Armistead Maupin | Books | Film and TV

Have Yourself A Very Barbary Christmas: VIDEO


One of the main themes in author Armistead Maupin's works, particularly his iconic Tales of The City series, is the idea of the logical family: if our biological relations reject us, we can make our own kin.

Still, with this family in place, there's then the added pressure to find a partner, a stress Michael "Mouse" Tolliver struggled under for a large portion of the Tales narrative. Even amidst all the mystery and intrigue at 28 Barbary Lane, relationship woes still creep in.

AFTER THE JUMP, Mouse and Mary-Ann, played by Marcus D'Amico and Laura Linney in the original mini-series adaptation, discuss the pressures Christmas can put on the single among us. (Relevant scene begins at the two-minute mark.)

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  1. These books probably saved my life. Thank you, Mr. Maupin.

    Posted by: AJ | Dec 24, 2012 2:52:19 PM

  2. Christmas with a family like that--and with a batch of loaded brownies on hand--sounds pretty good to me.

    Posted by: Lonely Xmas | Dec 24, 2012 3:00:53 PM

  3. One of the best holiday I ever had was a stormy New Years weekend in the bay window of a victorian in the heart of the Castro reading the Tales of the City from cover to cover. The tree was still up, the fire was blazing, it was raining and all was right in my world. This brings back such great memories. Thanks Towleroad, Happy Christmas!

    Posted by: dbaudit | Dec 24, 2012 3:15:54 PM

  4. This WAS a wonderful production/event. Whatever happened to Michael? I heard a talk by A. Maupin and he said he would talk about anything but Michael and was quite defensive about it when asked. So I have always wondered.

    What AJ has said is probably true for a lot of us, at least it was basically encouraging.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Dec 24, 2012 3:38:18 PM

  5. UFFDA: It's waaaaaay to late for a spoiler alert, but stop reading this post's comments, get the rest of the books, and find out.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Dec 24, 2012 3:50:20 PM

  6. Would love to see these again, but the DVDs are out of print, and, even when they were available, were heavily edited versions (despite being labeled "unedited" on Amazon).

    Posted by: bcarter3 | Dec 24, 2012 4:18:23 PM

  7. I too was saved by Armistead Maupin. Think I'll have a toke when I return from taking mom to dinner with my partner of 30! years and dream of the world that was, on the hill by the bay.

    Posted by: m | Dec 24, 2012 6:40:28 PM

  8. BCARTER3, try this...

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Dec 24, 2012 7:25:39 PM

  9. Just enough of a tease, to get me to
    bring out the whole series for another viewing. Wish I had the DVD collection, un edited. Merry Xmas to Armistead, Chris and all the fans.

    Posted by: vince | Dec 24, 2012 8:42:05 PM

  10. DBAUDIT - what a great visually memorable vignette, thanks for sharing it.

    ANASTASIA - maybe the books tell what happened to Michael the character, but I was commenting on the actor himself. Maupin understood that when I asked him, but defensively refused to answer. I still want to know...he was so good, and so sympathetic, that I have always thought he could have had a larger acting career in front of him, but I have never seen him since.

    Oh yes...Merry Christmas to all this Christmas Eve.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Dec 24, 2012 10:19:22 PM

  11. I can still remember discovering "Tales of the City" when it first came out and waiting with bated breath for each succeeding volume. I have truly loved the series. Thanks, TR, for brightening my Christmas.

    @Uffda - I'm assuming you are referring to the fact that the next series had a different Michael. I have also wondered that. However, I don't remember hearing any explanation. I liked the first Michael better, but wished he had had a moustache to follow the book.

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Dec 25, 2012 1:10:30 AM

  12. There are multiple rumors about why Marcus d'Amico didn't return in the role. I've heard on one hand that Maupin was displeased about d'Amico not wanting to come out of the closet, and on the other that d'Amico wasn't comfortable playing some of Michael's "gayer" scenes.

    Interestingly, however, Maupin linked to this post today for a Facebook Christmas greeting:
    "Christmas Eve with Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis, Parker Posey, Billy Campbell, Paul Gross, Thomas Gibson, Chloe Webb and Father Guido Sarducci. Here's wishing my FB friends a cosy yule with high hearts and low expectations."
    Notice that Marcus d'Amico is *not* named in that list, and I doubt Maupin simply forgot to include him. So there's a story there.

    Posted by: Prof Sancho Panza | Dec 25, 2012 1:22:35 AM

  13. @Uffda: FWIW - Go to wikipedia on Marcus d'Amico. There's a quote from Maupin which denies "sexuality" as a reason for dropping him. Hmmm...

    @Anastasia Bevearhausen: Thanks. How about More TOTC and Further TOTC?

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Dec 25, 2012 3:46:44 AM

  14. From noticing the pointed if not snotty way that Maupin refused to speak of d'Amico during a public talk some years ago - and now this on line snub - my guess is that Maupin is a Pri@k, plain and simple.

    I do note from Wikipedia that d'Amico has gone on to have another acting career and I wish him well as he was the dearly charming heart of Tales. The other guy couldn't really replace him anymore than Maupin can erase his radiance from the first half of the series.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Dec 25, 2012 6:19:39 AM

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  16. Funny, I'd heard that Marcus had tried acting gay to get the part (gay-for-pay, shall we say?) but once he'd had it, was ... difficult.
    While I ADORED Chloe Webb as Mona, I much preferred Paul Hopkins as Mouse. I would have done that man in a New York second. (I thought Nina Siemaszko played Mona as if she was already over the part by the time she started.)

    Posted by: FixItAgainTony | Dec 25, 2012 11:43:04 PM

  17. My friends in Cleveland were not pleased with Mouse's comment about the city. When Maupin gave a book-signing there, he was challenged on it, and seemed utterly shocked that anyone would be offended.

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Dec 26, 2012 3:21:16 AM

  18. @UFFDA: Plain and simple, Armistead Maupin is a Pri@k. The books were moderately good (I preferred the newspaper serialization) but Mr. Maupin himself? Unpleasant.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Dec 26, 2012 11:21:08 AM

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