Tag Archives: Tales of the City.

Gay History – May 13: Happy Birthday Armistead Maupin! With Love, 28 Barbary Lane.


Armistead Maupin was born on this day in Washington, D.C. in 1944.  

Maupin grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. He began working as a newspaper reported in Charleston, S.C. before he moved to San Francisco in 1971 to work for the Associated Press.  In 1976, he released the first installment of his Tales of the City serials. first in a now-defunct Marin County newspaper and later in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Because installments were published so soon after Maupin wrote them, he was able to incorporate many current events into the serials portrayal of both straight and LGBT life in San Francisco, as well as gauge reader response and modify the story accordingly. At one point Maupin received a letter from a reader who pointed out that one of the characters’ names was an anagram, providing Maupin with one of the more memorable and surprising plot twists in the book. 

Real life people such as Jim Jones and a thinly veiled Elizabeth Taylor are mentioned in the story lines. A prominent closeted gay celebrity is represented as “______ ______” throughout the third novel, with sufficient detail available to deduce that it could be Rock Hudson.

Tales of the City was later reworked into the series of books published by HarperCollins (then Harper and Row). The first of Maupin’s novels, entitled Tales of the City, was published in 1978. Five more followed in the 1980s, ending with the last book, Sure of You, in 1989. A seventh novel published in 2007, Michael Tolliver Lives, continues the story of some of the characters. It was followed by an eighth volume, Mary Ann in Autumn, published in 2010 and a ninth and final volume, The Days of Anna Madrigal, in 2014.  Maupin was one of the first writers to address the subject of AIDS in his storylines.

Of the autobiographical nature of the characters, he says “I’ve always been all of the characters in one way or another.”

The Tales of the City books have been translated into ten languages, and there are more than six million copies in print. Several of the books have been adapted and broadcast on BBC Radio 4

On June 7, 2019 after a year in development Netflix released a new 10-episode installment of “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City,” based on the book “Maryann in Autumn” 

Maupin married his husband Christopher Turner in Vancouver. During a trip to Australia in 2011, Maupin and his husband were denied the use of a restroom at a saloon in Alice Springs where they were having lunch. The bartender told them to go across the street because their rest room was reserved for “real men.” “So we did what real men do and crossed the street to the visitor’s center where we filed a complaint,” Maupin wrote. “Impressively we received an e-mail apology from the bartender that afternoon. Fair dinkum, mate. Next time don’t [expletive] with the poofters.”

If you have never read it or seen the PBS mini-series based on the books, Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series is must reading for all in the LGBT community both old and young.  It’s an entertaining and loving throwback to an earlier time that is also historical looking back to an almost forgotten time in LGBT history that has since overshadowed by the AIDS epidemic.

Thank you and Happy Birthday Armisted.

Mouse. (WK)


GAY HISTORY – Tales of the City FLASHBACK: Michael Tolliver’s Valentine’s Day Dirty 30.

In the first chapter of Armistead Maupin’s 2nd. Tales of the City Book titled More Tales of the City, the hopeful romantic Michael “Mouse” Tolliver delivers a handmade Valentine’s Day card to Mary Ann Singleton, a friend and fellow resident of the domain of the eccentric, marijuana-growing landlady Anna Madrigal.

Author Maupin describes Mouse’s gift as “a handmade pastiche of Victorian cherubs, pressed flowers and red glitter.” Inside, he had provided 10 numbered spaces for Mary Ann to list her “Valentines Resolutions.”

Micheal then produces a list of 30 of his own.

The year is 1977. For those younger readers I will explain things that only us mature gays remember. Consider it a Gay History lesson.

