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John Waters In Print

Role Models
Dell Publishing Co., Inc., August 1981

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.
Available from Amazon.com
   

Original cover
Shock Value:
A Tasteful Book About Bad Taste

Dell Publishing Co., Inc., August 1981

Shock Value discusses the production of several Waters' films such as Female Trouble, Desperate Living and Pink Flamingos. Also included are a discourse on his hometown of Baltimore, and three stories originally written for Oui Magazine in 1979 including "Why I Love Violence". There are many rare photographs of Mr. Waters as well as his stars, posters for films, and of his hero - Russ Meyer.
Available from Amazon.com

A cassette of John reading seven chapters from the book was produced in 1989 by John Wynne and released by Caedmon.

And Shock Value was re-published by Thunder's Mouth Press in 1995 with a new introduction from Mr. Waters and an updated Filmography.
   

Original cover
Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters
Vintage Books, Random House, October 1987

Re-printed 2003 by Scribner.

Crackpot collects 12 stories originally written for various magazines, but in slightly different form. Topics include: John Waters' Tour of L.A., Hatchet Piece (101 Things I Hate), The Pia Zadora Story, Why I Love the National Enquirer, How to Become Famous, and Why I Love Christmas. Truly hilarious!

The reprint from 2003 adds 9 new chapters: Director's Commentary, Finally Footlights on the Fat Girls, Catty Corner, Crimes of Fashion, Independent Spirit Awards Monologues, John Waters Presents Boom!, Stalker and If I Was President.
Available from Amazon.com

Read "Why I Love Christmas" on Two Jealous Perverts' site.
   

Original cover
Trash Trio: Three Screenplays of John Waters
A Vintage Original, October 1988

Trash Trio collects the screenplays for Pink Flamingos, Desperate Living and the never filmed sequel to Pink Flamingos, Flamingos Forever. This volume also includes many wonderful photos from the sets of PF and DL, as well as stills from the films.
Available from Amazon.com

   
John Waters - Director's Cut
Scalo, 1997

Director's Cut is a collection of what John calls his "little movie" photographs. In his own words: "I took my "little movie" photographs for years without telling anybody. It all started with my obsession to have a still from one of my older films which was never taken on the set. I remembered Divine's face in the one moment between rape and miraculous intervention where he lived up to the spirtual side of his name, but I didn't have the picture to prove it. I took hundreds of shots off the TV monitor, blundering my way into photography the same way I blundered into films, until I finally produced the still I wanted." And he does this to literally hundreds of films in this book, with commentary in the form of titles plus an afterword explaining his motives.
Available from Amazon.com
   
Art: A Sex Book
Thames & Hudson, 2003

Written and compiled with Bruce Hainley, this book presents John's unique view of fine art. Thematically linked by sex, all the work discussed is pictured in lurid color photos. Artists included are Gary Lee Boas, Jeff Burton, Larry Clark, Peter Hujar, Richard Kern, Roy Lichtenstein, Jack Pierson, Peter Saul, Cindy Sherman, Lily van der Stokker, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Weegee and many, many more. The discussion between Waters and Hainley is a provocative read, and the photos are filthy and gorgeous.
Available from Amazon.com
   
John Waters Interviews
University Press of Mississippi, 2011

A collection of interviews, edited by James Egan, spanning Waters' career from 1965 to 2010.

Mr. Egan is himself an award-winning, independent filmmaker and professor of film at the Graduate School of Cinematic Arts at USC. The book, to be released in October, is the latest in the series Conversations with Filmmakers, published by the University Press of Mississippi.

Professor Egan has assembled a collection of the most enlightening interviews and articles that have defined the career of our hero. He brings a unique personal perspective to this anthology, as he has been a friend of Mr. Waters since 1973 while working with him on the production insurance for Female Trouble and Desperate Living. Spending time on the set, Egan got to witness Waters work at a seminal time in his directing career, and has also maintained a close relationship with many of the Dreamlanders.

