Monday, April 26, 2010

The Autry to continue Out West series focusing on Western LGBT community

The Autry
4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027

“Hidden Histories” Discovers Untold Stories
of the Western LGBT Community
The second program in the Out West series at the Autry

Thursday, May 13, 2010
7:00-9:00 p.m. Free with museum admission

Discover the untold stories of the Western LGBT community on this progressive gallery tour as scholars and Autry curators tell the hidden stories behind some of the objects on display. The Autry’s second program in its Out West series delves into uncharted territory highlighting accounts of individuals who lived gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender lives from the 1800s to modern times in the American West. With this step, the Autry boldly adds the overlooked stories of the western LGBT community as yet another dimension of multicultural convergence in the scholarship of Western American history.

Objects on the gallery tour include Elizabeth Bacon Custer’s day dress from the 1870s, the Concord mail stagecoach from 1855, a post office letter box, cowboy gear, and other objects bearing stories related to the LGBT experience in the American West.

“With Hidden Histories, the Autry National Center weaves the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community into the rich tapestry of the American West,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “It is so important for Americans to hear stories that reflect the diversity of the LGBT community and our presence throughout our nation’s great history. GLAAD is proud to endorse Out West.”

The Out West series is under the direction of Stephen Aron, professor of history at UCLA and executive director of the Institute for the Study of the American West at the Autry. Blake Allmendinger, a professor in the English Department at UCLA who specializes in teaching the literature of the American West, will provide the context for the evening in a keynote address. Leading the tour groups will be Jim Wilke, independent scholar and curator; Patricia Nell Warren, renowned Western historian and author of eight books, including The Front Runner; Carolyn Brucken, the Autry’s Associate Curator of Western Women’s History; and Jeffrey Richardson, the Autry’s Assistant Curator of Film and Popular Culture.

“The words ‘homosexuality’ and ‘heterosexuality’ did not commonly exist a hundred years ago, and we must take great care to be judicious as we consider the Autry artifacts from their own historical context. Scholarship on the contributions of the LGBT community to the history and culture of the American West is relatively new. Nevertheless, we were there, and with Out West—here we are. It’s our history, too,” noted Gregory Hinton, creator and producer of the Out West series.

Hidden Histories
Thursday, May 13, 2010
7:00–9:00 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Complimentary refreshments to be served, with dinner available for purchase. Cash bar.
Admission: Free with museum admission. Tickets now available at the Museum’s Visitor Services Desk or by contacting Patty Carmack at 323.667.2000, ext. 389, or

Upcoming Out West Events

One Man’s Journey: A Conversation With George Takai
September 19, 2010

Beyond Brokeback
December 11, 2010

About the Out West Series
Having marked the first formal public recognition of the contributions of the LGBT community to Western American history by a major American museum with the installation of the iconic Brokeback Mountain shirts in its Imagination Gallery, the Autry delves deeper into the subject matter by hosting Out West, a series of four programs over a 12-month period. Assembled at each event will be Western scholars, authors, artists, politicians, musicians, and friends of Western LGBT people. The first event, a panel discussion titled “What Ever Happened to Ennis del Mar?” took place on December 13, 2009.

Conceived by Gregory Hinton, consulting producer for the series, Out West was inspired not only by the Autry’s recent installation of the iconic shirts worn by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain but also by the permanent inclusion of the International Gay Rodeo Association’s (IGRA) archives into the Autry Library (both facilitated by Hinton). Mrs. Gene Autry presided over a launch event on August 11, 2009, celebrating the loan of the shirts from collector Tom Gregory, who purchased them at a charity auction and shared Hinton’s vision for using them toward a greater good. At the installation of the iconic shirts, the Autry National Center’s President and CEO John Gray said, “The American West is a place for all of us, and all of us have a place in the West.”

The Out West series at the Autry National Center is made possible through the generous support of Tom Gregory, HBO, the Gill Foundation, and the Small Change Foundation, in association with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and the Courage Campaign.

About the Presenters

Blake Allmendinger
Blake Allmendinger is a full professor in the English Department at UCLA, where he specializes in teaching the literature of the American West. He grew up on a cattle ranch in Colorado and was educated at Harvard, Oxford, and the University of Pennsylvania. He has authored four books, including The Cowboy (1992), Ten Most Wanted: The New Western Literature (1998), Over the Edge: Remapping the American West (1998), and Imagining the African American West (2005). He is currently writing a book that is part childhood memoir and part history of small towns in the American West.