Michael Tolliver’s Dirty Thirty for ’77

  1. I will not call anyone nellie (fem queen) or butch, unless that is his name.
  2. I will not assume that women who like me are fag hags. (Fag Gag: A straight woman or lesbian that enjoys the company of gay men.)
  3. I will stop expecting to meet Jan-Michael Vincent (actor) at the tubs.
  4. I will inhale poppers only through the mouth. (Smells like dirty socks and gives you a head RUSH.)
  5. I will not spend more than half an hour in the shower at the Y. (Men used to pick each other and have sex at the YMCA. Thus the Village People song YMCA.)
  6. I will stop trying to figure out what color my handkerchief would be if I wore one. (The Hanky or Bandanna code. A code for gay men to tell what favorite sex play they were looking for by placing a colored handkerchief in their back pockets)
  7. I will buy a drink for a Fifties Queen sometime. (An older gay man. Which now incluses most of us who remember the original TotC.)
  8. I will not persist in hoping that attractive men will turn out to be brainless and boring. (Some things never change)
  9. I will sign my real name at The Glory Holes. (San Francisco “private” (for 5 dollars) sex club that had many booths with holes at crotch level to have anonymous sex. One had to sign their name upon entry.
  10. I will ease back into religion by attending concerts at Grace Cathedral. (Famous San Francisco Church prominent in the TotC universe.)
  11. I will not cruise at Grace Cathedral.
  12. I will not vote for anyone for Empress. (The Imperial Council of San Francisco; a drag queen based charitable organization.)
  13. I will make friends with a straight man.
  14. I will not make fun of the way he walks.http://www.imperialcouncilsf.org/index.html
  15. I will not tell him about Alexander the Great, Walt Whitman or Leonardo da Vinci.
  16. I will not vote for politicians who use the term “Gay Community.”
  17. I will not cry when Mary Tyler Moore goes off the air.
  18. I will not measure it, no matter who asks. (PENIS!)
  19. I will not hide the A-200. (A-200 was used to kill crab lice which was fairly common and usually caught by having multiple sex partners and sex in the bath houses.)
  20. I will not buy a Lacoste shirt, a Marimekko pillow, a secondhand letterman’s jacket, an All-American Boy T-shirt, a razor blade necklace or a denim accessory of any kind. (All parts of the gay world and uniform of the late 70’s . A popular Lacoste joke went: “Did you hear the one about the alligator who bought a shirt with a little faggot on it?”)
  21. I will learn to eat alone and like it.
  22. I will not fantasize about firemen.
  23. I will not tell anyone at home that I just haven’t found the right girl yet. (Closet case.)
  24. I will wear a suit on Castro Street and feel comfortable about it.
  25. I will not do impressions of Bette Davis, Tallulah Bankhead, Mae West or Paul Lynde.
  26. I will not eat more than one It’s-It in a single evening. (Famous Ice Cream in San Francisco.)
  27. I will find myself acceptable.
  28. I will meet somebody nice, away from a bar or the tubs (bathouse) or a roller-skating rink, and I will fall hopelessly but conventionally in love. (Common gay meeting places before the internet.)
  29. But I won’t say I love you before he does.
  30. The hell I won’t!

WATCH: The First Trailer for NETLIX's Tales of the City Revival. [Video]

WATCH: The First Trailer for NETFLIX’s Tales of the City Revival. [Video]

Netflix revival of “Tales of the City,” based on the books by prolific San Francisco writer Armistead Maupin dropped it’s first trailer today.

Based on “Maryann in Autumn” the 8th book in the Tales storyline:

Mary Ann Singleton returns to “present-day San Francisco, where she is reunited with her daughter Shawna and ex-husband Brian, twenty years after leaving them behind to pursue her career. Fleeing the midlife crisis that her picture-perfect Connecticut life created, Mary Ann is quickly drawn back into the orbit of Anna Madrigal, her chosen family and a new generation of queer young residents living at 28 Barbary Lane.”

The Original TotC aired in 1993, and Laura Linney who played Maryann returns — with her co-star from that production, Olympia Dukakis, as magical landlord Anna Madrigal — to the mythical house on Barbary Lane in which so many memories were made. 

You can watch the dropped trailer/teaser below.

I must admit being a fan of the original mini-series and the books. I got chills.

Netflix Orders 10 Episode Installment of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City Book: Maryann in Autumn

Netflix Orders 10 Episode Installment of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City Book: Maryann in Autumn

After all most a year in development Netflix has officially ordered a new 10-episode installment of “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City,” book “Maryann in Autumn”.

The series follows Mary Ann, who returns home to San Francisco and is reunited with her daughter and ex-husband Brian, twenty years after leaving them behind to pursue her career. Fleeing the midlife crisis that her picture perfect Connecticut life created, Mary Ann returns home to her chosen family and will quickly be drawn back into the orbit of Anna Madrigal and the residents of 28 Barbary Lane.

Lauren Morelli, who previously worked as a writer and co-executive producer on the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black,” will serve as writer, showrunner, and executive producer. Maupin will executive produce.

Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis will reprise their roles as Mary Ann Singleton and Anna Madrigal respectively. In addition, Barbara Garrick, who played DeDe Halcyon Day in the original miniseries, is also set to return.

PBS carried the original six-part “Tales” miniseries in January 1994, which generated some controversy for its depiction of LGBT relationships. Showtime ran the subsequent miniseries, 1998’s “More Tales of the City” and 2001’s “Further Tales of the City.”


