Monday, June 28, 2010
John Waters: Johnny Mathis and loving your polar opposite
Illustration by Eric Hanson
Last time I was in Baltimore I had an opportunity to meet the cult filmmaker John Waters - director of Pink Flamingos, Hairspray, all the crazy movies I hope to watch again in my last week on this planet (mid-century, bitches). It was an opportunity I passed on... there was a trannies' street party to attend. And meeting one's minor gods is always a mistake. I've never recovered from a 1-2-1 with the actual Gore Vidal.
Now I'm delighted to see that Beautiful Books is to bring out Waters' Role Models later this year. It's a memoir of sorts hitched to the stars who've inspired him and whom he worships: the religious instinct can never be expunged, please note. Among these idols are Denton Welch, ex-Manson follower Leslie van Houten, lesbian stripper Zorro and outsider pornographers Bobby Garcia and David Hurles. And Saint Catherine of Siena - you may recall that St Catherine now communicates through the US clairvoyante Elizabeth Baron: indeed, she's friends with the late Hollywood drama queen Lana Turner. Only Madame Arcati can be trusted to tell you this stuff.
Another Waters idol is singer Johnny Mathis - the two men even get to meet (read this taster from Role Models, scroll down). Waters describes the veteran smoothy as "the polar opposite of me" and asks: "Do we secretly idolize our imagined opposites, yearning to become the role models for others we know we could never be for ourselves?" And he recollects: "When I taught filmmaking at a jail in Maryland in the 1980s, I always got my class to loosen up by doing improv and asking them to play 'the exact opposite of yourself.'"
I like this game. I've been thinking of some celebs who might benefit from some improv of their polar opposites
Simon Cowell - Divine
Pope Benedict - Dirk Diggler
Sarah Palin - La Cicciolina
Martin Amis - Katie Price
Richard Dawkins - Michael Jackson's Bubbles
Victoria Beckham - Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Russell Crowe - Jo Brand
Piers Morgan - Marcel Marceau
Nick Clegg - Nick Clegg
Beautiful Books blog