John Waters riding a bike? It's possible that the only place on the planet that you can see this freewheeling "Hairspray" director pedal a two-wheeler is in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
One week a year, the pencil-mustached provocateur becomes the unofficial mayor of this gay holiday mecca during the Provincetown International Film Festival, which opens today and runs through Sunday.
In honor of its fifteenth year, Waters, who also penned the essay collection "Role Models" recommended five fest films featuring alternative role-models as varied as porn star Linda Lovelace, Waters' leading lady Divine, and pioneering African-American comedienne Moms Mabley.
"I'm dying to see "Lovelace," Waters said about the opening night East Coast premiere. That's the Linda Lovelace biopic with Amanda Seyfried ("Les Miserables") as the 1970's porn star. "I saw 'Deep Throat.' I read all the books Lovelace wrote. I'm torn. She ranged from saying feminism made her do it, to saying that she was raped, and then selling and signing old porno boxes."
"I have to respect Lovelace," Water continued, "no one since the Marquis de Sade had invented a sex act. There was a brilliant ad campaign: 'If you like head, you'll love throat.' I also heard Sharon Stone is unrecognizable in it."
2. "I'm So Excited"
"The one I want to see is 'I'm So Excited,'" Waters confided about Pedro Almodovar's comedy set almost entirely on an airplane circling Toledo, Spain. "I actually do think Almodovar is the best filmmaker in the world. He writes and directs and you can never predict what he's going to do. He writes great parts for women. And his brother distributes his movies, so he gets all the money, too!
"I love that they describe 'I'm So Excited' as Pedro's gay film. It's like saying John Waters made a gay film, or like saying a straight Walt Disney movie."
3. "Moms Mabley: I Got Somethin' to Tell You"
"I'm anxious to see the Moms Mabley doc," Waters confided about the nonfiction film focusing on the African-American comedienne who came out as a lesbian at 27. Off-stage, she wore men's clothes and referred to herself as Jackie Mabley. "It's Whoopi Goldberg's directorial debut. It's almost racially incorrect to make Moms Mabley a role model, but I bet it's a real smart movie. I always loved Moms Mabley, although you could barely admit it. I love that the spotlight is back on someone who has been forgotten."
4. "The Hunt"
"I love Thomas Vinterberg's "The Celebration,'" Waters said about the director of 'The Hunt." Vinterberg created the stripped-down rules of filmmaking that defined Dogma in 1995 with controversial fellow Dane, Lars von Trier. Mads Mikkelsen (TV's "Hannibal") stars in this intense drama about a schoolteacher accused by a young girl of inappropriate behavior, and the ensuing witch hunt. "I want Dogma to come back. I may be the only person in the world who has nostalgia for Dogma. This is a film about the collective state of hysteria in a community, which sounds a lot like my films."
5. "I Am Divine"
"I've seen 'I am Divine,'" Waters said about Jeffrey Schwarz's documentary on the Baltimore-born actor who starred in "Pink Flamingos," "Hairspray" and "Female Trouble" and died in LA at the age of 42. "I watched it in Baltimore with all the Dreamland survivors. It really shows Divine as he was: a soft-spoken gentleman in real life that played insane characters in the movies. People never realized he was acting. People thought he was the character."
Added Waters, "He never was in drag ever. Once he started, he played against type, as the frumpy mother, a role that drag queens would never play or want to play. The documentary shows a real portrait of what Divine was really like. I always said he was combination of Jayne Mansfield and Godzilla thought up to scare hippies."
Can't hitch a ride all the way to Massachusetts in time for this week's festival? Almodovar's "I'm so Excited" opens in theaters on June 28th, followed by "The Hunt" on July 12th. "Lovelace" will premiere theatrically and on demand on August 9th.