Page 49 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 1                         31


             days of dirt-bike scrambles in my small town. Leather is a language, and I
             was intent on speaking and writing it fluently, as much as I was enjoying
             coining new leather vocabulary to write about gay masculine concepts that
             before Stonewall had been afraid to speak their names.


             THE LAPD GAY-BASHES DRUMMER

             Between Embry’s flame-throwing Drummer 4 (January 1976) and Drummer
             6 (May 1976), the LAPD’s high-profile and political raid on the Drummer
             Slave Auction (April 10, 1976) struck Drummer with a vengeance.
                What were Embry and Barney thinking?
                Barney wanted Drummer to be a leather Evergreen Review.
                Embry wanted Drummer to be a leather Advocate.
                I wanted Drummer to be the gay-identity version of 1940s and 1950s
             men’s adventure magazines like Argosy and Saga mixed with the substance
             of Esquire, Time, and The Journal of Popular Culture.
                So why did Drummer aggravate and bedevil the LAPD?
                Were the pioneering Embry and Barney living up to some last hur-
             rah from the Revolutionary 1960s? Were they drumming up some ersatz
             Stonewall incident in LA? Embry first mentions Stonewall in Drummer 2
             (August 1976), the same issue in which Barney made the first mention of
             “adult-child sex.”
                Were they trying to be shocking like Sally Bowles?
                Didn’t they know that in 1967 the S&M favorite, Jim Morrison, the
             black-leather singer of the Doors, had been maced and arrested on stage in
             Florida, not for exposing his penis as charged, but for bad-mouthing the
             police in his act and in his interviews?
                Had Embry misinterpreted Thoreau and his drum?
                Every gay person should own Walden (1854): “If a man does not keep
             pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drum-
             mer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far
             away.”
                Embry was well aware that Thoreau’s quote had appeared on Drummer’s
             1965 predecessor, Drum magazine, published by Clark Polak in Philadelphia.
             In Los Angeles in 1971, Embry published a small-format Drummer, costing
             twenty-five-cents. It was, historically the first issue of “little” Drummer,
             December 1, 1971, and Thoreau was not mentioned. “Little” Drummer,
             issue two, December 10-24, featured articles on restaurants and where
             to buy hairpieces. Thoreau was not mentioned. On September 15, 1972,
             Embry created “Little Drummer, Volume 2, Number 1, in a Time magazine


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