Page 496 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 496

478      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999


               In the zero degrees of separation, Embry did not calculate the intima-
            cies and alliances of the shared pasts in the Drummer Salon such as I had
            with Lou Thomas, Robert Mapplethorpe, Sam Steward, David Sparrow,
            Jim Kane, Jim Stewart, and Al Shapiro who had been pals with Jim French
            from the time in the 1960s when Shapiro and French both lived in Brooklyn
            Heights off Joralemon Street in a building so gay its camp name was “KY
            Flats.”
               Pissing off both Mapplethorpe and me, Embry’s “Inner Brutus” stabbed
            the two of us. On my own initiative, after Robert had flown from New
            York to show me his portfolio, I had produced, cast, designed, and per-
            sonally paid for the Mapplethorpe cover shoot which Robert, unlike other
            Drummer photographers begging to be published “for free,” would not do
            unless he was, in fact, paid. Embry sniped with intent to control and hurt
            the feelings of both Robert and me with a statement that was not true: “That
            Mapplethorpe cover was the worst selling issue we ever had.”
               Embry further angered Mapplethorpe when Embry, suffering a
            huge case of “Penis Envy,” tried to shoot his own photograph to recreate
            Mapplethorpe’s crucified-dick picture which I had published in 1978’s Son
            of Drummer, page 16. In his first Drummer after my exit, Embry published
            his own graceless imitation of a Mapplethorpe picture: Drummer 31, page
            73. For that bit of loose plagiarism, my Satanic Robert pledged to put a
            joke-y curse on Embry. Instead, Robert claimed he had his attorney send a
            letter threatening suit for violation of copyright, which, if true, would have
            made jealous Embry even angrier at me, the zealous editor, who was always
            pushing him to publish every contributor’s copyright in line with the new
            Copyright Law of 1976 that went into effect January 1, 1978, at the height
            of the Golden Age of Drummer. Was it obstinacy that in the special issue,
            Drummer Rides Again  (1979), scofflaw Embry reprinted Mapplethorpe’s
            crucified-dick photograph, with no credit line and no copyright, to illustrate
            his own “Robert Payne” column on page 62? Was it accidentally on purpose
            that Embry toyed with the intellectual property of Robert Mapplethorpe in
            Robert Payne’s The Care and Training of the Male Slave II?
               Embry, republishing Jim Stewart’s photos from  Drummer  16 (June
            1977) in The Care and Training II magazine, credited Stewart’s photo on
            page 28 to Mapplethorpe who was militant that his photographs not be
            confused with any other leather photographer. Stewart himself received no
            credit for all his photos used as illustrations. In fact, the whole photo spread
            in Care and Training II, was so loosely credited that the only byline was for
            one photo by LA leatherman Dave Sands. Embry’s layout seemed purposed
            to give the readers the “large” impression that virtually all the photos on


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