THE BLOG
12/10/2010 06:07 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Brokeback Mountain Sears Its Brand Into the American West

Five years ago when Brokeback Mountain was released it ripped across the boundaries of the American Western. Its timing was perfect -- the right's rhetoric against gay America was at a fever pitch lynching equality with fear and hate. Brokeback challenged the negativity, soaring across the country in a swarm of delightful, synergistic controversy.

Unexpected love inevitably leaves people asking questions. Brokeback Montain reminds me of George Stevens' A Place in the Sun -- two lovers so perfect together they stopped the clock at a party dance -- only in the end to run of time. Brokeback's tale of star-crossed lovers struck a rabbit-punch in the belly of the homophobic national dialogue. As Washington was defending marriage from the homosexual, Brokeback was showing gay men were already betrothed. Hollywood was holding up a clearer mirror but America was confused by the reflection. Uh-oh, someone had to answer the questions.

Dave Cullen created The Ultimate Brokeback Forum where a community of theatregoers and downright fans could post about the film, the short story, and all things Brokeback. The posts show truths buried deep in the heart of some unhappy married men. The forum was catharsis for conversation about marriage, manhood, stereotypes and hate.

The Autry National Center of the American West, will commemorate the film this Saturday, December 11th. At 3:00 p.m. they will present a staged reading, scripted by Gregory Hinton, based on the book Beyond Brokeback -- a collection of selected posts from Dave Cullen's inspired forum. This reading will be preceded by a 35mm screening of Brokeback Mountain at 11:30 a.m..

The day promises benevolence and western wonderment for gentle souls, and frustration and anger for miserable people who think of gay people negatively. Get over it, you might be married to one!

You can find Shawn Kirschner's album here.