Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Prince of Puke talks porn, pubes and periods

The Prince of Puke talks porn, pubes and periods

As part of Rochester’s ninth annual ImageOut Festival, writer/director John Waters will be giving a lecture at the Dryden Theatre on Sunday October 7 at 8:00. Waters, who is perhaps best known for making that drag queen eat dog shit in Pink Flamingos, is bringing two of his older films to the ImageOut fest. 1977’s Desperate Living (10:15 PM Monday 10/8 at the Dryden) and 1974’s Female Trouble (Midnight Friday 10/12 at the Cinema) feature the kind of things that make Waters’ films unmistakable --- teen rebellion, crime, sex, cha-cha heels and, of course, appearances by Mink Stole and the late Divine.

But Waters is much more than the principal purveyor of midnight movies. He’s an author and…well, he’s probably done a bunch of other stuff, too. But to me, he’s the star of one of the best episodes of The Simpsons and even has one of the funniest lines in that show’s history (“and Helen Lovejoy, sure, she looks blonde, but I've hear cuffs and collar don't match, if you get my drift”).

PSB: What’s Homer Simpson like in real life?

Waters: Bigger than you think and a good actor. They just sent me a great cell from that episode of me in the car with the Simpsons, and it’s great. It’s hanging in my office. It’s great being a cartoon. I’ve wanted to be a Disney villain since I was a child, and this is about close as you can get.

PSB: So you’re coming to Rochester to lecture.

Waters: Yes, I do my vaudeville act.

PSB: Do you have it all scripted, or do you just fly by the seat of your pants?

Waters: Oh, I know what it is because I do this 20 times a year. It’s a monologue, but I’m always changing it. It’s a constantly changing monologue.

PSB: What’s the weirdest thing a fan has either done to or for you?

Waters: Weird in a good way or weird in a bad way? Once a girl took a tampon out of her vagina and sort of splatted it down on the table for me to sign. And I signed it (laughs). I have some fans give me rare books I’ve been looking for. Mostly it’s very nice. The only thing that really surprised me was one woman who had me sign her back and she came back the next year when I was at the same place, and she had it tattooed on. That gave me the whole idea for the Cecil B. Demented character having the tattoos of her favorite directors.

PSB: Did you know your name is an anagram for Wrath Jones?

Waters: (laughs) What’s Wrath Jones?

PSB: I don’t know? That’s what I’m asking you. It’d be a good wrestling name.

Waters: Wrath Jones, porn star. I think it would be a good porn name.

PSB: You know that thing you do to figure out your porn name?

Waters: Yeah, your middle name and the first street you lived on, right? Mine isn’t very exciting.

PSB: I thought it was your first pet and your mother’s maiden name.

Waters: Mine would be Rosie Whitaker.

PSB: That’s not bad.

Waters: It’s a girl’s name (laughs). Your way is too gender confusing.

PSB: Do you have vanity license plates?

Waters: Absolutely not. Suppose I commit a crime? It’s the dumbest thing in the world to have vanity license plates.

PSB: What do you think about your Internet fan sites?

Waters: Well, I don’t comment on them because none of them are official. There’s so much wrong information on the Internet. I’ve seen some of them and some make me laugh, but I’ve got better things to do than be on the Internet all day long. Even porno is bad on the Internet. E-mails are ugly. Who’s going to save an e-mail? Can you imagine an e-mail in a case in a library somewhere from a writer. It’s horrible!

PSB: People used to save love letters, but saving love e-mails is totally different.

Waters: Who’s going to save love e-mails? Who’s writing love e-mails?

PSB: You see a lot of movies. What have you liked recently?

Waters: L.I.E. (playing at the High Falls Film Festival), Our Lady of the Assassins (opens at the Little on 10/19). I liked Lumumba and Bully was my favorite movie of the year. I liked Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. He could tell me a blowjob joke anytime. GLAAD was wrong about that. I think the movie Glitter is staggeringly amazing new bad movie. That’s what I did after the World Trade Center tragedy was pay to see Glitter.

PSB: To help the economy out. Wait, what needs more help, the economy or Mariah?

Waters: These reviews might have made her have a relapse. I heard in New York, at the gay theatres, it was crowded because everybody had seen such terrible reviews. They would applaud every melodramatic thing and have lighters (laughs). I saw it alone in Baltimore. There was nobody else in the entire theatre except three little girls who ran out because they were scared because they were in a big dark room with nobody in it.

PSB: Have you been to any good criminal trials lately?

Waters: No, I don’t go to trials anymore. I can’t because I’m afraid the jury will recognize me and take it out on the defendant if they don’t like my movies. And the press always thinks I’m there to make a movie about it. It’s too complicated. I did just read the book My Daughter, Susan Smith. I can’t believe that’s a book.

PSB: What about reality TV?

Waters: I don’t watch that. I think the World Trade Center thing is really going to hurt reality TV.

PSB: Which do you think is a more surreal news event: the World Trade Center attack or the U.S. Senate talking about pubic hair in a Coke?

Waters: Well, the Trade Center is certainly more tragic. I was just on an airplane sitting next to Clarence Thomas and I didn’t recognize him. He seemed familiar, but I just didn’t know who he was. If I had known it was him, I’m wondering if I would have said something like, “Is there a hair on this drink?” But I don’t know if I’d have the nerve to do that, though.

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