Interviews

John Waters on South Florida: "My Very Favorite Hustler Bar in the Whole Wide World Was in Fort Lauderdale"

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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.

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.

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Betsey Denberg