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R.I.P. John H. Embry

John H. Embry, pioneer gay author, publisher and activist, died in his sleep at the age of 83 on the morning of Thursday, September 16, 2010 at his home in San Francisco.

After a successful career in advertising and marketing, John founded the groundbreaking magazine Drummer, which became the most successful national publication for gay men in the leather lifestyle.

John published the magazine from its inception in 1975 until 1986, when he sold it.

John and founding Editor Jeanne Barney shared a vision: To produce a magazine that celebrated the masculine gay male, while embracing the literary values of the Evergreen Review, a publication famous for content that was counter to the culture and sexy. As such, they attracted such talent as Phil Andros (Sam Steward), Scott Masters (Edward Menerth), Fred Halsted, Tom of Finland, Harry Bush and Robert Opel, among others.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of Drummer. For the first time, gay men across the country - particularly gay men in small-town America - saw masculine images of themselves and not the stereotypes presented in mainstream media. Through their encounter with Drummer, many gay men realized that there were others like themselves “out there.” At the same time, the magazine highlighted gay leather bars and businesses and gave those establishments a national venue.

The impact became even greater when, because of police harassment in LA, the magazine moved to San Francisco in 1977, generating an influx of gay Leathermen to the Bay Area.

Drummer was a significant contributor to the creation of the international Leather Community and gave birth to such famous San Francisco social events as the California Motorcycle Club (CMC) Carnival and the Mr. Drummer contest.

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." — Henry David Thoreau

Gronked from metalbond


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 19th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
In total transparency: John Embry hired me as founding San Francisco editor in chief of Drummer, in March 1977. I was one of only two "editors in chief" during the whole history of Drummer (1975-1999) under three publishers of which Embry was the first (1975-1986). The one other "editor in chief" was the LA editor Jeanne Barney who exited with issue 12 or so. I was responsible for creating Drummer's "signature issues" 19-33, and the special issue Son of Drummer.

May I speak my prayer now: "May John Embry rest in peace."

Enhancing John Embry’s Obituary:

“Drummer” magazine publisher John Embry, who has died (1926-2010), hired me, as mentioned, as founding San Francisco editor in chief of “Drummer” in 1977. Developing “Drummer” during the Titanic 1970s, Embry and I worked on leather articles intensely and then intermittently through 2002. He will be missed by the thousands of writers, artists, photographers, and staff who created Drummer.

For anyone wishing eyewitness details of John Embry’s life, and all our lives, at “Drummer,” check out the book “Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer” available in paperback at Amazon.

And FREE to all on line, as a gay community service, at http://www.JackFritscher.com.

Type EMBRY into the SEARCH feature.

Visit this link: http://www.jackfritscher.com/Drummer/ReflectingDrummer.html
Oct. 19th, 2010 03:43 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for chiming in.

My store was the first leather store in upstate New York and at first, we only carries Mach, Drummer, FQ and their other publication (which name escapes my mind right now -- maybe Dungeonmaster?)

It was a sad day when Drummer as sold and the real leathermen were replaced with hairless boys. Sales of Drummer plummeted. We _never_ had returns for Drummer until then... :-(

I had a personal hard-on for "Drum" (the cartoon)

*sigh* memories....

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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