This reading is presented in partnership with Litquake, San Francisco's literary festival with heart, guts and a taste for the wilder side of the literary world. Litquake 2007 runs October 6-13, 2007. The opening night program, Tales: An Evening with Armistead and Friends is a tribute to Armistead Maupin.
Armistead Maupin first introduced readers to the colorful cast of 28 Barbary Lane in the 1970s with a groundbreaking newspaper serial that went on to become a series of six internationally bestselling novels and a Peabody Award-winning miniseries starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney. Laura Miller applauded the books as "perhaps the most sublime piece of popular literature America has ever produced" in Salon. Now, almost thirty years after Tales of the City was published, Maupin takes us back to San Francisco in Michael Tolliver Lives, where we find Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, one of the most beloved characters in contemporary fiction, grappling with what it means to be a middle-aged gay man today.
Michael had been diagnosed with HIV when we last saw him in 1989, but he is now not only alive and kicking, but head-over-heels in love with his husband, Ben, twenty-two years his junior. This sweet-spirited Southerner's 'family' from 28 Barbary Lane has dispersed, but they continue to confide in and rely on each other. His best friend Brian Dawkins, now running the nursery they founded together, is finding his own path as a single parent of a boundary-pushing, uber-sexual blogger daughter, while Mary Ann has relocated to Connecticut, where she lives with her stockbroker husband. And Anna Madrigal, Michael's former landlady who is now eighty-five, is still providing insight and inspiration to those around her.
With his new lease on life, Michael is enjoying growing older joyfully and has a greater appreciation for the everyday miracles that somehow make that possible. In Michael Tolliver Lives, Maupin has re-introduced us to a character readers love and admire. He will certainly be recognized by his longtime fans, and his true spirit as the gay everyman will appeal to new readers as well.