Available from Amazon.com
   
Filthy: The Weird World of John Waters by Robrt L. Pela
Alyson Publications, 2002

In one of the most bizarre moments in this book, Robrt Pela visits a clairvoyant who puts him in touch with the deceased Divine. A lengthy conversation ensues, and I swear you can almost hear Divine's voice. In case you aren't familiar with John's history, Filthy covers the basics: his childhood obsession with automobile accidents; the pattern of acquaintances that led to the Dreamland crew; the struggle to get his early movies screened. Robrt delves into the bad habits practiced by John and his friends as they ran from Baltimore to San Francisco, New York to Provincetown. The best chapter has to be The Cult of John wherein Pela gains entry into the home into the most obsessive JW collector in the world, Suki. You have to read it to believe it.
Available from Amazon.com
   

John Waters by John G. Ives
Thunders Mouth Press, 1992

This is an informal biography of Waters in the form of a discussion between himself and the author. Also included are conversations with Patty Hearst, Rachel Talalay, Pia Zadora, Ricki Lake, Sara Risher and Pat Moran. Due to the year published, much of the discussions revolve around the production of Cry Baby.
Out-of-print; used copies available from Amazon.com

   
Desperate Visions: The Journal of Alternative Cinema by Jack Stevenson
Camp America Volume 1: John Waters / John & Mike Kuchar
Creation Pub Group, 1996

As reviewed by Atomic Books in Baltimore: Camp America includes interviews not only with John Waters, but also with members of his notorious entourage; plus extensive interviews with George & Mike Kuchar and a comprehensive assessment of their career and influence. The book has many rare photographs, plus a filmography and index, and not only documents a fascinating period of extreme underground film-making, but contextualizes it firmly within the social fabric of the times, bringing the New York, Baltimore and San Francisco underground/sleaze film scenes of the '60s and '70s vividly to life.
Available from Amazon.com
   
Not Simply Divine by Bernard Jay
Fireside/Simon & Schuster Inc., 1994

Subtitled Beneath the Make-Up, Above the Heels and Behind the Scenes With a Cult Superstar, may fans feel it should probably be subtitled "Below the Belt" because of Jay's somewhat unflattering portrait of the deceased Dreamland star. Nonetheless, it is a very entertaining read from someone who was very close to Divine. Mr. Jay obviously loved Divine, having helped him through his non-Waters film career of singing and acting on stages around the world.
Available from Amazon.com.
   
My Son Divine by Frances Milstead, Kevin Heffernan and Steve Yeager
Alyson Publications, 2001

Written by Divine's mother Frances Milstead (with whom he was estranged most of his adult life) My Son Divine is a romp of maternal memories and photos. Reporting from Heffernan and Yeager (director of Divine Trash) make this large format paperback a must for any Dreamland fan. In the middle is a special color photo section with tons of great shots of the late actor, including John's first time out in drag as Liz Taylor! And the most complete discography I've ever seen.
Available from Amazon.com.
   
Ask Dr. Mueller by Cookie Mueller
Serpents Tail, 1997
Cookie was one of John's original Dreamlanders. Aside from starring in classics like Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble, she was an accomplished journalist. Writing from her New York home, Cookie dispensed advice, fiction, art reviews, and personal stories before dying of AIDS related causes in 1989. This volume collects most of her prose and is a treasure for any Waters fan. With in introduction by John Waters and a cover photo by her friend Nan Goldin.
Available from Amazon.com
   
A Cookie Mueller Encyclopedia
Randy Press, 2010

Written by Mallory Curley. In addition to exploring aspects of Cookie's life, including her eight-year live-in relationship with Sharon Niesp and subsequent marriage to Vittorio Scarpati, and providing a publishing history of her work, this encyclopedia serves as an overview of the '80s lower Manhattan art scene, examining Cookie's take on every artist whose work she sought out for her monthly "Art and About" column (1982-1989). 536 p., well illustrated, including many photographs never before published.

Available from Abe Books.com
   
The Simply Divine Cut-Out Doll Book
St Martin's, 1983.
Unusual, long out-of-print paper doll book featuring designs and illustrations by Dreamland make-up artist Van Smith.
   
Simpsons Comic Madness by Matt Groening
Perrenial, 2003.
This book as a section called John's Cockamamies Collectible Catalog which is a take-off on the John Waters character from Simpson's episode "Homer's Phobia."
Available from Amazon.com


In his own words, a selection of interviews and articles by Mr. Waters.

2000 saw Atomic Books close their doors, but proprietor, Scott Huffines found a way to bring this Baltimore bookstore back to life - and Waters fans should rejoice. Not only does Atomic Books carry autographed copies of Waters' books, new owner Benn Ray also forwards fan mail for the director. Visit their site for more info.
© 2005 Jeff Jackson. Can you spare a buck? Help me!