John Waters gives an in-quarantine, green-screened commencement speech

John Waters was slated to give the New York's School of Visual Arts' commencement speech at Radio City Music Hall. Instead, he gave a different version of that keynote in front of a green screen, quarantined in his Baltimore home. Of course, it was still hilarious ("Tiger King" porno knockoff, anyone?) and still full of hard-earned wisdom.

"Artists are magicians: you can see what others can not, have a secret language, the power to make others follow... and you can change history with one ludicrous idea. While you’re still young, maybe it’s time to become a virus yourself—a good kind of virus, one fueled by the years of hard work you put in at the incubator known as the School of Visual Arts. Artists, you are the cure, too. The only people that can inspire the world to notice and then alter its destructive behavior.”

Congrats, "coronavirus class of 2020," all of you, everywhere!

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Spend Easter with John Waters at California's kitsch castle, The Madonna Inn

The East Coast has Camp John Waters and now, over Easter weekend, folks on the West Coast will get their own John Waters (live! in person!) event. On Saturday, April 11, fans of the filth elder can flock to the Madonna Inn, the famous pink palace in San Luis Obispo with over-the-top themed rooms, for Lethal Amounts' John Waters Easter. Talk about two mints in one!

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary screening of the classic film "Cry Baby" with live commentary by John Waters himself. Followed by Q&A with surprise special guests.

There will also be the first annual " Edith Massey Memorial Easter Egghunt" in the Madonna Inn enchanted gardens.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on February 7 on Dice (an events app) for $96.05 each. Sadly, rooms at the Madonna Inn are already sold out, I checked. But don't let that stop you, there are other hotels in the area that are just a short drive away. Read the rest

John Waters' new book, "Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder"

Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder, John Waters' new book, sounds like a demented must-have:

It “serves it up raw: how to fail upward in Hollywood; how to develop musical taste from Nervous Norvus to Maria Callas; how to build a home so ugly and trendy that no one but you would dare live in it; more important, how to tell someone you love them without emotional risk; and yes, how to cheat death itself. Through it all, Waters swears by one undeniable truth: ‘Whatever you might have heard, there is absolutely no downside to being famous. None at all.'”

He devotes an entire chapter in the book to dropping acid at age 70, which he describes in a recent interview with the Washington Blade:

That’s something that I did that I thoroughly enjoyed. I think if there’s a sentimental chapter in the book about friendship, then maybe that is that. If I had known how strong the LSD was that I took, I probably would have been uptight. But I didn’t and it was great. I spent eight months getting the right acid from the purest source I could find, practically from Timothy Leary’s asshole... But the provenance of it was high and it was great. I don’t have to ever do it again. Just like I don’t have to ever hitchhike across the country again. Why would I? I did it...

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John Waters gives young people advice on how to break into the contemporary art world

https://youtu.be/Gcie27RwuV4

There is a major retrospective of John Waters' visual art that's just opened in his hometown of Baltimore. It's called Indecent Exposure and it pulls pieces from his entire career. In this PBS NewsHour video, we get to see a glimpse of it guided by Waters himself. In the interview that follows, the filth elder himself gives young people some advice on how to look for opportunities to break into the contemporary art world:

"It's a secret biker club that hates you. I even have a piece that says, 'Contemporary Art Hates You.' because it does if you hate it first. It's a thin line. You can't have contempt about it and go in. You have to learn. You have to study a little. You have to figure it out... and suddenly this whole world opens up to you. You can see it in a completely different way. It was like you were blind before."

There's more, watch.

You can catch Waters' exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art until January 6, 2019.

Exhibition highlights include a photographic installation in which Waters explores the absurdities of famous films and a suite of photographs and sculpture that propose humor as a way to humanize dark moments in history from the Kennedy assassination to 9/11. Waters also appropriates and manipulates images of less-than sacred, low-brow cultural references—Elizabeth Taylor’s hairstyles, Justin Bieber’s preening poses, his own self-portraits—and pictures of individuals brought into the limelight through his films, including his counterculture muse, Divine.

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