July 1, 2007

Michael Tolliver Lives

by Armistead Maupin

My goodness! Michael Tolliver, our old friend Mouse, is 55.

It's great to hear from everyone, in this wonderful, confectionary postcard of a book. And, all things considered, everyone is pretty much all right. There are surprises, of course — you’ll simply have to meet Brian and Mary-Jane’s daughter yourself — but it's great to catch up. You'll have to keep your eyes out for the orchid. ("There is no fifth destination" may be the next "All your bases are belong to us.")

Tales of the City and Angels in America truly did move the bar. That change has been obscured by the Bush years and the talk radio Christianist vitriol, but it's a real and lasting change. (Stonewall was 38 years ago this week. Jackie Robinson’s rookie season and the Integration of the Army both happened in 1948; by 1986, 38 years later, Andrew Young was mayor of Atlanta and, even in the deepest corners of the deep south, racist vitriol had been stuffed into the closet.) The Massachusetts legislature couldn't even muster a 25% vote to authorize a referendum on gay marriage; the center hasn’t moved far enough, but it has moved.

What did happen to Mary Ann Singleton? Or, rather, what did Maupin mean when he let her, obsessed with her career and her schemes, fly off to New York unmissed and unmourned? I suppose she symbolizes Cleveland’s involvement with that city by the Bay, and then sense that Cleveland no longer wanted anything to do with San Francisco. Michael Tolliver Lives celebrates the first signs of reconciliation.