The great outré film director John Waters will be screening his new movie Kiddie Flamingos in January, which reportedly depicts children performing a table read of his signature film, the utterly perverse midnight movie classic Pink Flamingos. This is Waters’ first new filmed work since 2004’s gleefully oversexed A Dirty Shame. Per ArtNews:
Called Kiddie Flamingos, the video depicts a table read of Waters’ 1972 film Pink Flamingos, which is as full of any kind of obscenity and depravity that one would hope to imagine–only here it’s been recast as a children’s movie, with child actors and all the X-Rated content “defanged and desexualized,” according to the gallery, which also calls this G-rated version “more perverse than the original.”
I am dying to know how a script as unabashedly raunchy as Pink Flamingos’ could possibly be bowdlerized into kid-safeness while leaving ANY of its plot intact. The film depicts a sexual act with a chicken, mother-son incest, murder, a singing butthole, the kidnapping and confinement of women for forced breeding, and, probably most infamously, the actual consumption of dog shit on camera. Screenings will be held at NYC’s Marianne Boesky Gallery, on W 24th St in Chelsea, as part of Waters’ exhibit “Beverly Hills John,” which is scheduled to run from January 9 - February 14, 2015.
Enjoy the original theatrical trailer for Pink Flamingos. As Waters himself points out in its brief introduction, it’s a montage of audience reactions, and no actual scenes from the film are shown!
Jim Jocoy and his family left their home in South Korea and arrived in the town of Sunnyvale, California, when Jocoy was only 17. He enrolled at UC Santa Cruz, but later dropped out once he discovered the burgeoning punk scene that was exploding all around him. Jocoy got a gig at a Xerox store, hung out at punk clubs by night and started up a punk zine with his friends called Widows and Orphans. That’s when Jocoy decided to pick up a camera and started shooting photos of his friends and bands whenever he happened to find himself someplace interesting. Jocoy found himself in lots of interesting places.
Olga de Volga of the San Francisco band VS., Geary Street Theatre, SF 1980
Jocoy’s remarkable photos ended up in a book in 2002 called We’re Desperate. I reached out to Jocoy in an email, and the photographer graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions about his days growing up as a young punk in California.
Sid Vicious, San Francisco, January 14th, 1978
Tell me about your now infamous photo of Sid Vicious.
Jim Jocoy: The photo of Sid was taken after the last Sex Pistols show in SF. They performed at Winterland on Jan. 14, 1978. He took a cab to my friend Lamar St John’s apartment in the Haight-Ashbury district. I was outside as the cab pulled up. He was alone and got out and pissed in the middle of the street before going into the apartment. I ran into him in the hallway and asked if I could take a Polaroid photo. He nodded yes and that was it. He spent most of the evening in the bathroom with a couple of “fans”.
William Burroughs at his 70th birthday party in San Francisco, 1984
I understand that you presented a slide show of your photos to William Burroughs in honor of his 70th birthday. How did that go?
Jim Jocoy: The party was held at a warehouse in the Mission district belonging to the artist Mark McCloud. He was known for his (real) LSD postage stamp art. Burroughs allowed me to take a photo of him that evening. He wore an nice blue suit and had his briefcase in hand.
What’s your favorite memory of a show you saw back in the day that really blew your mind?
Jim Jocoy: I would have to say it was the first Ramones’ show in SF at the Savoy Tivoli on August 19th, 1976. It lasted about 30 minutes without a break, only “one, two, three, four!” between songs by Dee Dee. It was such a sonic boom of pure rock energy as I had never heard before. It was in the tiny back room of the bar/restaurant. It was like ground zero for launching the punk rock scene in San Francisco. A few weeks later, many of the seminal SF punk bands started performing regularly at the Mabuhay Gardens, the first main punk rock venue in the city.
Punk girl in leather skirt, SF 1978
Jocoy’s photos were only shown in public twice (one of those times was at Burroughs’ birthday party), and then were stored away for almost two-decades before seeing the light of day once again between the covers of We’re Desperate. So here’s a glimpse of what punk rock looked like back in the late 70s and early 80s, through the lens of a simple 35mm camera with an oversized flash taken by a guy who happened to be in the right place at the right time. Many thanks to Jim Jocoy for the use of his photos and captions (written by Jim) in this post.
