At the party, someone led her over to meet the evening’s honoree, Sofia Coppola. But Ms. Klausner was eyeing another guest nervously: the cult-movie legend John Waters, who sat nearby in a bright confetti-print suit.
A festival “concierge” offered to introduce her. “I’m terrified,” Ms. Klausner said, as another sort of panic attack set in. “Sorry, I’m being such a dork.”
She sat down next to Mr. Waters and gushed: “Growing up, I made my older brother tell me, beat for beat, what ‘Pink Flamingos’ was about, because I was too scared to see it. ‘Tell me about the chicken again!’ It was like a ghost story.”
“I wouldn’t do that today,” Mr. Waters said, referring to a notorious scene from his 1972 film involving sex with a live fowl. Then again, he added: “The chicken got famous. And we ate it, so I don’t feel guilty.”
“Speaking of being eaten, did you follow that ‘cannibal cop’ case?” Ms. Klausner asked. Listeners of her podcast, “How Was Your Week?,” recall her obsession with Gilberto Valle, the former New York City police officer who was convicted of kidnapping conspiracy after describing in internet chat rooms his plans to abduct and eat women. (He said it was just a fantasy, and the verdict was later overturned.)
“Yeah, yeah,” Mr. Waters said. “I thought he was so ugly, I didn’t care.” He laughed and added: “He didn’t even eat anybody! All talk and no digestion.”
With that, he went to find another drink. “Did I make a fool of myself?” Ms. Klausner asked. She exhaled. “It was worth that horrible ferry ride.”
She had plans to meet a friend at a drag show, so she ducked out of the party, swapping her Manolo Blahniks for comfy sandals. (“If my stylist knew, she would never speak to me again.”) She had been to Provincetown once as a little girl but didn’t remember it.
“It’s charming,” she said. “Really cute dogs. People are friendly, but they’re not creepy. They’re not looking at my soul — as far as I know.”