Page 481 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 481

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 18                       463

             professional. In fact, only six issues after Drummer 3, Embry acknowledged
             the superiority of the competition in Drummer 9, page 72, writing about

                This publication, out of Miami, has made great strides in circula-
                tion, appearance, and national acceptance....Its pages are lush with
                color, arty as hell, and they have come as close as anyone to the
                oft aimed at ideal of a “gay Playboy.”....It even has some “straight”

                In March 1977, when Embry offered me the San Francisco job of editor-
             in-chief, I almost turned him down. His LA version of Drummer was infe-
             rior in form and content to the competing magazines he envied. He himself
             was a train wreck of psychological and legal troubles from the Slave Auction
             bust. Nevertheless, I took his offer as a challenge because I saw I might actu-
             alize the potential of Drummer among the hundreds of leathermen I knew
             well enough to reflect them and their interests. Two cards that I didn’t know
             were in the hand Embry dealt me were the “wild deuce” of his cancer, and
             the “Joker” of his obstructionist personality.
                To resurrect some of “his” 1970s greatest hits from Drummer, he asked
             to reprint my “Cigar Blues” and “Prison Blues.” Although Embry had never
             put my byline on the cover of Drummer, he surprised me with cover billing
             when he actually printed my name for “Cigar Blues” on Manhood Rituals 3
             (1999). In Super MR #5 (2000), he republished my “Gay Deteriorata” from
             Drummer 21 (March 1978). Was Embry being passive-aggressive? Whereas
             in Drummer, Al Shapiro had designed my Desiderata satire as a full-page hip-
             pie poster, Embry buried the text on the masthead, reduced it to an eye chart
             of around eight-point type with my name bylined in maybe a four-point.
             In the same Super MR #5, he reproduced two Sparrow-Fritscher photos of
             Mike Glassman aka “Ed Dinakos” on pages 6 and 82, crediting them insuf-
             ficiently to my former lover “David Sparrow” who had died of AIDS in 1992.
             He also published a half-page photo ad, page 57, for my Palm Drive Video
             feature Sunset Bull. When he serialized “Prison Blues” which he re-titled
             “Confessions of a Jailhouse Tour Junkie,” he listed the title of the feature
             itself on the covers of both Super MR #6 (2000) and Super MR #7 (2001).
                In 1975, as the forty-something Embry had relied on stills from the
             1970s movie, Born to Raise Hell, the seventy-something Embry wanted to
             publish my photos of Duffy who starred in my 1994 feature, Sunset Bull.
                Embry famously lacked graphic courage and edge for his covers. Most of
             the eleven-year gallery of covers he chose for his Drummer were not so hot,

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