John Waters is a legend! He has made stars of so many performers. It's a true delight to interview, Mink Stole, who's best known for starring in such cult classics as Pink Flamingos, Cry-Baby, Serial Mom and Hairspray. Mink's new show, It's Merry Christmas, Dammit! is an evening of stories and songs that illustrate Mink Stole's unique take on the greatest holiday ever.
It's Merry Christmas, Dammit! will play The Cutting Room in NYC (44 East 32nd Street) for one night only, Saturday, December 10 at 7pm! Click here for tickets!
1. This December you are premiering your new holiday show It's Merry Christmas, Dammit! at the Cutting Room here in NYC. What are you looking forward to about this new show? I love Christmas and I hate Christmas! Christmas is happy and Christmas is sad. Christmas is fabulous and it’s annoying. Sometimes I feel generous and sometimes I’m resentful. Some people are desperately lonely at Christmas and some people really enjoy Christmas with their families. So, while most of my songs are happy ones, I also throw in a little cynicism and a touch of sadness.
One meaning of the title - People should not be stingy with their seasonal good wishes – it’s Merry Christmas, dammit! AND a Happy New Year! No cheaping out with Happy Holidays – that’s just lazy.
Christmas is for everyone, dammit! We all see it; we all hear it; no one can avoid it, so it’s everyone’s holiday! It’s the darkest part of the year and we’re turning the lights on! If we would give up the fiction that the only true meaning of Christmas is the birth of Christ, then everyone could feel invited to the party! Anyone who wishes to celebrate in any other way can! They get extra! So I wish everybody a Merry Christmas, no matter how they interpret the holiday.
2. It's Merry Christmas, Dammit! is an evening of stories and songs that illustrate your unique take on the greatest holiday ever. What do you love most about the Christmas season? The lights! The decorations! Tacky or tasteful, the brighter the better! Or a single candle in a window. And I like people being nice to each other. And the music, of course!
3. There's nothing like Christmas in NYC! What is your favorite thing to do in NY during Christmas? What is the one thing that happens in NY during Christmas, where you go, "Stop the madness! I can't wait until the holidays are over!"? I’m not always lucky enough to be in New York at Christmas, but when I am I do like to see the tree at Rockefeller Center. It’s always so beautiful. But I can’t linger; as soon as I’ve absorbed the initial emotional impact, I’m done. I must get away quickly before I start snarling at toddlers.
4. What is your happiest Christmas memory? What is the one memory that still gets you down? They’re more remembered impressions than specific memories. We always had a good tree – a real one – and I was just prissy enough as a child to enjoy draping each separate, individual icicle on the branches, carefully eyeballing the spaces between them. I liked going to my grandmother’s house for the big formal dinner, and when I was really little and still devout, I adored Midnight Mass. We would go to the Cathedral in Baltimore and it was joyfully theatrical, the bishop and the priests in their finest gold and white robes, in a candlelight procession with a boys’ choir, everyone singing in Latin. It was gorgeous!
But my father died on Christmas the year I was eight years old, and I’ve never truly gotten over it. Dealt with it, yes; accepted it, yes; but actually over it, no.
5. Let's switch gears for a moment and talk a bit about your illustrious career with the legendary John Waters. How did you come to first work with John? What was about his films that made you want to be part of them? You have to remember that when I met John he wasn’t legendary. We were barely post-adolescent. He was extremely charismatic, the most self-directed person I’d ever met, and when he asked me to be in his movie I said yes. I had no idea what would happen. In later films, like Pink Flamingos, he was writing fabulous dialog for me and his scripts made me laugh out loud.
6. What are your top three favorite moments across the board you've had working on his films? What are your top three least favorite moments? I’m saving that material for myself. I may write a book one day.
7. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? How did you come up with the name/persona of "Mink Stole"? Mink Stole is not a persona; it’s my name. I have another one which I use for the more boring parts of my life, but my family and my friends all call me Mink. John Waters came up with it, back when he was preparing the billing for Roman Candles. I liked it –I had always thought Nancy Stoll was too ordinary. Lucky for me, it stuck.
8. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Oh, Adam, it is so sweet of you to want to help me, but I have so many flaws, it’s hard to single one out. I would like to be better organized.
Mink Stole is a household name for anyone familiar with the films of John Waters – she has appeared in every one of his features, and almost all of his movies. She began her film career in Waters’ 1966 short Roman Candles, but her appearances in films including Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Cry-Baby, Serial Mom and Hairspray have undeniably made her an underground legend. Some of Mink’s recent non-Waters films include All About Evil, Stuck! and 3 films in the Eating Out series.