Role Models

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Overview

Here, from the incomparable John Waters, is a paean to the power of subversive inspiration that will delight, amuse, enrich—and happily horrify—readers everywhere.

 

Role Models is, in fact, a 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 playwright Tennessee Williams; ...

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London 2011 Paperback Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. ... 320 p. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Role Models

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Overview

Here, from the incomparable John Waters, is a paean to the power of subversive inspiration that will delight, amuse, enrich—and happily horrify—readers everywhere.

 

Role Models is, in fact, a 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 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

The tone of John Waters's Role Models is conveyed perfectly by the beginning of one of its profiles. "I wish I were Johnny Mathis," he writes. "So mainstream. So popular. So unironic, yet perfect. Effortlessly boyish at over seventy years old, with a voice that still makes all of American want to make out." In this refracted self-portrait, the first generation indie filmmaker presents portraits of subjects ranging from pornographers to famous playwrights; from atheist leaders to imprisoned former Manson family members. Gently irreverent piece; smooth prose that reads like conversation. (Hand-selling tip: Waters is best known as the director of movies including Hairspray and Pink Flamingoes.)

Tom Carson
The nostalgia that…infused Waters's movies from "Hairspray" on turns engagingly unabashed in Role Models, the latest and best of his cobbled-together exercises in autobiography at one remove…His acolytes won't need a reviewer's say-so to lap up every word of Role Models…But dilettantes at liberty to skip around will find a lot to charm them. In a way, the best joke in the book is that…Waters can't help revealing on every other page that he's both sentimental and good-hearted.
—The New York Times
Jonathan Yardley
…[Waters] pays tribute to various men and women who in one way or another helped him become the man he is. If that inspires you to murmur, "Thanks a lot but no thanks," well, you're entitled, but Waters is a greater National Treasure than 90 percent of the people who are given "Kennedy Center Honors" each December. Unlike those gray eminences of the show-business establishment, Waters doesn't kowtow to the received wisdom, he flips it the bird…He has the ability to show humanity at its most ridiculous and make that funny rather than repellent.
—The Washington Post
Kirkus Reviews
The famed cult-film director recalls the famous-and not-so-famous-people he has idolized over the years. Waters is known for his campy, often hilarious films, including Pink Flamingos (1972) and the mainstream hit Hairspray (1988). In this consistently charming and witty collection of essays, he fondly remembers the many artists he has admired throughout his life, from stars, such as Little Richard, to such near-unknown figures as the 1960s Baltimore stripper Lady Zorro. Though Waters jumps from subject to subject, he somehow integrates it all into a coherent whole. The chapter "Johnny and Me" combines the author's interviews with legendary singer Johnny Mathis and the obscure actress Patty McCormack, who played an evil little girl in the 1954 movie The Bad Seed, as well as encomiums to the actress Margaret Hamilton and Bobby "Boris" Pickett, singer of the 1962 novelty hit "The Monster Mash." Elsewhere, the author interviews two of his favorite underground gay pornographers in similarly rapturous terms. In general, Waters admires anyone who has the courage to follow his or her idiosyncratic muse, and he makes no distinction between so-called "high" and "low" art. The author is at his most engaging when he expresses disillusionment. For example, he counts a former member of the Manson Family, Leslie Van Houten, among his friends, and believes that she has reformed in prison-but he also expresses regret that he exploited the Manson murders for kitsch value in his early films. Waters also presents a poignant interview with Lady Zorro's daughter, during which he learns that the outrageous personality he admired so much was actually masking a selfish, irresponsible alcoholic. The only misfireis a short, somewhat vague appreciation of Tennessee Williams, which lacks the zing of the rest of the portraits. Overall, however, Waters delivers a worthy tribute to his personal pantheon of artistic icons. An impressive, heartfelt collection by a true American iconoclast. Agent: Bill Clegg
Publishers Weekly
Waters waxes poetic about the books, artists, and individuals who have influenced him in this desultory memoir, and his selections have a fascinating range, from the novels of Ivy Compton-Burnett to Leslie Van Houten (of Charles Manson fame). His choice to narrate may have seemed a given; after all, fans would appreciate hearing his delivery and distinctive high-pitched voice. However, his projection is inconsistent from word to word, and listeners will have to continually adjust the volume to better hear him. He does convey a certain charm and rhythm with his narration, but it's not enough to compensate for the challenging soundscape. A Farrar, Straus, and Giroux hardcover (Reviews, May 3). (June)
From the Publisher
"The essays in Role Models meander pleasantly around personalities, recollections and ideas, always finding glory in the flaws.... Within [Waters'] jokes and winks and countercultural jabs, he is striving for real human emotion." —-Los Angeles Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781907616624
  • Publisher: Beautiful Books
  • Publication date: 6/28/2011

Meet the Author

John Waters

John Waters is an American filmmaker, actor, writer, and visual artist best known for his cult films, including Hairspray, Pink Flamingos, and Cecil B. DeMented. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 35 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(22)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    John Waters is definitely one of my role models.