John Waters at the Deaf Club in SF, 1980
Johnny Genocide, Geary Street Theatre in SF, 1980
Poison Ivy of the Cramps in the dressing room of Mabuhay Gardens, SF 1979
In my tireless quest to become a John Waters completest, I’ve been perusing his interviews and writings for lesser-known films. So imagine my thrill at finding his 1970 16mm short, The Diane Linkletter Story on the humble platform of YouTube! (Okay, don’t hate me because I didn’t even have to trek my ass down to a repertory cinema. I’m in my 20s. Do those even still exist?) For the uninitiated, Diane Linkletter was the daughter of Art Linkletter, a family-friendly media father-figure, and host of such wholesome television fodder as, Kids Say the Darndest Things!. Art was also a staunch conservative, and by the late sixties he was touring the country, giving lectures on the growing “Permissiveness in this Society.” But what really solidified his “brand” as the nation’s moralizing Republican dad was his “duet,” with Diane, “We Love You, Call Collect.” (If you’ve never heard it, click the link, and try not to puke.)
The spoken word recording is among the most insipid drivel I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard “The Christmas Shoes.” Over a maudlin score, Art and Diane read aloud a fictionalized correspondence between father and daughter. The daughter has run off to join the counterculture, and the father gives loving advice while begging her to come home, or at least call. This wild child is breaking her dear dad’s heart, and the listener is meant to sympathize with the family, but ultimately blame the daughter and the decaying morals of our time. It’s quite the pearl-clutcher.
Tragically, in October of 1969, just months after the release of “We Love You, Call Collect,” Diane Linkletter jumped from a sixth floor window to her death. Perhaps from grief, maybe he believed it or maybe even to do some damage control, Art Linkletter quickly told the press that Diane had only jumped under the influence of LSD. When Diane’s toxicology report came back clean, he still stuck to his story, with a second career as an anti-drug crusader. Art and his late daughter even won the 1970 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Recording, and Art maintained that all proceeds from the record went “to combat problems arising from drug abuse,” whatever that means.
Starring Divine as Diane, and Waters regulars Mary Vivian Pearce and David Lochary as Ma and Pa Linkletter, The Diane Linkletter Story is a satirical interpretation of Diane’s final moments, similar to the style of drug moral panic films of the time. It even opens and ends with excerpts from “We Love You, Call Collect.” But that’s not the worst of it.
Waters actually made the movie the day Diane’s death made it in to the papers, and showed it before the funeral even happened.
I think the film is a gem, and it’s not like the surviving Linkletters were going to make their way up to Baltimore to see it. Waters has since praised the idea as an excellent exercise in creativity—instant movie-making from the headlines of today. And before you get too sensitive, he’s since found out what everyone with half a nose for Republican careerism had already suspected—that Linkletter always knew Diane’s death wasn’t drug-related, but in fact used his daughter’s suicide to push his anti-drug political agenda—so who’s in bad taste now?
Below, a cringe-worthy “showdown” takes place when douchey conservative TV host pits Art Linkletter (on phone) against Timothy Leary, the man he blamed for his daughter’s death:
A young John Waters, already a foxy creep beyond his years
I know he’d probably hate to hear me say this, but this clip from a recent John Waters interview at the New York Public Library is so sweet and sentimental, it almost feels wholesome. And I mean that in a good way, I swear! Waters starts by praising the squeaky clean chanteur Johnny Mathis, whom he believes can mend the partisan rift in our country with his mirror-fogging make-out tunes (I adore Mathis, but since my mother was named for one of his songs, he’s a pretty solid mood-killer in my book).
The interview starts to turn up the pathos when The Pope of Trash starts talking Tennessee Williams, and it reaches critical mass when he speaks warmly of his supportive parents, who really went out of their way to encourage their admittedly very strange son.
The animation is pretty clever, too. The drawings were scratched out on the fly, in real time during the interview, and given life afterwards. The very first image suggests artist Flash Rosenberg is familiar with Divine’s most famous scene from Pink Flamingos—-but not to fear, it turns out to be a cinnamon roll!
I think most cinematically literate people are aware that John Waters exploited the decades-old yet ignored concept of making the nose an integral part of the cinematic experience when he made his sixth feature, Polyester, in 1981. I’ve known that since I was a teenager, and I knew that it relied on the use of scratch and sniff cards distributed to the audience. But I’ve never been to a screening where that happened; how often do those happen? I don’t even know what the smells represented on the card were, although I can well imagine at least a couple of them.
