Page 42 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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24       Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            niche tastes of its masculine-identified readers living, not only in regional
            LA , but also out in the diversity of our national American popular culture.
               That was a hard dance on the killing ground. Without prejudice to
            other genders, it had to be done for love of men, love of writing, and not love
            of money, because the money at Drummer always evaporated mysteriously.


            Warhol Superstar Joe Dallesandro recalled that at Andy’s Factory in 1969,
            “A $100.00 was two-weeks salary for a forty-hour week and a movie or two.”
            By 1979, worker income was the only thing that had not changed in the
            underground world of alternative art. To illustrate the salary scale and the
            Jurassic degree of clerical difficulty in the pre-computer age of 1977-1979,
            consider this. As full-time Drummer editor-in-chief, writing on yellow legal
            pads and a manual typewriter, I began at $200 a month. The minimum
            wage was $2.10 an hour. As the press run climbed to 42,000 copies per
            issue (Embry’s statistic told to me when I asked him directly), I negotiated
            my salary to $400 a month.
               Jeanne Barney told me about herself: “I was supposed to be paid $200
            a week [$800 a month].” Atypically, the female editor-in-chief earned twice
            as much in 1976 as the male editor-in-chief did in 1977-1979. Barney con-
            tinued: “Not only did I rarely receive that amount or anything close to it, as
            I’ve told you before, I frequently paid talent out of my own pocket.”
               The pay was exclusively for editing, and did not include my writing
            and photography for which in those sixty-five issues over twenty-four years
            I was never paid money, never once, not a cent, not by any Drummer pub-
            lisher. (DeBlase paid me not for writing or photos, but as his personal cre-
            ative consultant.) After I began my Palm Drive Video company in earnest
            in 1984, I opened to accepting ad space in dozens of magazines in trade
            for my writing and photography. My first Palm Drive Video display ad in
            Drummer appeared in issue 116 (May 1988), page 39, and the ads, with
            photos changing to keep them editorially fresh, continued virtually to the
            end of Drummer.
               As a “zero-degrees of separation” autobiographical subtext to Drummer,
            my 1960s roots were deep in Chicago with my longtime friend Andy Charles,
            whom I knew years before he partnered with Anthony DeBlase. When
            the wealthy psychiatrist Andy Charles bought  Drummer  from Embry to
            amuse his lover DeBlase in 1986, Andy Charles wanted me involved to help
            float DeBlase’s novice experience in publishing, particularly in publishing

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