Page 22 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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2                                       Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
            this formative time, he edited and signed Drummer 19-30 as well as his
            unsigned hybrid issues Drummer 14-18, and 31-33, plus his special extra
            issue of New York art, Son of Drummer (September 1978). He kept steady
            through the sturm und drang of all three owner-publishers: John Embry,
            Anthony F. DeBlase, and Martijn Bakker. Fritscher was Drummer’s most
            frequent contributing writer and photographer for 65 of the 214 issues
            during three publishers over 24 years
               Embry hired Fritscher conceptually as the “founding San Francisco
            editor in chief of Drummer.”
               By “founding San Francisco editor in chief,” Embry, who was new
            to the city, meant the deeply established Fritscher was to be his San Fran-
            cisco talent scout discovering and recruiting a new group of contributors,
            ideas, and themes for Drummer orphaned in LA. The legendary Sam
            Steward, who was an intimate in the charmed circle around Gertrude
            Stein and Alice B. Toklas, dubbed the 1970s group Fritscher collected as
            “The Drummer Salon.”
               Fritscher is the historian of Drummer’s institutional memory.
               During those 24 years of Fritscher’s surveillance of Drummer as edi-
            tor in chief, writer, and photographer, the three publishers’ feuds with
            each other — each with his blacklist — destroyed the very institutional
            memory of Drummer. Out of the cabals and brawls, Fritscher was the one,
            single, longtime, and very inside eyewitness left standing.
               Over 24 years, he observed Drummer for 2.5 times longer than John
            Embry, the founding owner and publisher who worked with Drummer
            for only 11 years, and fought with it for 14 years. DeBlase toyed with
            Drummer for 6 years; Bakker killed Drummer in an assisted suicide that
            took 6 years.
               Arts critic John F. Karr wrote in the Bay Area Reporter, June 27, 1985:
            “Fritscher invented the South of Market prose style and its magazines
            which would not be the same without him.”
      defined Fritscher as “the groundbreaking editor of
            Drummer magazine.”
               The Gay and Lesbian Historical Society mentioned: “Fritscher is the
            prolific author who since the late sixties has helped document the gay
            world and the changes it has undergone.”

                   Memory may fragment with time; but Fritscher’s germinal
               reflection restores the institutional memory timeline of  Drummer
               with dates, and more importantly with the streaming flow of life,
               feeling, and blood with which he connects the dots of incident,
               calendar, clock, and personalities into a useful reminiscence of a

          ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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