Hopelessly devoted

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Anyone who knows me at all knows I am not particularly musical. It’s not just that I can’t play an instrument or carry much of a tune. I don’t even have much of an ear for music. My iPod, at any given time, has about a dozen songs on it — ones that would make … Continue reading

Growing pains

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My parents were divorced and my mom was mentally ill throughout most of my childhood so I didn’t always learn a lot about how to be a “proper” girl or woman — I’m an adult who is still figuring out liquid liner. In a number of ways, I love that I wasn’t forced into a … Continue reading

Suzy’s binoculars and Wes Anderson’s camera

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In Wes Anderson’s latest film, Moonrise Kingdom, “emotionally disturbed” 12-year-olds Suzy and Sam run away from their depressing and angst-ridden 1965-era lives to be with each other out in the open air of a New England island.  Their plan doesn’t have much of a future, but the brevity of their escape makes it all the … Continue reading

The border virtues of Buddy Cole

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It was the perfect time and place to discover Kids in the Hall. In 1990, I was ten years old, and had spent the last three of them insomniac, sneaking downstairs, only sometimes with my mom’s grudging permission, to catch bits of Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. It was my … Continue reading

My life in liquid: beverages I have known, loved and exploited

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Beverages have represented different things to me at various times in my life, and I find that my drink preferences can be easily broken down into clearly defined eras, each with its own, distinctive needs. Those needs were not always satiated, but boy, it didn’t stop me from trying using whatever was sloshing around in … Continue reading

The passions of John Waters

I got sucked into Waters’ work and manifesto at the age of seventeen, and in his books Shock Value and Crackpot I first learned all the infamous anecdotes devoured by other Waters fans long before me, including the one Waters himself now is cheerfully weary of telling years later (you know the one), but which new generations of fans love him for as soon as they discover his world. He still tells it though, because he is just that gracious, along with all the other great stories about how Divine escaped arrest in a gold lamé toreador outfit, about Edith Massey’s thrift store, Elizabeth Coffey’s mid-gender-reassignment nude scene and the burning of the Pink Flamingos trailer. Oh, and how Divine ate dog feces on film under Waters’ direction (that’s the one!); something Waters says he could never live up to and Divine could never live down.

But you already know all those stories. The behind the scenes DIY-ness and mania of the 1970s and 80s Waters-filmmaking-family has been meticulously chronicled, re-chronicled, poured-over and revered. Nothing about those crazy, intoxicating, renegade years was left out. Except one thing—one noticeable, unshared topic-hole in the works written by and about the filmmaker.

John Waters never spoke much about his personal life.

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