My friend Ben suggested we take in the HorrorHound Festival at the Sharonville Convention Center in Cincinnati so we could see the one and only John Waters. I was immediately ALL it! He was only there for the Friday night festivities, which was fine. The media guests were kind of thin on Friday night, the bigger names would appear Saturday and Sunday (Jeffrey Dean Morgan of the Negan fame among them). I had hoped to see Wilford Brimley but I was never able to be in the same room at the same time! We did catch glimpses of Cooper Andrews (LOVE him as Ezekiel’s sidekick Jerry on TWD) and Pollyanna McIntosh (new leader of the garbage dump gang on TWD).
Ben and I “created” the line for John Waters, finding where he would be speaking and taking up residence in front of the door, like good Con-goers. When someone would approach us and ask, “Is this the line for Waters?” We would respond, “Why yes, yes it is.” Even though we were not sure, we figured that by keeping everyone behind us, we would still have a better shot at good seats. Turns out, we were right. We were the ultimate geeks in the front, next to “the” door. We were forced to let three (albeit nice) women in front of us because staffers had told them that other doors were “the” doors. We had relatively great seat, on the aisle and not too far back.
We were told that we were not allowed to take pictures. At all. Not even one. Nope. Nada. SOOOO… I put my phone on camera, held it against my notebook as he climbed the stage and then held my finger on the button, snapping away with all hope that I could get at least one “decent” picture. My results:
Let me first start by noting this one observation: John Waters has to be one of the most charismatic speakers I have ever witnessed. He was fast paced, irreverent and witty. He held my attention hostage for the duration of his time on the stage. I loved him and would see him again in an instant.
Because I am writing this almost a month later (life, health and the hospital kept me from it), I cannot remember for the life of me what my notes are about in their haphazardness. HA. So, for what it’s worth, this is what I felt important enough to jot down:
- “Necros love too.”
- Immediately launched into politics and the current administration.
- The gypsies and queers were tired of talking about Hitler. “I loved rioting when I was young. I had a pole.”
- In speaking about Milo Yiannopoulos, he called him: Milo Ivana-Wall
- He spoke about the entertainment for the Inaugural Ball, Pelican 212 and noted of Trump, “Musical taste is an impeachable offense.”
- Waters noted Hershell Lewis as one of his inspirations.
- He spoke of Catholic school and said, “…I was even rejected by the child molester.”
- He kept coming back to politics. He touched upon Ferguson and asked, “Are there any drag bars in Ferguson?” And went on to discuss the issues with police and POCs. He noted that we need more gay cops.
- He is a member of the Satanic Church. He felt the choir should sing backwards.
- He mentioned Eminem and Rachel, “Say it loud, I’m white and allowed.” He takes issues with “Caitlyn Gender”
- His first idol was William Castle.
- “We’re middle aged and filled with rage!”
- He spoke of a movie he loved, Hillbillys In A Haunted House.
- “I hated Bill Cosby before the rapes.”
- Trump porn, “Comb Over And Blow Me”
- “Now there are too many gays. I’m all for ‘coming in’.”
And those are my notes. Such an amazing speaker – dirty, hilarious and unashamed. I hope to get the opportunity to see him again. If you have a chance, run (don’t walk) to hear him speak!
Do you like John Waters or have a fond memory of him? Let me know in the comments below.
According to his IMDB sleeve:
|Date of Birth||22 April 1946, Baltimore, Maryland, USA|
|Birth Name||John Samuel Waters Jr.|
|Nicknames||Pope of Trash
Prince of Puke
|Height||6′ 2″ (1.88 m)|
Growing up in Baltimore in the 1950s, John Waters was not like other children; he was obsessed by violence and gore, both real and on the screen. With his weird counter-culture friends as his cast, he began making silent 8mm and 16mm films in the mid-’60s; he screened these in rented Baltimore church halls to underground audiences drawn by word of mouth and street leafleting campaigns. As his filmmaking grew more polished and his subject matter more shocking, his audiences grew bigger, and his write-ups in the Baltimore papers more outraged. By the early 1970s he was making features, which he managed to get shown in midnight screenings in art cinemas by sheer perseverance. Success came when Pink Flamingos (1972) – a deliberate exercise in ultra-bad taste – took off in 1973, helped no doubt by lead actor Divine‘s infamous dog-crap eating scene.
Waters continued to make low-budget shocking movies with his Dreamland repertory company until Hollywood crossover success came with Hairspray (1988), and although his movies nowadays might now appear cleaned up and professional, they retain Waters’ playfulness, and reflect his lifelong obsessions.
- All of his movies are set in Baltimore.
- Frequently casts Patricia Hearst and Mink Stole.
- Many of his characters have alliterated names (Dawn Davenport, Francine Fishpaw, Tracy Turnblad, Penny Pingleton, Sylvia Stickles).
- His favorite childhood memory was seeing real blood on the seat of a wrecked car when visiting a scrap yard and fantasizing about lethal car crashes.
- Subscribes to more than 80 magazines. Also goes to see just about every movie that comes out and hardly ever rents movies.
- Has taught classes at the Patuxent Institution, a correctional facility located halfway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The classes are meant as rehabilitation therapy for convicted killers, in which they learn to write about their violent fantasies rather than act them out.
- As a youth, he made as much as $50 a week doing puppet shows for the neighborhood children, and was often hired to entertain at birthday parties. He stated that many of his puppet shows were inspired by the gimmick-heavy films of William Castle.
- Waters originally wanted a man named “Mr. Ray” to be the narrator of Pink Flamingos (1972). Mr. Ray was famous for his hair-weave radio ads and for his Baltimore accent. Mr. Ray refused, so Waters recorded the voice-over himself, imitating Mr. Ray’s voice as “Mr. J.”
- Attended Calvert Hall College High School in Towson, Maryland.
- Favorite movies are The Wizard of Oz (1939), Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965), Boom! (1968), Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), I Stand Alone (1998), and Maps to the Stars (2014).
- Is a well known bibliophile and owns over 8,000 books.
Good call, Ben. That was amazing!