Gavin Newsom’s Maupin Tribute: Tuesday is Michael Tolliver Day in SF

Those who don’t read Armistead Maupin may have no idea who Michael Tolliver is, but those who do may be thrilled that a new story in the saga of “Mouse” has arrived on bookstore shelves.

MaupinThe celebrated Tales of the City author is back with another volume called Michael Tolliver Lives.

Maupin told the San Francisco Chronicle, which originally serialized the Tales series beginning way back in 1976, that he was initially scared of his approach: “I was nervous that people following the series might be thrown off by a first-person novel that has all the characters treated equally.”

He says that the main themes of the book deal with getting older:

“I wanted to illuminate the process of growing older as a gay man, and make it easier for people who think life is over. Gay men who are growing old are incredibly lucky to be here….if I’d known that 63 was going to feel this good, I would have been a lot more cheerful along the way. Age is the last closet you come out of in the gay world. There are such gloomy visions of gay men aging. But if you worship beauty above all else, if you worship sex above all else, you’re in trouble. If you’re not working on your heart every second, you are going to have a very sad old age.”

Tolliver_2Maupin lives with his partner Christopher Turner who is 27 years his junior. The age difference is a fact that doesn’t phase Maupin in the least, he told afterElton last August:

“I think [aging is] the central issue of our generation. There are a lot of people out there who are trying to figure out how to be good old gay people — how to do it well, how to be the best you can for your age. In my case that has to do with trying to be the best version of 62 I can imagine. Not to try and recreate something I felt I had 30 years ago. Interestingly enough, my partner, Christopher, runs a personals website for men over 40. I actually met him on the site. I saw this handsome 34-year-old there that made my heart beat faster. I bumped into him in the street a few months later and asked him for a date.”

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom declared Tuesday “Michael Tolliver Day” in San Francisco.

Michael Tolliver Lives [amazon]

You may have missed…
Armistead Maupin: How to Live Well at any Age [tr]

According to the Chronicle, “Armistead Maupin will appear (today) at 7 p.m. at Books Inc., Opera Plaza, 601 Van Ness, San Francisco, (415) 776-1111,”


  1. says

    though connected to amazon in countless ways, I missed this one- so huge summer readin’ thanks to everyone at Towleroad. It’ll be interesting to see where michael’s at in his late 40’s early 50’s. I’m there now and can’t wait to see if I’ve lived up to an idle worship from the 70’s. (yeah that’s right. If I’da been at the ‘End-Up’ that night our lives would have been complete)

  2. Michael says

    Although I believe Maupin has said positive things about them, I urge everyone not to judge his books by the TV series which were a visual sleeping pill, albeit with the occasional full frontal.

    The first book made me fall in love, sight-unseen, with San Francisco from 3000 miles away in DC when I worked at Lambda Rising Bookstore and hosted Maupin for a book party. He was mostly paying his own traveling expenses as his publisher then was unwilling/unable to. By the time the second book appeared I was living there and loving it. I’ll never forget the text of one morning’s episode of “Further Tales” in the “SF Chronicle” blurring through my tears as I read about Mouse and Brian being attacked by fag bashers just weeks after a gay man had died from a similar attack on Polk Street. As I recall, one of his killer’s Mormon mother told the paper that her son was raised to dislike people like that.

  3. Leland says

    Tomorrow is also the 40th anniversary of “Loving v. Virginia.” Click on the Celebrating the Freedom to Marry link on the right for more information such as those couples who could have ended up in jail were it not for that decision:

    Barack Obama’s parents.
    Tiger Woods & his wife.
    Jeb Bush & his wife.
    Former Secty. of Defense Bill Cohen & his wife.
    Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell & his wife.

  4. SeanR says

    Wonderful that there will be more to the TOTC series. Agreed the tv version wasn’t the best, but the books were just great! Will be interested to see how Maupin frames gay ageing, as there is a stereotype of invisibility (at least here in Ireland) and I hope the book generates some debate.

  5. anon ( says

    Well, considering how often I get hit on by older gay men, sex is very much on their minds. I can appreciate his writing but I was always troubled about the casual drug use, particularly in relation to AIDS. To me, smoking and drug use are just a big turn-off (to use a 70’s expression).

  6. dizzyspins says

    Maupin’s words have moved me over the decades, and I was really touched by what he was saying about “if I’d known that 63 was going to feel this good, I would have been a lot more cheerful along the way.” Then I read the part about the 30something boyfriend.

