Monday, May 3, 2010

Revisiting 'Tales' with Armistead Maupin and Olympia Dukakis

May 1, 2010

 When in San Francisco, do as the San Franciscans do -- indulge in culinary pleasures while enjoying the conversation of freethinking originals.
While in town a couple of weeks ago to review “Girlfriend,” the new Todd Almond-Matthew Sweet musical at Berkeley Rep, I had a bright idea: Why not invite Olympia Dukakis, who was performing in Morris Panych’s play “Vigil” at American Conservatory Theater, and Armistead Maupin, fictional chronicler of San Francisco par excellence, to lunch to talk about the musical version of Maupin’s “Tales of the City,” which will have its world premiere at A.C.T. at the end of next season.

Dukakis, of course, starred in the three television miniseries that were adapted from Maupin’s books.  And though she calls New York home, her open mindedness (luminously evident in her sensitive portrayal of the transsexual landlady from "Tales," Anna Madrigal) matches the ethos of this Northern California Mecca for radicals, renegades and resplendent freaks.

As my Sunday Arts and Books feature fondly reveals, sensibility is a stronger glue than Zip Code in terms of keeping old friends connected.  

-- Charles McNulty (follow me on Twitter @charlesmcnulty)

Photo: Olympia Dukakis and Armistead Maupin. Credit: Randi Lynn Beach / For The Times


  1. just read michael tolliver lives - great update on life in San Fran. As Anna move to the end of her life wouldnt it be great if armistead wrote about annas life from her own perspective and her take on her "family" plus things she never revealed before? good title could be " a man and a girl" Dave

  2. Dave, I would love to read more about Anna's (or Andy's) life. Let's keep our fingers crossed! -Rick

  3. I'm still too upset with Mona's news... but excited about Mary Ann in Autumn!


  5. Yessss we need that serie

  6. oh I forget
    I wouldn't thank A.Maupin enought for helping me strongly with a friend who lived his homosexuality so bad that he was skysophrene.
    I gave him the 3 first vol. of "the tales" and now he is readind "Michael Toliver lives"
    Thanks again

  7. Armistead, I think we need some Extra Tales of the City. It's been a few years now and time to see what the characters have been up to. Further Tales is currently being shown on Showtime on Monday nights and I just love the repeat episodes but it's time for a comeback!

  8. I love those shows!...I'd rather be there than here frankly lol

  9. IT was apleasent suprise tosee that new books coming out icame out years ago and boy i found reading tales and the rest of series great i read them so much that i could remeber standing at a chritmas party which was held for an AIDS charity in UK and reading about the WE PEOPLE it meant a lot to me as my partner of 7 years had died a few weeks before .
    I had often wondered where micheal and the gang had gone and now i no as i to am over 50 and have been positive 4 20 years it brins so much back thankyou

  10. I had the pleasure of seeing Miss Linney and Armistead at the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade 2003. I have all 3 of the Tales DVD's. When I first saw "Tales" in 1994-5, it sparked my love of San Francisco and have visited there six times since 2001. I'm looking forward to "Mary Ann in Autumn." For those who exhort Armistead for another tv minseries, there has to be someone like HBO or Showtime who have the $$ to produce it. My favorite "Mouse" will continue to be Marcus D'Amico. He's on Facebook. When I was watching "Tales" for the umpteenth time, I wondered how "Mouse" and "Mona" became friends. RC in Austin, Texas