By Frequencies Citizen Reporter Brigade
June 26, 2011 6 a.m. |In Literature
With Pride coming up this weekend, we're capping Pride Month off with an interview with Armistead Maupin, author of “Tales of the City.” The book has long been ensconced in the gay literary canon and was recently turned into a musical by the American Conservatory Theater.
We caught up with Maupin at the theater on Geary Street, and he shared his first memories of the city and how he came to chronicle gay San Francisco.
“Tales” (as it’s affectionately referred to by fans) was first published in 1978, and its overarching theme is that of misfits trying to break free of societal constraints. San Francisco is the safe haven that beckons them. It's one of those books that fans feel a cultish ownership over and has been reissued over and over again.
Of course, gay culture is an important part of Maupin’s writing. Tales of gay characters grappling with homophobia, coming out to their parents and finding true love abound. Today, those subjects are common fodder for made-for-TV movies and Oprah, but when "Tales" was released, Maupin was considered brave.
“I cringe a little at that,” Maupin tells us in the video. “Because honestly, what I realized was that I was onto something really big."
The video was produced as part of a partnership between the American Conservancy Theater and the Bay Citizen's Citizen Reporter program. As such, this video was edited by Citizen Reporter (and Bay Citizen summer intern) Erik Verduzco.
If you want to check out the musical, the A.C.T. is offering a discount for Bay Citizen readers. Get 40 percent off of orchestra and mezzanine tickets by using the code CITIZEN online, or call 415-749-2228.