I always laugh at the ultra queeny metaphors.
"He was dressed like something out of a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers extravaganza!"
I loved the books -- I was trapped in a very anti-gay environment but the first two books and those after that appeared periodically like a joyful planetrise were like little life rafts with compasses that indicated a free world existed just up the coast.
The first PBS series was good too -- best was the way it reinvoked a clean and safe and free San Francisco, but the two following series were not too great.
R3, his mother is a Brit so chances are very good that he is.
I loved the first three books but while "Babycakes" deserves recognition for being one of the first books to take on AIDS, it's set in so much rain and damp and gloominess (seriously) that it was a sobering read. The last three books are about falling apart, not coming together.
Well, they were written quite some time ago, so yes, by today's standards they probably don't rise to the level great literature, but I do think they served a purpose. I think they still do.
And R3, that guy doesn't look bad. Not at all. In fact, I think he's quite handsome.
I agree OP, I can't remember how it got into my Amazon Wishlist, but after a few chapters I'm getting to the point where I want to throw it against a wall.
I've rolled my eyes so much at the smug prose I'm almost getting dizzy.
Fuck Armichair Maudlin, if that's the quality of his writing- fuck him and the mouldy horse he rode in on in.
It's been a trying day.
Maupin sold his SF home and retreated to the desert. I wonder if we will hear from from him anymore, perhaps the well has run dry...
The books were originally written as a newspaper column, and should be read in that spirit. A great many SFers became deeply engrossed in the Barbary Lane goings on. If you read one chapter a day, you'll get something of the way the original worked.
What R11 said.
Taken as a whole they are somewhat underwhelming. But it was the soap opera of its day, in print.
And I do love me some Anna Madrigal.
As I loved reading them when they originally appeared, I always want to recommend the books to twentysomethings who are looking for something to read, but fear they will find them hopelessly antiquated.
What do you young ones who've recently read them think?
I'm afraid you would have to have lived through that era to understand what it was really like. The series did a good job dramatizing the series. I feel so incredibly old when I say I was there and a part of the story. Armistead looks very old. Sometimes I feel like I should just go out, dig a hole and climb in.
I loved them when I read them, even if there were elements that as others have said were smug. I haven't re-read them in a long time, and I'm inclined to think it's best that I don't.
I read them in the early 90's and loved them. I don't consider them to be great literature, but they're page turners and they have heart.
Maupin is a mean piece of shit.
I almost threw the book down when it was revealed that the gorgeous straight man was in fact gay.
[quote] Maupin is a mean piece of shit.
Unless you're an extremely masculine "gaybro" type, in which case he coquettishly blinks his eyes and waves an imaginary Scarlett O'Hara fan in front of his face in an attempt to shamelessly flirt.
I've seen it happen. I'm no Hunchback of Notre Dame but I was at a book signing he did and he was an evil cunt to almost everyone except the dumb jock who was there (for another author).
Was on vacation when I picked up the first one (at the old Midnight Special bookstore on the Third Street Promendade in Santa Monica) .... and proceeded to buy the entire set and devour them.
But of course, I have always been a soap fan (sue me) so i found all of the over the top campiness to be really enjoyable.
I believe he's coming out with a new one with Mrs Madrigal as the focus, but she's got to be in her 90's now, no ??
I didn't love the most recent ones about Mouse and Mary Ann, but it was nice to revisit much of the old gang.
I must be a real schmaltz queen because I loved the books also (up until Babycakes) and the series as well. I thought it was good casting.
It's all so much bilge. Let's discuss gay literature which is more satisfying than Maupin's tripe.
Oh dear what are twentysomethings reading these days????
I've just started the new audiobook edition, first book read by Frances McDormand and the second by Mrs. Rojo Caliente. Got all choked up on the bus this afternoon when Edgar didn't show up at the Christmas Eve party.
"Oh dear what are twentysomethings reading these days????"
Oh, the irony...
Learn How To Use Commas, Dear
R23 is definitely representative of the fortysomething intellect.
I was never as charmed by Michael Tolliver as Maupin was, but I did think the end of the original series was some of Maupin's best writing --
-- in that his friendship with Mary Ann ended sadly and with some bitterness on his part. That felt realistic and unsentimental, as did stripping some of the luster off Mrs. Madrigal; by the end of the sixth book, she was just an old woman whose way of life, it was clear, was not long for the modern world.
The two follow-up books of recent years -- the Tolliver book and the Mary Ann book -- pretty much showed Maupin should have left well enough alone.
I thought the Mary Ann in Autumn book was quite solid, R27.
The Michael Tolliver Lives book sucked moldy ass, though.
I liked Mary Ann in Autumn, too, R28.
I've never heard anyone say they didn't like Tales before.
R27, the last book was very wistful, and the souring of the central friendship had a real bite to it.
He's working on one now that will be centered around Anna Madrigal.
[quote]Well, they were written quite some time ago, so yes, by today's standards they probably don't rise to the level great literature
The first book was released 35 years ago. I don't think the standards by which great literature is judged have risen so much in those years. If anything our standards have fallen.
I always found these books (and especially the TV series) a bit silly and cheesy. Today they're probably quite dated.
Say what you will, Sarah Jessica Parker was good in the TV show.
But I would think that because the books are so enmeshed in the pop culture of their time, their period flavor and point of view is what would make them timeless and all the more interesting to the twentysomethings.
The original miniseries was incredible, one of my favorite mid-90s memories. It was the highest show ever on PBS, but the Republican fundies whined so much PBS dropped plans to do a sequel. Which would've been as good as the original since it would've retained the original's cast.
