John Waters on Multiple Maniacs, Transgender Bathroom Laws, and the Potential End of His Film Career

Rich Juzwiak · 08/05/16 12:25PM

Yesterday, the Gawker office was graced with the presence of legendary director John Waters, who’s promoting the rerelease of his 1970 movie Multiple Maniacs. The delirious movie, which features Divine being raped by a giant lobster as its centerpiece, has been restored by the Criterion Collection and is being distributed by the illustrious Janus Films. Thus, the king of bad taste meets the epitome of cinematic refinement. Waters told me the seemingly unholy union made sense.

Ira Sachs on Little Men, Gentrification, and the Value of a Movie That "Doesn't Work Economically”

Rich Juzwiak · 08/05/16 11:32AM

I have begun to think of this film as a metaphor for the place of personal cinema in our culture,” Ira Sachs (Love Is Strange, Keep the Lights On) told me one recent morning over coffee in New York’s Marlton Hotel. He was referring to his new movie, Little Men, which includes gentrification among its themes. When white married couple Brian (Greg Kinnear) and Kathy (Jennifer Ehle) inherit Brian’s father’s house in Brooklyn, they move there from Manhattan and face a tough decision: Should they allow the Chilean owner of the dress shop downstairs, Leonor (Paulina García) to remain and continue to pay rent that’s thousands of dollars below market value or kick her out? Since Brian’s an unsuccessful actor, his family could use the boost in salary that another tenant would provide. Complicating the plot is the quick bond Brian and Kathy’s 13-year-old son Jake (Theo Taplitz) forms with Leonor’s similarly aged son Tony (Michael Barbieri). The ensuing drama carefully props up each character’s situation on another’s, deliberately transmitting everyone’s motivation and dilemma to the viewer. To describe his movie succinctly in interviews, Sachs has been borrowing a quote from Jean Renoir: “The awful thing about life is this: Everyone has their reasons.”

Yusaf Mack Will Be Whatever You Want Him To Be

Rich Juzwiak · 06/30/16 10:30AM

In late 2014, professional boxer Yusaf Mack did something no one else in his sport, active or retired, had ever done: He performed in porn. Gay porn. The scene he shot as “Philly” with DawgPoundUSA existed quietly on the internet for about 10 months, amazingly, until word of the video began to circulate around his hometown of Philadelphia and local reporter Jenice Armstrong interviewed him about it. He claimed to be straight, and said the sex he had with the men in the video resulted from him being drugged. After DawgPoundUSA issued a strongly worded rebuttal that threatened legal action, Mack revealed his initial story was “all a lie.” Mack issued a press release in which he called himself bisexual, and then he went on Philadelphia Fox 29 to say he’s gay. Later, he said he was attracted to trans women (“I’m attracted to trannies...I don’t like nobody muscle like me,” is how he put it). Mack told Broadly he hooked up with trans model Sidney Starr in January.

Social Taboos Like Farts and Boners Explode Via Daniel Radcliffe's Corpse: Swiss Army Man

Rich Juzwiak · 06/23/16 03:04PM

The Sundance sensation Swiss Army Man essentially wonders what Cast Away would have been like if Wilson weren’t a volleyball but a corpse named Manny (played by Daniel Radcliffe) whose bodily functions like farting and boners helped our stranded protagonist Hank find his way home (the farts propel Manny over ocean like a jet ski, and his boner works as a compass). What flourishes is what one of the movie’s directors, Daniel Scheinert, deems a “gray love story.” Swiss Army Man is, in a word, insane.

