Monday, January 24, 2011

An Evening with Armistead Maupin

Everything I’ve ever written is based on something in my life.

Armistead Maupin, best-selling author of the Tales of the City novels, is back with the latest story in the series. Mary Ann in Autumn continues his exploration of ‘alternative’ lifestyles in the city by the bay.

The popular series broke new ground with its open reflection of San Francisco’s gay community in the 70s and 80s as well as its frank discussion of AIDS. Maupin’s willingness to broach this subject, at a time when many wouldn’t, has ensured his place in literary history.

Audiences can hear him read aloud from his latest novel before watching him take part in a lively interview with Julie McCrossin. Fans will then have the opportunity to question him about his life and work. As a best-selling author, social commentator, gay soldier in Vietnam, and advocate of homosexual rights, Maupin has led a fascinating life which has earned him a place as a literary icon.

“My hope is that we’re close to the time that homophobia takes on the status of racism today — normal, mainstream people don’t accept it.” Armistead Maupin

“Tales, the phenomenon that started in 1976 has evolved into a pop cultural phenomenon that has come to define a San Francisco era and ethos.” Los Angeles Times

Part of the 2011 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

To find out more click here

Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Tales Of The City" Musical Poster

The poster for the "Tales of the City" Musical has been unleashed!

World Premiere

May 19–June 19, 2011

Libretto by Jeff Whitty
Music and lyrics by Jake Shears and John Garden
Based on Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City and More Tales of the City
Directed by Jason Moore

Become a "Tale Chaser" at the ACT Website here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Aron Kincaid dies at 70; actor appeared in 1960s 'beach' movies

(Note from Armistead Maupin's Facebook page:  Aron and I became friends in the 70's when he was modeling in S.F. He was charming, witty, and hugely supportive of my work. Yes, his real name was Norman Neale Williams -- and he was tickled that I'd named my most deplorable villain after him. The last time we talked he joked about getting ready for the Motion Picture Home, where ...he could hang out with all the old stars. Damn it, Aron, I needed more of you.)

The Los Angeles native appeared in 'The Girls on the Beach' and 'The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.' He later had careers as a model and an artist.

January 08, 2011
By Dennis McLellan
Los Angeles Times

Aron Kincaid, an actor who appeared in 1960s "beach" movies such as "The Girls on the Beach" and "The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini" and later had careers as a model and an artist, has died. He was 70.

Kincaid, who lived in Beverly Hills, died of heart-related complications Thursday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, said his longtime friend Rodney Kemerer.

The tall and handsome Kincaid was a UCLA student when he was spotted in a Los Angeles stage production by a casting agent and signed to a contract with Universal.

That led to a regular role in the final season of the sitcom "Bachelor Father" in 1962 — as Warren Dawson, the junior partner of John Forsythe's Hollywood attorney Bentley Gregg. Dawson becomes engaged to Gregg's niece, Kelly, played by Noreen Corcoran.

Kincaid later appeared with Corcoran in the 1965 comedy "The Girls on the Beach" and had roles in "Beach Ball" and "Ski Party," and made what was billed as a "guest appearance" in "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine" — as well as appearing in "The Happiest Millionaire, "The Proud and the Damned" and other movies.

Kincaid, who also made guest appearances on series such as "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Get Smart," moved to San Francisco in the early 1970s and launched a successful career as a model.

He also had a 20-year voice-over career in hundreds of commercials and did voice work on animated TV series such as "Smurfs," "Jonny Quest" and "The Transformers."

He was born Norman Neale Williams II in Los Angeles on June 15, 1940. His father, a second lieutenant in the Army Air Forces, died during World War II. His mother remarried and moved to Oakland, where Kincaid graduated from high school.

After graduating from UCLA in 1962, he enlisted in the Coast Guard Reserve.

As an artist, Kincaid used the name N.N. Williams II. He sold his landscapes and seascapes through galleries in Laguna Beach.

He had no immediate survivors.

ACT honors Armistead Maupin's 'Tales of the City'

Catherine Bigelow
San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Super supporters of American Conservatory Theater were center stage, literally, Saturday at the Geary Theater during the Producers' Circle Dinner.

The dinner - co-chaired by Frannie Fleishhacker and Deedee McMurty, and starring author Armistead Maupin, devilish and dapper in matching kilts with his husband, Christopher Turner - was held on the theater's floorboards.

"ACT is so magical. A few years ago we decided this dinner must reflect that," McMurty said. "So we set the tables onstage, where all the action happens."

