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New musical Tales of the City debuts (where else?) in San Francisco -- and nostalgia reigns supreme

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Michael "Mouse" Tolliver (Wesley Taylor, left) and Brian Hawkins (Patrick Lane) lace up, with Mona Ramsey (Mary Birdsong)
PHOTO BY ALESSANDRA MELLO

If nostalgia reigns here, the story till has real roots that make themselves gently felt throughout. In 1976, Maupin was a young transplant from North Carolina, via the Navy, and newly, enthusiastically out as a gay man and budding author. Capturing the gig with the Chronicle, he serialized what would become his first novel in a rush of five installments per week under the column title "Tales of the City." He wrote close to the ground (and the Chronicle society desk), delivering what was at times almost as much reportage as fiction, peppering his hastily composed plotlines and characters with anecdotes from the city he was coming to know intimately. Of course, the ground he worked was then heaving in a cultural and political earthquake that set San Francisco ever further apart from the rest of the country. Tales of the City, in its various incarnations, is still a no-apologies love letter home. 

TALES OF THE CITY

Through July 10

Check website for dates and times, $35–$98

American Conservatory Theater

405 Geary, SF

(415) 749-2228

www.act-sf.org

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