John Waters, an Auteur of Trash, Would Like to Thank the Academy

John Waters, an Auteur of Trash, Would Like to Thank the Academy


BALTIMORE – John Waters was leading a delegation from the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures – for a week from Los Angeles – on a tour of his 32-year-old home, full of movie specimens and intriguing curiosity, and a quiet corner of five trees. Stuck behind Miles away from the city’s waterfront.

There was so much to see: the electric chair of his 1974 dark comedy, “Family Trouble,” at Entreway. Birth certificate for DivineThe 300-pound cross-dresser, who played the “living person” in “Pink Flamingo,” was hanging from a pile of memorabilia in a basement. Obtained from a pile of mimeographed poster boxes for the 1966 premiere of “Roman Candles”.

“Give me a hand That leg of the lambWaters asked an assistant as the two curators, and the museum director followed him through the narrow stairs, through a door and into his narrow two-room home office – a room for “my writing and thinking.” And for one, as he put it, the sale he was offering was to consider a favorite pattern from his filmmaking career: a lamb’s (rubber) leg that Kathleen Turner gave to one of the “serial moms.” Used as a killing weapon in a very horrible scene.

For decades, water has been known to push back the limits of taste when there were real limits of taste (its one-time tormentors, Maryland State Board of Censors), Including the infamous “Pink Flamingo” final scene, which includes the dog’s expulsion. William S. Bruce called Waters a “garbage pope” and that meant him as a compliment.

Next summer, Waters, 76, is being honored by the Establishment, which has fueled him for more than 50 years. They will be the subject of an 11,400-square-foot exhibition at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The Hollywood Museum that opened last year. With this exhibition, the academy is making it clear that its curative appetite is ahead of R2-D2 and Dorothy’s Ruby Slipper.

It can’t be easy. The Academy Museum has a flag as a family and tourist destination, which is definitely not for John Waters fans. Despite the name of the exhibit – “Pope in the Trash”, of course – Bill Kramer, the museum’s director, said a sign could be put up at the entrance to warn young and old.

“We don’t want to do anything that separates our audience,” Kramer said, pulling up a chair next to Waters in his room. “We are going through the design process right now, and through this process, we will make sure that the exhibition is not only watered down, but also an exhibition that people of all ages can experience. “

“That’s a challenge,” Waters intervened.

“That’s a challenge,” Kramer agreed.

Waters has come a long way since 1973, when Variety called “Pink Flamingo”.One of the most impureStupid and disgusting movies have ever been made. “Later movies -” Polyester “, starring Tab Hunter.” Cry Baby, “with Johnny Depp; and” Packer “, with Patricia Hurst. To name a few – cults have become favorites, some still draw crowds to midnight shows. “Hair Spray”, their 1988 comedy, became a Broadway musical that won eight Tony Awards. Now the Waters Academy Museum I will join the ranks of Spike Lee, Pedro Almodدوvar, “The Wizard of Oz,” and “The Godfather” as the subject of the exhibition.

“People will definitely find it ironic,” Waters said. “My films, of course in the beginning, didn’t get any good reviews, they were censored, but people always came. Just crazy people came.

“And did any of them get better?” Waters spoke about his films, warming up the subject. “No, they’ve all been accepted over the years, which just means that American comedy has improved. Have style

If he’s right about that – and he can be very good at it – it will make life easier for the curators as they spend the next year deciding which work to highlight, how bloody it is. , To present in scatological or X-rated detail, and how much to leave on the memories and imagination of the audience.

Among the items they are considering are: ice bags, which have been handed over to the audience as a safety for the “Pink Flamingo” show. Waters used a hand-held camera to film the re-enactment of Kennedy’s assassination on the front lawn of his parents in “At Your Makeup,” and Devine played Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, fearing neighbors. A list of living insects, including a German cockroach and a dragonfly nymph, which actor Johnny Knoxville was ready to put in his mouth for the 2004 film “A Dirty Shame”.

