Monday, April 18, 2011

Role Models by a Role Model

Anyone that knows me can tell you that if there is one thing in life that I am obsessed over it would be a man named John Waters. As he has said in one of his many books and films, "Life is nothing if you're not obsessed." I had the pleasure of meeting him briefly at a book signing last June for his latest literary  success, Role Models. This book is unlike his others. Usually his books come off as strange and unusual tales from making his films and the people he has worked with. This time his stories are still strange and unusual, but are coming from a more personal place that isn't solely out for the shock value. It's all much more intimate, sort of like seeing a family photo album that you thought they probably had, but never knew they kept and truly treasured. 

John Waters

"Role Models" is a collection of people that John Waters has admired and even met. However, for anyone that knows his work, you should have guessed that his list of role models isn't going to consist of past presidents, fire fighters, or the cliche family member that survived cancer. His list includes people like Johnny Mathis, Leslie Van Houten (known for her involvement with the Manson Family), Rei Kawakudo (Comme des Garcons, fashion), and a local stripper named Zorro. These people have all had some impact on John Waters and unlike most people who just brush people off as no good or trash, Waters has gone out of his way to try to understand these people better. See what is beyond the public view, see what makes these people tick, and how they ultimately became the person they were and the person they are today. He doesn't just see people at one end of the spectrum or the other. He doesn't see good or bad and label people as such. He looks for something deeper, something unknown, and if that something be vulgar, shocking, lewd, or tasteless.... so be it! After all, he is known as the Pope of Trash for a reason. 

I think my most favorite chapter out of this book is the one on Leslie Van Houten. He starts this chapter by saying, 

"I have a really good friend who was convicted of killing two innocent people when she was nineteen years old on a horrible night of 1969 cult madness. Her name is Leslie Van Houten and I think you would like her as much as I do. She was one of those notorious "Manson Girls" who shaved their heads, carved X's in their foreheads, and laughed, joked, and sang their way through the courthouse straight to death row without the slightest trace of remorse forty years ago. Leslie is hardly a Mason girl today. Sixty years old, she looks back from prison on her involvement in the LaBianca murders (the night after the Tate massacre) in utter horror, shame, and guilt and takes full responsibility for her part in the crimes. I think it's time to parole her."

This picture is at the beginning of the chapter. It shows Leslie and John.

The chapter is one of the longer ones, but by the time it's over you wish you could give Leslie a hug and her life back.

John is still hard at work on his book tour! He has been doing talk shows, interviews, signings, and there is even more demand for him with the paperback version coming out this Spring! At one of his many tv interviews he had the pleasure of meeting Justin Beiber. Yes! The Pope of Trash met Justin Beiber who told John that his "stache is the jam!" In fact, the young popstar drew the stache on himself! Ohhh, our John is leaving his mark on everyone these days! 

Justin Beiber with his John Waters stache!
I personally can't wait for his next book signing in May! I will be there waiting in line like the last time, eagerly awaiting my 30 seconds with The Pope of Trash, himself! and what divine trash he is<3

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