, featuring non-nude casts of ordinary

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