Page 438 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 438

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

               Ryan and Kick allows Fritscher to tell his real story which is the
               rise and decline—not really the fall—of the golden age of Castro
               and Folsom Street 1970-1982. There are scores of minor characters,
               hundreds of episodes, thousands of historical details and a plot that
               makes Gone With The Wind seem like a short story.
                   Some Dance to Remember is a great ambitious work and a rar-
               ity in modern fiction: a novel of ideas. (In fact, it has so many
               ideas that, at times, even its author seems overwhelmed by them.)
               Fritscher is concerned not only about telling the truth of gay men’s
               lives—how we lived and loved, struggled and survived—but in
               examining in the psychological and philosophical underpinnings
               of those lives—the intricate interplay of self-expression and self-
               destruction, of sexual autonomy and erotic dependency. But more
               importantly, he has recreated more than a decade of gay history—
               its sights, smells, nerves, and guts. If Some Dance to Remember both
               astonishes and bewilders, seduces and frightens us (often at the
               same time) it is because Fritscher has captured, with intelligence
               and love, the way we live, both then and now.

               Alyson’s attitude made him seem very like Embry with his Blacklist.
            Alyson  perhaps  disliked  the  challenge  presented  by  the  strong-willed
            Elizabeth long before he met me, and, even while he was evangelizing me
            for our fifteen minutes together, I said nothing to him that was divisive or
            offensive. I had respect for what I knew about his decade of pioneering work
            as founder of Alyson Press, but in our conversation I could tell he knew
            nothing of my thirty years in publishing, my dozen years in teaching writ-
            ing at university, my five already published books (two gay, three straight),
            and my three years editing Drummer. I had just turned fifty years old. I was
            an old hand. He could not top me as he might his usual desperate young
            authors who would do anything to get published. As a gay business mogul
            recruiting talent, he had not done his homework.
               He did, however, presume I had some control over financiers Elizabeth
            Gershman and her husband who were both connected, not to the Mafia,
            so much as they were to the power of the Kennedy family. Within a year,
            their daughter married Teddy Kennedy, Jr. Having grandchildren surnamed
            Kennedy stationed them higher in the family, Elizabeth bragged, than
            other in-laws whose Kennedy grandchildren carried surnames other than
            Kennedy, such as Shriver, or, worse, Schwarzenegger.
               It was amusing at the ABA to eyewitness Sasha Alyson take on the very
            gay-friendly Gershmans whose business goal, more niche than his, was to

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