Page 418 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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400      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999


               Mario Simon was an arrogant, pretentious queen. I never liked him,
               but tolerated him for John’s sake; and Mario was not shy about
               exhibiting his fierce jealousy of me and my longstanding relation-
               ship with John. Consider the contrast: John’s Own True Love,
               about/for whom he was/is writing Epilogue, was fair but not blond.
               His successor was dark-haired, but had a similar name: hmmmm,
               Dr. Freud. (Number 1 was Don Briggs and Number 2 was Don
               Britt.) I think that John took up with Mario because Mario was the
               only person who would have him. When Don Briggs got sober at
               AA, he left John. Don Britt, who was also an alcoholic, left John for
               Vince Lumbleau, a local realtor—and a REALLY HEAVY TOP, as
               opposed to John. The only types John really didn’t like were milk-
               skinned redheads [which may explain Embry’s dismissive attitude
               to my milky-red lover, David Sparrow who worked freelance as a
               Drummer photographer]. Otherwise, I think his main criterion was
               that they were breathing.


               At the northwest corner of 11  Street and Folsom, photographer Jim
                                         th
            Stewart managed the Drummer bar and swimming pool which had been
            Allan Lowery’s Leatherneck bar and became Embry and Simon’s “The
            Plunge.” Stewart whom I had met in 1974 when he was manager of a popu-
            lar movie theater, and responsible for all of its receipts, was an eyewitness
            of what it was like doing business with Embry and Simon at Drummer, and
            how hard it was to be paid. Rumors alleged that Drummer funds were often
            deposited in Mario Simon’s name and that Mario Simon, perhaps behind
            even Embry’s back, had secret accounts whose total, according to Rick
            Leathers, who managed the office for Embry for eleven years, went alleg-
            edly to Mario’s relatives in Spain. Jim Stewart wrote to me on September
            21, 2007:

               Dear Jack,
                   Working for John and Mario at the bar was a trip. Their heads
               didn’t really seem to be into running a bar/swim club. Their ideas
               seemed to fit more into Southern California than San Francisco,
               South of Market. For instance the leather shop had one mannequin
               to display leather harnesses, etc. It was a surfer boy. I convinced
               John to let me trade it in for two male mannequins that looked
               more like they belonged in a San Francisco leather bar. John would
               sometimes call meetings of the bar staff for suggestions. However,
               he was very reluctant to follow through on any of them.


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