John Waters on South Florida: "My Very Favorite Hustler Bar in the Whole Wide World Was in Fort Lauderdale"
In the first part of our interview with the iconic director and famously filthy man John Waters, he spilled the beans on his musical preferences (Bieber) and fashion favorites (Comme). In the second part of our talk with Waters, we dove even deeper into his sick but brilliant mind. He chatted about the possibility of making a new film Fruitcake, 3-D movies, and, of course, his favorite hustler bar in Fort Lauderdale.
New Times: What's on your nightstand?
John Waters: Ooohh. Well, my nightstand is little. But, let's see. There is the book Joe Dallesandro: Warhol Superstar, Underground Film Icon, Actor. A little pad that I always have here for ideas, there are a couple books. Three books that I'll probably look at tonight, the British book about the film Victim, a Mike Kelley catalog called "Photographs/Sculptures," and a photography book of really extreme photographs that I haven't read yet by Billy Monk. I just bought them at my favorite art book shops in Los Angeles called Arcana.
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Last year you did a video with the SNL guys and Nicki Minaj called "The Creep." What is one of your favorite dance crazes?
Well, I love to watch young people dance. But, I do not dance. I think dancing is like art, you have to be good at it. But, I love watching people dance. I go to the Lithuanian Hall in Baltimore. The first Sunday of the month it's called "Save Your Soul" night. All the young kids dancing to music from my generation, which is amazing to me. I'm more of a dance voyeur. [Laughs] I'm not out there breaking out with any moves though. Unless they put on the "Madison."
At the end of the year, you release a top ten film list for ArtForum, have you seen anything that might make the cut?
Oh I have actually. Let's see, I liked very, very much, The Deep Blue Sea by the English director Terence Davies. Oh hmm... I tell you, my favorite movie that is coming out this summer, I saw it at a film festival, it's called Compliance. It's based on a true story, about these hideous cases where these prank callers would call McDonald's and convince the employees to do strip searches. It's really good. I really liked Bernie, Dark Horse. I actually thought the performances in the Three Stooges were incredible.
Today it seems like every film comes out in 3-D. If it were possible, which of your films would you like to see in 3-D?
Well, what I want to do is release art films in 3-D. Make you wear those glasses the entire time, and her elbow will come out of the screen for three seconds. [Laughs]
But, of my movies, well maybe I'd add it to Polyester, and you'd have Odorama along with it. But, you have to shoot it in 3-D, and none of them were. Maybe Pink Flamingos with puke. But, Johnny Knoxville already did that. I don't know if I would release them in 3-D, cause I would have come up with 3-D gags. But, Polyester, if I'd do it. We'd have 3-D, Odorama, and my new thing is Sensurround. It's my favorite. You know in all my movies are with people are screaming. Nowadays, all these young people are making "mumblecore," I'd make "rumblecore" where they scream at the top of their lungs like Mink Stole was taught to do.
I recently heard an interview with Mink, and she's talking about how she refused to light her hair on fire for you.
I don't know what I was thinking. I'm glad she said no. She would have had burns on her face or something. I wasn't doing it to be mean, you know.
Is there anyone else who has refused to do something in one of your movies?
Cookie Mueller in Pink Flamingos. I asked her to smash a television set with a mallet while it was on. But, I'm glad they said no. I had sensible people that were in my cult. They were right to say no. And I'm glad they did! We weren't a cult, we were a democracy! [Laughs]
Do you think A Dirty Shame will be your last film?
It may well be. And that wouldn't be the end of the world for me, I have a meeting tomorrow about Fruitcake. But, you know, I'm writing another book. My last one was a bestseller. My career is going better than it's even been, except for making movies. That's a good question. But, if it is. You know, I've spoken. It's not like I've left any stones unturned in the battle of the tyranny of good taste. But, I still hope I get to make this film [Fruitcake], it's a children's movie, and I've never parodied that genre before.
As you get older, you are still continuing to build a new fan base, especially within a younger generation. How do you feel about that?
It's amazing. It's amazing to me. But, it's a compliment. An ultimate compliment. It's the only thing that you really can't buy. Young people are suspicious of advertising. They don't want to be pushed. They want to find something for real. You can't market to them. You can't push them to be into something. Well, I guess you can with some movies. But, not with mine. [Laughs]
So, since you'll be making your way down to Fort Lauderdale soon, and you've been here before. Do you have any fun stories about visiting in the past?
My very favorite hustler bar in the whole wide world was in Fort Lauderdale. It hasn't been there in over 25 years, and I wish I remembered the name. I accidentally stumbled into, and it was shocking and great. And other people always tell me the name of it, and I wish it was still around. But, it's long, long, gone. It was truly something out of [Jean] Genet meets John Reggie.
This was like "straight" guys, who were hustlers. Well, they certainly were not straight. Whatever they were. They were like gay for pay. It was just amazing. You know that time has come and gone. It was very old school Genet, and older gay man always know what bar I'm talking about. I wish someone would give me a picture of that bar.
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
That a "no" is free. Don't be afraid of rejection.
And if you could choose your last words, what would they be?
Thank you for letting me get away with this.
It's really true, you know. The first movie I made was in 1964, that's getting close to 50 years. And I still don't have to get a "real" job. I work longer hours than a real job. [Laughs] But, I don't ever wake up and think, "Oh God. Ugh. I have to go to work." That's the ultimate freedom.
An Evening With John Waters and This Filthy World on July 28. There will be a Q&A session after the performance and a screening of Polyester beforehand at Parker Playhouse, 707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $36.50, $46.50, $61.50, and VIP $125. Call 954- 462-0222 or visit parkerplayhouse.com.
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