Meet This Year’s ‘Prime Time 25′

These 25 LGBT achievers over 65 are proving that a person can change the world at any age.

NOVEMBER 26 2014

“Wisdom comes with winters,” Oscar Wilde once stated. And the Prime Time 25, The Advocate’s annual list of outstanding LGBT activists and influencers over the age of 65, is proving this adage correct.

In a seminal year for the LGBT community, our elders continue to be at the vanguard of this progress, distinguishing themselves in the spheres of politics, art, activism, business, and entertainment, while serving as role models for younger generations.

Take a look at the 25 extraordinary writers, athletes, artists, military veterans, and even a magician who are disproving stereotypes of their age demographic by actively contributing to the betterment of the world.

Armistead Maupin, 70, Author

Earlier this year, writer Armistead Maupin released The Days of Anna Madrigal, the final novel in his celebrated Tales of the City series. The stories, which were first printed in a San Francisco area newspaper in 1974, chronicle the West Coast LGBT community through Mary Ann Singleton, a newcomer whose Heartland-born eyes are opened by the diverse, colorful characters in her new city, including her mysterious landlord Anna Madrigal. The series was first novelized in 1978, and has grown into nine books, several of which were adapted into television programs for PBS and Showtime. As a result, generations of media consumers from all walks of life have gotten to know the beautiful, queer characters of Maupin’s world.

Maupin’s influence on culture was recently recognized by the LGBT film organization Outfest, which honored the writer at its 2014 Legacy Awards. Speaking to The Advocate about his impact on a younger generation of readers, Maupin acknowledged that in terms of audience size, there are “not as many as I’d like, but a growing number, and they recognize the basic emotional content of the story. And the rest of it, the colorful period details, are interesting to them in another way.”

He spoke about the perennial themes of the story — the search for love, acceptance, and individuality — that have given Tales life throughout the decades. And while the LGBT community has made great strides in making the world a better place for youth, there is still much work to be done, he says, and still a great need for voices that provide hope and support.

“Sadly, there’s still young people who need to know that they have a place in the world where they can live their lives as freely as they want. And that’s the simple message of Tales. Find your own family. Find your logical family if your biological family is not accepting you,” he said, in a nod to a saying from Anna Madrigal, one of the most prominent transgender characters in LGBT literature.

Maupin is married to a younger man — Christopher Turner, a photographer and the owner of Their relationship, as well as his past friendships and mentorships by older gay men, has given him an acute understanding of the importance of encouraging dialogue between gay men of different age groups.

“I live with a man who has celebrated older gay men in his own work, so perhaps I have a rosier vision of things than others do,” he says. “But we gay elders have a place in the world, and sometimes, it’s even sexual! And people need to know how to step forward and claim that.”

“We’ve learned things in the struggle that are useful,” he adds about the role of older men in a youth-obsessed culture. “When I was a young gay man, Christopher Isherwood was my mentor. And he and his partner, Don Bachardy, who was 30 years his junior, held dinner parties at their house in L.A. Almost every week, I find some instance where, OK, now you’re in the position of the 70-year-old gay man with a younger partner, and how do you behave toward these younger people who are here with you today? How do you represent for them?”

Maupin, who is famous for telling stories of ’70s San Francisco, revealed he has continued this tradition of mentorship with a group of men who are bringing tales to a new generation.

“We got together for a movie night with the cast of Looking the other night,” he confided.

“Oh, wow,” this reporter exclaimed. “That’s what I said!” he said with a laugh.
—Daniel Reynolds

Read the rest of the list here

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Matt Alber Interview

November 10, 2014

This past weekend Matt Alber caught up with Samuel. The ever-busy and ever-dreamy singer-songwriter discusses his recent move back into San Francisco, plans to work on a visual project with a well-known author and, following his visit to the Local Lounge in Portland, getting ready for a tour in the Midwest. Alber will visit Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha, Iowa City, and Milwaukee from November 12th until the 22nd. For more info & tickets go here.

Here is Matt’s latest “Handsome Man”

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Hilary Swank, Armistead Maupin Honored at Raucous Outfest Legacy Awards

NOVEMBER 13, 2014
Allegra Tepper

Tinseltown’s LGBT community faced a not unfamiliar predicament on Wednesday night, when not one but two star-studded soirées celebrated the legacy of LGBT characters on screen: which to attend? While Portia de Rossi, Eric Stonestreet and Jason Collins hiked up to Skirball for the Paley Center’s fête, a familial feeling crowd gathered at Vibiana downtown to honor Hilary Swank, Armistead Maupin and Levi Strauss & Co. at the Outfest Legacy Awards.

