Tales From the Shitty

Our former Guest Writer, Whatsblem the Pro, who is now independent from this blog, has published a scoop on his new outlet burnernews.com …congratulations Whatsblem on the scoop! We wish you only happy tidings in your latest endeavor.

maupin 47th emmysIt seems that ageing literary figure and (presumably) Burner Armistead Maupin, who will turn 70 this year, is going to write his last book in his San Francisco-set series of  “Tales Of The City”, about Burning Man. Perhaps he was inspired by the recent Cacophony Society history, entitled Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Socierty? Maupin’s new novel stars a 92-year old protagonista, and her escaped-from-a-whorehouse art project builder. Here’s the UK Guardian on the predicted masterpiece:

His Tales of the City have delighted readers for four decades and brought gay life into the mainstream. Now the landmark series is coming to an end as the ninth volume is published
In 1974, when Armistead Maupin began writing what became Tales of the City, he thought of it as “an in-joke about the way life worked in San Francisco“. Four decades later, that in-joke has been shared by more than 6 million readers. His stories of interlocking gay and straight lives in the city constitute one of the best-loved of literary sagas. The New York Times described reading them as “like dipping into an inexhaustible bag of M&Ms, with no risk of sugar overload“. Now though, after four decades, that bag is finally about to be exhausted. The series will conclude with Maupin’s ninth book, Days of Anne Madrigal, published at the end of this month.
…Quentin Crisp once introduced him with the boast: “This is Mr Maupin. He invented San Francisco.” More importantly, Maupin virtually invented the mainstreaming of gay life and helped the world see that “the gay experience” was nothing lesser or greater than human experience.

wide open townI thought Burning Man was an in-joke about the way life worked in San Francisco? That seems like how the Google guys were thinking, when they put the BM logo on their home page in 1998. But Armistead is “the one” who invented San Francisco? Oh my, that is quite a big claim. Here’s a book about Gay Life in San Francisco up until 1965. Maupin didn’t come out until he was 30 in 1974, before that he worked for leading conservative Senator Jesse Helms, former Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Although this dude Maupin is old, and should be given a leave pass for whatever he says, I think we’re dealing with quite the exaggeration here. Without wanting to be sexist/racist [I used to live above the Castro at the top of Twin Peaks; turn right at the giant rainbow flag and keep going up past Uranus till you get to Twin Peaks, was seriously the directions to my home – so what? -Ed]… many of the gay people I’ve known in my life have a tendency towards exaggeration and hyperbole.  I’ve got nothing against gay people (IMO, anyone can fuck anyone, just leave children and animals out of it)…but this old man only has a 40-year literary career. The LGBT, and debauched straight, history of San Francisco, goes much, much deeper. For example, the End Up was already going when Maupin made his debut on the queer scene. Love, love, love the End Up.

Larry Harvey once said ” The person who sits scribbling in a corner may be writing a book about Burning Man that will revolutionize how we look at ourselves”…maybe this book, from a very famous American author, will be the one to do the trick.

Tales Of The City was dramatized into a 1993 TV Show, published as a Mini-Series first in the UK and then on PBS in the US. From Wikipedia:

The miniseries premiered on Channel 4 in the UK on 28 September 1993, and was screened by PBS in the US in January 1994. Amid the controversy surrounding the homosexual themes, nudity, and illicit drug use in the miniseries, Tales of the City gave PBS its highest ratings ever for a dramatic programme.

Get naked! Take drugs! Have sex with whomever you please! Does that sound familiar in any way, Burners? Seems like Black Rock City is an obvious choice to conclude his tales, which began with 1960’s “counter-culture”.

Parker Posey suits up, with a silver star

Parker Posey suits up, with a silver star

The show featured such stars as Armistead Maupin (as himself), SF icon Harvey Milk (as himself), New York hottie Parker Posey, veteran actress Olympia Dukakis, and Mars Attacks! bad-ass Rod Steiger.

