Armistead Maupin

The ’70s are considered the “Me Decade,” but count author Armistead Maupin among those whose efforts made it the “We Decade” for gays, lesbians, and anyone else wandering left of center. Maupin’s episodic Tales of the City novels, first serialized in The San Francisco Chronicle in 1976, warmly and often outrageously outlined the idea that everybody was grappling with how sex, gender, race, class, love, health, and happiness could be defined. (And this was long before such concerns became fodder for oddball story arcs on cable, let alone network television.) Prior to waving to the adoring throngs as a marshal at tomorrow’s Pride Parade, Maupin today holds court for a more intimate audience while reading from Mary Ann in Autumn (Harper, $25.99), his eighth and latest Tales book. The San Francisco misadventures have spawned three miniseries, with Oscar-nominee Laura Linney, no less, as bewildered Midwesterner Mary Ann Singleton in each of them. In Autumn, the now-ruminative 57-year-old title character is reconsidering the city and friends she abandoned 20 years ago. If there’s anything else for which Maupin is due credit, it’s for illustrating that people can, indeed, evolve—both in literature and, thanks in part to the towering popularity of his amiable storytelling, in life. Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 386-4636, (Free advance tickets required at; Maupin also appears in tomorrow’s Pride Parade.) STEVE WIECKING

Sat., June 25, 3 p.m., 2011