From the Editors

Category:  From the Editors
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 at 2:09 PM

The pencil moustache. The slicked-back hair. The voice. The laugh. The man who changed the course of independent film forever.

This, if you can’t tell by our cover, refers to the one and only John Waters. Whether you know him from the indelible mark he has forever left on American cinema, or for the fact that he has been a lightening rod for controversy his entire career, odds are you’ve heard of him. Now, hear from him.

If you’re a lover of movies -- like most of us here at the Reader -- or don’t really care much about them -- like contributing editor Cory Vaillancourt, who sees five or less films per year -- you should be aware of the cultural significance of this man, and revel in the fact that he’s coming here, to our own back yard, to provoke and enlighten.

And while it’s typical to see a writer plot out questions days -- if not weeks -- in advance to prepare for such an interview with such a celebrity with quick wit, Cory -- matching wit for wit -- approached his time with Waters more as a conversation and less a strict, structured question-then-answer format. What resulted was a flowing dialogue with one of America’s most influential filmmakers and icons who shares his thoughts on everything from North Korea to the Kardashians in a candid discussion that you’ll only find here.

Since we like to afford writers room for their stories to breathe, things don’t always turn out as we’d expect them. From the inception through the assignment, drafting, and revision process, we have a generally good idea of how a story will unfold. But sometimes what develops catches even us by surprise.

This happened with the You Ought to Know if this issue written by Matthew Flowers. But let’s start at the beginning.

Not too long ago we got a tip from an esteemed local businesswoman that we should get in touch with Mary Graziano, director of Dress for Success Erie, to hear about the big news she had just received earlier that day. This would be a great story idea we were told. Connections were promptly made and it was only a matter of hours before we received a Facebook message from Mary. She wrote excitedly about how DFSE would be headed to New York City. After receiving nominations from DFS affiliates throughout the United States, DFS Worldwide had chosen Erie’s own Mishol Randolph to represent all DFS women at its star-studded Gala on April 11.

At the event, Mishol will speak to over a thousand people, have her makeup done by Bobbi Brown’s team, be fitted for a David Meister dress -- all things befitting a woman deserving of such honor.

But that’s not the true beginning.

Before becoming an example of success, Mishol went through hell. It’s easy for someone to claim they’ve been to hell and back -- think of the many songs and other pop-culture references that just came to mind. And it’s even easier for a writer to paint someone’s story a little darker than it truly is for dramatic effect.

But Flowers doesn’t do that. Instead, he sat with a woman who told him what it was like to be addicted to drugs, get caught selling drugs, be confined to “the hole” in prison, and worse.

What makes Mishol’s story so remarkable isn’t the hardships she’s faced -- it’s a harsh reality, but she’s certainly not alone when it comes to the hell she’s been through -- but the fact that she endured it all in a way that would have crushed most people. This is exactly why You Ought to Know her, as she should serve as inspiration to all of us as she’s become someone we can all be proud of to represent our city.

From funny and insightful interviews to stories that push a 50-pound anvil on our chest and refuse to let up, you’ll find all that in this issue -- as well as two new columns.

First, we introduce “LGBT Voices” with Rich McCarty -- a column we hope helps spread the message of equality for which we all strive. And second, we offer you something that can be summed up in three words, four letters, a whole new column: “The Reader Eater,” where our critic will be weighing in on Erie’s local eats and all they have to offer, starting with The Summer House Cafe.

Food. Film. Culture. Entertainment. Politics. Music. Tech. All here for your reading pleasure, so sit back and enjoy this issue. And meet us down in Edinboro April 4.

Erie Reader: Vol. 7, No. 25
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