Ich Bin Ein Californian

Christopher Isherwood was one of the most famous denizens of the waning Weimar Republic. Between 1929 and 1933, the Englishman lived in pre-Nazi Berlin, taking full advantage of its free-wheeling bohemian atmosphere to boff attractive young men and imbibe attractive old wine. His two highly entertaining novels about that time are collected in The Berlin Stories, which later provided the material for a Broadway play, I Am a Camera, which in turn provided material for a little musical called Cabaret. Now The Berlin Stories has been reissued by New Directions Press, with an introduction by author and local bon vivant Armistead Maupin. The pairing seems appropriate, since Maupin captured a span of kindred bohemian time, San Francisco in the late 1970s through the early ’80s, in his own Tales of the City (which has also provided material for several musical offerings). Long before he died in 1986, Isherwood, too, had become a Californian. As Tennessee Williams once said, “Bohemia has no banner. It survives by discretion.” Tonight, Maupin reads from Isherwood’s seminal work.
Tue., Sept. 30, 7 p.m., 2008

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