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Pink Flamingos (#110 of 4)

Interview: Mink Stole Talks The Mutilated, John Waters, & More

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Interview: Mink Stole Talks The Mutilated, John Waters, & More
Interview: Mink Stole Talks The Mutilated, John Waters, & More

Mink Stole has a devoted cult following that dates back to the 1970s, when she became an outrageously wacky fixture in the trash comedies of John Waters. The actress and singer is currently appearing off-Broadway in a rare production of Tennessee Williams’s affecting tragicomedy The Mutilated, directed by Cosmin Chivu and co-starring downtown performance artist Penny Arcade. Stole plays a wealthy woman who lives a lonely and secretive life in a run-down hotel in New Orleans’s French Quarter.

What is your take on The Mutilated, which opens with the line: “I think the strange, the crazed, the queer, will have their holiday this year”?

Tennessee Williams often dealt with the disenfranchised, with the odd ball, and the person who was trying and failing to connect with other people. And he dealt very well with women in this position. What I think the play is about for my character, Trinket, is the fact that when the play had its very short-lived run in 1966, breast cancer was something that we didn’t talk about. Mastectomies were a shame. Any loss of femininity was considered almost the woman’s fault and it was unseemly to discuss it. Trinket is dealing with this sense of shame of the actual loss of a breast. And for years she has been willing to support Celeste—the Penny Arcade character—just in order to keep her mouth shut and to also have somebody to share the secret with her, because it was a horrible burden to carry. Celeste has the secret to hold over Trinket, but Trinket has her wealth to hold over Celeste. So there’s a conflict between these two women. They are…the term now is “frenemies.” They need each other, depend on each other, and at some basic core level they love each other, but they resent each other at the same time. The fact that this play takes place on Christmas Eve adds a religious context—specifically Catholic, which is suitable for New Orleans. Whether or not the two women can stay friends or not is very open for interpretation, I think. And if we do our job right, we will make the audience wonder.

15 Famous Movie Savages

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15 Famous Movie Savages
15 Famous Movie Savages

Oliver Stone returns this weekend with Savages, a nasty crime thriller based on Don Winslow’s drug-cartel novel. The dictionary defines “savage” as “an uncivilized human being,” “a fierce, brutal, or cruel person,” and “a rude, boorish person.” In other words, it covers just about every villain who’s ever graced the screen. To whip up a list of 15, we set our sights on vicious characters as fierce as they are remarkably uncouth. There are no classy rogues here, folks. These are teeth-gnashing, eardrum-piercing, elbows-on-the-table types, and from a child murderer to a furry monster to two more Stone creations, they comprise a choice selection of scoundrels.

Freaks and Geeks Shade Rupe’s Dark Stars Rising: Conversations from the Outer Realms

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Freaks and Geeks: Shade Rupe’s Dark Stars Rising: Conversations from the Outer Realms
Freaks and Geeks: Shade Rupe’s Dark Stars Rising: Conversations from the Outer Realms

Shade Rupe’s Dark Stars Rising is a collection of interviews with first class weirdos in the world of cinema and performance. What makes it a special read for connoisseurs of this sort of bizarre entertainment is Rupe’s earnest, non-ironic, deeply curious set of questions, which bring out a candor and trust in his subjects. Told entirely in Q&A format, there’s a shortage of editorializing, and Rupe allows his superstars to speak for themselves.

For example, the spectacularly large drag queen Divine, best known for appearing in such John Waters classics as Pink Flamingos and Polyester, opens up about various inherent vulnerabilities and interests. Perhaps it’s because Rupe’s very first question isn’t a question—he simply states, “Those are great shoes.” Divine’s response is, “I always say I look normal from my neck to my ankles, and the head and the shoes are always, as I say, fucked up.” Rupe’s follow-up question wonders if Divine gets bugged a lot for looking “normal” and already we’re set up for a little more to the discussion than, “Did you really eat the dog turd in that movie?”

Transgressive bad-boy filmmakers like Gaspar Noe (I Stand Alone) and Richard Kern (You Killed Me First) delve into their work, and how they have evolved over the years. Kern’s deadpan sense of humor about living in his fantasies is summed up when he says, “[When I was making] all that violent stuff, I was in that phase. Now I’m in the pervert phase. I don’t have to hide anymore.” Noe explains how his projects became fueled by personal anger at being rejected by financiers, or observing his friends make movies while his hands were tied. “Then you start hating the person who refused your script,” he says, “[to the point where] you kill her in your own dreams…and [when you finally make the film] it all comes out in the movie!”

Pleasures Worthy of Guilt: A Cinephile’s Confession (2005), with Postscript (2009)

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Pleasures Worthy of Guilt: A Cinephile’s Confession (2005), with Postscript (2009)
Pleasures Worthy of Guilt: A Cinephile’s Confession (2005), with Postscript (2009)

Editor’s Note: The House Next Door is proud to reissue a series of articles developed at 24LiesASecond, a now-defunct platform for provocative criticism with an underdog bite. The essay below was first published on 03/21/2005, under the editorial guidance of James M. Moran (editor-in-chief) and Peet Gelderblom (founding editor).

I was first introduced to the concept of “guilty pleasure” (one not related to the tribulations of adolescence or ruler-happy nuns thwacking out at the slightest transgression, at least) through the auspices of Film Comment magazine back in the late ’70s. At that time the magazine ran, as a recurring feature, articles written by various luminaries of film—directors and actors, usually, with the occasional high-profile writer or cinematographer thrown in for good measure—who would recount the sodden treasures of their film-going pasts, ones that helped make them the artists they were or in some way retained particular personal meaning for them. Of course the whole point of the series was the revealing of their dirty little secrets, their love for films disregarded, ill-regarded, derided or otherwise forgotten by critics, audiences and film historians.