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John Waters, Susan Sarandon, Martin O'Malley Speak at Maryland Marriage Equality Fundraiser in NYC: VIDEO

Waters

Last night Marylanders for Marriage Equality held a star-studded fundraiser in Manhattan.

SarandonThe Baltimore Sun was on hand:

Thursday's soiree in Manhattan raised money only for the Maryland campaign — one of string of fundraisers being held beyond the state's borders. Gov. Martin O'Malley, who attended as a guest with his wife, Katie, helped to organize earlier events in Connecticut, San Francisco and New Hampshire.

"It has become a lot easier for people to come out," observed Sarandon, who said she feels families of gay children have been incredibly effective in changing minds in recent years. "Everyone knows someone who is gay," she said.

Other guests included Barbara Bush, daughter of former President George W. Bush; actor Ed Norton, a Maryland native; Baltimore filmmaker John Waters; and hip-hop producer Russell Simmons.

Derek McCoy, the executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, took aim at the glitter associated with Thursday's event in New York. "Those folks are trying to celebritize this issue," McCoy said.

Watch John Waters, Susan Sarandon, and Governor Martin O'Malley speak,
AFTER THE JUMP...

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Housekeeping And John Waters

John-waters-0... and now I'm handing the blog back over to Andy et. al. until tomorrow afternoon, because I'm doing emcee duty this evening for John Waters's one-man show at Parker Playhouse, in Fort Lauderdale.

Are you a John Waters fan? Are you in SoFla? If so, come. We're screening John Waters's 1981 unhit Polyester, and then Waters will perform his one-man show, This Filthy World, in which he talks film, sex, ethics, the meaning of art, and more. (I don't know exactly what, 'cuz the show changes all the time.) Post-show, Waters will do a Q&A.

Tix available here.


Picking Up John Waters

Screen Shot 2012-05-26 at 2.43.21 AM copyAn advisory from the New York Times:

An advisory to readers who may be driving on this Memorial Day weekend: If, as you travel the nation’s highways, you spot a hitchhiker with a wiry build, a pencil mustache and a mischievous look in his eyes, you may not wish to pick up this person. Unless, of course, you are certain it is the cult filmmaker John Waters, thumbing his way across the country in search of material for a new book.

You probably won't actually run into Waters this weekend; he's apparently completed his trans-national trek and is resting somewhere in SanFran. He was on the road for eight days, and snagged 15 rides.

Rumors that Waters was thumbing first surfaced when Brooklyn rock band Here We Go Magic picked up the ateur on May 16th, somewhere in Ohio. The band reported their bizarre highway discovery to Twitter, and the internet -- at least, the parts of the internet where people who dig Pink Flamingoes and Pecker hang out -- freaked out. (See the illustration at right, by Floridian artist Joy Schilt, who drew it within 24 hours of Here We Go Magic's first tweetings.)

From the Times:

[Here We Go Magic's] members could not quite believe that they spotted him by an exit ramp.

“Half of us thought that he wasn’t John Waters, because that would be impossible, and half of us thought that he was,” said Michael Bloch, a guitarist for the band. “So we argued about it for one exit, and the only way to resolve it was to just turn around and go back.”

Though Mr. Waters jokingly compared the band to the Manson family, Mr. Bloch said they found him an enjoyable travel companion before dropping him off in Indiana.

“Just giving himself up to the winds is something that he really wants every once in a while,” Mr. Bloch said. “We all found that really inspiring and really eye-opening.”

Waters was hitching to research his upcoming book, tentatively titled Carsick. He says he was picked up by "cops, pot smokers, everybody," and that the experience was generally awesome. Including his two rides with a Republican city councilman from Maryland named Brett Bidle, who was headed to Montana to assist with Tornado relief. Bidle picked up Waters in Maryland, dropped him off in Ohio, presumably got some sleep, and then:

“I drove for 22 straight hours with no sleep, whether that was a smart thing to do or not,” Mr. Bidle said on Friday, speaking by phone from Wichita, Kan. “I was on a mission to find John Waters again.”

Mr. Waters also made arrangements for Mr. Bidle to stay at his apartment in San Francisco, where Mr. Waters arrived on Tuesday after four more hitchhiked rides.

“I thought, you know what, he wanted an adventure, too,” Mr. Waters said of Mr. Bidle. “He’s the first Republican I’d ever vote for.”

Mr. Bidle said of Mr. Waters: “We are polar opposites when it comes to our politics, religious beliefs. But that’s what I loved about the whole trip. It was two people able to agree to disagree and still move on and have a great time. I think that’s what America’s all about.”

Exactly what Waters was looking for on America's highways is unclear, but it seems to have had something to do with shearing himself of celebrity, and seeing the country from beyond the reality warp created by waking up every day as one of the world's five or ten most famous living film pioneers:

“There’s not an airport in the world I’m not recognized in,” [Waters] said. “But who thinks it’s you on the side of the street?”

About a third of the people who picked him up, Mr. Waters said, had no idea who he was and another third were convinced by his explanations (or by a Google search) that he was a personality of some renown.

And all his other benefactors, Mr. Waters admitted, had him made right away. “My mustache got me a third of the rides,” he said. “I had it working.”

(Incidentally, I'm flying to Florida to introduce Waters at Fort Lauderdale's Parker Playhouse when he swings through town with his one-man show, This Filthy World, on July 28th. If you're in SoFla, check it out.)


