Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Visit To The Homoerotic Cowboy Museum

Now that I've gotten your attention, I'd like to tell you about my visit to The Gene Autry National Center of The American West, located in Los Angeles' Griffith Park. I've lived in walking distance from this tourist attraction for almost 8 years now and finally decided to check out what's behind it's doors when my friend Laura got free passes for her, me and my friend Pam. I got much more out of it than I ever expected. Never a big western fan, I was somehow always been drawn to the iconic image of the American cowboy. I wonder why...The museum's permanent collection features rare photos, paintings and artifacts depicting these rough and tough  guys. From rodeo participants (above) to outlaws (below).  The miners pictured below in Ernest Narjot's 1992 painting Miners: A Moment of Rest would not look out of place on the cover of a gay pulp paperback.And the hunky Native American seen here in Charles Deas' 1846 Solitary Indian could easily pass for one of The Village People. Even my friend Pam thought the figure had a WeHo gym body.
Other pieces of interest include the entire Best of the West doll collection featuring Jane West!
Watch this for more on Jane:
Another famous western gal, was Annie Oakley, the legendary real-life performer whose life was immortalized on stage and screen through the Irving Berlin musical, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN.
Annie has been played by many gay icons starting with Ethel Merman all the way to Reba McEntire. Somewhere along the way Judy Garland was supposed to play her in what would have been a true classic.Unfortunately, Judy was replaced by the wonderful Betty Hutton, who made the role her own–but she's no Judy. Betty's costumes are on display at the museum.
As well as many examples of Annie Oakley merchandise...
and actual photos and items belonging to real woman.
The Bold Caballeros/Noble Bandidas exhibit features some wonderful film posters and collectibles including some wild western women like BANDIT QUEEN!
And a good amount of CISCO KID objects including posters like this one featuring everyone's favorite gay, Latino Joker, Cesar Romero!
In this one, he's even got a GAY AMIGO!
The character was so popular with kids, that he even had his own comic book...
and cool toys like this kinda creepy mask.
Elsewhere in the museum you can see Kate Hepburn's costume from 1975's ROOSTER COGBURN.
And pieces of the set from Robert Altman's 1976  revisionist western BUFFALO BILL AND THE INDIANS OR SITTING BULL'S HISTORY LESSON.
Including this gorgeous backdrop featuring Buffalo Bill...
as played by a dreamy Paul Newman.A display on costumes designs also caught my did a homage to THELMA & LOUISE!
But to my surprise, among the hundreds of other Hollywood western props, photos and costumes and costumes I actually found a small exhibit on Homosexuality!Along with the poster and a costume from ZORRO, THE GAY BLADE...
Was a lobby card from...
"the gay cowboy movie". Now that's what I call a happy ending to a wonderful day out.


Writer said...

Cowboy take me away
Fly this girl as high as you can
Into the wild blue

Tim B. said...

Thanks, Doug. Now I'll add the Autry Museum to my to-do list. When I was a kid I had one of those Johnny Wests with the hat and the horse.

doug said...

I always wanted the Jane West...I secretly hoped my sister would get her so I could play with it. Unfortunately my sister was too big of a tomboy to be into dolls. Dyke. (Not really) Her Barbies would have gathered dust if it wasn't for me.

robby said...

My sister had Jane West. We were playing with her and broker her arm. She was put into a drawer in the dining room china closet - for years we would refer to Jane West being in the hospital. I still think of that drawer as "the hospital".

doug said...

I love that story, Rob.

robby said...

The only thing I didnt like about them - John and Jane West - was that their clothes were plastic. Their bodies were molded as clothed. But, even their accessories - I think she had a vest - were made of soft plastic, not fabric.
Oh ... and the arms apparently broke too easily!