Wednesday, May 30, 2012

An Evening with Armistead Maupin

Start: Jun 23 2012 7:00 pm
1511 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, Utah
United States

Saturday, June 23, 7 p.m.

Join us for an unforgettable evening with Armistead Maupin, author of the Tales of the City series. Maupin will treat the audience to an early sneak preview of The Days of Anna Madrigal, the next novel in the Tales series—coming next year! He’ll discuss his work, his life, and his longtime LGBT activism.

Tickets are $25. 10% of the ticket proceeds will benefit The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Event tickets will form the signing line after the presentation. Seating is general admission. Please arrive early.

In the New York Times Book Review, Mary Ann in Autumn, the most recent Tales novel, was described as “tenderhearted and frolicsome...A tale of long-lost friends and unrealized dreams, of fear and regret, of penance and redemption—and of the unshakable sense that this world we love, this life we live, this drama in which we all play a part, does indeed go by much too fast.”

Maupin was assigned to the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press in 1971. In 1976 he launched his groundbreaking Tales of the City serial in the San Francisco Chronicle. He is the author of ten novels, including the eight-volume Tales series, Maybe the Moon, The Night Listener, and, most recently, Mary Ann in Autumn. Three miniseries starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney were made from the first three Tales novels and The Night Listener became a feature film starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette. Maupin lives in San Francisco with his husband, Christopher Turner.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

36th Anniversary "Tales" Walking Tour

On Saturday, May 26, 2012, I had the pleasure of co-hosting a "Tours of the Tales" walking tour with Larry Rhodes ( in San Francisco.  Our group met near the Buena Vista/Aquatic Park and ended with dinner in the Castro at The Sausage Factory.  A surprise for everyone, Armistead Maupin and Christopher Turner joined us for dinner.  Christopher Turner toted a bag of books that Armistead graciously signed for the tour participants while personally greeting everyone.  Needless to say, it was the highlight of the night.

Larry led the tour pointing out locales mentioned in Armistead's novels, as well as other historical information.  We enhanced the experience by playing clips on an iPad from the miniseries at the locations they were filmed.  We also talked about the influence of Hitchcock in the "Tales" mini-series, and other movies that were filmed in San Francisco.

I want to personally thank Larry for organizing an amazing day roaming the world of Anna Madrigal and tenants, to Armistead and Chris for making the evening a memorable one, and the folks that came to share their stories of what the "Tales" universe means to them.  I met some amazing people that I look forward to seeing again in the near future.  Armistead's influence extends beyond being a great storyteller, through his work, I have befriended a handful of fans that surround the globe.

Included in the tour were Scott and Brandon from San Francisco, Peter and Maggie from England, Tim and Alicia from New York, Trish and Cindy from California, Nancy Snell and myself from Indiana, and tour guide Larry Rhodes from New Mexico.

If you are interested in signing up for a Tales Tour, check out Larry's website at or the facebook page  You can also download tours to explore the city on your own.

Macondray Lane 
Macondray Lane  
Macondray Lane

Me, Armistead and Larry

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Happy Anniversary "Tales of the City"

"Tales of the City" debuted 36 years ago today in the San Francisco Chronicle.  I've posted this previously, but here it is again!  To celebrate, Larry Rhodes of is hosting an anniversary tour in San Francisco.  I am honored to co-conduct and spend the day with Larry and other Tales fans on Saturday, May 26.  Another bonus, the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge is the 27th.  This should be an amazing weekend and I'm looking forward to meeting everyone that signed up for the tour.


This is the first installment of the original "Tales of the City" series. It appeared in The Chronicle on May 24, 1976.

Mary Ann Singleton was 25 years old when she saw San Francisco for the first time.

She came to the city alone for an eight-day vacation. On the fifth night, she drank three Irish coffees at the Buena Vista, realized that her Mood Ring was blue and decided to phone her mother in Cleveland.

"Hi, Mom, it's me."

"Oh, darling. Your daddy and I were just talking about you. There was this crazy man on 'McMillan and Wife' who was strangling all these nice young secretaries, and I just couldn't help thinking ..."

"Mom ..."

