18 October 2009

Anna Madrigal (1920- ) landlady.

Anna Madrigal appears in Armistead Maupin's tales of San Francisco where it is revealed that she was raised in a brothel in Winnemucca, Nevada, and that she has a secret that she shares with her lover Edgar Halcyon when he is being blackmailed, although the reader is not informed of the nature of the secret.

She is also shown to be particularly concerned about one of her tenants, Mona Ramsey.

In the second volume she admits to being Mona's father.  Andrew Ramsey had grown up feeling like a girl.  He ran from home at 16, worked at various manual jobs and finally joined the army.  After the war he met a woman who proposed to him and moved with her to Minneapolis where he got a job in a bookstore.  Two years after the birth of their child, Mona, he left and never came back.

In 1964 Andy went to Denmark and came back as Anna Madrigal, taking her name from an anagram of 'a man and a girl'.  She ran a bookshop in San Francisco and then opened a boarding house.  When she saw that her daughter, Mona, enjoying a transitory moment of fame as an advertising whizz, was in San Francisco, Anna approached her and persuaded her to move in as a tenant.
  • Armistead Maupin. Tales of the City. New York, N.Y.: HarperPerennial, 1978.
  • Armistead Maupin. More Tales of the City. New York: Harper & Row, 1980.
  • Alastair Reid (dir). Tales of the City.  Scr: Richard Kramer based on the novel by Armistead Maupin, with Olympia Dukakis as Anna Madrigal, Chloe Webb as Mona Ramsey and Gender as an unnamed trans woman. UK/US Channel 4/KQED/PBS 360 mins 1993.

Of course Anna could not go to Denmark in 1964, because after the Jorgensen affair, Denmark had passed a law limiting gender surgery to Danish citizens.

The revealing of Anna’s gender past does not happen until the second novel, but is brought forward into the first television mini-series.

17 October 2009

Transvestism by Tina

This somewhat strange drawing by Tina is found on p16 of Transvestism … men in female dress edited by David Cauldwell, 1956.  No information is given as to who Tina is.

04 October 2009

Weapons of Mass Distraction

Directed by Stephen Surjik
Script by Larry Gelbart
100minutes 1997 HBO
Gabriel Bryne plays Lionel Powers
Ben Kingsley plays Julian Messenger
Mimi Rogers plays Ariel Powers
Jordan Ladd plays Letitia
Country of finance: US
Nationality of director: US
Location of story: Los Angeles
Filming location: Los Angeles


Powers and Messenger, both unscrupulous entrepreneurs, use blackmail, bribery and other crimes to get their way.  Finally both dig up enough dirt on the other that they have to become partners.   Except that the ‘dirt’ on Powers, which refers to his wife and their threesome with a younger woman, Letitia, is in fact nothing at all to be ashamed of.

Who are they?

Larry Gelbart was one of the writers on Tootsie, 1982.

Jordan Ladd is part of the Ladd acting dynasty.

Mimi Rogers was Agent Dana Fowley in the X-Files, and the mother in The Rapture, 1991.

Gabriel Bryne and Ben Kingsley are well known lead actors.


Alexei, from Leningrad, was sexually abused by his father, who faked paintings by famous artists.  When his father was sent to Siberia, he became a male prostitute.   She was a woman, Ariel, by age 25, and then emigrated to the US with her daughter Letitia.

Any husband should be proud to have a wife who has overcome such obstacles.  Even if, in modesty, she had never actually mentioned them.

Of course the cliché that trans women were sexually abused as children is done far too much in movies.   It is true in only a few cases.

I suppose that a cis actress had to be cast in this film, otherwise the 'surprise' would be anticipated.

03 October 2009

Denis Bloodnok

Major Bloodnok, late of the 3rd Disgusting Fusiliers, OBE, was a character voiced by Peter Sellers in The Goon Show.

In 1972's The Last Goon Show of All, Major Denis has an arrangement with Gladys, a rather deep-voiced mistress of Discipline.

In the Goon Show Scripts published by Spike Milligan in the 1970s we are told more of Bloodnok's past.  After he was cashiered from the army having been found cross-dressed, he re-enlisted as Florence Bloodnok and served a year in the women’s ATS, at one point having to report a sailor for trying to interfere with her in an air-raid shelter.