Whether consciously or otherwise, Polyester refers back to the grandaddy of all olfactory motion picture experiences, Scent of Mystery, which exploited the exciting and surely soon-to-be-ubiquitous technique called “Smell-O-Vision,” which featured the immortal tagline, “First they moved (1895)! Then they talked (1927)! Now they smell!” Smell-O-Vision used a far more ambitious system involving pipes and stuff. (When the mechanism didn’t work properly on the first night, the fate of Smell-O-Vision was sealed.) Oddly, Scent of Mystery had a pretty good cast, including Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Lorre, and Denholm Elliott. (I was about to write, “in the title role”—but caught myself. Elliott was the star of the movie.)
The ten smells on the Polyester Odorama card seem very witty to me: they were, for the record, “1. Roses, 2. Flatulence, 3. Model Airplane Glue, 4. Pizza, 5. Gasoline, 6. Skunk, 7. Natural Gas, 8. New Car Smell, 9. Dirty Shoes, and 10. Air Freshener.” I also didn’t know about this gleeful bit of prankishness on Waters’ part:
In the original theatrical showings, the scents were arranged by number, with audiences instructed to scratch the card when the appropriate number flashed onscreen. Audiences never knew what they’d be smelling, which was half the fun: While flowers might be onscreen when the number flashed, a pair of smelly tennis shoes would be shoved into the scene at the last second. No one wins a prize for guessing what the gleefully subversive Waters wanted his audience to smell.
I’d bet money that there are DM readers out there who have attended screenings of Polyester with the original cards—anyone care to report on the experience? Did Waters fake out the audience, as reported above?
Waters’ Odorama had a curious coda in 2003, when Nickelodeon decided to use the general concept in the third installment of their Rugrats franchise, Rugrats Go Wild. The trouble is, they didn’t stop with the general concept; they also used the copyrighted term Odorama as well as the logo. Irritated, Waters threatened to sue but was stymied when he learned that New Line Cinema, the studio that released Polyester, had let the copyright lapse. In any case, Rugrats Go Wild executive producer Julia Pistor somewhat conveniently claimed that it was a heartfelt homage: “We loved all that great stuff William Castle and John Waters pioneered. ... We loved that low-tech interactivity. That’s what inspired our ‘Odorama.’ ” In the movie John Waters: This Filthy World, Waters is heard to grumble, “a check would have been an homage.”
Okay, listen up, because this is one of the single best things that I have ever posted here on Dangerous Minds. I’ve waited for a good version of this to get uploaded to YouTube since we very first started the blog and now that’s finally happened. There have been over 17,000 items posted here and THIS, as I see it at least, is one of the very, very top best of all those various things…
What am I talking about? It’s called Way USA, a pilot for a punk/comedy travelogue that was done for MTV in 1988 and hosted by the silver-tongued—and absolutely fucking hilarious—Tesco Vee of The Meatmen. It was directed by Peter Lauer (although it’s missing from his IMDB page), then a staffer with MTV’s graphics department who has since gone on to direct dozens upon dozens of major television shows that you have seen, including Strangers with Candy and Arrested Development.
The copy I had was acquired working at the post production house where it was edited. I’m not 100% sure that it even aired on TV. Although Way USA was produced at a time before MTV aimed its content squarely at teenagers, it still seems a little racier than I recall them ever getting back then. (It says at the end that there was one done in Niagara Falls as well, but I have not seen that.)
So, yes, Way USA is a punk/comedy travelogue that begins when Tesco sells his soul to the Devil (in the form of East Village lounge crooner Craig Vandenberg, here billed as “Tony LaVentura, the Adonis from Paramus”) for a good time traveling across America in opulently sleazy style.
First stop, it’s “Charm City—that ‘s Baltimore—and what trip to Baltimore would be complete without making a pilgrimage to the Pope of Trash, John Waters? Naturally Tesco checks that one off his list as well as visiting the notorious red light “Block” district, eating two dozen eggs at a diner with an “all the eggs you can eat” policy, an S&M session with the late plus-sized greeting card model Miss Jean Hill (her segment is a stone classic), visits strip clubs, a crime blotter news reporter, a faith healer/exorcist and does various other things around “the hairdo capital of America,” as Waters so lovingly puts it.
