Page 415 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 415

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 16                       397

             wanted to join the LAPD, but disliked the homophobia.
                Drummer artist Olaf Odegaard explained in his 1984 eyewitness profile
             of Val Martin in Connection:

                    The door to Val Martin’s apartment in Hollywood was open...
                the master had never before given an interview.... Val grew up on a
                farm in Brazil [sic]. He had 18 sisters and no brothers. He has been
                married and has two children. An American citizen, he has been in
                this country for 18 years. He speaks Portuguese, Italian, Spanish,
                and English. A Cancer, he studied medicine for four years and has
                worked as a farmer, a handyman, a construction worker, a horse
                trainer [shades of almost all the Village People]. He spent three
                years in the army and worked as a police officer in New York City....
                One entire wall [of the apartment] contains representations of Val
                by numerous artists and sculptors.

                In LA, Val Martin was a business partner with my pal, Dick Saunders,
             owner of the throbbing Probe disco chronicled in director Paul Schrader’s
             Richard Gere film, American Gigolo (1980).

                    In the zero degrees of publishing around Val Martin and Drummer,
                Dick Saunders was the editor and publisher of Probers, the news-
                letter of Probe disco from December 1980-September 1983, and
                he told me he knows the identity of the burglar-arsonist who got
                away with setting Probe ablaze on September 21, 1981. Fifteen
                years earlier, as the homomasculine world began mobilizing toward
                leather and western gear, thus anticipating in 1965 the 1975 DNA
                of Drummer, Saunders wrote and published the LA tabloid, Frontier
                Bulletin Gazette, from January 1965-October 1969, which Embry
                read while dreaming up  Drummer. In our zero-degrees  Drummer
                Salon during the late 1970s-1980s, Saunders and I shared for two
                years—without knowing it—an extremely handsome sex-bomb body-
                builder lover who hustled each of us on identical rides until the day
                we compared notes, and it dawned on us, that “his guy” and “my
                guy” were one guy whom we immediately dumped and sent running
                for cover back to the Redneck Riviera where he came from.

                Val Martin was thirty-six when arrested at the Slave Auction. Born
             three weeks after me on July 16, 1939, he died at forty-five on April 13,

               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-16-2017
   410   411   412   413   414   415   416   417   418   419   420