    What hypocracy! He can land a hot 30something boyfriend because he’s Armisted f-ing Maupin. How does his zen philosophy translate to those of us without celebrity cache? SHEESH!

  7. Nonplussed says

    …so Christopher Turner?
    What was it that first attracted you to 63 year old millionaire Armistead Maupin?

  8. Frank L says

    I don’t think that Mr. Maupin sees any contradiction in saying that 63 feels great and at the same time being able to boast an under-40 partner. Like most celebrities and semi-celebrities, he’s probably learned to tune out anything that might be a form of cognitive dissonance. Age may be the last closet, to use Mr. Maupin’s words, but if you’ve got enough cash and/or fame, age is virtually meaningless.

  9. says

    I greatly appreciate Armistead Maupin’s frank comments about gay aging — both the need to develop interests that go beyond those of the youth-dominated gay sexual marketplace and the need to develop the self at every age.

    Maupin is quite right to observe that there are “a lot of people out there who are trying to figure out how to be good old gay people — how to do it well, how to be the best you can for your age.”

    For those interested in learning more about what some of those people are doing, I encourage a visit to the home page of the Lesbian and Gay Aging Issues Network (LGAIN) of the American Society on Aging at

    The LGAIN site includes an annotated Web guide with links to more than 500 websites dealing with LGBT aging. And the current issue of LGAIN’s quarterly newsletter — normally distributed only to members — is available as a free sample at

  10. montclairguy says

    Christopher Turner’s website for older/younger men is Not mentioned in the article/s is his similar porn production company, Pantheon.

  11. says

    This is Armistead’s husband, Christopher Turner. I want to answer the question above about what attracted me to Armistead. I’m amazed at how people always assume older/younger relationships have something to do with money or the two parties using each other in some way. I’ve always been attracted to older men and it’s never been because I wanted a sugar daddy. I can’t stand the idea of being supported by someone. I’m way too independent and stubborn to be kept.

    I was initially attracted to Armistead because he’s my physical type — a hairy daddy! In my experiences with dating other older men, I’ve found that many aren’t available for true intimacy (which is true of a lot of younger men too, I’m sure). Not to sound too hokey, but Armistead is the most romantic, sweet man I’ve ever met. It certainly doesn’t hurt that I believe in the work that he does and the way that he tries to have a positive voice in the world. I really admire him for that. We’ve been together for 3 years now, so I think we’re past the lust stage.

    I started my websites because I always felt that I was judged for being into guys over 40. There’s so much emphasis on being into young and smooth men in our culture, and that’s never what turned me on. I am pleasantly surprised that the sites I started as a hobby have become so popular. I’m finding just how many younger men are into older guys. I’m sure some of them are looking for a sugar daddy, but I think most of the younger guys who are attracted to older men are attracted to them physically, emotionally and intellectually. In other words, they are looking for love.

    By the way, my porn site is called and it celebrates the physical attraction of older men, not their wallets. is my personals site and it’s not just for older/younger relationships, but older men who are into each other. I love the idea of creating a space that’s not ageist in our oh-so-ageist gay community.

  12. Jon says

    Way to go, Chris! You and Armistead make whatever happiness you can make together and don’t worry about anything that anyone says. And tell that sweet man of yours that Jon of the Haight is still alive and kicking and is in Texas. He was very kind to me when I was a 22 year old neophyte in San Francisco in the early 80s and the times that we talked I still cherish. And thanks for the new book and I look forward to catching up with some of the old friends from Barbary Lane.

  13. Nonplussed says

    Perhaps the declaration of abiding affection might have read more seriously (romantically?) if it weren’t preamble to a sales-pitch for a porn site…
    As they say “may the fucking you’re getting be worth the fucking you’re getting…”

  14. JoshEV says

    I finished reading Michael Tolliver lives this weekend.

    It’s quite the feat.

    I’m a huge Tales fan, and i was pretty skeptical of this book (for the reasons that Mr. Maupin feared readers would not accept it– the shift to first person narrative). But, i’m still reeling from it.

    I don’t think it’s pretentious that he denies calling this the 7th tales book… because really, i think now, after reading it, it’s more of a comment on the previous six, and a blazing mix of the optimism and passion of the first 3 with the heartache and fear of the second 3, combined with 20 years of persistance, maturity, and surprise with where it’s all lead.

    This is quite the book. Tales fans like me that didn’t know if they wanted to indulge in this “tag on postilude” to the series shouldn’t worry…Maupin still comes forth feriously and creates and beautiful novel in its own right, that in the long run, will make the previous six books all the more extraordinary.