In the late 80s, I’d show my VHS copy of Way USA to anyone and everyone who visited me (people used to do quaint things like that back then). I was really keen on it and thought it was absolutely groundbreaking and hilarious (it’s aged very well). I’ve seen it so many times that as I was watching it just now, I started to realize HOW MANY of Tesco’s lines (or slight variations thereof) I use ALL OF THE TIME. And I’m not talking about a few of them, there must be 100 things he says in this half hour show that I regularly say to this day. For example, last week, sitting across from someone about to tuck into an appallingly unhealthy meal, I deadpanned “If your heart stops, I’ll kick you in the chest.” I got this from the eggs scene, which I haven’t seen since like 1990 probably, yet still quote.
In an alternate universe, Way USA would have made Tesco Vee a huge TV celebrity. Seriously folks, I can’t recommend this one highly enough. If more people knew about Way USA twenty-five years ago, if would probably be as revered today as Heavy Metal Parking Lot or the Butthole Surfers’ Entering Texas are.
Two more things: Way USA was shot on Super 8 film, so if it looks a little “soft,” this is actually the way it was supposed to look. This is, in fact, a very clean upload. However, the sort of jarring “commercial breaks” (Kembra Pfahler clad only in red bodypaint singing and swearing, a Roy Rogers spot, Tesco in San Francisco) included here have nothing directly to do with Way USA and I think come from The Devil’s In The Details, a DVD that Tesco Vee sells on his website. It’s pretty clear what’s from the show and what’s not from it, but you’ll see why I mentioned it, it would be confusing if you were seeing it for the first time otherwise. (As for the cable access footage of Kembra—who is a good friend of mine, I must ask her what that’s from!—and a few other things in the added parts, I’ll give the obligatory NSFW warning).
Jeff Koons’ art really divides people. Some say his work is “crass” and all about the money—or that other people “do all the work”—but personally, I love his stuff. When you see it in person, the incredible amount of craftsmanship and just childlike wonder that his epic works inspire, well, they’re really impressive. And FUN.
Many of the most iconic pieces of Koons’ work normally reside within walking distance of where I am typing this now, at the BCAM annex of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The BCAM acronym stands for the Broad Contemporary Art Museum and billionaire art collector Eli and Edythe Broad are probably Koons’ single biggest benefactor/collectors (it’s not like there are all that many people who could afford to be his Medicis). When BCAM’s stunning Renzo Piano-designed building opened to the public—filled to the bursting point with some of the finest examples of postwar modern art that hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars can buy, the wife and I joined the museum. Some of the very, very best Warhols, Baldessaris, Rauschenbergs, Cindy Shermans, Hirsts, Ruschas, Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, etc, do not live in Manhattan, but in Los Angeles. My favorite things to look at when I’m at LACMA, though, are the Koons: At one point or another, BCAM has displayed the vacuum cleaners; the floating basketballs; the stainless-steel “Rabbit”; “Bubbles,” Koons’ infamous life-size porcelain sculpture of Michael Jackson and his pet chimp; a “Balloon Dog” and a “Cracked Egg.”
We’ve got the good stuff out here on the best coast. And last night, we had the artist himself in town, in a special discussion with “the Pope of Trash,” director John Waters—sponsored by Eli Broad’s foundation—at the stunning Orpheum Theatre in downtown. Waters was an inspired choice to interview Koons—aside from the whole bad taste/bad taste issues that make this pairing a natural, Koons actually went to art school in Baltimore, which figures into the conversation.
Referring to Koons’ art, at one point Waters remarks “It stops you in your tracks, and you feel stupid at first, and then you get smarter by the second as you look at it.”
Koons typifies his work as “optimistic.”
Oddly, he credits hearing Led Zeppelin for the first time—not a work of art per se—for spurring his ambition in life.
John Waters wants to give you a ride in his car. Come on, he says, hop in the front and I’ll give you the tour.
Well, what have you got lose? It’s raining out, the car’s warm, John’s got smokes, and what’s that he’s saying?
“The only thing I want to be is a negative role model for a whole new generation of bored youth.”
You know all about being bored, and you never did get those cha-cha heels for Christmas, did you?
But remember what your mother said about getting in cars with strangers?
Screw mom! I know John. He’s got fun in his eyes. He’s got a pencil-thin mustache. He’s the Pope of Trash, and he’s gotta car with which he’s gonna show me all the hot spots of “Charm City.”
In this clip Waters takes a news crew around Baltimore (“Charm City”!) to promote his scratch ‘n’ sniff feature film Polyester in 1981, with a visit to Edith Massey and a few blessings from Divine.