Dan Bucatinsky, Aubrey Plaza and Alan Poul were just a few of the guests that filled the cathedral-cum-culinary hot spot, where Chef Neal Fraser served up an intricate menu by both gala standards and by any standards – goodbye rubber chicken, hello grilled salmon and leek fondue.

Lee Daniels, Lily Tomlin and Bruce Cohen were among those on the host committee for the dinner, which raised funds for the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, which promotes the preservation and restoration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender moving image media.

While half the conspicuously male dominated crowd arrived wearing the perennial sport coat (more Dolce & Gabbana than Brooks Brothers, to be sure), a sizable segment gleefully heeded the call to ditch the suit and don “cocktail chic with a denim twist” in celebration of Levi Strauss & Co., the recipient of the Guardian Award.

Armistead Maupin, who was bestowed with the Visionary Award on the 20th anniversary of his “Tales of the City” miniseries, gave a rousing tribute to the brand after accepting his award.
“When I put on a pair of Levi’s, they’re that second skin,” he said. “And the weird thing is, I’m deeply sincere. I can’t imagine another corporate entity that I could get up here and say these things about.”

“Levi’s has an amazing tradition, not just in terms of the treatment of their LGBT employees,” he said, referring to the brand being the first Fortune 500 company to offer domestic partner benefits, “ but what they stood for in the world.”

And from rousing to arousing, Maupin went on to share a titillating story of Basic Plumbing, one of Hollywood’s storied gay bathhouses (or as he put it for the younger attendees, “Grindr in a plywood box”). He recalled “enjoying himself thoroughly in one of those cubicles with someone else in another cubicle,” then emerging to discover it was a Warner Bros. producer he’d met with for a potential “Tales of the City” deal.

“When we realized who each other were, he said, ‘We’ve got to have lunch,’” Maupin explained. “And I said, ‘I thought we just did.’”

Several of the presenters seized on the opportunity to make an especially salacious joke or two to the congregation, delighting in the sacrilege of doing so in a converted cathedral. In a crowd that worships St. Madonna over St. Vibiana, no stone went unturned.

“I worried I wasn’t gay enough to host,” said Natasha Lyonne, the evening’s chief priestess. “But then I looked at my IMDb page. My IMDb page is so gay, it should be sponsored by Olivia Cruises. My IMDb page is so gay, it has its own Grindr profile. It’s gotten to the point where they won’t even finance an indie film without Natasha Lyonne playing a lesbian in it. I want to take this opportunity to say to all of you, I’m sorry and thank you for my career.”

But for all the naughty nonsense, much of the night was also devoted to the sincere memory and celebration of some of the most challenging and enduring moments in LGBT screen history. “Tales of the City” cast members Mary Kay Place, Billy Campbell and Laura Linney all paid emotional tribute (the latter two verging on tears) to Maupin for his enduring books and miniseries.

And in accepting Outfest’s inaugural Trailblazer Award, Swank gave deeply earnest thanks and tribute to Brandon Teena, the real trans man she portrayed in the career-making “Boys Don’t Cry” 15 years ago.

“My closing message remains the same as that of my Academy Award speech,” she said. “Let Brandon Teena’s legacy remind us to always be ourselves, to follow our hearts, to not conform. And let us continue telling stories like this so that one day we’ll not only accept our differences, but actually celebrate our diversity.”

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OUT100: Armistead Maupin



Photography by JUCO | Retouching by Anna Glen at Wet Noodle

The Moment: 1978: The first Tales of the City book is published.

For nearly four decades, the Tales of the City series has influenced popular culture, and in 2014, creator Armistead Maupin officially said goodbye to his beloved characters — Mouse, Mary Ann, Mrs. Madrigal — with its final book, The Days of Anna Madrigal. This fall, the author’s hometown of San Francisco, where the books are set, celebrated the landmark by honoring the first Tales novel as its 10th annual One City One Book selection, emblazoning buses with ads that urged citizens to read it. Maupin’s favorite Tales moment? “Michael’s coming-out letter to his mom was my coming-out letter to my parents,” he says. “It’s hard to imagine now, but when the letter appeared [in 1977], it was shocking for someone to say they were gay, and that it was the best thing that ever happened to them.”

