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GAY SAN FRANCISCO: EYEWITNESS DRUMMER
by Jack Fritscher
Chapter also available in PDF and Flip
I. Author’s Eyewitness Historical-Context Introduction written August 25, 1998
II. The feature article as published in Drummer 15, May 1977
III. Eyewitness Illustrations
I. Author’s Eyewitness Historical-Context Introduction written August 25, 1998
In 1976, word around San Francisco was that a newspaper centered on Folsom Street life was about to begin publication and be distributed free in the South of Market bars and restaurants. It was to be called The Bridge, but despite it being a great idea it never took off. At the same time, San Francisco leather men began to hear of Drummer in Los Angeles. A hundred days later when Drummer began arriving in February 1977, the idea of The Bridge collapsed.
From my 1960s eyewitness recall, the San Francisco leather community early on had a need for a dedicated newspaper or magazine when Drummer suddenly blew into town. I liked the idea because I sensed the support was there not only in potential readers but in a talent base eager to be tapped to fill the pages of a leather publication.
In 1971, my lover David Sparrow and I had appeared in forty or so S&M leather photographs in Whipcrack which was the first leather magazine published in San Francisco. Whipcrack was created as a one-time issue, but the response the magazine received encouraged me to keep the emerging idea of a leather publication on the burner.
Earlier, in 1969, I had already completed my first leather novel titled I Am Curious (Leather). In its time, that little leather “classic” also known as Leather Blues sold 10,000 copies at $5.95 for Gay Sunshine Press. More than ten years before anyone ever saw the first copy of Drummer, I had a personal and professional feeling for the content and the demographic marketing of the leather culture I’d been playing in since the mid-1960s with partners in the scene since the 1950s.
With Drummer in mind, I produced and wrote this “Cock Casting” photo feature with several talented and fun-loving friends. The source for my process analysis was my pal, Joe Taylor, who ran his own leather-making workshop at 768 Clementina Street. His was the first-floor flat under photographer Jim Stewart’s upstairs at 766. In the style of the times, Taylor billed his business identity as “Taylor of San Francisco” using a single name and a city name, as did so many others following the fashion set by “Tom of Finland.” The photographer for “Cock Casting” was named Peter Munekee. His “headless model” was everyone’s favorite model, Max Morales.
To follow up this Drummer 15 how-to article, I invited Taylor of San Francisco to return to Drummer to write and produce the “Body Casting” photo feature in Drummer 18 lensed by Gene Weber, a true documentary photographer of San Francisco S&M.
Within this circle of kinship, I had previously booked Gene Weber, who was my longtime traveling companion, to photograph two other intimates of my circle— the Catholic leather priest Jim Kane and his lover Ike Barnes (and me, top page 17) — for “Famous Dungeons of San Francisco” in Drummer 17 (July 1977), which was one of the first pieces I produced for Drummer.
Gene Weber also photographed several of us in the underwater fisting shots of my “Gay Sports” feature in Drummer 20 (January 1978). He also shot me with my longtime playmate and “co-star” bottom, the redheaded Russell Van Leer, in Blood Crucifixion lensed on location in the dungeon of S&M hustler John Pfleiderer. (Russell Van Leer, the sex-adventurer, is no relation to my other redheaded friend, David Van Leer, the gay studies professor at the University of California-Davis and author of the book The Queening of America.) Blood Crucifixion was one of Gene Weber’s famous multi-media 35mm S&M extravaganzas which he frequently screened for invited audiences of gentlemen in his Upper Terrace home. He projected his images on his art-theater-sized 20-foot wide-screen using machines programmed so fluidly that his presentation looked like a movie when, in fact, it was a series of 35mm slides dissolving at different speeds into each other. When frequent Drummer photographer Gene Weber died, October 2, 1992, he bequeathed his vast 35mm-color transparency collection to the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Collection at the San Francisco Public Library where his Blood Crucifixion and other photography may be viewed.