Today, Waters is still working as hard but he no longer smokes, and watches what he eats. All the hard work has brought him three apartments across America-one in ‘Charm City,’ another in San Francisco and a pad in New York’s West Village. He spends his spare time hanging out in bars, reading books, going to film festivals, and collecting what he terms, “angry art.” (One recent purchase was a “deadly” canvas covered in mold.)
So now you know. And next time John stops to offer you a lift, hop in the car!
Double bonus, the “banned” ‘Shock Value’ trailer and interview, after the jump…
I first heard about Armando Bo’s lusty 1969 Argentinian sexploitation film Fuego (Fire) due to John Waters championing of the film, but I didn’t actually get to see it until last night. I’m always interested in seeing something that John Waters is enthusiastic about and I reckon that quite a few of you feel the same way. If so, then you need to get your hands on Fuego toot sweet.
It does not disappoint.
Fuego stars the outrageously hot, extremely well-endowed Isabel Sarli, who has the sort of “brick shithouse” build that Russ Meyer was so very fond of. Fuego and Meyer’s Vixen would make a great “nymphomaniac” double bill, but a more appropriate match-up would be Female Trouble and Fuego, which now that I’ve seen it, was obviously a big influence not only on John Waters, but also on Divine. Much of Dawn Davenport—the character’s fashion sense, walk and bouffant hairdo—would appear to be closely modeled on Isabel Sarli. Sarli was also an outrageously hammy actress and Divine just took her already over-the-top “undulating” acting style and turned the volume up to 11.
Sarli plays the insatiable, irresistible Laura and in this role, lemme tell ya, she is perfectly cast. Laura is a complete nymphomaniac and naturally this gives Sarli plenty of excuses to get naked, which she does constantly and we see her engaged in trysts with both men (any man seems to do, her catchphrase—normally screamed—is “I need men!”) and with her older, lizard-like lesbian maid. A wealthy businessman named Carlos (director Armando Bo, who also wrote the script and the insanely incessant music) sees some girl-on-much-older-girl action on the beach and later attends a party at Laura’s boyfriend’s house. Soon Carlos is seeing Laura, but he has no idea what he’s gotten himself into. She roams the streets flashing her tits and he is constantly catching her in bed with other dudes. It happens a lot.
The first part of Fuego is where most of the nudity occurs, whereas the later half is talkier, more melodramatic and more nuts. Laura realizes that her uncontrollable urges are causing her husband grief when he nearly kills an electrician he catches her bonking. They go to a “sex expert” to discuss what can be done about her “condition” (a Pocket Rocket might help…) During a gynecological exam, Laura has a thundering orgasm. The pair travel all the way to New York where Carlos is told by a doctor there that the only thing that can save Laura is his unwavering love.
I won’t tell you how it ends, but when you know in advance that Armando Bo and Isabel Sarli made 27 films together—with her rolling around naked in every single one of them—and that they were famously lovers for years (although he never left his wife for her), you can start to project all sorts of psychological things onto Fuego. First off, Bo wrote the script and so he therefore wrote the cuckold role for himself. There’s also the voyeuristic aspect of Bo arranging to see his woman getting her tits out for so many other guys.
There’s a certain “subtext” to Fuego, let’s just say.
Waters calls Fuego: “A hetero film for gay people to marvel at” and truly, it’s a movie that covers all the bases. I’d recommend watching it in a group, like Birdemic or something like that. It’s enjoyable no matter what, but like most “so bad that it’s good” movies, experiencing it for the first time with other people is the way to go. I also recommend the dubbed version, the actors obviously had fun with it.
Armando Bo died in 1981 and Sarli stopped making films, She is now a cult figure with a devoted following. Sarli was feted at Lincoln Center in 2010.
You can find Fuego cheap on Amazon and it’s also here.
The NSFW trailer for Fuego:
In the clip below from his John Waters Presents Movies That Will Corrupt You show, the Fellini of Baltimore waxes poetic about one of his favorite films, admits that he “stole” a lot of stuff from Fuego and you can see some of the opening titles:
Jean E. Hill, the actress and greeting card model best known for her role as murderous maid Grizelda Brown in John Waters’ Desperate Living has died. She was also seen in his Polyester and A Dirty Shame.
