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Friday, December 09, 2005


"Brokeback Mountain", A Film About Gay Cowboys


Ang Lee's new film, Brokeback Mountain will soon be released in local theaters. This isn't a review of the movie (reviews are available on the web). JHL and I have watched the preview clips screened before other films that we went to see, and it is on our list of "must see". We have read the short story by Annie Proulx which was adapted by Larry McMurty and Diana Ossana for the screenplay. Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger play the roles of Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar. The story is in the volume titled "Close Range, Wyoming Stories", published in 1999.
Credit: IMDB

Gay cowboys in Wyoming ! It was near Laramie, Wyoming, that 21 year old Matthew Shepard was beaten to death and left hanging on a barbed wire fence in 1998. How would the homophobes in Wyoming and elsewhere react to the movie ? Are they going to watch it and condemn it or stay away from it? I, too, have mixed feelings but not about the subject. Annie Proulx wrote a 'no frills', tender story about very basic relationship between two men. Reading it I thought that a stark B&W film would do it justice, not a color film 2 hrs 14 minutes long. But for a movie to be a commercial success it has to cater to a broad audience and liberties must be taken. It has received high praise from critics. As to gay cowboys, they are out there just like gay soldiers, sailors, ball players and preachers. They have the right to be.
The Singapore Cowboys

Back in the 80's during a business trip to Singapore, my friends took me out one evening to listen to the Singapore Cowboys. Not sure but I think it was in the Mandarin Hotel where the group appeared on a regular basis. I was not a country western fan then and not one now but I like Willie Nelson's music. The Singapore Cowboys were taking requests. I sent a note and very soon they launched into "Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys".

I checked the web and found that the group (Matthew Tan and the Mandarins) is still active. Good for them.
"Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys.
Don't let them pick guitars and drive in old trucks,
Make 'em be doctors and lawyers and such.
Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys
They'll never stay home and they're always alone,
Even with someone they love."
--Written by Ed and Patsy Bruce, recorded by Willie Nelson in 1980.

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