Monday, July 12, 2010

BOOK CLUB: 'Role Models' Reading Guide - 1st Half

Excited about our first book club meeting? Well, so are we! So much, in fact, that we've put together a reading/discussion guide. We'll be meeting at Magnet on Tuesday, July 13 at 7:30 pm (that's tomorrow) and taking it from there! Meanwhile, something to think about before then. See you all there!

Role Models by John Waters

Johnny and Me: The first chapter is a pop culture platter stuffed with short vignettes on everyone from the Wicked Witch of the West, Captain Hook and John Travolta.
  • Waters describes Johnny Mathis as the "polar opposite" of him. How so?
  • On page 8, he describes Mathis as "beyond fame, something I'll never be." What does he mean?
  • Towards the end of the chapter, Waters alludes to Mathis's sexual orientation but is vague. Why do you think he makes this subtle in a chapter filled with overt references?
The Kindness of Strangers: Waters is rescued from conformity by Tennessee Williams's "bad" work.
  • Waters claims that Williams saved his life twice. Can literature be life-saving?
  • According to Waters, which of Tennessee Williams's works are considered "bad"? Why are these his favorites?
Leslie: Waters traces the case of a former Manson girl to explore the concepts of freedom, friendship and forgiveness.
  • Waters finally bring up an agenda. Does his case seem genuine or is it another example of pure, entertaining shock value?
  • What connections does Waters make between cinema and murder? Manson and Hollywood?
Rei Kawakubo: Waters reveals the secrets behind his iconic "look" - Maybelline eyeliner in Velvet Black and thousand-dollar ill-fitting sports jackets.
  • Young people can get away with anything fashion-wise, according to Waters. But once you're old you need... a direct line to designers and a big bank account. Has Waters strayed away from his thrift shop style mentality?
  • Waters's wardrobe is full of intentional, expensive staining. He also mentioned in an interview that he fought his publisher to have a white book cover, easiest to stain. Do you think that was the point?
Baltimore Heroes: Waters takes us bar-hopping in Baltimore, to a time when cheap dive bars used to be exclusive and strip joint locals all had an outrageous story to tell.
  • "Bad motherhood" makes a comeback in this chapter. Is Waters trying to make a point about the stability of a conventional, nuclear family?
  • Despite the racism, drug use and corruption, Waters manages to make Baltimore nightlife glamorous. Will we too learn to appreciate the bizarre, backwards beauty of our shit-hole hometowns?
Hope you've all enjoyed getting to know various different sides of John Waters while reading his non-traditional memoir. Discussion of the second half of Role Models will be held at Magnet on Tuesday, July 27 at 7:30 pm.

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