All we know so far about Maupin’s new story, is it features  75 years of the adventures of a fictional Transgender landlady (hating on rent control tenants?) She wants to leave her 92-year old life of a lady-boy, and Burning Man is the star location:

Armistead Maupin, best-known as the author of Tales of the City, has announced that his next novel in the series will be the last one. . . and that this time, the titular city will be Black Rock City, not San Francisco.

Maupin began writing Tales of the City in 1976, and eventually managed to define the experience of an entire generation of San Franciscans with the series while simultaneously providing us with a remarkably accurate snapshot of San Francisco, as seen through the eyes of the Baby Boomers who flocked there as hippies in the 1960s.

The Days of Anna Madrigal will be the last in the seriesThe city itself is a main character in his work. . . perhaps the main character, vying for that distinction with Michael ‘Mouse’ Tolliver, a thinly-veiled representation of the author. In the series of eight internationally bestselling novels (and a Peabody Award-winning miniseries starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney), Maupin has employed Tolliver in speaking out frankly to a formerly-clueless world — and to his own parents — about what it’s like to be gay, about what it’s like to be HIV-positive, and about what it’s like to be a partner in a same-sex marriage. Tolliver is fiction’s gay Everyman, and possibly Maupin’s greatest literary achievement.

The Days of Anna Madrigal will finish out the series, according to Maupin, and will be published January 21st, 2013. The press release on Maupin’s website gives us this outline of what the author says will be the last Tales of the Citynovel:

Anna Madrigal, the transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane, is one of modern literature’s most unforgettable and enduring characters. Now a fragile ninety-two and committed to the notion of “leaving like a lady,” Anna has seemingly found peace in the bosom of her logical family in San Francisco: her devoted young caretaker Jake Greenleaf, who’s hard at work on a secret art project: her former tenant Brian Hawkins, now unexpectedly remarried at 67; Brian’s daughter Shawna, a single woman who wants to be pregnant, and, of course, Michael Tolliver and Mary Ann Singleton, both of whom have known and loved Anna for over thirty-five years.

Some members of Anna’s family are bound for the other-worldly landscape of Burning Man, the art community in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada where 60,000 revelers will build a city (Michael calls it “a Fellini carnival on Mars”) designed to last only a week. Anna herself has another Nevada destination in mind: a lonely stretch of road outside of Winnemucca where the 16-year-old boy she used to be ran away from the whorehouse he called home. With the aid of Brian and his beat-up RV she journeys east from San Francisco into the dusty troubled heart of her Depression childhood, facing some unfinished business she has so far avoided.

Suspenseful, comic and touching, The Days of Anna Madrigal unearths secrets and dreams that span 75 years.

The city itself is a main character in his work? Would that radically include, Black Rock City? He can freely use their trademarks, because it’s a literary work of fiction? Cool! We support it.

aren't Chemtrails lovely?

aren’t Chemtrails lovely? click to Educate Yourself

We’re in suspense. We’re waiting for the jokes. However, we don’t like making fun of old people. I’m in the Far East right now (where Whatsblem used to live), there are lady-boys aplenty. However I’m not too sure about Mr Maupin’s geography. If you wanted to head East from San Francisco, you’d get to Stockton. If you were really adventurous, you’d get to Yosemite (highly recommended!) If you wanted to get from San Francisco to Black Rock City, well anyone who lives there knows you’d go North, probably on the I-80 heading up from Oakland. Particularly from Reno you’d go North…but technically, it is Nor’ East.

San Francisco, CA to Black Rock City, NV - Google Maps

One thing this book proves – it’s fine to use the registered trademarks “Burning Man” and “Black Rock City”, in a fictional novel. This is called “Fair Use”, unless Mr Maupin requested a specific leave pass from BMOrg for this endeavor. We wish Mr Maupin all the best, we hope his book is his best seller yet…and congratulations once again to Whatsblem the Pro for breaking this Burner News.


7 comments on “Tales From the Shitty

  1. Woo! Glad to see him leaving the blog.

    Nice job not being racist or sexist or homophobic or whatever. Now all you need to do is work on the ageism problem.

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