Page 52 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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34       Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

               For a Rorschach of the magazine’s post-raid state of mind, study the
            rattled cover design of Drummer 6, the second worst Drummer cover. It was
            a scrawl of busy and bad design too metaphorical and unsexy for readers
            wanting the newly uncloseted images of frank leather action. You can judge
            a magazine by its cover. In Drummer 7 (July 1976, page 68), Embry keened,
            “The LAPD understands no minority’s lifestyle.”
               In Drummer 9, (October 1976), Jeanne Barney editorialized on page 4
            that the LAPD Vice Squad had been very interested in Drummer changing
            its address; subpoenas, she wrote, were served by officers

               ...involved in the Slave Auction caper.... these visits always seem to
               occur after we’ve taken Ad Vice’s [sic] Lloyd Martin or “Crazy Ed”
               Davis to task in print for malperformance. The last raid on our
               offices took place a matter of hours after the issue which reported
               on police outrages at the Slave Auction. (Issue No. 6). The most
               recent drop-in came about within seven days of Drummer No. 8
               hitting the stands...the issue in which we blew the whistle on the
               deal made by the Deputy District Attorney....

               With issues of Drummer always hungry for fill, why did Embry never cre-
            ate a special “Drummer Slave Auction Issue” in the regular run of Drummer
            or in any of the fifty-something extra issues of Drummer? If not immediately
            after the bust, then some time during the eleven years he personally owned
            Drummer? In endless complaints he referenced his famous arrest, but was
            he unable to deal creatively with his abuse by cops? Embry was no artist.
            He was incapable of lifting his reality to the level of erotic creative expres-
            sion. He was so angry with the LAPD that he could not handle the idea of
            creating a thematic issue dedicated in words and illustrations to exorcizing
            the raid by eroticizing the leathermen, the slaves, the sex, the bondage, the
            whips, the cops, the uniforms, the arrest, the jail, and the fetishes in play
            that April night. At one time, I wanted to dramatize that LAPD “Mark IV
            Bath” bust the same way I did the NYPD “Stonewall Inn” bust in my story
            “Stonewall: June 27, 1969, 11 PM.”
               Herein lies an essential evaluation of Embry as a publisher and his-
            torian.  Any  publisher  who  is  a  real  journalist  would  have  interviewed
            Rashomon eyewitnesses Jeanne Barney, Val Martin, Terry LeGrand, and the
            Libertarian, Fred Halsted, a co-auctioneer, who wrote his own eyewitness
            in Package 1 (July 1976), pages 28-29, and in Package 2 (September 1976),
            page 3. A crusading journalist would also have subpoenaed the LAPD for
            return of Drummer’s confiscated photographs, and would have purchased

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