NEWS: 'The Guardian' Explains Our Poverty, Michael Moore Hates Barack Obama, Rick Santorum Has A Blank Wall In His Head, Jimmy Fallon Is The Lizard King

99.9Math
Road The Guardian crunches the numbers: It's really more like 99.99%.

Road John Waters talks Christmas:

“I liked Santa but I would get confused as a child whether I was supposed to pray to him or William Castle [the B-movie director], or Jesus,” he says, before skipping to another thought about “living crèches” – Christmas cribs re-created with real people. “They’re begging for Diane Arbus to come back from the grave to take a picture of them. What parent would give their child to be baby Jesus, with straw and candles and mules that kick … ? I’m telling you, I think living crèches are some of the most horrifying things.”

Road A gay marriage in Zucotti Park!

Road Margot Adler reports on the homeless queer youth of New York:

"The day after my 18th birthday this year, my adopted parent kicked me out," says [Jeremiah Beaverly, late of Illinois]. "At the time, I was really infatuated with this guy, and she was listening to my phone calls. She started telling my family, 'He is this, he is that, he is gay,' and talking about me as if I wasn't part of the family."

Road Christopher Walken opened up about Natalie Wood's death way back in '97, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

"She had gone to bed before us, and her room was at the back. A dinghy was bouncing against the side of the boat, and I think she went out to move it. There was a ski ramp that was partially in the water. It was slippery – I had walked on it myself. She had told me she couldn’t swim; in fact, they had to cut a swimming scene from [Brainstorm]. She was probably half asleep, and she was wearing a coat."

Road How do you know what you know?

Road Should a candidate's religion matter?

But suppose Santorum replies — as he has — that he would seek to ban gay marriage (in fact, he also supports anti-sodomy laws). The question then is why he thinks this is the right thing to do.  If his only reply is that his Catholic religion condemns homosexuality, then we’ve hit a blank wall. Debate is the life-blood of a democracy, and this means that leaders must offer discussable reasons for what they propose to do.  To say, “My religion says so” may explain why you believe something, but it has no function in a discussion with people who do not accept your religion.  Such an appeal to religion is, as Richard Rorty once put it, merely a "conversation stopper."

Road That's light! Scientists invent metal material that's 1/100th as heavy as styrofoam. 

Road Faith2Action believes it can disprove evolution in less than 300 words.

Road Michael Moore is as ridiculous when discussing President Obama as he is the rest of the time. Hunstmawkward

Road He's reasonable! He's sane! But dammit, Jon Hunstman just never looks relaxed.

Road A powerful letter demanding the resignation of UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi. (Whose walk of shame you may witness here.) Excerpt:

Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

This is what happened. You are responsible for it.

You are responsible for it because this is what happens when UC Chancellors order police onto our campuses to disperse peaceful protesters through the use of force: students get hurt. Faculty get hurt. One of the most inspiring things (inspiring for those of us who care about students who assert their rights to free speech and peaceful assembly) about the demonstration in Berkeley on November 9 is that UC Berkeley faculty stood together with students, their arms linked together. Associate Professor of English Celeste Langan was grabbed by her hair, thrown on the ground, and arrested. Associate Professor Geoffrey O’Brien was injured by baton blows. Professor Robert Hass, former Poet Laureate of the United States, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, was also struck with a baton. These faculty stood together with students in solidarity, and they too were beaten and arrested by the police. In writing this letter, I stand together with those faculty and with the students they supported.

One week after this happened at UC Berkeley, you ordered police to clear tents from the quad at UC Davis. When students responded in the same way—linking arms and holding their ground—police also responded in the same way: with violent force. The fact is: the administration of UC campuses systematically uses police brutality to terrorize students and faculty, to crush political dissent on our campuses, and to suppress free speech and peaceful assembly. Many people know this. Many more people are learning it very quickly.

You are responsible for the police violence directed against students on the UC Davis quad on November 18, 2011. As I said, I am writing to hold you responsible and to demand your immediate resignation on these grounds.

Road The story of "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic."

Road "A jar of change on a dresser is sadly factoring into a number of financial decisions."

Road Jimmy Fallon as Jim Morrison, singing the Reading Rainbow theme. Incredibly bizarre, shockingly good. Watch it AFTER THE JUMP ... (HT: Shakesville)

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Melissa McCarthy is Divine: PHOTO

Melissa-mccarthy-divine

Melissa McCarthy channels the late muse of John Waters in EW's new issue.

One more shot, AFTER THE JUMP...

(ew via ed kennedy)

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John Waters on Stephen Colbert and Fruitcake...

Waters

Longtime Provincetown resident John Waters gives an interview to The Paris Review and discusses his writing habits, and his recent appearance on The Colbert Report:

"You have to give the totally straight face with him because he is such a good straight man. It was so funny, right before we went on, backstage, it was me and the kid who wrote the article about General McChrystal that toppled the government [Michael Hastings], and I loved the journalist, and we were talking because I used to write for Rolling Stone. So I was showing him my Rolling Stone press card, and right before we go on, Colbert looks at us, because he’s always in character, right, even before, and he says, 'I like one of you.' Which is really funny and I knew it was funny; but I think the young author was horrified. I knew it was part of the act, but what a terrible thing to say!"

Waters adds that his latest project, Fruitcake, about a boy who steals meat from the grocery store, is still looking for a distributor.


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