Page 461 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 18                       443


             dumping them, he would publish the first issue of his own news magazine,
             The Alternate, January 1977, and “magnanimously” take on the remaining
             subscriptions to Dateline? In Drummer 9, page 72, Embry wrote two para-
             graphs titled “Dateline’s Death”:


                We will try to make some arrangements to fulfill Dateline’s sub-
                scription obligation in our launching of what we should have done
                in the first place, our own national NewsMagazine [sic]...It will be
                called The Alternate, and it will be all ours [Embry’s].

                He added in Drummer 10, page 76: “Dateline...was to have been our
             [italics added] publication...”
                In Drummer 6, page 4, before the death of Dateline, the editor’s column
             in Drummer had been titled “Date Line” which Jeanne Barney renamed
             “Getting Off.”
                Answering my questions about the news magazine, Dateline, Jeanne
             Barney wrote me on September 23, 2006:

                The main reason Dateline: The NewsMagazine of Gay America col-
                lapsed are these: 1) I had sole editorial responsibility for it, in addi-
                tion to Drummer; 2) Given that the first issue had been put together
                during and immediately after The Great Slave Auction of ’76, I
                was stretched even thinner; and 3) By the time we were supposed to
                be putting together the second issue, I’d already had it up to here with
                Embry and, indeed, was in the process of leaving. [italics added] John
                was gleeful over the demise of Dateline, I rather imagine it was
                because he could blame it on my “desertion” and what he viewed
                as disloyalty.


                Embry was expert at absorbing small magazines. In 1971 in Los Angeles,
             Embry, who had been an advertising salesman hustling column inches in
             Hawaii, had a brainstorm. He figured if he published his own magazine, he
             could keep the ad revenue to himself. All he had to create was just enough
             editorial content to wrap as an attractant around the heart of his mail-order
             brochure which was where the real money was. To have a credible periodical
             with ad space to sell, he devised a free zine-sized gay bar magazine, a trial
             balloon, which he dubbed Drummer, in imitation (again) of the 1960s S&M
             magazine Drum, published in Pennsylvania by Clark Polak, with art direc-
             tion by Al Shapiro whom Embry soon hired as art director for Drummer.
             His “proto Drummer,” however, was not S&M. It was a queeny bar rag filled


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