Page 48 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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30       Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999


               I think there ought to be qualifications for being a gay publisher or gay
            author or gay critic or queer theorist other than just taking it up the ass. The
            pope’s Pontifical College Josephinum taught me how to study the texts of
            Aquinas, Descartes, Marx, Jung, and even the Bible as a collection of folk
            tales told by an ancient tribe around campfires. The progressive Jesuit pro-
            fessors at Loyola University graduate school taught me how to limn literary
            analysis on Chaucer, Malory, Faulkner, and Woolf, with the vast dramas,
            short stories, and poetry of Tennessee Williams as the proving ground of
            my doctoral dissertation.
               Internal evidence is always the best place to start.
               Readers needn’t get an “A” in “Literary Interpretation” or “History
            101” to examine Drummer for forensic evidence, finger prints, blood stains,
            semen, DNA, skid marks in the underwear, and Sartre-like no-exit wounds.
               In the spring of 1977, I studied Drummer’s first dozen issues and found
            that Embry’s embryonic baby Drummer had repeatedly attempted suicide
            by its fourth issue.
               The subject matter of Drummer 4 would have put any erotic maga-
            zine out of business, even if Embry’s noble goal was to advance gay libera-
            tion through First Amendment freedom of the press. Having always fought
            for that same principle, I would have directed Los Angeles Drummer’s raw
            aggression differently from the first issue onwards in the way that I redi-
            rected San Francisco Drummer’s raw passion by serving up sex and sado-
            masochism with a masturbatory heartbeat, minus politics, beginning with
            Drummer 19.
               With my gay gaze, I grew up as a wide-eyed witness of the connection
            of World War II veterans’ biker culture to the gay leather culture of the
            1950s and 1960s. At 1970s Drummer, my goal was to transport that straight
            outlaw street esthetic into a gay art setting: from the roads and racetracks
            to the pages of a new lifestyle magazine. I had the bona fides. I grew up on
            the roar of engines, the smell of exhaust, and the vision of bikers. In Peoria,
            during the juvenile delinquent craze of the 1950s, I hung out as a teenager
            every summer ogling the rugged bikers who scooted into town to hit the dirt
            track at the annual three-day AMA Flat Track championship races started
            by the Peoria Motorcycle Club in 1947, the same year Hollister, California,
            hosted its first Gypsy Tour run made famous in 1953 by The Wild One. By
            1964, I was twenty-five, and was enough of a homomasculine man to pass
            hassle-free among heteromasculine men. Hiding in plain sight, I shot my
            first 35mm transparencies of straight outlaw bikers while I was a participant
            in the rise of us outlaw gays as leather bikers. My first novel, Leather Blues
            (1969), was about a boy coming out into leather, and was based on those


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