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Copyright Jack Fritscher, Ph.D. & Mark Hemry - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

by Jack Fritscher

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Gay Source: A Catalog for Men

Written September-October 1977, this book review was published in Drummer 20, January 1978.

I.        Author’s Eyewitness Historical-Context Introduction written July 25, 1996

II.     The book review as published in Drummer 20, January 1978

III.  Eyewitness Illustrations


I.        Author’s Eyewitness Historical-Context Introduction written July 25, 1996


This book review was written in tandem with my friend Bob Zygarlicki, a moustached blond with a wide-open and smiling face. As a very young part of the stable and salon around Drummer, he supported my editorial work with his writing and his photography. At first I had mentored him and his writing through my personal tutorial advertised in Drummer as “Writer’s Aid” helping young authors get started in the emerging 1970s style of erotic magazine journalism. Other Drummer graduates of my “Writer’s Aid” included among some notables whose names I cannot reveal Skip Navarette, John Trojanski, and Anthony DeBlase who became owner and publisher of Drummer in 1986. As Zygarlicki matured into the Drummer style, we worked together to produce several articles including a review of the bar, the I-Beam.

Like all publishers, including The Advocate founders, Dick Michaels and Bill Rand, who had six people writing under twenty-six pseudonyms, John Embry wanted to give the impression that Drummer was written by a boatload of talent. To satisfy Embry, I assigned this tandem review a solo byline crediting Bob Zygarlicki only.

As editor in chief, I performed as a constant and “serial ghostwriter” in Drummer.

Zygarlicki really existed, although few believed it.

On Folsom Street, my pals, including especially my longtime friend, Hank Diethelm, the founding owner of the Brig bar on Folsom Street, often made references to “Mr. Cigar Licky” and made jokes that my funny fetish pen name didn’t fool anybody.

However, at the CMC Carnival 1978, I photographed a shirtless Bob Zygarlicki, wearing a black leather collar and chain, followed by his dark bearded partner Jack Wilburn; both sport dark glasses. I published the photograph in Drummer 26 (January 1979), on the bottom half of page 85. Zygarlicki also shot Wilburn for the cover of the “Virtual Drummer magazine titled Folsom, issue #4 (1981).


II.     The feature essay as published in Drummer 20, January 1978


Drummer Reads The Books


Gay Source: A Catalog for Men

Dennis Sanders

Berkeley Publishing Corporation New York, 1977


Conventional gay cruising areas like bars, parks, and public restrooms are currently declining in popularity as gay awareness opens alternate avenues of meeting. These days, everything from sports to church socials provide gay activities through which we can meet, cruise, and encounter legally and with dignity. An awareness of this trend appears to be the basic motivation of Gay Source: A Catalog for Men, compiled, written, and edited by Dennis Sanders who states in his Preface: “There is a broad, somewhat informal, but nevertheless highly functional network of businesses, communications, and services which have arisen in response to the needs of our great gay community.”

Gay Source is a 290-page compilation of what is happening where within a sweeping variety of gay-oriented activities around the country. Topics covered range from the serious to the whimsical: arts to health to drugs to body awareness to fashions to legalities to religion to vacation paradises. Sanders prefaces each topic with an informative, and often entertaining, article detailing what the area is all about, followed by listings, descriptions, and up-to-date correspondence information for organizations, books, periodicals, and resources.

Sanders is upfront with giving Gayellow Pages [founded 1973] its due credit while explaining how the Gay Source Catalog has angled its useful perspective without duplicating Gayellow Pages work. His preface explains his Catalog: it is for men; bars and retail businesses are excluded as are poetry and fiction listings while gay musical composers and theater are included. Where other directories provide information Sanders has chosen not to include, he lists them and recommends cross-reference. He has chosen a selection of fresh topics which “...will give a cross section of information, viewpoints, and areas of interest.”

Twenty-eight writers, each credible in his own field, have been chosen to author the thirty-five succinct prefacing articles, many of which are reprints from a variety of national publications. Each article describes the history and the current state of each particular topic. Some articles offer insightful direction for the future. Others emphasize where more work is needed.

Sanders has chosen not to dwell on the oppression that gays face in the non-gay world, but rather to point out the amicable relationships that exist in many areas between the gay and non-gay worlds. The Gay Source Catalog emphasizes our human sameness rather than our sexual differences.

Sanders’ energy shows in his detailed listings of the organizations, books, periodicals, and resources he has chosen for his catalog. In these lists, he presents thoroughly all appropriate information concerning the listing and then very objectively evaluates it from several different perspectives. He states why the one book chosen is the best available, supporting his evaluation with objective evidence. He never negates absolutely any listing. Whatever is included is obviously relevant and worthwhile.

As with any book of lists, none can ever be completely up-to-date. Gay Source works well even with this handicap; very few out-dated listings caught my eye. Sanders states that he was often disappointed by the lack of response from many businesses and organizations who neither provided or updated information. Within the listings, he offers alternative directories and publications to bridge this gap in up-to-date information. Often The Gay Source Catalog contains interesting surprises: a history of “gay pirate buccaneer homosexuality” is detailed; a state-by-state summary of sodomy, indecent exposure, lewdness, solicitation, and disorderly conduct laws; a positive approach toward government assistance for gays. Many articles offer a “how-to-do” approach: how to publish your own book, how to pump-up in ten minutes without a gym, how to go about making the decision of “coming out” professionally, how to handle an arrest situation, how to choose a therapist, etc. Sanders’ book takes a most positive descriptive approach of how things are, rather than a negative proscriptive attitude on how things should be.

Gay Source: A Catalog for Men is a sound investment for any gay man, no matter where he is geographically located. For those not having the freedom of gay interaction offered in larger U.S. cities, Gay Source is a practical and even necessary reference book for finding alternative means to meet and communicate with other gay men. For those of us surrounded by the freedom of The Big Time, Gay Source is still very good news.

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Copyright Jack Fritscher, Ph.D. & Mark Hemry - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED