John Waters is No Cry-Baby for the Past


New York magazine’s Ariel Levy profiles filmmaker John Waters, who has a Broadway musical forthcoming next month based on his musical Cry-Baby, noting that his interests in art, sex, drugs, class, and transgression have remained intact even though the shock value of his content has slipped away.

Says Waters, when Levy asks him if there’s anything he misses about the past:

“I don’t think my generation is better or had it better. The one thing you’ll never see again—and I’m not so sure it’s bad you missed it—was the sexual revolution. You can’t imagine what it was like to go home and have sex with someone different every day … People really did! In Provincetown there was a bar called Piggies, totally mixed, gay and straight, but it was outside of town and everyone had to walk home and every person would just have sex in the graveyard along the way. I mean, those days will never happen again. Going to places like Hellfire in New York City, you look back and it’s so amazing, and that certainly did lead to terrible things like AIDS—and AIDS ruined everything for the rest of our lives. It ruined people taking chances. That’s over. You missed that.”

Still Waters [new york magazine]


  1. the queen says

    god he is so right about the sex every day, it certainly was there if you wanted it… and i got plenty let me tell you — i’m glad i lived through the famous sexual revolution and the disco era — it was fantastic and will never happen again — the sexual revolution that is maybe until they find a cure for aids… nah i doubt it, the current generation seems so judgmental about sex and anything sexual — well, anyway, when i finally get to the old folks home and i’m in my wheelchair i’m gonna have a big fat smile on my face and the nurses will wonder why…

  2. Paul R says

    “It ruined people taking chances” is an incredibly incorrect comment. As has been discussed endlessly on this site, there is great cause for concern that people—especially young but also older—are taking plenty of stupid chances.

    Hence rising STD rates.

  3. Derrick from Philly says

    Whether he realizes it or not, John Waters was/is an important figure in the development of a gay culture. His sense of humor, and his perspective on American cultural hypocrisy were very gay…to me. He had a “gay attitude”.

    But then, I’ve never understood middle-class, conformist gay people. The kind of gay people who refused to appreciate the rejection of phoney values in Waters’ and Divine’s films. But are those gay folks who conform to middle-class, American values culturally gay, or just gay in terms of sexual orientation? In every other way they appear to be just “regular”.

    Or did the time for social & cultural rebelliousness go out with Divine herself? Well, then, some gay people sure took the fun out of being gay.

  4. mdtopdad says

    I am PROUD to be from Baltimore and I am a contemporary of Mr. Waters. I too, remember those halcyon days of yesteryear when sex weas everywhere and asking someone’s name was “getting too personal”! I will cherish my time in history because there REALLY is nothing like it today, reardless of what younger people think. the worst thing you could catch back then was “the clap”. Thank you, john, for being who you’ve been for all these years and keep on, keepin’ on!

  5. QueenZafrona says

    I also am very glad to have lived through this amazing time. If you weren’t there, then you have no right to condemn. You did not experience it. Just keep your pie hole shut! The reason you have your rights today is because of this generation and don’t you forget it. Before then, people were sent directly to jail for being gay. Today’s gays are like a scaredy cat, they want everything given to them, and are afraid to interact. Like someone said above, I will be in my wheelchair with a big smile on my face. Life is a banquet, and most of you poor suckers are starving to death!

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