I am very sad to announce that Jean Hill has passed away. She struggled with her health for a long time and put up a good fight. She was the most sincere, bluntly honest, loving and funny person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I will miss her. RIP Miss Jean Hill
One of Grizelda Brown’s best lines in Desperate Living is something I’m fond of saying in certain situations:
“I am sick of listenin’ to your bitchin’. The next time you feel a fit comin’ on, go outside and bitch. Bitch at the air. Bitch at the trees. But don’t bitch at us!”
I change the last line to “me” of course.
Miss Hill and her bodacious ta-tas were a frequent sight in novelty stores like Spencer Gifts throughout the 1980s. I met her once and she was a larger-than-life delight in every way.
Below, Grizelda is caught stealing, setting off an unfortunate chain of events…
Via one of Miss Jean E. Hill’s biggest fans, Douglas Hovy
Rock and Roll taught John Waters how to annoy his parents, but it was the nuns from his local church, who inadvertently encouraged his interest in cheap, exploitation films:
‘The first thing I can remember rebelling about really, was when I was about 8-years-old and every Sunday we’d go to church. Once a year they’d read us this pledge that we had to take for the Legion of Decency, which was the Catholic Church rating the movies—what you could see and what you couldn’t—and the condemned ones were the ones they’d tell us you’d go to Hell if you saw these movies.
Well, I remember refusing to do this pledge and my mother was kind of shocked, but I was just a child, and she didn’t make a big deal out of it. And on Sundays, the nuns would read us this list, with this voice like the Devil, and you know, seeing this nun stand there saying, “Love Is My Profession, Mom and Dad, The Naked Night.” I thought “What are these movies?” I’d never heard of them—they didn’t play at my neighborhood, believe me—but I would go and see them, or read about them, and clip the little list and keep a record of all these condemned movies. The Mom and Dad poster is hanging right in my hall—it’s still that much of an influence. But it made me want to see these movies I’d never, ever heard of. So, in fact they encouraged me, [the nuns] encouraged my interest, without ever knowing it completely.’
Growing Up With John Waters is a fabulous Channel 4 documentary from 1993, where the notorious director of Pink Flamingos, Multiple Maniacs, Female Trouble and Hairspray talks about the childhood events that shaped his life.
Graham Russell: Before you go, tell me about the time you met Nico.
John Waters: Nico ... I met her when she played in Baltimore. Well, (before that) I saw her play with The Velvet Underground at The Dom on St Marks Place(in New York) with The Exploding Plastic Inevitable. I have the poster still. But I met her much later when she had her solo career, which I loved. She was a total heroin addict. Did you ever read that book The End? (The 1992 book is a jaundiced and not exactly objective account by her former keyboardist James Young). It’s so hilarious. It was that – although it wasn’t that, that was later when she was touring England.
She played at this disco, and I went. And people went, but not a lot, it wasn’t full. And she was heavy and dressed all in black with reddish dark hair, and she did her (makes guttural moaning noise). Afterwards I said, “It’s nice to meet you, I wish you’d play at my funeral.” and she said (mimics doom-laden Germanic voice), “When are you going to die?” I told her, “You should have played at The Peoples Temple; you would’ve been great when everyone was killing themselves!” Then she said, “Where can I get some heroin?” I said, “I don’t know.” I don’t take heroin, so I don’t know. But even if I did, I wasn’t copping for Nico!
“But that was basically it. But I’ll always remember her, and I love Nico. I remember when she died, when she fell off the bicycle (in 1988). Every summer my friend Dennis and I, we play Nico music on the day she died (18 July). I saw that documentary Nico-Icon (Susanne Ofteringer, 1995), which was great. It’s a shame: she was mad about being pretty! She was sick of being pretty, being a model. And I remember her when she was in La Dolce Vita (1960), even before.
Nico ... great singer; and even the Velvet Underground hated having her. And her music can really get on your nerves. You have to be in the mood. Sometimes it gets on my nerves. You have to be in the mood to listen to it. To put on a whole day of Nico can be ... my favorite song of Nico ever, and I only have it on a tape that someone made, it’s a bootleg. Did you ever hear her sing “New York, New York”? It’s great! I wish she’d done a whole album of show tunes! Like “Hello Dolly” or “The Sound of Music”! (Mimics Nico singing “Hello Dolly”).
Below, Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman describes his experience with Nico when he put out The Marble Index and Nico sings “Janitor of Lunacy” on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1975:
This is what Tranarchy is doing this weekend, a tribute to all things trashy, sleazy, skeezy, strange and Baltimorean. Yup, we’re showing every single full length film by cult auteur and Pope of Trash, the Ayatollah of Crud, the Prince of Puke, the one and only John Waters.
