Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Pecker

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Pecker

Article excerpt

Written and directed by John Waters * Starring Edward Furlong, Christina Ricci, Martha Plimpton, Brendan Sexton III, Lili Taylor, and Mary Kay Place * Fine Line

Channel surfing in Baltimore last month, I was bummed to find that every 6 o'clock news report gave its lead spot over to the opening of the city's new football arena. Out in the parking lots, half-naked guys gave interviews by the tailgates of red pickups, drooling Coors Light onto the microphones as their barrel bellies shaded hot dogs on hibachi grills. Inside, grandmothers sporting Ravens visors croaked team cheers in raspy, nicotine-ravaged voices. Surely Dante missed this ring while touring the Inferno.

All at once I had newfound respect for John Waters. A snobbier spirit would have fled this burg long ago for the fineries and fitness centers of Los Angeles or New York. But Waters cherishes these folk. He loves Baltimore. It may have damaged him irrevocably, but where would Waters be without his Catholic baggage and underdog complex? It may be ail armpit town, but it's his armpit town, damn it.

If only he'd kept the deodorant off of his films. After Polyester, alas, Waters acquired a debilitating sense of decency. Hairspray ushered in his "Wind Beneath My Wings" period. He became worthy. The rats stuck around, and Mink Stole could always be counted on to offer some of the old Pink Flamingos tawdriness. But in the years A.D. (after Divine), Waters was like Almodovar without Carmen Maura. He could command movie stars and Patricia Hearst--folks who were game enough to get down and silly--but no one, certainly, who would fuck a chicken or dilate their asshole on cue.

Baltimore takes center stage in Pecker, which unites the ladies Stole and Hearst with such indie queens as Christina Ricci, Lili Taylor, Martha Plimpton, and Mary Kay Place. They are variously bewitched and bewildered by the 18-year-old title character, an aspiring photographer who captures his working-class neighborhood in all its unfiltered joie de vivre. …

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