Books

Tales of the City

I don’t recall if I ever managed to watch all of the first run of this series when it originally aired. I think I didn’t have whatever movie channel it was on, Showtime? for the entirety of the series. I do recall that it had a stellar cast, was exceedingly adult, exploring a variety of sexuality and sexual themes, and a wonderful fish-out-of water story with regard to Mary Ann Singleton and her explorations, introduction to the world at large, and loss of innocence, from Ohio to the City, encountering all sorts of people and lifestyles. Having grown up, for the most part, in small towns, though I was not entirely insulated, far from it, the City is no less a fantastical place than OZ. It’s the big, bad, world out there. Sounds, sights, smells, foods, clothing, cars, languages, cultures, that you’ve never seen before. The thing about shows like is that they educate in a way with regard to the understanding that there are a lot of variations in the world when it comes to human beings, to life, and that’s okay. I’ve watched episodes of this series a couple of times since it first aired, and have intended to read the books, one of them sits on my shelf to be read at this writing. ( My tbr list is continuously excessively long) I could relate to the character of Mary Ann, her awkwardness, her going out into the word as a “grown up” and her not going “home” and trying to find her place in the world. Chloe Webb gives a wonderful performance as Mona. Mrs. Madrigal is a fantastic character played to the hilt by Olympia Dukakis.

When we’re young, the city seems a far off, magical, cosmopolitan place, like the glossy pages of a European fashion magazine, it seems a place where one might be themselves, it’s where the artists and the dancers and the actresses and the writers go, you think, to be accepted. You can dye your hair whatever color you want to, dress as you please, and it’s all “normal” there, escape repression. I think that’s how it used to seem. The world is a different place now than it was then, more culturally and socially aware, rainbow colored hair has made it to the suburbs. Repression comes in many forms, if everyone in your family is religious and you’re not, that can feel like or be a repression, of vice versa, and etc. I’m sure there were plenty of people who wanted to “run away to the city” just so they could be vegetarians in peace or whatever it was, because the city seemed like a place where you could say that, “I’m vegetarian ballerina and I collect pet rocks.” and the reaction would be… “Far out, man. Groovy.” Because the world seems to say, “Be yourself, but not really.” However, one of the things that I liked about the stories of “Tales of the City” is that they weren’t presented as though the city were some kind of cure-all for repression or escape from reality, far from it, the loss of innocence is a character itself within those tales, most of which are cautionary in some way. Still though, providing a glimpse into another world, another time, fuel for those thoughts of escapism that the wiser sort know better than.

I wanted to write, and back then, probably dress like a gypsy a little more than I did, enjoy being alive and learning about the world.

Cool.

   ~  Teri

Tales of the City, wiki

Armistead Maupin

 

 This song was written by John Phillips of “the Mamas and the Papas.”