"I Look at Every Assault on Me as an Opportunity": Todd Solondz on Provoking, Directing, and Resurrecting Dawn Wiener

Rich Juzwiak · 06/23/16 09:35AM

For over 20 years, filmmaker Todd Solondz has confronted audiences and what they hold true with brutal satires of human interaction and the politeness that convolutes it. His subject matter has probed, often with a sense of humor, taboos like child abuse, rape, and exploitation. His 1998 movie Happiness offered a glimpse into the interior lives of a pedophile and an obscene phone caller. He has also challenged the truths we hold about filmmaking—by now his cinematic universe is connected tenuously via partial sequels, alternate lives for his characters, and multiple actors’ interpretations of the same characters. It’s gotten twisty: A quarter of his latest movie, Wiener-Dog, is a sideways sequel to his 1995 breakthrough Welcome to the Dollhouse, imagining the adult life of Dawn Wiener, the Dollhouse protagonist that he previously killed off in 2004's Palindromes. In Wiener-Dog, Dawn is played not by Heather Matarazzo, who made that role iconic, but by Greta Gerwig—Solondz says Matarazzo’s lack of interest in ever reprising the role “freed” him.

Donald Trump's Man on Wall Street Explains Himself

Hamilton Nolan · 06/20/16 10:05AM

If Donald Trump wants to win the presidency, he’ll need to raise a lot of money. One of the men helping him do that is the hedge fund manager Anthony Scaramucci. We asked him why.

A Look Into the Erotic, Hilarious, and Dark, Dark World of "Competitive Endurance Tickling": Tickled

Rich Juzwiak · 06/17/16 09:08AM

It all started with a video of a guy wearing bright colored athletic gear in a sparse room laughing uncontrollably with a bunch of other guys on top of him. New Zealand journalist David Farrier received a tip about “Competitive Endurance Tickling” and started looking into it and tweeting about it. Farrier reached out to the company sponsoring this “competition” and releasing videos of it—Jane O’Brien Media—and received a refusal to participate in his coverage, on grounds that Farrier is a “homosexual journalist” (he’s actually bi, though). Farrier and his straight friend Dylan Reeve kept digging and the response from Jane O’Brien Media turned even more hostile. Farrier and Reeve were on the path to uncovering the truth behind the operation and its seemingly exploitative nature. Soon, they would be pulled into the world of tickling for profit, blackmail, bullying, and international schemes.

Global Inequality Explained by Branko Milanovic 

Hamilton Nolan · 06/03/16 10:18AM

Globally, inequality is falling. You may not have known that, because within countries, inequality is rising. We live in dangerous times. Why? We talked to the man who wrote the book on it.

How To Survive a Cult (and Release a Documentary About It): Holy Hell

Rich Juzwiak · 05/26/16 11:25AM

From 1985 to 2007, Will Allen was part of the Buddhafield—an initially Los Angeles-based “spiritual community” led by one Jaime Gomez aka James Gomez aka Michel Rostand aka Andreas aka Reyji (aka Dirk, the name he used in the porn he shot for Falcon in the ‘70s). Mostly, though, he was referred to as “the Teacher.” The Teacher preached abstinence and transcendence through meditation and other spiritual exercises. His 100+ followers lived together and spent years blissed out on communal joy and engaged by the promise of a state of enlightenment the Teacher referred to as “the knowing.” One former Buddhafield member says that they used to joke that if this was a cult, “at least it was a good cult.”

Louis Theroux Was Surveilled By the Church of Scientology, and He Made a Movie About It

Rich Juzwiak · 04/19/16 12:27PM

Here’s how Louis Theroux baited members of the Church of Scientology into following him: He started following them. The British journalist probably best known on these shores for his documentaries about the Westboro Baptist Church (The Most Hated Family in America, America’s Most Hated Family in Crisis) says he set out to discover a “different, more positive side” to Scientology when he embarked upon his project over 10 years ago. When it was clear that his access would be limited only to ex-Scientologists like Marty Rathbun, Theroux and director John Dower changed course to stage a series of reenactments a la Joshua Oppenheimer’s 2012 doc The Act of Killing. Using the accounts of ex-Scientologists and a cast of actors, Theroux and Dower recreated things like the alleged abuse by Scientology head David Miscavige toward members of his church in the compound at Gold Base known as “the Hole.”

