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Day 2: John Waters Is a Great Role Model for Young America (No, Seriously)

Stars! They have trouble with reception just like us!: John Waters backstage at Gossip's set
Stars! They have trouble with reception just like us!: John Waters backstage at Gossip's set
Gustavo Turner

[Report by Justin Jasper]

Once Know as the "Prince of Puke", John Waters has become something of an elder statesman of fringe Americana. His one-man shows have repositioned him from cult film auteur to a Will Rodgers/Mark Twain folksy humorist, albeit one who celebrates the absurdities of culture rather than lampooning them.

His Coachella show drew heavily on his new book, Role Models (which he had the class -- yes, John Waters has class -- not to hock) but soon turned to a riff on how he would run the festival given the chance. The beer garden would be replaced with a tent serving "vinegar from a witch's asshole", he'd move the whole thing to Needles, California, and the tents would be installed with heaters to maximize discomfort.

After running through all the factions of gay fetish culture that freak him out (he's disgusted by Bears and Blossoms--google them) Waters closed out by taking questions from the audience before running off to hang out with Beth Ditto, whom he described as his Marilyn Monroe.

It was fitting that while waiting for Waters to take the stage, a lovely young woman hammered out of her friggin' mind at 11 O'clock in the morning kept telling everyone who would listen, "I was here last night and someone threw up right there!" He may no longer be the Prince of Puke, but time has not dulled his scatological glee. And he's one hell of a storyteller.

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