About John Waters

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All tickets have been distributed for this lecture.

IU Cinema will recognize a standby line at 4 p.m. on Friday, October 2, and seat patrons as space is available. Patrons with tickets must be seated by 4:50 p.m. to be guaranteed a seat.

No photography of any kind will be permitted during John Waters' lecture/performance. There will be opportunities for photos during the autograph-signing session following the lecture.

The title of this lecture is “This Filthy World: Filthier & Dirtier”.

“This Filthy World: Filthier & Dirtier” is John Waters’ one-man show; a “vaudeville” act that celebrates the film career and obsessive tastes of the man William S. Burroughs once called “The Pope of Trash.” Focusing in on Waters’ early negative artistic influences and his fascination with true crime, exploitation films, fashion lunacy, and the extremes of sexual politics, this joyously devious and continuously updated monologue is a rallying cry against the tyranny of good taste and serves as a call to arms for filth followers everywhere. This lecture is presented in partnership with the College Arts and Humanities Institute.

Following the lecture, Waters will be signing copies of his books Role Models and Carsick, which will be available for sale.

John Waters (Writer/Director)
Born in Baltimore in 1946, John Waters was drawn to movies at an early age, particularly exploitation movies with lurid ad campaigns. He subscribed to Variety at the age of 12, absorbing the magazine's factual information and its lexicon of insider lingo. This early education would prove useful as the future director began his career giving puppet shows for children's birthday parties. As a teenager, Waters began making 8mm underground movies influenced by the likes of Jean-Luc Godard, Walt Disney, Andy Warhol, Russ Meyer, Ingmar Bergman, and Herschell Gordon Lewis. Using Baltimore, which he fondly dubbed the "Hairdo Capitol of the World," as the setting for all his films, Waters assembled a cast of ensemble players, mostly native Baltimoreans and friends of long standing: Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole and Edith Massey.

He made his first film, an 8-mm short, Hag in a Black Leather Jacket in 1964, starring Mary Vivian Pearce. Waters followed with Roman Candles in 1966, the first of his films to star Divine and Mink Stole. Mondo Trasho, Waters' first feature length film, was completed in 1969. In 1972 Waters created what would become the most "notorious" film in the American independent cinema of the 1970s, Pink Flamingos. Centered on the great battle to secure the title "Filthiest People Alive," Pink Flamingos pitted Divine's "Babs Johnson" against Mink Stole and David Lochary's truly evil "Connie and Raymond Marble," while turning Waters into a cult celebrity.

Waters followed the success of Pink Flamingos with three more pictures, Female Trouble, Desperate Living, and Polyester, the latter of which was filmed in glorious "Odorama," which gave ticket buyers scratch 'n' sniff cards that allowed them to smell along with the characters in their fragrant search for romantic happiness.

The success of the big-budget, star-studded Hairspray (1988) brought Waters major Hollywood backing for his next feature, Cry-Baby (1990), a juvenile delinquent musical comedy satire, starring Johnny Depp.

In 1994, Waters released Serial Mom, the well reviewed, socially un-redeeming comedy starring Kathleen Turner and Sam Waterston, which was the closing night attraction at that year's Cannes Film Festival.

Pink Flamingos, the ultimate trash masterpiece, was again in theatres for a 25th Anniversary re-release in 1997, complete with newfound footage. Commenting on the long-lasting popularity of the film, director Waters proudly boasts, "it's hard to offend three generations, but it looks like I've succeeded."

In addition to writing and directing feature films, Waters is the author of seven books: Shock Value, Crackpot, Pink Flamingos and Other Filth, Hairspray, Female Trouble and Multiple Maniacs, and Art: A Sex Book (co-written with art critic Bruce Hainley). His book, Role Models, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in May, 2010 and earned spots on the best seller lists for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. Carsick, John Waters’ book chronicling his adventure hitchhiking from Baltimore to San Francisco in the Spring of 2012, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in June, 2014 and debuted on the NY Times Bestseller list at #12 and on the Los Angeles Times Bestseller list in the #7 position.

Concurrent to his careers as a filmmaker and author, John Waters is also a photographer whose work has been shown in galleries all over the world since 1992, including The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland, the Orange County Museum of Art, and The Andy Warhol Museum.

Waters is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is on the Wexner Center International Arts Advisory Council. Additionally, he is a past member of the boards of The Andy Warhol Foundation and Printed Matter and was selected as a juror for the 2011 Venice Biennale. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Maryland Film Festival and has been a key participant in the Provincetown International Film Festival since it began in 1999, the same year Waters was honored as the first recipient of PIFF’s “Filmmaker on the Edge” award. In September, 2014, Film Society of Lincoln Center honored John Waters’ fifty years in filmmaking with a 10-day celebration entitled “Fifty Years of John Waters: How Much Can You Take?” featuring a complete retrospective of his film work.

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