A fond portrait of Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin, sure to delight diehard fans and newcomers alike. Jennifer M. Kroot’s affectionate tribute traces Maupin’s life from his conservative boyhood and youthful flirtation with Republican politics to his current status as beloved gay icon, raconteur, and advocate of sexual liberation.
Tales of the City chronicled the daily adventures, love affairs and lives of a group of fictional friends living in San Francisco. It began life as a newspaper serial, with regular installments appearing in The San Francisco Chronicle. Kroot takes this as inspiration, structuring her film as a series of themed vignettes, incorporating talking heads, archive footage, and clips from TV and film. Maupin is a prime subject for documentary: loquacious, controversial, and backed-up by a starry-roster of famous friends. This film, winner of the Documentary Spotlight prize in this year’s SXSW Audience Awards, is sure to have audiences rushing back to the shelves to pick up his books.