Page 339 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 319
             Dance to Remember.) Camille was to Robert Opel what Patti Smith was to
             Robert Mapplethorpe, except that Camille was hot. Forget comparisons
             to the intellectually engaging Patti Smith who is cool in her own right.
             Camille O’Grady seemed to me to be channeling Jim Morrison. In the
             early 70s, she was an artist who was a singer and a poet. She came up in the
             underground sex-art-punk milieu of Manhattan. At the Mineshaft, where
             no women were allowed, the crotchety Wally Wallace who founded and
             managed the Mineshaft (opening night, October 8, 1976, to the closing
             in 1985), told me in my videotaped interview with him (March 28, 1990)
             that he actually welcomed the full-leather Camille into his infamous sex
             club. (Wally Wallace died September 7, 1999.)
                Camille O’Grady lived the liberated pop-and-art life Camille Paglia
             wrote about ten years later. To me, Camille O’Grady was the “Queen of
             the Drummer Women.” She was second only to Jeanne Barney, the found-
             ing Los Angeles editor in chief of Drummer.
                As an exorcist ordained by the Catholic Church, I know about
             witches: Camille was born a changeling. In the 1977 text-and-photo book
             Hard Corps: Studies in Leather and Sadomasochism by Michael Grumley
             and Ed Gallucci, she appears in two photographs: as a striking woman,
             and as a genderfuck leatherboy. (I wrote in 1979, “Camille O’Grady is a
             lady. And the lady is a tramp. That’s hot.”) In fact, Wally Wallace not only
             let Camille in to play, he invited her to sing at the Mineshaft’s 1978 anni-
             versary party where she belted out her piss song, “Toilet Kiss.” She wrote
             all of her songs from a gay man’s point of view. Camille had assembled
             her own band dubbed “Leather Secrets” who were a prototype of punk
             and new wave. Camille told me on audiotape that she played at Hilly
             Kristal’s CBGB “before Patti.” Her flyer announcing her appearance at
             Max’s Kansas City, October 9, 1977, sported a drawing of her with a
             bullet-snifter of poppers (or coke?) up one nostril. Her temporary tattoos
             read “Wounded Not Broken” and “Stigmata Hari Bleeds for You.”
                She had messed around singing with Lou Reed who called her “Patti
             Smith without a social conscience.” That whole Warhol Factory superstar
             scene, and Interview magazine crowd, welcomed Camille’s creation of her
             own wild twin, “Stigmata Hari.” Camille met Robert Opel about the time
             he streaked the whole wide world on live television at the 1974 Academy
             Awards. My former house mate Jim Stewart whose work I introduced to
             Drummer photographed Camille for his show at the Ambush bar. The
             show opened on March 3, 1979, with Camille appearing in a “Special
             Guest Performance.” Jim Stewart had moved from Kalamazoo, Michi-
             gan, with David Sparrow and me when we all heard the call to head to
             San Francisco where Jim Stewart lived with us on 25  Street. Camille was,

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