Music

John Waters: A Date With John Waters

It's a foregone conclusion that this Waters-curated disc of love songs will be at least worth a chuckle.


John Waters

A Date With John Waters

Label: New Line
US Release Date: 2006-02-06
UK Release Date: 2007-02-07
Amazon
iTunes

+ Love and Frogs: Dating John Waters

John Waters is a very funny and charming man. Even if you don't like his bizarre and often hilariously disgusting movies, you have to admit the man is a hoot. (Or seen him act; his recent cameo in My Name Is Earl was boffo entertainment.) And no one can deny that the man has a great ear for music -- his films are always littered with great R&B classics, and I still think Cry Baby, his musical starring Johnny Depp, is his greatest achievement.

So it's a foregone conclusion that this Waters-curated disc of love songs will be at least worth a chuckle. And yes, there are plenty of camp classics here. Elton Morello's hysterical gender workout "Jet Boy Jet Girl" is here in all its freaky glory, ready to confuse a whole room full of straight people. So is a version of "Big Girls Don't Cry", attributed to longtime Waters stable member Edith Massey. (It's eminently skippable.) And then there's Josie Cotton's notorious new wave jam "Johnny Are You Queer?", still offensive after all these years. And I was very surprised by how great Mink Stole sounds on the awesome hostage-themed love song "Sometimes I Wish I Had a Gun". It's pretty good!

Then there is a whole gang of songs that were probably meant sincerely but just end up being off. Mildred Bailey's "I'd Love to Take Orders From You" is spunky and military... and thoroughly disturbing. The version of "Tonight You Belong to Me" by Patience and Prudence is done fairly straight, except that the singers both sound like seven-year-olds, lending a whole new level of "eeeesh" to the whole thing. And you can't help but love hearing Iris Dement accuse John Prine of sniffing her panties on "In Spite of Ourselves".

The star here might be the live version of "All I Can Do Is Cry" by Ike and Tina Turner. Tina gives this one, a tale of watching her ex-boyfriend marry another woman, her all -- and it turns out to be WAY more than enough. She starts off screaming and over-emoting, and then just ratchets up the drama from there. This is the very definition of overdone, and it is both horrifying and amazing.

But Waters is a big softie under that sleazy mustache, and the majority of the songs here are just really nice songs with only a touch of weirdness. My favorite song ever is present and accounted for: "Ain't got No Home" by Clarence "Frogman" Henry, in all its boy/girl/amphibian glory. Dean Martin warbles, Ray Charles gets sexy, and Shirley and Lee do the wonderful wonderful "Bewildered". Waters loves this, and so does every right-thinking person.

All in all, a splendid Valentine's Day gift for that special, twisted someone.

7

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image