The great John Waters returns to Oakland's Mosswood Park next weekend (July 6-7) for his fifth time hosting Burger Boogaloo. And while The Jesus & Mary Chain is headlining, Waters says he's most looking forward to the band called Amyl & the Sniffers.
Waters loves Burger Boogaloo, the garage rock and punk festival where he's now as much of a draw as the musical acts. The writer-director of cult classics Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, and Hairspray has a new book out called Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder, and he just gave a brief interview to KQED in which he talks about doing acid (he calls Silicon Valley's new obsession with "pussy little microdoses" of LSD "cowardly"), wonders where all the Hare Krishnas have gone, and discusses the controversy last year surrounding the Oakland police's clearing the homeless out of Mosswood Park to make room for Burger Boogaloo.
He says that this year the festival will be "sharing the park with the homeless" and will happen on just one stage. (He jokes that the park will be just like Mortville, the town full of homeless people ruled by a fascist queen in his film Desperate Living.)
But on the topic of homelessness and San Francisco, where he's owned a second home for the last decade, Waters says it's a problem that exists all over the country, and is even worse elsewhere.
Every city now is just rich people and very poor people. There's no middle left, except Baltimore. What's different about San Francisco is it's so visible. In L.A., it's worse, but most people never see. I was shocked the first time I saw Skid Row. Here you see someone nude in the street, shooting up in the middle of the day and think, wow, it’s so liberal here. They allow that?
When asked about the controversy surrounding the planned homeless Navigation Center on the Embarcadero, he admits, "if they opened one next to my house, I wouldn't be happy about it either."
Burger Boogaloo kicks off Saturday, July 6, and you can still find tickets here.
Photo: Tiger Lily/Burger Boogaloo