Page 497 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 497

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 18                       479

             pages 25 to 27 were by rising star Mapplethorpe. Furthering this grand
             illusion, Embry also published an authentic Mapplethorpe photo without
             permission at the end of this photo layout. By its key position, the photo
             with its accurate credit line, seemed to suggest to the casual reader that the
             entire photo feature was indeed by Mapplethorpe.
                In his vendetta to disrespect Mapplethorpe, Embry, on the last page of
             Drummer 32, did an “end run” calling his theft “fair use.” Because I was no
             longer editor-in-chief, I could no longer stop him. So the trickster published
             a “picture within a picture,” skirting the intellectual property laws. The
             clever photo by Efren Ramirez showed the back of my friend, Ike Barnes,
             standing in uniform at the 80 Langton Street gallery (March 21, 1978), and
             looking at a wall hung with two Mapplethorpe photographs. Embry had
             directed the talented photo-journalist Ramirez, a frequent Drummer pho-
             tographer, to aim his camera so the focal interest was not Barnes’s back, but
             the exhibited full-frontal “Bloody Penis” photograph by Robert that Embry
             was forbidden to publish or imitate.


             Was it separation anxiety? Was it a control issue? Within the first year after
             selling Drummer, Embry, like an obsessive parent who cannot let go, trashed
             DeBlase and Desmodus, Inc. The occasion was the obituary I’d written in
             Drummer 107 (August 1987) for Al Shapiro who had died May 30, 1987.
                At the height of the AIDS emergency, none of us, including publisher
             Tony Deblase, was taking gratuitous swipes at Embry so much as trying,
             in the face of tragic deaths, to write satirical comedy about the institutional
             life of Drummer during the three crazy years of the 1970s sex farce when
             Shapiro had worked as art director with me under Embry from March 1977
             to February 1980.
                The Embry-DeBlase publishing feud was between them, but Embry
             was ready to take on any comment about himself in Deblase’s Drummer,
             even while he continued to advertise—in trade as part of his terms of sale—
             his Manifest Reader in two-page spreads in Drummer.
                In Drummer 117 (June 1988), page 85, leather pioneer and reviewer
             Thor Stockman tore the “shameless” publisher and editors of  Manifest
             Reader into tiny bits for reprinting stories printed earlier in Drummer to
             which they no longer owned any rights.
                Similar comments also appeared in Drummer 145 (December 1990).
             While Embry railed against me, he railed also against Deblase’s “almost

               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-14-2017
   492   493   494   495   496   497   498   499   500   501   502