Every single one. In a row. Non-stop. For 24 hours.
The only things we’re not showing are his hard-to-find early short, and hell, if we can find ‘em, we’ll probably show them too!
You know, maybe we are crazy. And a little bit stupid. But we still don’t care. This movie marathon is something some of our members have dreamed of doing their whole lives, and just like the Dreamlanders, Tranarchy is dedicated to making our craziest, stupidest dreams a reality.
Let’s face it. watching all of these films back to back non-stop for 24 hours is going to be quite an endurance test. We are inviting patrons to sleep over, and Manchester’s Islington Mill (the venue for this festival of freakiness) are kindly letting us convert one of their heated gallery spaces into a giant bedroom for anyone who needs a break.
There will be lots of interactivity’s for patrons , including a Waters-inspired photo booth featuring some of his most iconic movie scenes, free popcorn, edible turds, and for the final film, a dance-a-long screening of Hairspray, dance lessons that will teach you to do The Madison. We’ll want you to go two up and two back with a big, strong turn. The brilliant artwork, above, by Manchester-based illustrator David Bailey, will also be available to buy as limited edition prints.
Even now, 42 years after the Dreamlanders made their first ripples in the puddle of public consciousness with the release of Pink Flamingos (our midnight show, of course!) they are THE SHIT. They were punks before there were punks (they died their hair with pen ink because colored dye was not commercially available back then.) They were openly queer before there was such a thing as queer culture (in fact, they were a huge part of defining what queer culture could and would be.) They were one of the only pockets of hippie-resistance outside of Warhol’s Factory, and their couldn’t-give-a-flying-fuck attitude is inspirational to this day. Cookie Meuller, Mink Stole, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pierce, Pat Moran, Vincent Peranio, Divine and John Waters, we salute you. For 24 fucking hours.
The Facebook event page for Tranarchy’s 24 Hour John Waters Movie Marathon is here.
In sourcing the content for the movie marathon we’ve collected some interesting curios and documentaries about John Waters and the Drreamlanders. Thankfully, some of them have appeared on Dangerous Minds before, including the excellent Incredibly Strange Move Show with Jonathan Ross and the brilliant Divine Trash. But here’s a little curio I am happy to say has never been on this site before. It’s an appearance on Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous, where he gives us a tour of his Baltimore home and its cavalcade of perversions:
John Waters on Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous:
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
You know, we’ve been posting about John Waters on DM almost since its very inception. There are just too many great posts about the man to list them all individually. So instead of singling them out, have a scroll through the John Waters-tag page.
I have to admit, as a Mick living in Limeyland, I don’t fully understand what Thanksgiving is all about. All I know is that it’s as American as apple pie, as the Detroit Lions or the Pittsburgh Steelers, as right-wing Christian nut jobs or cheapo exploitation cinema starring 300lb drag queens.
So on this turkey day, come worship at the altar of the Pope of Trash. Because nothing strikes me as being more American than the work of cult auteur John Waters. What’s more fitting to watch on Thanksgiving than two of his very early, very cheap shocksploitation classics?
Sure, these films may represent a way of living and a segment of the US population that America is not too comfortable sharing with the rest of the world (see also: Honey Boo Boo Child) but it’s an integral part of America nonetheless, and worthy of as much celebration as turkeys or pancakes with bacon with maple syrup (I’ve tried that one, I wasn’t impressed.)
So here’s an early-John Waters double bill to sink your teeth into, starting with 1969’s silent Mondo Trasho, (it’s got a great soundtrack though) and followed up by 1970’s ever-so-slightly higher budget Multiple Maniacs (it’s got sound!)
Even now, over forty years on, these films have the power to shock. Mondo Trasho kicks off with a live chicken being killed (kind of of fitting for Thanksgiving?) and Multiple Maniacs climaxes with Divine being raped by a giant lobster. In between you will find all kinds of depravity, though looking back it’s funny how innocent all this depravity seemed. There’s no real rage or unhappy-ever-after bleakness on display, everyone involved always seemed to be having too much fun!
Some people would say these films are hard to watch, and you know, they might be right. That doesn’t mean the films are not worth watching. In fact, some other people would say that John Waters’ films are so good that they are all worth watching in row, back to back, non-stop for 24 hours. Who would be crazy enough to attempt such a thing?!