JOHN WATERS in his new show MAKE TROUBLE
“Waters doesn’t kowtow to the received wisdom, he flips it the bird… he has the ability to show humanity at its most ridiculous and make that funny rather than repellent.” The Washington Post
“Waters is growing old in disgraceful fashion. Avid fans will know some of the shtick already but nothing can compare to hearing it from the horse’s filthy mouth.” Film4
“The studies of American film history from the mid-60s onward, and of countercultural ideas and ideals from then up to the very present moment, are infused and imbued with and by his great, weirdo, contrary specter.” New York Times
“..the king of camp.” Vanity Fair
The one and only John Waters returns to Australia this October with his world acclaimed one-man show, filled with “comic anarchy” – the unique brand of outrageous insights and urbane wit that once earned the cult filmmaker and pop culture icon the moniker ‘The Pope of Trash’.
As raconteur, Waters has been touring to adoring crowds around the world for nearly 15 years – and his insights are as sharp as ever. In his own words, “It is a show that I’m constantly updating. I try to make it filthier and dirtier.” Hysterical, shameless and revelatory, Waters serves up salty reflections on the world today, his camp obsessions, and life lessons such as the downsides to being famous (none), all studded with cameos from his larger-than-life stars, from Divine and Mink Stole to Johnny Depp, Kathleen Turner and Patricia Hearst.
An infamous auteur of transgressive movie classics and a champion of LGBTQI visibility, John Waters has forged an unwavering path in his quest to give bad taste a good name. Waters made his first short film, Hag in a Black Leather Jacket, in 1964, and his first feature, Mondo Trasho, was completed in 1969, despite production grinding to a halt when the director and two actors were arrested for “participating in a misdemeanor, to wit: indecent exposure.” Three years later, Waters created what would become the most notorious film in 1970s American independent cinema, Pink Flamingos, centred on the battle to secure the title ‘Filthiest People Alive’.
In Hairspray (1988), Waters created “an almost big-budget comedy extravaganza about star-struck teenage celebrities in 1962, their stage mothers and their quest for mental health.” The film was a box office and critical success, later turned into a Broadway production, and with a Hollywood remake in 2007. Later hits include Cry-Baby (1990) and Serial Mom (1994). Waters’ over fifty years in movies will be recognised by the prestigious Locarno Film Festival this August, when he receives the Festival’s top honour, the Pardo d’onore Manor lifetime achievement award.
In addition to writing and directing films, Waters gift as a storyteller has led him to author nine books. The latest, Mr. Know-It-All, The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder, is another instant Waters classic. Filled with arch advice on all sundry topics, and illustrated with unseen photos from Waters’ personal collection, the book will be released by Hachette this September.
Waters’ lifelong love of subversive art saw him receive a major retrospective last year at the Baltimore Museum of Art entitled ‘Indecent Exposure’, which is currently on show at Wexner Centre for the Arts, Columbus. The exhibition features over 160 artworks riffing on the ways mass media and celebrity embody cultural attitudes, moral codes, and shared tragedy – from sculptures of Michael Jackson as a baby, self-portraits gussied up with face-lifts, and a series that gawks at every nook and cranny inside his Baltimore home, including the contents of his fridge.
Joyously devious, Waters elevates all that is trashy in life into a call to arms to “filth followers” everywhere.