Page 44 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 44

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

            dared list no responsible names on the masthead: no publisher, no editor,
            no art director. It was Drummer 3 that first listed John Embry as publisher
            and Jeanne Barney as editor-in-chief.
               Jeanne Barney told me:

                   I, at least, was not “closeted.” Indeed, I was the only writer to
               use her real name at the old Advocate so my name could not appear
               on another masthead. I was hands-on and off-site until we put
               together Drummer 3. John Embry put Drummer 1 and 2 together
               on his kitchen table. We didn’t even have an office until it was time
               for Drummer 3. My name, however, did appear as a byline in each
               of those first two issues.

               Before my friend, Al Shapiro, became art director whose work first
            appeared in Drummer 17 (July 1977), he had introduced me to Embry in
            March 1977. During that spring, Drummer, I observed subjectively, was
            hysterical, and still arriving in bits and pieces from LA, fleeing for sanctuary
            in San Francisco where Embry set up his home and office at 311 California
            Street. Traveling between two cities, while trying to escape one and set up
            business in the other, Embry produced his first hybrid LA-San Francisco
            issue with Drummer 12, February 1977. He had completely cleansed its
            pages of Jeanne Barney.
               In truth, Embry hired me because I had twenty years’ experience in edit-
            ing magazines and books, because I had drawers-full of my original writing
            and photography to feed Drummer, and because I was socially and sexually
            connected into the grass-roots liberation leather culture of San Francisco.
            As a stranger in town, he figured the way to move forward was to climb on
            the back of anyone who mattered.
               I knew people. He knew I knew people. One time I joked with him
            about bringing meat from farm to table: “I live it up to write it down. I have
            sex with all the men I write about. I fuck them in July, photograph them
            in August, and they’re published in September.” When I dedicated my gay
            popular-culture novel Some Dance to Remember to “the 13,000 veterans of
            the liberation wars,” I was referencing John Rechy’s concept in Numbers.
            Those 13,000 men were my sex partners with whom I balled and talked
            the truths of pillow talk during the positive and educational sex orgy of the
            Titanic 1970s. I might not have had an orgasm with each of them; but, with
            those 13,000 men in two-ways and three-ways and parties and orgies and
            sleep overs, the identity-revealing sex I remember so fondly was intimate
            enough—I swear to show how real and risky all this was—to have been able

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