And “Polyester” depicts the painted shoes of a Baltimore footstamper who spends his time in prison. Of Scratch and smell Stomach odor cards handed over to “polyester” patrons so they could experience the movie with their noses as well as their eyes. That leg of the lamb.

But such decisions are months away. The exhibition is in the planning stages. Before arriving in Baltimore, the curators, Jenny Hee and Dara Jaff, spent months searching for water archives at the University of Wesleyan, with great success. “In Hairspray,” said Jaffe, “finally Debbie Hery is wearing this awesome wig with this explosive device.” We all asked and no one knew what happened to her. Turns out he was in Wesleyan all the time. We found it in a box in a corner.

“Darius and I started jumping up and down,” he said.

Here in the city, who admired Waters’ career and life, he was trapped in his house, which is like a museum, before he left his studio and his office when he considered it. Which of these 881 items has made its initial list (“I store it,” Waters said).

“Jenny, we have to measure it,” Jaffe said, pulling out a tape after seeing the seal of the “Maryland State Board of Censors” which was painted by a fan and Waters in his office. Was sent, testifying to the time when the board forced Waters to cut. A scene from “Women’s Trouble”. Waters forced the censor to issue a receipt for the film, which he cut off and handed over.

When they arrived at the studio, they shared an idea with the curator Waters about entering the show.

“So we know you want people to be a little shocked when they first get in,” Jaffe said, as Waters nodded. “And we know how much you love showmanship and tricks.” The idea, he said, is to build inside the church, with a montage of water films near the altar. He explained that Peugeot – “movie sets” – would be equipped with hidden buzzers so that they could “literally shock them” as they sat down.

“Can you do that?” Waters shouted. “that would be great!”

The show may seem like a golden retirement watch for Waters, who has been recognized for decades for his contributions to cinema and culture. It’s been 18 years since Waters made his last film – “A Dirty Shame,” which was rated NC-17. But then she was paid to write three sequels of “Hair Spray”, none of which eventually got Studio Greenlight. He has also continued to make a long children’s children’s film called “Fruit Cake”.

Although Waters is barely retiring. He is traveling the country to promote his first novel, Learmouth: A Bad Romance(Farrer, Strauss and Giroux, 2022), and more recently There was a cameo In “The Great Mrs. Mesel”. She is in a new advertising campaign for Calvin Klein Fashion Line for Pride Month. He still has a pencil mustache, which he has been refreshing all day.

Museum officials could barely stay with him as he climbed the stairs of a four-story house and climbed down before jumping into a rented Cadillac (his own car was being driven by an assistant in Provence Town, where he spent the summer). Will spend). Lead a horseman on the drive to his studio and his office.

In fact, Waters has become part of the entertainment establishment. He is a member of the academy, sponsored by filmmaker David Lynch, who is himself a small envelope maker. (“And I take my duties seriously,” he said of being an Oscar judge. “I see everything.”) “Hair spray” was rated PG. And in another sure sign of success, Waters is surrounded by a group of assistants as he moves on in his day. “I need three assistants to turn on the TV,” he said.

Kramer, who was named chief executive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this week, proposed the exhibition in March 2020. Waters agreed, and the curators set out on a Scouting tour later that month. Due to the epidemic, this was the first time Jeffy and he had returned to Baltimore. “I’ve kept this secret for a long time,” Waters said.

The show will introduce Water Cannon to an audience unfamiliar with its work, but may be based on its loyal followers, those who go to its films before it is allowed in festivals and restoration homes. Were, and who attended. Camp John WatersHer sold-out adult summer camp in Kent, Con.

“My audience was always funny and they were always a little angry, but they were always movie-goers. Others will oppose it. ” Waters said. “My audience wasn’t just gay or straight. They were bikers, or they were all people who didn’t fit in. Even in their own minorities, they had trouble, and they were my target audience. ۔

Waters has never been to Los Angeles, but was a guest at the museum’s red carpet opening last year – sharing the spotlight with Chair and Lady Gaga. “I was shocked – who would have thought that all this would happen?” Waters asked. He waited for a shock. “And the answer is – I do.”

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