Photographed at the Macondray Lane apartments, the inspiration for Tales of the City’s 28 Barbary Lane, in San Francisco on September 10, 2014

Styling by Kiersten Stevens. Groomer: Ivan Mendoza. Shirt by Levi’s. Jacket by Union Made

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Armistead Maupin at the San Francisco Public Library

KM Soehnlein interviews Armistead Maupin about “Tales of the City,” Jackie O, Burning Man, and Jesse Helms rolling in his grave. For almost four decades, “Tales of the City” has blazed its own trail through popular culture—from a groundbreaking San Francisco Chronicle newspaper serial to a classic novel, to a television event that entranced millions around the world. The first of nine novels about the denizens of the mythic apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco, “Tales” is both a sparkling comedy of manners and an indelible portrait of an era that changed forever the way we live. San Francisco Public Library is thrilled to celebrate Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City during our 10th Annual One City One Book. Library bookshelves were stocked with fresh copies of this beloved book that celebrates San Francisco in the 1970s! Citywide programming took place during September and October. Check out a copy of “Tales of the City” from our online catalog:…

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Armistead Maupin featured as LGBT history ‘icon’

Published: October 10, 2014 in A&E / Life&Style, Featured Stories
Updated: October 9, 2014 at 5:41 pm

maupin_historymonth_combo-595x360Iconic gay writer and North Carolina native Armistead Maupin will be featured this month among 31 LGBT history icons. Maupin’s entry into the list of icons comes from Equality Forum’s annual October LGBT history month series.

Maupin was born in Washington, D.C., in 1944, but grew up in Raleigh. He graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1966. As a student, he wrote for The Daily Tar Heel and, after graduating, worked for Raleigh news station WRAL, where he served under the tutelage of former TV commentator and later U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms.

He later overcame his youthful conservative streak, moving to San Francisco after taking a job with the Associated Press. In 1976, he began his classic “Tales of the City” series at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Maupin’s LGBT history month icon profile will be unveiled on Oct. 24 at, where readers can also learn more about each of the 31 other icons highlighted this month.

Other North Carolina history icons profiled in the past include Durham activist Mandy Carter, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and painter Robert Rauschenberg.

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San Francisco: Maupin’s real Tales of the City

October 2014
Eva Wiseman

He’s been called the man who ‘invented San Francisco’ but with his final Tales of the City book in the bag, has Armistead Maupin moved on? He talks to Eva Wiseman about fame, fans and visiting Russia

There are three 28 Barbary Lanes, four if you count the one embedded in Armistead Maupin’s faithful readers’ hearts. A steep wooden staircase with a story on every step. I’m standing outside the first, at Macondray Lane in San Francisco’s Russian Hill, on a blue-skied sweet-aired morning. The bay twinkles behind me like bracelets. Tales of the City, Maupin’s series of novels that have spanned four decades and many lives, is ending, and I have come to pay homage. To the city, one that over time has changed from tie-dyed hippy utopia to humming tech capital, and to the author, a man who Quentin Crisp once said, ‘invented San Francisco’.

For the uninitiated, the yet to fall in love, Tales of the City began life as a column in the San Francisco Chronicle, before being collected into a best-selling series following the same tribe through their sexual awakenings in the 1970s, the Aids epidemic of the 1980s and into a postmillennial city now shaped by the tech industry. After six non-Tales novels (including The Night Listener, which became a film starring Robin Williams), Maupin returned to Tales (our beloved ingenues Michael Tolliver and Mary Ann Singleton now in their 60s), but promises this ninth volume is the last. ‘I’ve been accused of “Cher’s last tour” syndrome,’ he said, admitting that fans are counting on him writing more. ‘But there really won’t be another.’ The Days of Anna Madrigal sees Maupin’s characters preparing to leave San Francisco for Nevada’s avant-garde festival, Burning Man. Mrs Madrigal, once their mysterious, bohemian landlady, now a transgender legend of 92, embarks on a journey back into the gloaming desert of her past.

Like his Tales children, in 2012 Maupin too left San Francisco for the desert. His decision to move, with his husband and dog, to Santa Fe, was treated by some of his fans as a small death. They grieved the loss of him from this city that he’d built —
12 June was declared Michael Tolliver Day by the mayor — but they needn’t have worried. The pull of the city proved so strong and, two years after leaving, Maupin once again has a home in San Francisco. He sits opposite me at the Palace Hotel, handsome and twinkling at 70, and we order tea. English Breakfast. ‘David Hockney once told me Earl Grey tasted like dishwashing liquid,’ he whispers.

He is treated like royalty here. The staff speak softly around him. ‘I have a manageable level of celebrity here,’ he smiles. ‘Enough people come up to me so I feel good about myself. Usually they just want to tell me they enjoy my work. They are very civilised, generous, loving people. The Game of Thrones writer, George RR Martin, is a friend of mine in Santa Fe, and people get downright personal with him about who he killed off.’

