Page 486 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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468      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

               Rowberry may have launched Foreskin Quarterly (1985)—with pho-
            tographs I had obtained from my friend, German art-scatologist Gerhard
            Pohl—as well as Uncut (1987), but both magazines were commercial appli-
            cations of the sincere and passionate writing of Joe Tiffenbach and Bud
            Berkeley in their Uncircumcised Society of America (USA) Newsletter and
            their book Foreskin (1983). Tiffenbach, whose name was Lou Alton, was
            the photographer who shot the cover of my Drummer 20 (January 1978), as
            well as the photos for my article, “Arab Death,” which I bylined as “Denny
            Sargent,” my protagonist in I Am Curious (Leather) in my Son of Drummer
            (September 1978). Those Tiffenbach photos of a nude young man rolling
            on wheels in the sand had been shot on assignment earlier in 1975 in Palm
            Springs. Having paid Tiffenbach for the shoot, Embry insisted that I reuse
            the three-year-old images for Drummer 20 because he wanted to squeeze his
            money’s worth from the generic photos that in sunny concept and vanilla
            content really had nothing specific to do with leather or with Drummer.
               The “Prince of Reprints” Embry ordered me to re-write “Arab Death”
            from pages he had torn out of some men’s adventure magazine from the
            1950s. The source was something like Argosy, one of those mags with an
            American air pilot tied spreadeagle with a busty Nazi wench poised to
            torture him. In fact, many of the longer written features in Embry’s LA
            Drummer, such as the “Great Sadists in History” series, especially when
            signed by “Robert Payne,” were re-writes plagiarized out of 1940s and 1950s
            men’s pulp-adventure magazines and history books that were popular when
            he was a teenage masturbator. Some examples of Embry/Payne’s “found”
            articles printed as “filler” in Drummer 14 were “The Third Degree” and
            “The Foreign Legion”; and, in  Drummer  15, “Devil’s Island” and “The
            Greek Way.” At that time, my analysis of this theft of uninspired and stolen
            stories indicated that Drummer needed all the mouth-to-mouth resuscita-
            tion original writers could give to make it breathe fresh on its own as a gay
            men’s adventure magazine. With that in mind, and to meet our monthly
            deadlines, I began writing my own original bespoke stories and features.
               Decoding Rowberry personally and professionally in his magazine and
            video writing, I witnessed that Rowberry, who never met a twinkie chicken
            he didn’t like, was deeply disturbed, even emotionally disturbed, by mature
            hairy men and facial hair. From 1984-1996, I sported a very full, long,
            and red-black Walt-Whitman beard down below my pecs. Rowberry once
            demanded of me: “Why? Why? What’s it mean? What’s it for?” I responded:
            “To wrap around cocks.” He never asked again. His myopia for twenty-
            one-year-olds who looked fourteen, made him shortsighted as a journalist
            and a reviewer of gay culture. He did not get the emerging concept and

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