Page 416 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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398      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            1985, as inscribed in Jeanne Barney’s Rolodex of the Dead. She wrote me on
            September 25, 2006:

               When I talked to Val for our piece on bestiality, he was quite forth-
               coming and said that he’d had no problem screwing poultry or
               livestock, but that he couldn’t make it with a dog because, he said,
               “They have such bad breath.” [That’s] absolutely [Barney quipped]
               one of THE best lines of all time.

               Val Martin was, in 180-degree sense, the photogenic and masculine ver-
            sion of Embry’s own longtime Latin lover, Mario Simon, who was an immi-
            grant from Spain to LA, and built chunky like Embry. When Mario Simon
            arrived as a human hatbox with the Drummer luggage in San Francisco,
            Embry announced Mario as “a singer who is famous in Spain for his best-
            selling disco recordings.” Al Shapiro considered working the following
            line into his satirical Harry Chess: “I’m ‘famous in Spain’ like Jerry Lewis
            is ‘beloved in France.’” Jeanne Barney remembered that Larry Townsend
            openly jibed Embry by saying, “Give my regards to that ‘Puerto Rican.’”
            And Embry would reply, “The ‘Puerto Rican’ says hello.”
               Embry himself revealed in Manifest Reader 26 (January 1996) that even
            when they lived in LA, Mario was not suited for the business of Alternate
            Publishing’s enterprises. Mario shouldered a chip of an attitude about
            Embry’s moving them to San Francisco because show biz is in LA. Mario
            Simon as Embry’s life partner had a right to a certain status and dignity. But,
            I must confess, the irreverent 1970s staff at Divisadero Drummer, thought
            him a condescending LA attitude queen who had arrived in San Francisco
            on a vaporetto of his own imagining.
               One camp image clung to him: being arrested in a splash of sangria at
            the Slave Auction. Embry later verified the basis of the running joke in Super
            MR #5, page 35: For the event, “Mario...prepared gallons of real Spanish
            sangria, with red wine and fresh fruit.”
               Rarely did Mario show up at our office, but when he did appear, he
            entered the room voice first, swathed in clouds of Hai Karate cologne, drag-
            ging his mink. Channeling the iconic 1940s film star, Maria Felix, who
            was the Mexican Marilyn Monroe, Mario exuded an attitude of petulant
            entitlement, even though during my editorship he had nothing to do with
            Drummer except parade through the office carrying his Capezio shoulder-
            bag stuffed with his Toto-like Cairn Terrier named “Mac” whom Embry
            flew in from Spain. His English was a new and second language, and so not
            very useful to an American magazine needing a proofreader.

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