Page 470 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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452      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            only one surviving and archived original chapter hand-typed by Preston: the
            last chapter of Mr. Benson.
               Back in the day, it was thought that to control Preston as a former
            Advocate employee and as an East Coast legman and reporter for West Coast
            Drummer, Embry “Higgins” teased more work out of his “Eliza” by holding
            Mr. Benson hostage, delaying its publication as an actual trade paperback
            book for more than thirty-six months to keep Preston dancing to his tune
            while Embry blamed the delay on printers. Embry may have thought he was
            playing sadist to Preston’s playing masochist. In human terms, he seemed
            he was just being cruel to Preston, with his unnecessarily protracted tease
            delaying publication of that book version of Mr. Benson for those nearly
            four years (1983). Embry cited censorship problems with the printer, but, if
            those claims about the printer were true, those delays were caused by his, and
            Preston’s, absolute insistence on explicit illustrations and not by Preston’s
            tame text.
               Lou Weingarden (1943-1989), the owner of Stompers in Greenwich
            Village, told Robert Mapplethorpe and me that Preston himself, fighting
            with Lou’s lover Bill Burke, caused another delay when Burke aka the artist
            Brick took his enmity out on the tempestuous Preston and withdrew the
            drawings he had made specifically for Mr. Benson. Founded at the end of the
            1970s, Stompers was a boot-fetish emporium and gay art gallery. Like Robert
            Opel’s Fey-Way Gallery around the Drummer Salon in San Francisco, it was
            also a hive of talented Manhattan personalities and extrapolated gossip.
               In the real world, as opposed to the Drummer publishing microcosm,
            author Preston would have demanded that Embry’s magazine illustrations,
            which were not necessary for a book, be dropped as were the drawings
            yanked by Brick. But during this first decade after Stonewall, gay literature
            was the domain of magazine publishers. Preston had no existing gay book
            publishers to turn to until the mid to late 1980s. Nor did I, till signed by
            Gay Sunshine Press who in 1983 bought my novel, I Am Curious (Leather)
            aka  Leather Blues, as well as my short fiction for my leather anthology
            Corporal in Charge and Other Stories which was the first book collection
            of Drummer fiction. That caused Embry to add Gay Sunshine publisher,
            Winston Leyland, to his Blacklist.
               Within leather-heritage literature, John H. Embry should be remem-
            bered as a prolific publisher of homomasculine S&M books, but not in the
            small “trade paperback” size. Having written his The Care and Training of
            the Male Slave in the late 1960s, Embry excelled in the 1970s “gay book
            genre” of large-format “magazine-size books” sold at magazine prices. He
            advertised his “Alternate Book Series” to his mail-order list as “Complete

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