Role Models is filmmaker John Waters's self-portrait told through intimate profiles of favorite personalities---some famous, some unknown, some criminal, some surprisingly middle-of-the-road. From Esther Martin, owner of the scariest bar in Baltimore, to the American playwright Tennessee Williams; from the atheist leader Madalyn Murray O'Hair to the insane martyr Saint Catherine of Siena; from the English novelist Denton Welch to the timelessly appealing singer Johnny Mathis---these are the extreme figures who helped the author form his own brand of neurotic happiness. Role Models is a personal invitation into one of the most unique, perverse, and hilarious artistic minds of our time.
©2010 John Waters (P)2010 Tantor
"Waters delivers a worthy tribute to his personal pantheon of artistic icons. An impressive, heartfelt collection by a true American iconoclast." (Kirkus)
I like reading, roller derby, creepy things and art.
YES! I will probably put this on my yearly listening rotation along with, "This is How" and "Valley of the Dolls"
John's own view is the best. How he sees art, and people is truly amazing.
Laugh... I loved everything
I enjoyed them both, but the added experience of hearing Waters read his pieces—he's a great performer in this audiobook—gives the audio the edge. I enjoyed hearing his tone of voice and inflection and the tempo of his readings at various points and how he approached the variety of topics his essays cover.
Where he describes an interview with Little Richard that goes a little bit off the rails.
The essay on former "Manson Girl" Leslie Van Houten, whom Waters befriended while she was in prison and with whom he maintains a decades-long friendship, is difficult and moving as he describes his feeling that she has paid her debt to society and should be freed while still acknowledging the horror of her crimes. He's serious and thoughtful and while yes, there are funny parts even in this essay, he isn't flippant. A difficult and thought-provoking piece.
Just know that this book swings back and forth from "Hairspray"-type fun to "Pink Flamingoes"-type explicit grossness. Unless the latter doesn't bother you at all, you won't emerge unscathed ;)
I adore John Water's unique vision of life, eclectic references from stage, screen, music, and pop culture, and his good-natured, down-to-earth honesty. Whether talking of his love for Comme des Garçons or his realistic and measured defense of Leslie Van Houten, Waters delivers insights that are original, heartfelt, and intelligent.
He has the references of Greil Marcus without any of the pretension, and his discussions of fame are so human, they seem really unique to me.
I have never heard him read an audiobook, but I've seen him live, and he's a brilliant performer (as well as director.) He's simply a star, but in the most human way possible. I love him!
Yes, but at over 7 hours, I listened in two hour or so chunks.
This is a fantastic reflection on idols, admiration, and human attraction--John Waters does it again!
Certainly one of, if not the best audiobook I've heard.
Like a final call to prayer, Waters' last chapter describes his aspirations to move beyond his status of a cult filmmaker and become a cult leader, and take you with him. Hilarious, detailed, dirty and, at times, an exercise in religious and Waters history with surprising crossovers.
Waters is as much a performer as he is a writer and filmmaker. His unmistakable voice carries his individual brand of bad taste off the page and on to the stage without sounding contrived. The respect and adoration Waters affords his subjects is evident throughout this biographic homage, and is only further highlighted by the kindness that shines through his reading and pokes between the trashy references.
If you're a fan of Waters' films or previous books, you'll be pleased to hear there is very little crossover in terms of content. If you're new to the world of John Waters you'll be in for a treat.
Role Models also serves as a springboard from which to dive into an underground world of trash and treasure, most particularly via Waters' list of 'books you should read to live a happy life if something is basically the matter with you'. Waters' is a prolific reader and a cultural scavenger, sifting through the mounds of cultural detritus to find the brilliantly misshapen jewels scattered throughout, and he's not afraid to share them.
I don't know what I was thinking when I purchased this. Do I care whether he rambles on about John Travolita's sexual preference? No. The first chapter turned me off with its is he or isn't he dialogue. I did find other parts interesting, but really, the book doesn't have any value for this reader.
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