Page 77 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 2                         59

             leather-identified homosexuals trying to solve the perpetual problems of
             mass transit and buses and trains running on time. As a new broom from
             Kaiser Engineers, I wrote from scratch for the San Francisco Muni Metro
             all the safety and procedures manuals, and the bus billboards introducing
             the new Muni Metro rail cars and station layouts to a city learning how to
             use it, as well as the Elderly and Handicapped Guide to Muni Metro. It was
             amusing to me to be a gay author writing Drummer while writing billboards
             for buses, and a leather writer penning brochures instructing people where
             to go. Within the rules of equal opportunity hiring in late 1979, I fell to one
             knee at the desk of Muni personnel director Al Schaaf begging him to hire
             the college-qualified David Sparrow—who in solidarity with me had quit
             as Drummer photographer—for a permanent position that he kept until he
             died of AIDS in 1992.
                Our Drummer Salon encompassed writing, photography, sex, art, and
             real estate. David Sparrow and I helped Kane and Barnes remodel their
             newly purchased fixer-upper home at 11 Pink Alley. That silly address
             caused much hilarity in our leather Bloomsbury. The pink sounded gay and
             the two words together sounded like the G. I. American-in-Paris thrill: the
             sex district Pigalle pronounced as “Pig Alley.” Because Kane was a famous
             priest whipmeister and a founder of the Society of Janus, it became a sexual
             and social code: “Have you been to Pink Alley?”
                The Kane-Barnes living space was built above a garage and became
             famous for their first-floor garage dungeon, entered through a hidden door
             upstairs in the kitchen floor, as well as for their upstairs dinner parties where
             we sat around the table with artists such as author, artist, and tattooist,
             Sam Steward; my lover Robert Mapplethorpe; my longtime playmate, the
             German commercial photographer, Gerhard Pohl, the director of scatologi-
             cal films, who became a Drummer contributor; my fuckbuddy, who was also
             the art director of Drummer, Al Shapiro aka the artist A. Jay, and Touko
             Laaksonen aka Tom of Finland. At this Pink location, my friend and  travel
             companion, photographer Gene Weber, shot black-and-white pictures docu-
             menting Kane and Barnes in their dungeon for Drummer.
                That season, Tom was traveling with his longtime lover, Veli, who spoke
             only Finnish. It was Tom’s first trip to the United States in February-March
             1978 for his first American exhibitions. Tom opened at Robert Opel’s Fey-
             Way Gallery in San Francisco at an invitation-only 8 PM reception on Friday,
             February 3, with a second personal gallery appearance by Tom on Saturday,
             3-6 PM, February 4, for the opening of the show running February 4-15.
             Tom appeared at Fey-Way courtesy of Eons Gallery in Los Angeles where
             he and his show opened on Friday, February 17, 1978.

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