Page 417 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 16                       399


                In the summer of 1978, Evita opened at the Orpheum in San Francisco
             before its premiere on Broadway. If Mario had stood in front of the Evita
             poster, he would have disappeared. Later in 1990, type-casting struck, and
             he appeared, where he always longed to be, in Southern California on stage
             in Oxnard in a “Music Theater of Ventura County” production of Evita.
             He played Magaldi, the over-the-top tango singer who gives Evita her first
             leg up singing “On This Night of a Thousand Stars.”
                Embry once told me, without any sense of irony, that Mario wooed
             him and won him on their second date by taking out a guitar and singing
             “Feelings.”
                You just can’t make this stuff up!
                (See Manifest Reader 26, January 1996, page 52.)
                “Mario Simon,” as spelled in his obituary (March 5, 1942-December
             12, 1993), was also known as “Mario Simone.” Long after I exited, Embry
             listed “Mario Simone” on the masthead of Drummer 57 (October 1982) as
             “General Manager” which was optimistic—and, one figures, tax-deduct-
             ible, with insurance coverage. Benefits were never offered to us workers.
             Drummer 60 (January 1983) featured a quarter-page “house” ad of Mario
             wearing a leather vest and disco headband; the text read simply: “Leather
             Disco, Valverde, 14, Madrid 13, Spain.” In 1985, the full inside-back cover
             of Drummer 81 (February 1984) blatted perhaps the worst advertising copy
             in history with Embry’s flat-footed prose pushing singer “Mario Simon’s hot
             new song done by a better singer than one hears in pop music these days.
             It is exciting.”
                Produced by Embry’s Wings Distributing, Mario’s  “Drummerman”
             was backed with “Be My Clown”—insert joke here—and was available on
             cassette through mail-order for $7.95. Drummer’s Tenth Anniversary Party
             was also the finals of the Mr. Drummer Contest 1985 at the Japan Center
             Theater. Reporting that event in Drummer 85 (December 1985), pages 8
             and 10, Embry’s “Social Notes” published a Robert Pruzan photo of Mario
             Simon, noting: “Mario Simon belts out...the show-stopper ‘Drummerman’...
             his Wings recording over the huge theater sound system. It was electrifying.”
                Eyewitness Jeanne Barney assessed the Embry-Simon vortex that
             twisted the psychology of both the LA and San Francisco offices where
             Mario Simon treated all the staff including Barney, Shapiro, Rowberry, and
             me, like dirt. “Mario,” she said, “was only into the psychological sadism
             that he could inflict on others. He would leave John home alone while he
             went out dancing with the other Latinas.” In that email dated September
             24, 2006, Jeanne Barney recalled:




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