Carolyn Brucken
Carolyn Brucken joined the Autry National Center in 2003 and is Associate Curator of Western Women’s History. Brucken received her PhD in American Civilization from George Washington University and her MA from the University of Delaware, Winterthur Program. She has developed exhibitions for the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles (1999–2003) and the National Archives in Washington DC (1994–1996). Brucken has also taught at Miami University and California State University–Fullerton. Her current and recent exhibition projects include Home Lands: How Women Made the West, the reinterpretation of the Autry’s historical galleries, and California Style: Art and Fashion From the California Historical Society.

Jeffrey Richardson
Jeffrey Richardson came to the Autry National Center as the Autry/UNLV Fellow. He now is the Assistant Curator of Film and Popular Culture. He is currently working on his doctoral studies at the University of Nevada–Las Vegas. Richardson’s areas of specialization are 20th-century American culture and intellectual history, with a special emphasis on the history of the motion picture industry. Since joining the Autry, he has been working on the exhibitions Cowboys and Presidents and The New West, as well as lobby exhibits on Gene Autry and Monte Hale, and redoing cases in the Autry’s permanent galleries.

Patricia Nell Warren
The author of eight books, including The Front Runner, the most famous gay novel ever written, Patricia Nell Warren is also a renowned Western historian. Born in 1936 on the Grant-Kohrs Ranch in Deer Lodge, Montana, Warren has written and lectured extensively about her Montana roots, including in her novels One Is the Sun and The Fancy Dancer. A publisher of her own imprint, Wildcat Press, she is the recipient of the 1982 Western Heritage Award (magazine writing) from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, as well as the 2003 Barry Goldwater Human Rights Award. Warren is currently preparing an anthology titled My West, a collection of commentaries and essays that reflects half a century of writing about her native region, to be published in October 2010.

Jim Wilke
Independent scholar and curator Jim Wilke is a recognized authority on the American West, with a special emphasis on gay, lesbian, and transgender Western history and culture. He is also an established expert on the history of the American railroad. Born in Santa Monica, California, and a graduate of the University of Southern California, Wilke worked at the Autry National Center from 1989 to 1994 as an assistant curator. Formerly a rodeo competitor, Wilke was also a member of the Los Angeles Gay Rodeo Association from 1987 to 1993.

About Creator and Producer Gregory Hinton
Gregory Hinton is the creator and producer of Out West: LGBT Stories of the American West. The son of a country newspaper editor, Hinton was born in Wolf Point, Montana, on the Fort Peck Reservation and reared in Cody, Wyoming. A graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a writing and film career. Hinton is currently working on his fifth novel, Night Rodeo He holds a 2009 artist’s residency at Wyoming’s Ucross Foundation and a 2009 research honorarium from the Cody Institute for Western American Studies at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Hinton has published four critically acclaimed novels: Cathedral City (2001), Desperate Hearts (2002), The Way Things Ought to Be (2003), and Santa Monica Canyon (2007). For its diverse social themes, Cathedral City is taught at the university level. All of Hinton’s books are endorsed by the American Library Association’s Booklist and other national reviews. Hinton’s films include It’s My Party (1996), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and the edgy, acclaimed Circuit (2003), which received international theatrical distribution and is a DVD bestseller.

About the Autry National Center
The Autry National Center is an intercultural history center dedicated to exploring and sharing the stories, experiences, and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West. Located in Griffith Park, the Autry includes the collections of the Museum of the American West, the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, and the Autry Institute’s two research libraries: the Braun Research Library and the Autry Library. Exhibitions, public programs, K–12 educational services, and publications are designed to examine critical issues of society, offering insights into solutions and the contemporary human condition through the Western historical experience.
Weekday hours of operation for the Autry National Center’s museum at its Griffith Park location are Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Autry Store’s weekday hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the Golden Spur Cafe is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday hours for the museum and the Autry Store are 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The museum, the Autry Store, and the cafe are closed on Mondays. The libraries are open to researchers by appointment.

Museum admission is $9 for adults, $5 for students and seniors 60+, $3 for children 3–12, and free for Autry members, active military personnel, veterans, and children 2 and under. Admission is free on the second Tuesday of every month.

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