Page 432 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 432

414      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999


            that day deigning to speak to each other. Always bitching about the parking,
            they went into that coffee shop to see and be seen.
               With its overwrought-iron decor of main-floor plaza dining and sur-
            rounding balconies straight out of A Streetcar Named Desire, the French
            Quarter was a surging tide pool of cruising talent. So many colorful WeHo
            characters from the gyms, bars, and streets swam around its dining tables
            and sex boutiques, no one ever cared about the food because the people-
            watching was worth the cost, carbs, and calories. Fascinating to me among
            the many sex-toy and greeting-card boutiques surrounding the dining plaza
            was the office front of a doctor whose one-stop specialty was prescribing
            steroids, the most closeted drug in gay culture.
               Even as AIDS arrived in the 1980s, up in the Hollywood Hills, on
            Sunday afternoons around a certain doctor’s swimming pool, the steroids
            stood posing on one side of the sparkling blue water and the checkbooks
            stood shopping on the other. In 1992, another LA doctor, whose deleted
            name I remember musclemen invoking with reverence in serious gyms even
            in San Francisco, pleaded guilty to one count of receiving illegal steroids,
            with more than twenty charges against him dropped.
               The crisis between the two lovers in my Some Dance to Remember, star-
            crossed because one was a bodybuilder from LA and one was a writer from
            San Francisco, was caused by steroids’ devastating roid-rage effect on the
            personality.
               My experience in getting that Drummer novel published revealed that
            magazine publisher John Embry was no worse and no better than the many
            book publishers who exploit authors whom, for all their original work, they
            pay so little. Few authors dare write exposes about publishers for fear of never
            being published again. Whistle-blowers rarely win.
               Analogously, my problems were nothing compared to the travails of the
            underestimated American author Margaret Mitchell who created one of the
            world’s great gay icons in Scarlett O’Hara. Mitchell’s Scarlett is the sine-
            qua-non archetype of Tennessee Williams’ Blanche DuBois, as well as of my
            protagonist Ryan O’Hara, the magazine editor, in Some Dance to Remember.
            Gone with the Wind informs Some Dance, which transports Mitchell’s Civil
            War “romance” dynamic to the civil war over sex, race, and gender on Castro
            and Folsom streets. Ryan is several times referred to as “Miss Scarlett.” In my
            gay spin, Ryan (Scarlett) turns the tables on his lover Kick (Rhett), and, toss-
            ing Kick out for bad behavior, declares the equivalent of: “This time, Rhett
            Butler, you get out! I don’t give a damn.” So for several reasons, I found
            fascinating an eye-opening book chronicling the epic struggles between
            author and publisher in Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley’s cautionary tale,


              ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-14-2017
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