5 Things I Have To Have Now


John Waters may be the darling of movies, theater and television, including a new stint as host of a series on Court TV called 'Til Death Do Us Part, but he'd really rather be reading. "The only things I have to have are books," Waters says. "I've always said, 'Success to me is not about money, it's that you can buy every book you wanted without thinking about the price.'"

With the success of his films and a Broadway smash like Hairspray, Waters can certainly support his book-a-day habit. He also advocates buying books locally. "We have five really good independent book shops in Baltimore and we really need to support them." Sometimes Waters does have to go a bit farther to feed his need to read. Right now, he's reading Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector. The book isn't available in the United States until July. "I ordered it from London," Waters says.


For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman

By Jonah Raskin ($10, Normal's Books & Records, 425 E. 31st St. in Waverly)

"Normal's is my favorite used book shop in town. I think young people need to bring back humor as terrorism to humiliate our enemies politically. And that's what Abbie Hoffman did."


Jacko, His Rise and Fall: The Social and Sexual History of Michael Jackson

By Darwin Porter ($27.95, Lambda Rising, 241 W. Chase St.)

"I'm obsessed by Michael Jackson's son, who he nicknamed 'Blanket.' Every day of my life I think about 'Blanket,' so I have to buy every Michael Jackson book there is to spy on 'Blanket.' "


Femme Mimics

By E. Carlton Winford ($850, Royal Books, 32 W. 25th St.)

"I think this is one of the best first-edition collector bookshops in the country. ... I'd never seen this book before. It was done in 1954, published in Dallas, Texas, of all places, and it's a pictorial history of female impersonators -- ones you've never heard of. This is such a rare book, it's worth every penny."



By Jackie Nickel ($19.99, The Ivy Bookshop, 6080 Falls Road)

"Finally, a real bookshop in Baltimore! Here's an amazing book about Essex. It has great pictures of the old movie theaters, like the Elektra, pictures of the Thunderbird Drive-In, my favorite hangout for 1950s juvenile delinquents."


Midnight Mavericks: Reports from the Underground

By Gene Gregorits ($34.95, Atomic Books, 1100 W. 36th St.)

"This is the book I want the most. And I didn't even know it was published until I went to pick up my fan mail at Atomic Books. It's interviews with extreme people in the arts. I did the interview, but I had forgotten."

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