Among the 110 guests: ACT Artistic Director Carey Perloff; Executive Director Ellen Richard; board Chairwoman Nancy Livingston; board President Rusty Rueff; board member Priscilla Geeslin; Chairman Emeritus Alan Stein; MFA student Richardson Jones; and Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone, who directs ACT's West Coast premiere of "Clybourne Park" on Jan 20.

The evening also celebrated ACT's groundbreaking musical production of Maupin's beloved "Tales of the City," starring Betty Buckley as Mrs. Madrigal, which will ignite the theater's 2011 opening-night gala on June 1.

Lucky guests not only enjoyed a memorable, '70s-inspired McCall Associates meal (Crab Louis, lamb chop Grand Veneur, Blums'-inspired Coffee Cake Crunch), they also received signed copies of Maupin's latest "Tales" novel, "Mary Ann in Autumn."

"Reading 'Tales' is what made me want to move to San Francisco," Perloff said. "These stories are our stories, nurtured in this city's neighborhoods and spanning generations."

The collaboration between Maupin and ACT began in the mid-'90s when Olympia Dukakis (who played Mrs. Madrigal in the televised "Tales" miniseries), introduced Perloff and the author.

"Carey's had her eye on this prize for a long time," Maupin joked.

But he had his own ACT tale, too. Maupin recalled that as a lowly mail boy in one of the city's old ad agencies along Pacific Avenue, he learned of a job opening in the theater's promotion department.

"Of course, back then," Maupin said with a laugh, "I couldn't even get my foot in the door."

Perloff paid tribute to the theater's deep-pocketed donors who contributed to last year's stellar season, including a $31 million capital endowment (chaired by Livingston) and the dazzling premiere of the "Tosca Project" (en route to Canada in the fall).

Up next? The director is at work creating a Mid-Market campus for the theater.

Post-dinner, ACT artists Mary Birdsong and Manoel Felciano sang stellar "Tales" sneak previews as Maupin and Perloff engaged in a dynamic chat on the author's colorful career.

In continuing the "Tales" characters, Maupin said he felt blessed to tell the world a story for the past 34 years. But, he noted, some recent reports on "Mary Ann" shorthand the saga as a treatise on the taboo topic of gay aging.

"I look at aging as a supreme privilege," he said. "Because there are so many people no longer here who I wish I could have brought along on this journey."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tweet this: Maupin's coming

Tweet this: Maupin's coming

January 10, 2011 - 4:47PM

America's chronicler of gay life, Armistead Maupin, keeps a finger on the pulse while setting his sights on Sydney.

Armistead Maupin, famed as a chronicler of gay life and the first novelist to tackle AIDS, is heading to Australia. He will read from his latest book at the Opera House on March 3.

The author of the best-selling Tales of the City novels extends his famed three-decades-long series with an eighth instalment - Mary Ann in Autumn. The story follows Mary Ann Singleton as she finds herself back in the city of her youth at 57, taking refuge in the backyard cottage of her oldest friend, Michael “Mouse” Tolliver, a gay gardener with a younger husband. As she re-engages with her past (with the help of Facebook, naturally), Mary Ann finds certain things come back to haunt her.

Maupin, who has been busy Tweeting about his impending visit (sending love to his followers in washed-out Queensland and joking about finally knowing what a map of Tassie is), will read from the new novel in the Concert Hall before chatting to journalist Julie McCrossin and taking questions from the audience. His appearance is part of the 2011 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras program.

His iconic novels grew out of a newspaper serial published in the San Francisco Chronicle from 1976. At the time it broke new ground with its candid insights into San Francisco’s gay community as well as its frank discussion of AIDS. Maupin’s willingness to broach the subject at a time when many wouldn’t ensured his place in literary history. He also had the advantage of having his work published soon after writing, allowing him to tap into the zeitgeist and deal with issues in a timely way.

His first three Tales novels became even more widely known when they were turned into three mini-series starring Olympia Dukakis as the eccentric dope-growing landlady Anna Madrigal and Laura Linney (to whom his new book is dedicated) as Mary Ann. His novel The Night Listener also became a film starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette.

As an author, social commentator, gay soldier in Vietnam and advocate of homosexual rights, Maupin has led a fascinating life. Today, between attending writers’ festivals, readings and signings around the world, he lives in San Francisco with his husband Christopher Turner.

Maupin has also embraced the role of international spokesperson for gay rights. In his second novel More Tales of the City, Michael Tolliver (the most autobiographical of Maupin’s characters) writes a coming-out letter to his mother. Maupin’s words have since been used as a template by other people struggling to reveal their true selves.