Armistead Maupin’s gay San Francisco

In the first of a two part article on San Francisco we look at Armistead Maupin’s gay book series inspired by his favourite city spot

Armistead Maupin’s gay San Francisco
30 December 2011

For those not in the know Tales of the City is the acclaimed eight-book series from gay American author Armistead Maupin. The books follow Ohio born Mary Ann Singleton and her adventures in San Francisco after moving in with the eclectic (and eccentric) occupants of 28 Barbary Lane. These include moody bisexual, Mona, gay-and-sometimes-proud, Michael, and marijuana smoking landlady, Anna Madrigal.

Tales of the City portray San Francisco as ‘a world within a world’, filled with unique and exciting people, with gates open to all. The books describe San Fran’s Golden Gate Bridge as a magnetic force, pulling in those on the outside and making it impossible for those within it to leave (at least with their hearts in tow).

Fans of Maupin’s Tales of the City books (and its TV mini-series) can retrace the steps of Michael ‘Mouse’ Tolliver and its other popular characters through the Tours of the Tales website. For San Francisco visitors, even unfamiliar with the novels, the site acts as a good general guide to some of the city’s best (and worst) kept secrets… Tours of the Tales contains downloadable tour trails and lists any ‘official guided tours’ being hosted throughout the year.

We took the main walking tour starting at Buena Vista bar, where Mary Anne first arrives in the city and enjoys an Irish coffee. We moved on to Russian Hill and then better known areas such as the Searchlight Market and Svensen’s Ice Cream. The highlight for me, however, was seeing the steps at Macondray Lane, which inspired those at Maupin’s fictional Barbary Lane. A second to this was spotting the flock of wild parrots on Telegraph Hill (also featured in the books).

Armistead Maupin’s first book in this series was awarded the Big Gay Read prize (a competition which seeks to find the best gay book of all time). The series captures the Bohemian and outrageous sides to San Francisco.

If Maupin’s books aren’t enough to tempt you, check back on Gay Star News for Matt Newbury’s upcoming and detailed account of where to explore and what to do in the wonderful city of San Francisco.
 

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Mary J Blige says being in support of gay marriage not incompatible with her Christianity

'To say you do not want people to be happy is so mean, so not me'
No thumbnail available

Brussels promises huge pride party to celebrate 20 years of Pride.Be

One of Europe's biggest LGBT pride events is celebrating a major milestone in style
No thumbnail available

Ousted lesbian leader disappointed proposed Boy Scouts policy allowing gay members does not include adults

'The Boy Scouts are once again forcing me to look my children in the eyes and tell them that our family isn't good enough' 
No thumbnail available

Boy, 11, takes down Australia PM in stunning letter supporting gay marriage

Tony Abbott gets burned by an 11-year-old who cannot understand his reasons for refusing to give gay people equal rights
No thumbnail available

Dance on stage at Sydney Mardi Gras

Auditions opening soon for dancers to perform on stage at Sydney Mardi Gras
No thumbnail available

Uzbekistan's president: being gay is 'disgusting' and causes moral decay

According to a US diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks, Uzbekistan's president thinks that being gay causes the moral 'decay' of Western 'style' democracies
No thumbnail available

Obama fights for gay marriage bill in Illinois

US president returns to Chicago where he was a senator to fight for a marriage equality bill at a fundraising dinner
No thumbnail available

Outspoken Filipina former beauty queen apologies to LGBT community

Former Miss Philippines Miriam Quiambao calls homosexuality a 'lie from the devil' on Twitter
No thumbnail available

Trailblazer: Dr Christian Jessen – 'I was arrested in Uganda for being a spy'

The Embarrassing Bodies star on his life in travel – from horseback riding in Costa Rica to a gay cruise aboard the Queen Mary 2 plus his traumatic experience inside an African jail at age 19...
No thumbnail available

German president becomes first head of state to boycott Sochi Olympics

Joachim Gauck, who has repeatedly attacked Russia's human rights abuses, becomes the biggest political figure to refuse to attend the Winter Olympics