THE WAY WE USED TO LOOK LIKE: I know John Waters only slightly, through our mutual friend Ian Brennan. This photo was taken after the three of us had had dinner at the nice Italian family restaurant across the street from the Lusty Lady (can’t recall the name of the restaurant now, nor do I know if it’s still there; the Lusty Lady is, sadly, no longer with us.)
After dinner when we were doing the stand around talking before going our separate ways thing, Ian noticed the two of us standing in front of the nude dancing neon, recognized it would be a good photo, and snapped this shot. (It would be a better story, perhaps, if I said we’d been in the quarter booths at the LL, but that simply was not the case: go ahead and think that if you want, though.)
John Waters is really impressive, just as funny and entertaining in person as in his art, and also a very warm person, and the conversations I’ve had with him have been enthralling, hilarious, and largely unprintable: he wouldn’t stand a chance in our current Age of Intolerance so we’re all lucky he achieved icon status before everyone started twitch hunting everyone else for various kinds of impropriety. As icons go, he’s unassailable, a kind of saint of trash, God bless him.
During the dinner, no fewer than four young ladies came up to our table in awe, each delivering a semi-rehearsed encomium that included an account of her own life and how John Waters and his work had had an impact on it, had made her world a better place. This must happen to this guy all the time, and he knows how to handle it, and that is just to listen and say thanks warmly and graciously. He said it’s “part of the job”, and it is. (That’s what I try to do in those situations too, but I tend to be way more awkward about it.)
Anyway a good time was had by all, with no gradually lowering quarter screen in sight…
[nb: my schedule calls for a story on Monday and an “old pic or other item from the archives”.. I started typing this as a caption for the pic in its capacity as “old” and “from the archives” and it went long and turned into a sort of story, so I put it here, off schedule. This sticking to the schedule discipline isn’t going so well, is it? — ed.]