John Waters thumbs his way across the U.S.A.

(Chris Pizzello/Reuters)

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Jian speaks with the ever-subversive, distinctly moustachioed John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Hairspray, Crybaby) about his experience hitch-hiking from his house in Baltimore to his apartment in San Francisco at the age of 66. 

The artist and filmmaker, now 68, explains his decision to get into cars with strangers -- despite all the cautionary news stories and urban legends -- and the kinds of people who would pull over to give a "sopping-wet junkie Mary Poppins" a lift. 

His true adventures, as well as a fantasy dream and nightmare scenario, are detailed in his new book, Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America

"People that pick-up hitch-hikers have a sense of humour. A lot of them have survived something," he says, adding that he experienced the diversity of America by meeting a series of open-minded drivers -- including cops, truckers, single mothers, coal-miners, frackers and a rock band.

"No matter what their political party was, what their age was, what their race was, what their - anything, everybody was willing to give people a chance." 

John Waters narrates the premise for Carsick

John Waters 'Carsick' from Scott Sherratt on Vimeo.


John Waters's roadtrip playlist

Should you decide to embark on a hitch-hiking adventure - or just a plain old roadtrip - here's a list of songs that will be sure to keep your spirits high. Compiled by Waters, the list can be found at the end of his book.

YouTube user CityPlayer took the time to make a playlist of (almost all) of the songs for your convenience! Listen to them in the window embedded below, or continue on to a full list of the songs.


1) Marvin Gaye, "Hitch Hike"
2) Nervous Norvus, "Transfusion"
3) Del Reeves, "Looking at the World Through a Windshield"
4) Pat and the Wildcats, "The Giggler"
5) Cornbread and Jerry, "Loco Moto"
6) David Seville and the Chipmunks, "Witch Doctor"
7) Bobby Scott, "Chain Gang"
8) Zeb Turner, "Travelin' Boogie"
9) Jerry Wallace, "Swingin' Down the Lane"
10) Stan Farlow, "Hot Wheels"
11) Billy Lee Riley, "Flying Saucer Rock and Roll"
12) Connie Francis, "V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N"
13) Bobby Curtola, "Hitchhiker"
14) Jimmy Dean, "Bumming Around"
15) Webb Pierce, "There Stands the Glass"
16) Johnny Sea, "Hitchin' and Hikin'"
17) The Addicts, "You Are the Finger of God"
18) Everly Brothers, "Torture"
19) Joanie Leeds, "Tofurky Song"
20) Leon Payne, "I'm a Lone Wolf"
21) The Robins, "Riot in Cell Block #9"
22) The Sonics, "Strychnine"
23) Jericho Brown, "Lonesome Drifter"
24) The Singing Dogs, "Jingle Bells"
25) Dale Hawkins, "Cross-Ties"
26) Buzz Clifford, "Baby Sittin' Boogie"
27) Josie Cotton, "Who Killed Teddy Bear"
28) Doris Day, "Ohio"
29) Red Simpson, "Runaway Truck"
30) Judy Garland, "San Francisco"

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