    I will preface this by saying I am a huge fan of John Waters, so he could've written a turd & I'd still be excited for this book.

    I imagine his writing style is probably about what it's like to sit down with him for a chat. He rambles on, but in a really fun way. It was light read, but it's also very touching at times. And other times, I'm sure there was some touching involved...not by me, of course.

    I floved the chapter on his favorite bars. It was so sleazy & I contemplated booking a flight to Baltimore to see if I could find any of them.

    It's a really fun read. As much as I'd love him to write another book, I'd still rather he focus on making a new film.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 14, 2010

    Character Assignation

    Reading John Waters' "Role Models" brings to mind the catch phrase of 1960's cartoon character Super Chicken: "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it." Success, notoriety, and age have done nothing to temper his "Pink Flamingos" sensibilities. Don't say I didn't warn you about what you should already know.

    John Waters' and I have very little in common, except this: We both really appreciate characters. The major appeal of this book for me is that John Waters himself is one heck of a character.

    The other thing is he has done the footwork. Most of us find a slice of that at the local Wal Mart. But, Waters has spent most of his life scouring skid row bars, posh art galleries, kinky sex locations, prisons, thrift stores and elite mansions of uber-celebrities. Characters encountered come to life on the pages of "Role Models."

    Alz the reader has to do is hide and watch. I mean, who wants to visit a dude who has an actual pig sty (complete with hogs) in his living room? We don't have to. John Waters has been there, done that, got the distastefully tailored tour jacket and written it down for us!

    The best any kind of literature can do is take us places we've never been. Maybe, there are places you'd rather not go. I must admit I skimmed over a few passages. "No thanks John. I'll wait in the car." Even Waters has his limits. Offered an assignment to interview Charles Manson, he begs to interview Leslie Van Houten instead.

    Whether you want to read this book is your call. As for me, I knew the job was dangerous when I took it. Wow!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2014

    Couldn't finish

    As a fellow Baltimorean, I adore John's body of work. Unfortunately, for me, I was unale to stay involved in this book. As each chapter would start, he writes a few paragraphs relating to the title of that chapter or the person in the title but then he would go off on a tangent as if he was distracted or suffering from attention deficet syndrome. Maybe it's me, I just couldn't stay interested.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2014

    Requessstttt :D

    To: Bree <br> <br>
    From: Huseh. <br> <br>
    Location: Oliver Twist. <br> <br>
    Return: Nu. <br> <br>
    Attachments: A box if chocokate and a $100 giftcard to StarBucks! :D <br> <br>
    Bree- You are one if my best friends, and you mean a lit. Yoy understand, you care, you know, and most of all; you're my friend. I live you, girly! :D Happy Valentines Day. <br> <br>
    To: Aceh <br> <br>
    From: Husheh. <br> <br>
    Location: Oliver Twist. <br> <br>
    Return: Noo. <br> <br>
    Attachments: A white rose, a box of chocolate, and a hug o.o. :d <br> <br>
    Aceh. Buddeh. :D We share a lit, and l thank you fir being there fir me. Wih yours and everyone's help, l've started to believe more in myself. Love you, Besteh. :D Happy Valentine's Day. <br> <br>
    To: Nyu <br>
    From: Hush <br>
    Return: nu. <br> <br>
    Loaction: Oliver Twist. <br>
    Attachments: A $50 giftcard to McDonalds [Frappe's! :D], a rose and a box of chocolate. <br>
    Nyu, l've known you since forever! You're adorable, amazing, and plain fun. Happy Valentine's Day! <br> <br>
    To: Ghosteh. <br>
    From: hush. <br>
    Return: Nu. <br>
    Location: Oliver Twist. <br>
    Attachments: A magazine if Children-Shows Gone Wrong From Japanese Industries. O-o A Box if chocolate, and my friendship and trust. x.x <br>
    Ghost.. Eh... Well, you're an amazing friend and l don't know what l'd do without you. You've seen every part of me; something people rarely see. Yoy and l have bith been through a lot, and in the short tume we've known eachother, l know l can always count on you. Happy Valentinds Day! <br> <br>
    To: Fang & Greece <br>
    From: Hush <br>
    Return: No. <br>
    Location: Oliver Twist. <br>
    Attachments: a kingsize boz of chocolate, a flurfeh black Exceed, a Wolf Puppy. :D And two sets of ballistic knivesm o-o <br> <br>
    Fang and Greece; two of my best friends! You've known me from my beginning. Seen me through everything. Helped me. You guys never really liked me, but l looked up to you guys. Happy V Day! :D <br> <br>
    Add On: Zane's Attachments alsi include; Mer Love, mer body, my trust, faith, and everything l have. •3•

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2013

    Loved it

    Great

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2012

    Alex

    Im not absent. Lol

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 29, 2011

    Repulsive and sumblime

    Who am i to review? John Waters is to be experienced-

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted January 2, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted February 6, 2011

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    Posted October 23, 2010

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    Posted June 16, 2010

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    Posted May 15, 2011

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    Posted September 4, 2010

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    Posted January 12, 2011

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    Posted August 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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