Page 68 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 68

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

            Anderson Cooper’s mother, heiress Gloria Vanderbilt. Capote’s magazine-
            generated trouble started with his tattletale article, “La Côte Basque 1965,”
            in Esquire (November 1975), the same month that the infant Drummer
            published issue number three, which was the first issue to dare to list the
            names of staff on the masthead.
               In his own exit from Drummer in 1992, former editor DeBlase, enjoying
            a big-fat-cigar moment in Drummer 159, adopted the title for himself that
            I had suggested for my own situation when he asked me how I defined my
            professional relationship to Drummer. When as a retired university associate
            professor emeritus, I suggested “Editor Emeritus,” DeBlase followed suit.
            After he sold Drummer, he went on to list himself as Drummer “Publisher
            Emeritus” and “Editor Emeritus.” Doesn’t almost every former Drummer
            editor deserve the title?
               Jeanne Barney laughed when I suggested she was “Drummer Editrix
               Embry, who was no Edith Piaf, might have best solved his regrets and
            his identity crisis over Drummer by simply naming himself Drummer found-
            ing publisher emeritus, and then moving on to publish his Drummer clones:
            Manifest Reader, MR, and Super MR. Although DeBlase had made Embry
            sign a non-compete clause in the 1986 sales contract, Embry would not stop
            competing. Even so, after selling Drummer, Embry never stopped fantasiz-
            ing about the original Drummer which had made him a success, and not
            vice versa. From start to finish, it took not just Embry, but hundreds of us
            to create Drummer.
               The history of the rise of Drummer was a birthing, nursing, and teeth-
            ing process of three years of angst (1975-1978) accomplished by a parental
            quartet consisting of one publisher (John Embry), and two editors-in-chief
            (Jeanne Barney and Jack Fritscher), and one art director (Al Shapiro) who
            founded and evolved Drummer from a pulp-paper LA tabloid to a glossy San
            Francisco magazine read internationally as a gay-identity journal.
               After that, came all the other publishers and editors who creatively
            repeated the themes and memes of original-recipe Drummer, particularly
            the crucial leather identity and gender identity issues of Drummer 19 to
            Drummer 33. Nearly everything contained in Drummer from 1980 to 1999
            was a reprise of the themes that the late-1970s Drummer had introduced—
            which is not to say that the later versions are not original, entertaining,
            valuable, and historic issues in their own right. Drummer is like wine. When
            someone says they love Drummer, ask what was the year and who was the
            editor of their favorite issue.

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