Page 411 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 411

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 16                       393

             magazines salivate for fresh material. Filling Drummer each month was a
             huge task, even when Embry plagiarized articles from straight men’s adven-
             ture magazines. Filling it with original material was even bigger. And that
             was my job.
                He wanted me to produce and manage the first Mr. Drummer Contest,
             because I was editor-in-chief and he knew from my resume that I had years
             of experience producing events and the then-popular “happenings” at uni-
             versities, museums, and in the Folsom Street leather bar, the No Name. Its
             manager, my longtime pal, the redheaded poet, Ron Johnson (1935-1998),
             also helped me schedule and videotape oral histories for my Drummer col-
             umn, “Rear-View Mirror.” Johnson, a friend and peer of Thom Gunn on
             Folsom Street, authored many books including To Do as Adam Did: The
             Collected Poems of Ronald Johnson, 2000.
                Ron Johnson, with his partner, Mario Pirami, founded the Rainbow
             Motorcycle Club in 1972. The club’s home bar was then the No Name.
             The RMC, whose especially wild biker membership was by invitation only
             and more exclusive than the Catacombs, continues to exist rapaciously and
             below the average gay radar in the second decade of the twenty-first century.
             In his February 12, 1992, letter to all the RMC, Ron Johnson documented
             the tradition of Folsom Street performance-art happenings in the early
             1970s before commercial leather contests replaced them:

                    This year marks the 20  anniversary of the club, and it’s high
                time to throw a bash. Our Christmas party was so fine we’ve got to
                really rise (or stoop) to the occasion—no?
                    ....One of the things that made the Xmas party such a great
                success was Lurch as Santa on a beer-shell throne, greeting one
                and all, and we need again to come up with something so extraor-
                dinarily sleazy and daring they’ll all talk about it after. Not many
                now remember the first anniversary RMC party [1973] where Jack
                Fritscher was the Entertainment Committee. He brought in [to
                the No Name] three stand-up cages with live, sexy slaves inside.
                Spotlights! Crowd focus! Promiscuous flagellation! Frenzy! [Plus
                his live-action cast, three slide projectors, and two Super-8 projec-
                tors of his transparencies and leather films]....Where can we go from
                    At the Lone Star [bar], of course...
                —Ron Johnson

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