Page 58 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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40       Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            monthly order for San Francisco Drummer. Labonté’s amusing eyewitness
            email sent December 21, 2006, paints a sweet picture of the ADL startup
            which coincided with a moment in time, that I remember fondly, when I
            had edited more than half of the existing issues of Drummer.

               I think our magazine supplier (a Venice Beach independent, not one
               of the Larry Flynt or Mafia companies [who published so many gay
               magazines]) started us with 5 copies of Drummer the first couple of
               weeks. At the same time, we were dropping [our cash-drawer] quar-
               ters into The Advocate vending machines in front of the YMCA in
               Glendale and the old Bodybuilders Gym in Silver Lake and liberat-
               ing five or six copies from each box, because The Advocate was one
               mag our supplier couldn’t supply. Within a few weeks, our draw for
               Drummer went from 5 to 10 to 25 and finally to 50 for each new
               issue, with fill-ins ordered in as required until the next issue. I soon
               learned to keep as many back issues in stock as our supplier could
               provide (often returns from other outlets), so that customers from
               out of town could buy three or four months’ worth of Drummer
               at a time.

            In the zero degrees of separation, Richard Labonté and A Different Light
            helped  Drummer  succeed in its significant 1979 growth spurt. Labonté’s
            statement reveals how periodical literature grew in the 1970s before small gay
            book publishers arose in the 1980s. Drummer had fled LA and had become
            a San Francisco magazine whose reintroduction to LA was greatly goosed
            because Labonté in Silver Lake exhibited hard copies at A Different Light
            where browsers could sample the redesigned  Drummer  before becoming
            subscribers. The British actor and leather personality, Peter Bromilow, who
            emceed leather events at LA bars and starred in many big-budget films includ-
            ing Camelot, recalled that Los Angeles leather queens, as he called them, were
            amazed at the change made in Drummer by the move to San Francisco.


            Having purchased Drummer from John Embry on August 22, 1986, new
            Drummer  publisher Anthony F. DeBlase and his lover, the psychiatrist
            Andrew Charles, president of their Desmodus, Inc. corporation, ending the
            Blacklist, personally invited me to return to the landmark issue 100 of the
            Embry-free Drummer. In fact, DeBlase, cued and funded by Charles, quietly
            hired me as a private personal advisor for the next three years because they

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