On Saturday night the line in front of the Atomic Books’ store, on Falls Road, in Hampden (Hon), curved around the block. I had a strong feeling of deja vu.
Both inside and outside the book store, co-owner, Benn Ray, and his team, kept the line moving. I got a chance, moving around, to talk with some of the book buyers.
I was surprised how many of them had been in Waters’ movies as extras; and one, for sure as a featured player. Most were also longtime fans of his films/books and had friends who were in his movies.
This is the kind of mass scene that I had witnessed before for two other books John Waters’ was selling: Carsick, and Role Models. And here is a good omen: They both became national best sellers!
Tonight, the latest offering from the “Pope of Trash’s” muse is entitled: Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder. The book is available at Atomic Books.
In Mr. Know-It-All are a lot of stories, reflections, and photos, along with Waters’ zany illustrations. You will also find cameo appearances by some of his fave people: Divine and Mink Stole to Patricia Hearst, Kathleen Turner and Tracey Ullman.
One of the photos will make you gag. It’s actress/comedian Rickie Lake (photo by Henry Garfunkel) downing a huge forkful of spaghetti wearing a black wig that looks like it’s suitable for a corpse.
There is also a photo of the actress Selma Blair. (She’s a sweetheart.) Blair was featured in A Dirty Shame. In the photo, she appeared wearing a huge pair of breasts the size of watermelons. Wow! Incidentally, all of Waters’ film were made either in Baltimore City, or Baltimore County or in his mother’s basement. (Just kidding about the last one.)
In the book, Waters, of course, has a lot to say about all of his movies and the featured actors who appeared in them. He added a word or two, about his career in the biz, along with its ups and downs. Waters also drops some funny one-liners here and there which are a big part of his popular persona.
For example, his father (age 88) had come to see A Dirty Shame, and was asked his opinion of it. Pop Waters answered: “Well, it was pretty funny, but I hope I never have to see it again.” (Ouch!)
I’m pleased to say I was in four of Waters’ movies, two of them as a day player: Pecker and A Dirty Shame. When I went up to have him sign a copy of his book for me, he asked me if I had been in any films lately.
I told him, “Yea, I was in Matt Porterfied’s Sollers Point, in 2018.
He responded: “I selected it as one of my ten best films for that year.”
Hey, that’s John Waters for you! A class act, an iconic filmmaker, a best-selling author, artist and a Baltimore City booster par excellence.
More of my photos can be found on my Facebook page.
Photos by Bill Hughes Top photo: John Waters
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Editor’s note: John Waters’ signing event at Book Soup has been sold out. Contact the store for more information.
Bill Hughes is a native of Baltimore. He’s an attorney, author, professional actor and hobbyist photographer. In his salad days, he worked on the docks as a longshoreman. Bill also played on three championship soccer teams: sandlot with Jules Morstein; high school at Calvert Hall; and college at the University of Baltimore.