"I know, it's just your silly old mother, worrying herself sick over nothing. But you never can tell about those things. I mean, look at that poor Patty Hearst, locked up in that closet with those awful ... "

"Mom, this is long distance."

"I'm sorry, sugar, I'm such an old worry-wart. You must be having a grand time!"

"Oh, Mom, you wouldn't believe it! The people here are so friendly. I feel like I've ..."

"Have you been to the Top of the Mark like I told you?"

"Not yet, but ..."

"Well, don't you miss that. You know, your daddy took me there when he got back from the South Pacific. I remember he slipped the bandleader five dollars, so we could dance to 'Moonlight Serenade' and I spilled Tom Collins all over his beautiful, white Navy ..."

"Mom, I called to tell you something."

"Of course, dear. Just listen to me rambling on. Oh, one thing, before I forget it. I ran into Mr. Lassiter yesterday at the Ridgemont Mall, and he said the office is just falling apart with you gone. They don't get many good secretaries at Lassiter Fertilizers."

"Mom, that's sort of why I called."

"What do you mean, honey?"

"I want you to call Mr. Lassiter and tell him I won't be in on Monday morning."

"Oh, Mary Ann, I'm not sure you should ask for an extension on your vacation."

"It's not an extension, Mom."

"What? I don't ..."

"I'm not coming home, Mom."

For a moment, the line seemed to go dead. Then, dimly in the distance, a television announcer began to tell Mary Ann's father about the temporary relief of hemorrhoids. Finally, her mother spoke: "Now you're being silly, darling."

Mary Ann tried to stay calm. "I'm not being silly, Mom. I really feel comfortable here. I mean, it seems like home to me already."

More silence.

"Mom, I've thought about this for a long time."

"You've only been out there five days."

"I know, Mom, but I'm really sure about this. It's got nothing to do with you and Daddy. I just want to start making my own life, have my own apartment ..."

"Oh, that. Well, of course you can, darling. As a matter of fact, your daddy and I thought those new apartments out at Ridgemont might be just perfect for you. They take lots of young people, and they've got a swimming pool and one of those sauna things, and I could make some of those darling curtains like I made for Sonny and Vicki when they got married. You could have all the privacy you ..."

Mary Ann's voice was gentle but firm. "Mom, you aren't listening to me. It isn't the privacy or living with you and Daddy or ... any of that. It's just me. I love it here. I'm grown up now and ..."

"Well, you certainly aren't acting like it! I've never heard such a thing! You can't just run away from your family and friends to go live with a bunch of hippies and mass murderers!"

"Oh, Mom, that's just a lot of TV crap!"

Her mother lowered her voice reproachfully. "Don't you talk nasty to your mother, Mary Ann ... and it's not a lot of TV ... stuff. What about those Giraffe Killers?"


"Well, whatever. And what about those earthquakes? Your daddy took me to see that awful movie, and I nearly had a heart attack when Ava Gardner ..."

"Mom. I've made up my mind about this. Will you just call Mr. Lassiter for me?"

Her mother began to cry. "Something terrible is going to happen to you. I know it."

"Now who's being silly? What could possibly happen to me, Mom? San Francisco is a lot safer than Cleveland, and the people are so mellow."

Her mother stopped sobbing for a moment. "What does that mean?" she asked suspiciously.

When it was over, Mary Ann left the Buena Vista and walked through Aquatic Park to the bay. For several minutes, she stared at the Alcatraz beacon, drunk with the prospect of an undefined future.

"What could possible happen to me, Mom?" The words came back to her on a chill wind, nibbling uncertainly on a corner of her mind.

Back at the Fisherman's Wharf Holiday Inn, she looked up Connie Bradshaw's phone number. Connie was the only person she knew in San Francisco. Mary Ann had heard that she was a stewardess for United but hadn't spoken to her old high school friend since 1968.

"Oh, God, I can't believe it!" squealed Connie, when Mary Ann identified herself. "How long are you here for?"

"For good, " said Mary Ann, savoring the words.

"Oh, super! Have you found an apartment yet?"

Mary Ann decided to be direct. "Not yet. I was wondering if I might be able to crash at your place for a couple of days. My savings account isn't holding out too well."

"Sure, " said Connie, without hesitation. "No sweat. That is, if you don't mind an occasional sleep-in."