‘The thing that mildly peeved me when we announced we were moving,’ he says, politely refusing the waiter’s offer of cucumber in his iced tea, ‘was the suggestion of disloyalty. If anyone has paid homage to this city, I have. How can they doubt that I love it? There was a mildly funereal tone to the conversation. But the pleasure of writing a book is that we all can return, any time we want to.’

We meet the week that Laura Linney, his longtime friend (and the person who brought Mary Ann Singleton to life) announces that at 49, she’s given birth to her first child. And she’s named him after Maupin. ‘It was astonishingly moving. I turned 70 in May, and to be given a namesake by an actress who brought one of my characters to life… Well. It makes sense. She knew it.’

In the final novel, Anna Madrigal holds forth about the changing shape of San Francisco, the traffic, the money. But Maupin maintains that this is a city of magic. ‘It’s fashionable now for locals to bash San Francisco and the tech industry, but I remember the columnist for the Chronicle, Herb Caen, saying “It’s not the same anymore. It was so much better in the 1930s and 1940s”. This is what happens, we grow old, we hang on to our memories. I’m really trying not to say how much better it was before. Because even these Millennials who turn up in the Google bus have a certain wide-eyed fascination with this beautiful city. Everyone wants to live in this magnificent place.’ He gestures towards the bay. ‘And Anna’s a pretty tough old bird. She had a sense of wonder about her life, wherever it is. She’s always the character I aspire to be.’

Another ambition, he says, is to be given credit for introducing homosexual love stories to the mainstream. HBO’s new SF-set drama, Looking, owes much to the Tales miniseries — its creator has discussed how indebted he is to Maupin — but it’s in France and Italy that Maupin has really noticed change. As each country assimilates to the idea of homosexuality, he says, ‘As it seeps through the cracks, Tales are translated there. Russia is the inevitable barrier to break.’ Would he visit? ‘I’d go if they let me in. My friend Ian McKellen isn’t allowed in, as he’s “promoting the homosexual agenda”.’

A book signing in Russia would be a magical thing. His readings sell out with people who want to tell him how he’s changed their lives. People whose loved ones have been buried with his books. People who sent Michael’s coming-out letter to their families as their own. ‘I’m most proud of the way in which my work has opened up pride and self realisation for people. And I hear it still from young people, which is a little depressing, because I’d hope we were beyond that,’ he adds. ‘Each of us has to say, “This is my life and I’m proud of it, and the hope of love is more important than any of your stupid assumptions about what it means to be outside of the norm.” I didn’t understand heterosexual love until I accepted myself as a gay man. I remember hearing the men in my division in Vietnam pining for women, and I didn’t get it. And that’s why the books had to happen. That blossoming.’

He chuckles, suddenly. ‘I was afraid of betraying everything. I remember going to hospital with a broken nose, worried I’d sound too gay when I went under morphine. The lid is held on pretty tight when you’re in the closet, and to realise it’s no big deal and the agony you’ve been through is mostly self torture, and to transcend it is an extraordinary thing.’ It was Maupin who helped McKellen to come out, telling him he’d be a happier man and a stronger artist if he did; and, in 1985, when Maupin’s occasional lover Rock Hudson became the first high-profile casualty of Aids, it was he who spoke to the press, challenging the assumption that Hudson’s sexuality was scandalous. ‘I’ve been saying this for 40 years,’ he sighs.

So I’m standing outside 28 Barbary Lane. Ish. Macondray Lane, halfway between Green and Union, is the place Maupin says was the true inspiration for Anna Madrigal’s magical home, with its wooden steps and glorious greenery. One block away, another set of vine-covered steps were the body-double for those stairs, the ones used in all three of the miniseries. That’s the second Barbary Lane. The third is a road away, 39 Havens. When writing, Maupin lived in a penthouse studio overlooking this building. ‘When I first saw 39 Havens, I thought, “This is where I would have Anna live”,’ he said.

My tour of the Tales (following a map downloaded from takes me up hills and through parks, to benches with postcard views and an ice-cream shop, Swensen’s (founded in 1948). Everywhere seems imbued with Maupin. It feels like I’ve been here before. Because of course, in my head I have.

‘You get pretty philosophical at my age,’ Maupin says, draining his cup at the Palace Hotel. ‘You realise there is no permanence, so you plan your days carefully. The great thing about 28 Barbary Lane is it gives the illusion there is a permanence somewhere. But, you see, our job is to embrace the impermanence.’

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