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TV: A First Look at “Tales of the City”

(Photo Credits: Screengrab from Tales of the City’s Instagram Account)

Tales of the City is being revived by Netflix and is coming this summer 2019. Here is what you need to know about this mini-series:

  1. Tales of the City is the title of the first novel out of 9 books in the series. Its first three books were adapted into a mini-series in 1993 which stars Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney. The series follows the lives (and love lives) of the residents of an apartment at 28 Barbary Lane where a young secretary named Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney)—who is visiting San Francisco—ended up deciding to stay and leave her life in Cleveland, Ohio behind. It has sequels titled More Tales of the City (1998) and Further Tales of the City (2001).
  2. It is considered a classic gay literature and was written by gay San Francisco author Armistead Maupin.
  3. The 1993 version was set in 1976, before the HIV/AIDS pandemic and is considered groundbreaking and revolutionary for its portrayal of LGBT people and for showcasing the queer culture at that time.
  4. The new series by Netflix will have 10 episodes. Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis, and Barbara Garrick will be reprising their roles as Mary Ann Singleton, Anna Madrigal, and DeDe Halcyon Day respectively.
  5. Joining them are Ellen Page who will play “Shawna,” Murray Bartlett (Looking) as “Michael ‘Mouse’ Tolliver,” and Josiah Victoria Garcia who plays Anna Madrigal’s transgender man caregiver “Jake Rodriguez.”
  6. Netflix has dropped a first look for fans of Tales of the City on Instagram:

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  1. Hunter4B

    Tales of the City, originally published serially in the San Francisco Chronicle in the 1970s, was my introduction to the word: gay.

    I was only a child, but the original novel (Tales of the City) had a cover that was basically a map of the locations described in the narrative; it was beyond mesmerizing to my young self! I asked, and my mom purchased it for me, based on nothing but a judgment of its cover! My gosh, how wonderful it was to my young self, to discover the City of San Francisco, in detail, with vibrant characters from diverse backgrounds so different than my own. It was my first taste of a positive portrayal of gay men. Years later in an English course, I learned that Charles Dickens had published many works serially, and I was enthralled with the writing, starting my own love of the English language, colloquial writing, irony, and the fleshing out of characters and coincidence in our lives …

    In my twenties, I found More Tales of the City in a local bookstore, and purchased it, I began reading through them all and finished one book in a day. I heard that Armistead Maupin would be signing copies at a local bookstore, and made sure to be there and and get my original copy signed. When I graduated from my undergrad, I celebrated with a week in the City by the Bay, visiting the Castro Theater, Marina Safeway, Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Telegraph Hill, and of course “The Stairway” … it was an amazing trip I will never forget, the summer of my awakening.

    Imagine my surprise when it was announced that US PBS and UK Channel 4 would produce the 1st novel. I had no access to cable, so I had to purchased the VHS Tapes, but the series was popular with everyone because older people recognized the famous actors (often playing their younger selves). Straight friends loved the cool 70s revival, gay friends easily translated the ambiguously evident plots, and even my staunchly religious friends found the interrelated stories ‘fun.’

    Busy with graduate school and career, I lost track before Showtime revived the update and a friend gave me the DVD for Christmas one year. I still never found the time to watch it, but reading this here, has many fond memories rushing back to me. I cannot wait to go through my storage and find that First Edition copy, the videos, and to check out this continuation. How nice that they are keeping many of the same actors/characters. I may just purchase cable again! It might just be time for a road trip to my favorite City in the world!


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