"It's More Relevant Than It Should Be": Green Room Director Jeremy Saulnier on His Skinhead Horror Bloodbath in Backwater Oregon

Rich Juzwiak · 04/14/16 03:07PM

Director Jeremy Saulnier wasn’t trying to reflect today’s political climate when he set out to make Green Room—it just kind of happened. The gruesome horror thriller—in which a down-and-out punk band plays a Nazi skinhead venue in backwoods Oregon and finds themselves fighting for their lives—opened last year at Cannes. Since then, much has happened to breathe relevancy into a throwback punks vs. skins narrative. Namely: Donald Trump and his legion of racist supporters.

Talking With Edmund White: His New Novel, Gay Looksism, Dick Size, and Hooking Up at 76

Rich Juzwiak · 04/06/16 09:00AM

At a certain point while preparing for my interview with the novelist, memoirist, and editor Edmund White, I had to ask myself: What could I possibly say about a certain segment of gay life that Edmund White hasn’t already said beautifully or unflinchingly? “What we desire is crucial to who we are,” he wrote in his 2009 memoir City Boy. “People also like to slur someone who’s very good-looking; beauties are often branded ‘sluts’ or ‘whores,’ though these words make little sense in a sexually permissive age. What, in fact, do they mean? That someone likes to have a lot of sex with a lot of people? What’s so bad about that?” he asked in the ‘Beauties’ entry in the original 1977 edition of The Joy of Gay Sex, which he edited. And then there’s this astounding paragraph from his 1980 travelogue about regional gay culture, States of Desire:

Talking With Sean Young: "Crazy" in Hollywood, Supporting Trump, and a Career That's "Mostly Over"

Rich Juzwiak · 04/04/16 01:45PM

On Friday of last week, for about 40 minutes, as she rode home to Astoria from her tap-dancing lesson, I spoke to Sean Young, the actor who rose to fame in 1982's Blade Runner and then subsequently “saw my career go up in flames” in a series of professional setbacks (among them: she lost the role of Vicki Vale in 1989's Batman when she fell off a horse, and was fired from 1990's Dick Tracy).

Doctor of Man Who Contracted HIV on PrEP Discusses His Findings, and What They Mean

Rich Juzwiak · 03/03/16 11:10AM

“Because we’ve always suspected that this potentially could happen, and now we’ve shown that it can happen, people need this information to make decisions about their sexual health that feel right for them,” Dr. David Knox told me by phone yesterday. “The more information, the better. And that’s the bottom line.”

A Visit to a House of Pedophile Former Priests: Pablo Larraín's The Club

Rich Juzwiak · 02/05/16 02:36PM

Chilean director Pablo Larraín’s new movie The Club makes last year’s Spotlight look like kids’ stuff. It depicts a house of former priests (and their caretaker, a former nun), who live in exile in a small house on the Chilean coast. Soon after the arrival of a new housemate, a man accusing the new arrival of molesting him years ago shows up outside, threatening the former priests’ clandestine existence. In an attempt to shut down the house, the Catholic Church sends a much younger priest, Father Garcia (Marcelo Alonso), to interview its inhabitants in an attempt to get them to confess their past sins.

Here Are Some of the Many Words Melania Trump Has Said

Allie Jones · 01/26/16 09:32AM

The future First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump, does not give many interviews. She’s spoken out so little during her husband Donald’s campaign, in fact, that yesterday the Associated Press published an entire profile of the woman that hangs on a few words she once uttered on an episode of The Apprentice.

A Conversation With Joey Navedo, a Gay Little Person

Rich Juzwiak · 11/30/15 12:19PM

As a gay little person, Joey Navedo, 30, lives one of the rarest of lives. Despite the incredibly low number of people who share his specific experience, though, he has plenty in common with the average-sized gay men he parties with frequently as a nightlife entertainer. This installment of Rare Lives features a very frank conversation about hooking up, fetishization, and the prejudice Navedo faces (and has roll off his back).