Our June 8-21 issue featured a cover story on legendary American filmmaker, author, artist and provocateur John Waters. It was in advance of a June 24 appearance he made in Regina as part of Camp, Trash, Filth organized by Queer City Cinema artistic director Gary Varro.
Waters’ contract stipulated no media while he was in town. He did agree to two pre-appearance phone interviews from his home in Baltimore. I snagged one, and wrote the above mentioned cover story, along with a second story using recycled and new material for the CARFAC SASK newsletter.
Now that both articles have been published, I thought I’d stitch together a fuller picture of my 25-minute interview with John Waters.
Could you offer a snapshot of what it was like growing up in Baltimore?
Well, the ’50s were horrible. You might know them from watching television and hearing doo-wop music and seeing cool cars, but it was a time of terrible conformity. That’s why rock ’n’ roll went crazy. That’s why Elvis Pressley was a Martian who scared the whole world. Then beatniks started, and hippies, then punks, grunge, gangstas, and now hackers. So there’s my history.
Your family may not have understood what you were doing, you’ve said, but they were still supportive. What about life outside your home in Baltimore? Did you ever feel repressed?
I felt repressed, certainly, by people I went to school with. Most of the teachers I had too, especially in high school, would never encourage what I ended up doing for a living. I didn’t care that much, though. I wasn’t bullied because the bullies thought I was crazy, so they left me alone. And I created a lot of friends in my mind and even a character for myself. And I had a career as a puppeteer when I was 12 for children’s birthday parties. I also wrote stories that would horrify people at summer camp, and the counselors would call my parents. So that was always my comfort. Continue reading “John Waters: The Full Interview”