Page 471 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 18                       453

             Books in Magazine Format Lavishly Illustrated. $9.95 Each.” His bibli-
             ography of gay fiction included a hundred titles, many of them authored
             by Embry as “Robert Payne” as well as by dozens of other genre writers:
             Mr. Benson by John Preston, Slaves of the Empire by Aaron Travis, Captain
             Morgan by Frank O’Rourke, Cort: Imperial Warrior Slave by Frank Albright,
             The Brig by Mason Powell, and several volumes of Care and Training of
             the Male Slave by Robert Payne. He also published magazine-format books
             showcasing photographers such as Rick Castro and artists such as the old
             master, Bill Ward, and the new master, Teddy of Paris.
                What Embry did vilifying Jeanne Barney in Drummer 30 was an over-
             the-top archetype of what kinds of subtle defamation happened to everyone
             on the Blacklist that was viral and contagious. In publishing John F. Karr’s
             review of Felice Picano’s Like People in History in Manifest Reader 26 (1995),
             Embry revealed his West Coast bias against the so-called literary establish-
             ment on the East Coast who seemed mostly too good to write for his maga-
             zines from Drummer to Super MR. It wasn’t so much the bad review as it was
             the snarky personal attack on Picano whom Embry sabotaged after he had
             published his short story “The Deformity Lover” in Drummer 93 (August
             1986). When the East Coast writers read Karr’s review, it would have been
             natural for them to dismiss with extreme prejudice any writer ever involved
             with Embry’s many magazines, fueling yet another round of gay civil war.

                Felice Picano...has been self-consciously literary, as if he had to live
                up to the reputations of his fellow members of the writing group
                known as The Violet Quill. Indeed, in the shadow of Edmund
                White, Andrew Holleran, and even the over-rated Robert Ferro,
                Picano has been rather shrill about his participation in the group.
                His 1989 memoir, Men Who Loved Me, and especially his brand
                new  Like  People  in  History...are  stilted  with  literary  pretension,
                clogged with commas.
                    Picano’s characters...are neither likeable nor anti-heroes....
                Further, Picano’s gay badinage is neither new nor witty, and his
                opera fanatics are rote and uninformed...the author never lets pas-
                sion breathe.... (Manifest Reader 26, pages 92-93)

                Finally, on this point, even while I was one among many blacklisted, it
             is only honest that I be the first to blow the whistle on myself for objective,
             critical reasons regarding some things I have written about Embry. In the
             back-lot movie musical of Drummer, I once had motives as strong as Fred
             Halsted’s or Jeanne Barney’s or Larry Townsend’s or Robert Mapplethorpe’s

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