28 Barbary Lane Lives: Netflix Developing New Installment of ‘Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City’

Netflix is developing a new installment of “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City” with Working Title Television U.S. Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis are on board to revive the characters they played in Showtime and PBS adaptations of the landmark LGBT-themed novel series in the 1990s.

As I am sure you all remember, and if you don’t you have a lot of reading to do.  “Tales” focuses on the residents of a boarding house at 28 Barbary Lane run by Anna Madrigal, played by Dukakis. The Netflix series would focusing on Linney’s Mary Ann Singleton character as she returns to San Francisco and the boarding house after 25 years away and most probably would be following the story-lines of the eighth book in the series,  Mary Ann in Autumn (2010)

Twenty years have passed since Mary Ann Singleton left her husband and child in San Francisco to pursue her dream of a television career in New York. Now, a pair of personal calamities has driven her back to the city of her youth and into the arms of her oldest friend, Michael “Mouse” Tolliver, a gay gardener happily ensconced with his much-younger husband.

Mary Ann finds temporary refuge in the couple’s backyard cottage, where, at the unnerving age of 57, she licks her wounds and takes stock of her mistakes. Soon, with the help of Facebook and a few old friends, she begins to reengage with life, only to confront fresh terrors when her speckled past comes back to haunt her in a way she could never have imagined.

Michael Cunningham (“The Hours”) has penned the first script for what is envisioned as a 10-part installment, although the project does not yet have a series order from Netflix. Maupin would return as an executive producer, and Alan Poul is on board to direct. 

H/T to Kenneth in the 212


SWAGDAY! – Win A Copy of the Tales of the City: 20th. Anniversary Edition DVD!

Tales of the City


In co-operation with ACORN Entertainment, Back2Stonewall has TWO copies od the Peabody Award-winning PBS miniseries, Tales of the City: 20th. Anniversary Edition to giveaway!

 Based on the groundbreaking novel by Armistead Maupin, Tales of the City follows a colorful cast of characters living at 28 Barbary Lane in anything-goes 1970s San Francisco. The all-star cast includes Oscar® winner Olympia Dukakis , Oscar® nominee Laura Linney, Gemini winner Paul Gross, Billy Campbell, Chloe Webb, and Thomas Gibson.

The series received universal acclaim when it debuted in 1994 and remains an LGBT television landmark and a historical marker of days gone by

The NEW DVD 2-DISC SET includes all six episodes, plus bonus audio commentaries with the writer, director, and stars Olympia Dukakis, Laura Linney, and Barbara Garrick, 36-min. of behind-the-scenes location and rehearsal footage, insert with an introduction by Armistead Maupin, notes by producer Alan Poul, and filming locations and landmarks and MORE.

So drop me an email at Will@Back2Stonewall.com and I’ll pick 2 winners at random to recieve this landmark series DVD.

Tales of the City 2




Armistead Maupin Puts His Beloved 28 Barbary Lane Up For Sale, Leaving San Francisco.

Armistead Maupin, the iconic gay American writer, best known for his Tales of the City series of novels, set in San Francisco has put his home up for sale.

While its proper address may not actually be 28 Barbary Lane it is slightly reminiscent of Anna Madrigal’s home according to its description. (Updated though the years, of course.)

“A charming front garden (marijuana plants?) winds up to the shingled Edwardian. The main level features a delightful living room, updated kitchen and dining room opening to a gorgeous landscaped rear garden. (Anna’s home?)  The middle level features an elegant master bedroom with outstanding views, a second bedroom and handsome marble bathroom. (Mouse?  Mona? Maryann?) The third bedroom, with en-suite bathroom, opens to a secluded sunny and romantic deck with fantastic views.”(Brian are you masturbating?)

Maupin, his husband, Chris Turner, (and their Labradoodle, Philo T. Farnsworth) will soon be heading to their first Burning Man experience in the Nevada desert. After that they’ll be on their way to New Mexico, where they plan to resettle.

The relocation has “been percolating for a while,” said Maupin. Santa Fe “has a different magic from San Francisco, but it has magic, and I need an autumnal adventure.

But while Maupin is leaving San Francisco it’s not the end of the journey for the residents of 28 Barbary Lane just yet.

Maupin is working on his 11th book, a new “Tales” story titled , “The Days of Anna Madrigal.”

The move is “nothing I’m taking lightly,” says Maupin. “It’s been 41 years since I landed here, and it gave me my story. … I keep reminding myself that Barbary Lane is portable, and everything I learned here became part of me and is something I’ll always have.”

If anyones interested in making an offer on Maupin’s beautiful home. (Or buying it for me?) You can check out the real estate listing HERE.