Mary Ann was thrown for a moment. "Oh ... you mean guys?"

Connie uttered a throaty laugh. "Do I ever, honey!" {sbox}

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Armistead Maupin: Pen Pals lecture series

Salman Rushdie, who spent nine years in hiding after the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him for publication of "The Satanic Verses," will headline the next season of the Pen Pals lecture series. Other guests include mystery writer Dennis Lehane, New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, Minnesota native Alice Kaplan, who has written a number of books about France, and "Tales of the City" author Armistead Maupin.

All lectures will take place at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Main St., Hopkins. Cost for the series -- a fundraiser for the Friends of Hennepin County Library -- is $160. Cost for individual tickets is $40. Subscription tickets go on sale Monday by phone (612-543-8112) and online at Individual tickets will go on sale June 25. Here's the lineup:

• Salman Rushdie, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 and 11 a.m. Oct. 19. Rushdie is the author of 11 novels, three works of nonfiction, a collection of stories and an upcoming memoir, "Joseph Anton: A Memoir by Salman Rushdie," which will be published in September. The cost of his Pen Pals appearance includes a copy of the book.

• Alice Kaplan, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29 and 11 a.m. Nov. 30. She was born in Minnesota and is a professor of French at Yale University. She is the author, most recently, of the biography "Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis."

• Roz Chast, 7:30 p.m. March 14, 2013, and 11 a.m. March 15, 2013. She is a staff cartoonist at the New Yorker magazine, where she has published more than 1,000 cartoons.

• Dennis Lehane, 7:30 p.m. April 11, 2013, and 11 a.m. April 12, 2013. He is the author of "Shutter Island," "Gone, Baby, Gone" and "Mystic River," all of which were New York Times bestsellers and were made into movies.

Armistead Maupin, 7:30 p.m. May 16, 2013, and 11 a.m. May 17, 2013. Maupin's "Tales of the City" began as a column in the San Francisco Chronicle and grew into a series of bestselling novels, a TV miniseries and a musical.


JLO + ENRIQUE: Jennifer Lopez, the actress-fashion designer who has used "American Idol" to reignite her music career, will perform Aug. 1 at Target Center with Enrique Iglesias, the voice of such smashes as "I Like It" and "Tonight (I'm Lovin' You). This will be JLo's first prominent performance in the Twin Cities. Opening will be the Wisin Y Yandel, the hit-making reggaeton duo from Puerto Rico. Tickets, priced from $29.50 to $129.50, will go on sale at noon May 18 at Ticketmaster outlets and Target Center box office.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Obama's Gay Marriage Evolution: A Societal Shift?

May 12, 2012
As the debate over the political calculations behind President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage continue, Host Scott Simon checks in with acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Armistead Maupin to talk about this as a cultural moment.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Crown & Anchor Appearance

Author Armistead Maupin will make his first public appearance in Provincetown at the Crown & Anchor's Paramount Nightclub. Maupin's iconic Tales of the City series has blazed a trail through popular culture – from a series of globally bestselling novels, to a Peabody Award-winning television miniseries starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney, to a musical that premiered last year at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater. Maupin's most recent Tales novel, Mary Ann in Autumn, was published to international acclaim in 2010.

Ticketholders to TEATIME WITH ARMISTEAD MAUPIN can expect an afternoon of free-wheeling anecdotes and lively conversation with the audience – as well as a reading from Maupin's current work-in-progress, The Days of Anna Madrigal. The author's books will be available for purchase and signing.

The after party at the Wave Video Bar (open to non-ticketholders) is sponsored by Bear Central, a new social site created by Maupin's husband, web developer Chris Turner. "This time it's a total family affair," says Maupin. "We can't think of a better way to kick off our summer."

"Tales of the City (is) perhaps the most sublime piece of popular literature America has ever produced... As with the Beatles, everyone seems to like Maupin’s Tales – and, really, why would you want to find someone who didn't?"

– Laura Miller, Salon

"To quote the inestimable Quentin Crisp (upon introducing a friend), 'This is Mr. Maupin, he invented San Francisco.' Not just San Francisco either. For millions of fans around the world Armistead Maupin might as well have invented gay culture.

-Out Magazine