The cunt who wrote "Serial" totally ripped off Maupin's Tales, and that was bad enough, but even worse was her version is homophobic. To rip off a gay man's work and turn it homophobic is really beyond the pale.
I'll probably never be able to trace this quote so I won't bother but I remember back in the days of the black power movement an author saying it was important for black authors to write what they had to say and not worry about whether or not it was "good" literature. "Tales of the City" was revolutionary in that it was gay lit that made it on the mainstream bestseller lists and was made into a PBS series. It certainly played its part in helping straight America work the stick out of its ass regarding the LGBT community.
Badly written bit of tripe best in it's place and time.
I remember reading the series one after the other one summer in the 90's and just loving it! I felt as though they were my best friends and was sad when I finished the last book. Once the PBS version came out, I felt the exact same way. I remember seeing Armistead at the Beach Blanket Babylon's 25th anniversary show and telling him we need to get part two made. Obviously, he realized my sage advice was worth persuing and thus the Showtime series came into play, lol...
Miss Maupin would never sit for the Gaybro nonsense, though.
After the original Mouse said he was straight in several interviews Maupin had his ass fired.
(Which, despite his general bitchiness, is one of the things he's done that I respect.)
Oh, that's good to know, R39. I really didn't like him as Mouse. Of course, Mouse always had dark red hair in my imagination (maybe because of the connection with orange juice?)
I thought the original Mouse was far better than the replacement.
Was he your first exposure to [italic]Tales[/italic], R41?
I read these long after the books came out, after the first series on PBS. I enjoyed them, but sort of snorted at the inclusion of Jim Jones. I did some research and discovered he really was involved in the SF scene, including interacting with Milk. Still, sighting him later? That was a stretch.
[quote]"Tales of the City" was revolutionary in that it was gay lit that made it on the mainstream bestseller lists
They didn't start out trying to be any kind of lit, though. It was a light serial in a newspaper.
That he threw in "realistic" things like the souring of relationships is a perfect example of Maupin's gradually taking himself way too seriously. The people who made Tales an incredible success didn't do it because they had no access to Tolstoy. They loved it because it was a lighthearted look at life in their city. That it mutated into a testament to Maupin's suddenly mythical genius with character is not to its credit.
She wasn't in it r33, or am I missing a joke?
Chloe Webb was great as Mona but I heard her salary demands caused the production to stop.
R45, most people didn't notice, but there was a cameo of her pulling a carriage in Golden Gate Park.
He used to work for Jesse Helms. He's no genius.
I'd recommend the books to teenagers but not adults.
RE 2 - I LOVED D'Amico as Mouse. So sexy in his little white briefs, and his Daisy Dukes. He was so handsome, and the southern accent made him adorable.
Seeing that IMDB pic made me realize it's been almost 20 years since the PBS series. He definitely looks older than his 48 years. I believe he's British/Italian, so wouldn't surprise me if he a big drinker , an a smoker.
It's been claimed Maupin had the original Mouse fired because he wouldn't have sex with Maupin because he was too fat.
I took what you guys said on board and am just reading it like the trashy soap it is. It does for the train, just about. I kind of want Mary Ann to run into the traffic blindfolded, though.
This thread made me think of our old friend Anita Bryant, and a Wikipedia checkup on her condition led me to a rather awesomely self-serving autobiography at the link.
It probably was but to my teen mind it was fascinating. I also really liked "Maybe The Moon."
r54 I loved "Maybe the Moon"! I read it after the Tales series and I wanted more Maupin. Was she supposed to be E.T.? I mean was ET played by a person or a puppet? Or was she supposed to be C3PO? At any rate, it was a great book. "The Night Listener" was also good. "Michael Tolliver Lives" not so much.
Oh and I forgot about the JIm Jones part that r43 mentioned. I only read those books once, in the 90's but as someone who has recently read just about everything on Jonestown, it absolutely makes sense that he would be there. Jonestown was mentioned in "The Night Listener" too. His secretary and her lesbian moms and brother had left right before the final white night there. I imagine that Maupin must have maybe known Jones or at least friends of his, like Jerry Brown or Harvey Milk.
Is Chloe Webb a lesbian? Never married and no kids.
Dear lord I hated the Mary Ann character. And to this day I can't stand Laura Linneyy.
r57 Chloe was in a movie with Mrs. Travolta years ago..some here may say that that is reason enough to say "yes" to your question.
I liked Mary Ann at first but there's a point in about the fourth book where you just want to kick her in the nuts, metaphorically speaking.
R42 No, I'd read the books. I know he was a bit different physically than described but I just liked him. And he, Chloe and Laura clicked.
Remember in the Showtime series when that rich, old lady went to a retreat where young studs have sex with old women? That was a hoot!
I have this ladyfriend who's 95. She LOVED Tales of the City when it aired in America. She watched every single episode.
I am sure Maupin and Harvey met socially - but they were in two totally different worlds. I am sure Army didn't think much of Harvey, he wasn't an A gay that's for sure. I knew them both they hung out with completely different groups.
I loved Mary Ann when the books started but grew to despise her over time.
R64 I think that was Maupin's goal. And it rings true - the rube from Cleveland eventually becomes the cuntress news anchor.
Mary Ann could be a stand in for any number of gay men who have done the same thing and social climbed their way to higher status, leaving their old friends behind.
In a way, Mary Ann Singleton = Andy Cohen.