Director John Waters hitchhiking in Ohio...why?
The hitchhiker...John Waters (Twitter / May 16, 2012)
It's so weird, it can only be true.
The website DCist had the amazing details.
The band Here We Go Magic was motoring in a van through eastern Ohio, close to the Pennsylvania border, when they pass a dude on the side of the road holding up a sign.
They pick the dude up, who turns out to be Baltimore's own quirky filmmaker Waters. And, like anyone would do, the band immediately Tweets the news: "Just picked up John Waters hitchhiking in the middle of Ohio.. No joke. Waters in the van."
A disbelieving fan named Steve messaged back: "pinkie swear?"
The band replied: "steve it is absolutely 100% pinky sworn true. He even carries a mixtape to listen to!"
To repay the band's generosity, Waters reportedly bought them all lunch.
Here's what band member Michael Bloch told DC-ist:
"There's a hydro-fracking boom in western Pennsylvania. You can't get a motel room. We had to drive til 4AM, and finally found a Days Inn in eastern Ohio. Getting back on the highway this morning, there was a man at the side of the on-ramp with a sign that read 'to the end of Rte 70.' Jen wanted to pick him up, but we drove past him. As we passed by, our sound guy said 'John Waters' Luke said, 'Yep, definitely John Waters.' We got off at the next exit and circled back. He was still there. We pulled up, opened the door and asked where he was coming from. 'Baltimore,' he said. And we said 'Get in, sir.' "
Get in sir? Only in a John Waters movie....
Meanwhile, I'm now hearing that a Sun editor spotted Waters hitchhiking -- with the same Route 70 sign -- very early Monday morning near Guilford, off of St. Paul. He had no luggage, just grocery bags and the sign.... The plot thickens...
UPDATE: Apparently Waters is hitchhiking across the country.
Band member Jen Turner revealed some more of the mystery on Twitter, saying she had to "tearfully" say goodbye to Waters on the side of the road today, calling him "the real deal" and "a true artist." It seems like the end of the road for Waters and the band came in Indiana.
"He just wanted an adventure," Turner said. "Imagine!"
The band's Twitter account added a thanks to Waters and the message: "Be safe out there."
UPDATE NO. 2: A chat with a band member
Sun reporter Kevin Rector chatted Thursday evening with band member Mike Bloch:
Bloch said that when the band members first spotted Waters on the side of the road, they argued with each other about whether it was really the famed director as they circled back to pick him up.
The band's drummer, Peter Hale, who was driving, was convinced the man wasn't Waters because he said Waters would never wear the hat the man was wearing -- a ratty baseball cap that read, "Scum of the Earth."
When they pulled over and the man said he was coming from Baltimore, they knew for sure it was Waters, Bloch said, and he introduced himself as such soon after climbing into the van.
When they recounted to him the argument about the hat soon after, Bloch said Waters responded, "Oh, I never would wear this hat. You're absolutely right."
Waters fit right in with the four band members, their sound guy and their on-the-road tour manager, Bloch said.
"He was dressed like a traveler, but with a stylish blazer, and he just had this tiny little bag, just letting himself open to the road completely," Bloch said.
Waters had a great sense of humor and told the band stories about all the fun he was having with people who didn't recognize him after picking him up on the road, Bloch said.
"He's a very charming man and very gentlemanly and extremely observant and smart," Bloch said. "You know, the kind of things you'd expect from someone who does such smart, poignant work and is so stylish."
Bloch said they dropped Waters off in Indiana after a great four hours with him on the road.
"By the end of the trip it just felt like we'd met a great guy, a really charismatic guy who loves stories and loves to tell stories," Roch said.
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