Besides having vacationed together in the Carribean (1977) to go on location for the Drummer 20 underwater scuba sex shots at Grand Cayman, Gene Weber and I had traveled together to Japan in October 1975, sleeping on floor mats in dormitories in Osaka with fifty snoring working men, balling in Tokyo with a young Japanese Communist karate instructor, cottaging in the park with a friend of Van Cliburn’s, and spending time in the outskirts of Tokyo at a Samurai house of bondage where the vibe was polite but a bit cool because the forty-year-old owners remembered World War II. Upon my return to the jaded sex scene of San Francisco, I introduced my fundoshi (and how to wrap it) as a new fetish and freshened a few scenes demonstrating Japanese rope bondage which I explained as a way of tying the body to itself rather than to something else.
The model in Gene Weber’s photos for “Body Casting” in Drummer 18 (August 1977), pages 66-69, was, again, our friend Max Morales, who sometimes worked for Drummer, modeled for the Leatherneck bar, competed in the Mr. CMC Carnival, and was the handsome and energy-centered athlete who was great friends with Paul Gerrior aka Ledermeister, the archetypal Colt model on whose non-avoirdupois type the original “bear” movement was based. In our Drummer salon, it was a pleasure to produce “Body Casting” written by Taylor of San Francisco with fourteen photographs of Max Morales shot by Gene Weber.
I remember I was fascinated that in North Beach theater-clubs and cabarets featuring “Live Topless Girls,” Max Morales appeared nightly, or at least, regularly, oozing male sex appeal. He was the exotic-erotic dance partner of several female dancers. Because I so appreciated the hot energy field around Max Morales, I invented a way to fictionalize his persona, for myself at least, in The Holy Mountain section of Some Dance to Remember, Reel 6, Scene 4.
Drummer salonista Max Morales was also famous for creating tapes of music for bars and baths and galleries. The Folsom Street flyer for “Double Exposure: Photos and Drawings by Jim Stewart and Gregg Coates” read
“Opening Reception: Friday, 13 October 1978; 8:00 - Midnight. Audio by Max Morales. Invitation admits two. 766 Clementina Alley [Street], San Francisco, CA (S. O. M.) [The acronym SoMa was on the cusp of happening.] Public Viewing: Noon - 5 PM. Sats & Suns, 14 Oct - 5 Nov.”
This is the kind of ambient salon of leather friends and talent that the lucky Drummer fell into when arriviste Embry found himself exiled out of LA and into San Francisco late in 1976 and early 1977.
It was my friend Sam Steward, the veteran of Gertrude and Alice’s salon, who first used the word salon to describe what he saw as my interesting circle of friends around Drummer.
Here’s a do-it-yourself section you won’t find in any issue of Popular Mechanics! It’s something for you more trophy-minded Masters — a step by step guide to casting your Slave’s cock. The session pictured here is the handiwork of satyr/photographer Peter Munekee, who has a special relish for using the torturous hot wax casting technique.
To make your own casing of an erect cock, melt one pound of paraffin (or sealing wax). Place it over a fondue pot base or chafing dish candle unit to keep it at working temperature. Have your subject kneel on the floor or a table and spread his knees; then coat the pubic area liberally with grease. (Vaseline works best.) Paint a thick coat over his cock and balls (up to his asshole), inside his thighs, and across the belly up to his navel. Shave or Vaseline pubic hairs away from the casting area.
With a 1” brush, coat the front of the balls with the hot paraffin, building up several coats until the wax is 1/4” thick. Then move up the side of the sac and around to the base of the cock and coat it equally as thick.
Now work up the cock to an erection without touching it. Use some anal action, dirty talk, poppers, tit clamps, or whatever it takes to keep it stiff as you proceed up the cock with a 1/4” coat of wax. It must remain rock hard and totally immobile until you wax off the knob with the final coat.
As soon as the last coat is hard, the subject can relax. The best way to remove the finished mold is to have him piss it off — carefully. You don’t want to drop it.
To cast a plaster replica of the mold, fill a box with sand or tightly stuffed newspapers and set the mold in it, the opening level with the top. Mix ½ pound of Plaster of Paris and pour it in slowly. The slave pictured took 3/4 pound.
As you pour, it is very important to bump, jiggle, and tap the mold to eliminate bubbling. Let the filled mold set for an hour. After it has cooled, lift it out of the box and lightly slice the wax coating with an Exacto knife, then peel it off. Let the plaster cast cure for at least eight hours before you sand it and patch any air holes. After that, it is ready to be painted, mounted, or whatever collectors do with their trophies.