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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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.
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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.
DEVO headlined Burger Boogaloo this past weekend in Oakland. John Waters introduced them to the stage in an epic nearly four-minute-long speech that attacked Trump and celebrated the band:
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...Originally from Ohio, why-oh-why-oh-Ohio, they started their careers like I did: pissed off. And they had a real reason to be nuts, their fellow friends were killed at Kent State University by the police. So they started a De-Evolution that we're still feeling. They challenged illegitimate authority, they said, and so should YOU. It's worse now than it ever was. Trump is a feckless prick. A shithole of a president. An orange anus, as Rosie McDonnell called him. Who kidnaps children. Tosses paper towels to hurricane victims. It's so dumb he stares at the eclipse with that stupid wife who's a clueless dresser who no drag queen would ever imitate. What better band to protest his stupidity and first-degree asshole-ism than our boys tonight from outer space. But our political situation is not science fiction, it's real. Before New Wave, ahead of Industrial, "alternative" way before the word was coined, this band was no media invention, it was a grassroots movement that everyone here has embraced. David Bowie loved them, Iggy loved them. I loved them. One of the bandmates even told me once that I was in a titty bar with them doing coke. I thought, "What was *I* doing in a titty bar?" I was under DEVO's spell, that's it. And tonight even more so, with my friend Freddy Armisen playing the drums.
Tickets just went on sale for Burger Boogaloo, Total Trash Productions' annual rockin' two-day music festival. This year's lineup is impressive with DEVO headlining on day one and The Damned on day two. John Waters serves as the fest's host for its fourth consecutive year.
The show takes place June 30 and July 1 at Oakland's Mosswood Park. Ticket prices range from $99 to $269.
If you go, be sure to check out Francis Lau on Saturday. He's a young musician from the 3 O’Clock Rock kids' music program.
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At the end of each year, "filth elder" John Waters shares his top 10 favorite films in Artforum magazine.
Here is his top picks for 2017:
1. Baby Driver (Edgar Wright):
2. I, Olga Hepnarová (Petr Kazda & Tomáš Weinreb);
3. The Strange Ones (Christopher Radcliff & Lauren Wolkstein);
4. Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello);
5. Wonderstruck (Todd Haynes);
6. Graduation (Christian Mungiu);
7. The Wizard of Lies (Barry Levinson);
8. Lady Macbeth (William Oldroyd);
9. Wonder Wheel (Woody Allen);
10. Tom of Finland (Dome Karukoski)
Be sure to check out the full article to read his thoughts on each film. For example, here is what he had to say about Baby Driver:
The best movie of the year is a popcorn thriller, an art film, and a gearhead classic that grossed over $100 million. It deserved to! Watching the star turn of Ansel Elgort was like seeing John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever for the first time.
The filmmaker is currently touring the U.S. for A John Waters Christmas, his spoken-word holiday show.
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In case you haven't heard, there's a big punk music festival happening in Oakland, California this upcoming holiday weekend. It's called Burger Boogaloo and our highest-ranking "filth elder," Mr. John Waters himself, is emceeing it for the third year in a row. Burger Boogaloo is a popular event 'round these parts and this year will be no exception, as Iggy Pop headlines, along with the Buzzcocks and X.
In a recent interview with Jeremy Tarr of Fodor's Travel, Mr. Waters shared his thoughts about the event. Here's what he said about seeing punks in the audience:
"It's punks of all ages. It's from nouveau punks to punk nostalgia, which is pretty great to watch... Some of them I see are older. You never thought punks could be oldies but badies – not oldies but goodies. It's just exciting to see a grandmother pogo dancing as much as it is to see a 14-year-old kid being a punk for the first time. "
And his familiarity with the musicians in the 2017 lineup:
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"Some of them I've never heard of and I don't know. That's what I like so much … But, I know John Doe and X. I've known Iggy for years. Iggy was in my movies. I've become friends with Shannon [Shaw, lead singer of Shannon and the Clams] and that gang. I am a fan really... Though, I think probably being the oldest person there – I don't know – how old is Iggy? I don't know who's older.
Tomorrow (Saturday 10/24), Providence, Rhode Island's experimental art space AS220 celebrates its 30th anniversary with a cabaret gala starring the Pope of Trash himself, filmmaker and author John Waters! The evening event starting at 6pm at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel features musicians, comics, performance artists, food, drink, and all kinds of hijinks. Get there early as my dear old friend and inspiration Gloria Gardenburger (aka Michael Dates) is hosting the red carpet!
AS220 30th Anniversary Cabaret
Below, the trailer for John Waters' "This Filthy World":
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