|Waters to flood Iowa City’s Englert Theatre, April 1|
John Waters performs his one-man show “This Filthy World” on April 1 at 7pm at the Englert in Iowa City.
John Waters is infamously known for such cult films as “Pink Flamingos,” but also for such inspiring and culturally thoughtful films as “Hairspray”—which launched the career of Rikki Lake and was later turned into a successful musical both on Broadway and on film (think John Travolta in drag).
On February 15, we had the unique privilege of chatting with Mr. Waters about his upcoming visit and performance, the current politics of gay marriage in Maryland, his books and photography, and the challenge of launching his next film project, “Fruitcake,” a children’s Christmas adventure.
You’re coming to Iowa City for your one-man show April 1 at the Englert Theatre.
Yes, I’m looking forward to it!
Have you been to Iowa?
I have! I’ve been to Iowa City before. Probably, god, it could be 20 years ago, I don’t know. It’s famous for being a writers’ school, so I’m always happy when I get asked to come there. I had fun there last time.
But to be honest, they begin to bleed together a little, which city was which place, because I’ve been doing it for thirty-some years and everywhere in America is starting to look more the same instead of different. When I started out, everywhere sort of had its own distinct personality, each little town, each little city. But now, because of the Internet and the world-global-everything, everywhere kind of looks the same. There’s good and bad about that.
But I’m glad to be coming to Iowa. I very much like to see the people who are interested in my work throughout the country. I don’t live in New York or L.A., I mean, I have an apartment in Baltimore. So I totally think these days you don’t have to ever leave. You can live in Iowa City and see every single movie you can see in New York, because you can download them on NetFlix!
What do you want people to know about your live show, people who maybe haven’t heard about it or maybe aren’t familiar with you—what do you want them to know before they see it?
Well, I want them to know that it’s pretty different from the one that was released on DVD. It is, I guess, a self-help lecture in a weird way for happy neurotics—people who don’t want to fit in, people that have spent their whole life trying to find some sort of neurotic happiness living with their own neuroses. I think that’s a very popular thing to do these days. Everybody thinks that they’re an outsider now, so I’m trying to say I’m an insider! Isn’t that kind of the final irony in a life that has been spent, very luckily, being able to do what I wanted to do, even though no one said it was good for the first ten years…
The thing in my career that has been best to me is I keep getting the young people each time, that they’re somehow reinvented to see it. And that to me is the crossover, it’s not about money, it’s seeing young people again. I’m quite interested, always in young peoples’ culture. Now, I don’t go to a bar at four a.m. to hear a rap group, but I have youth spies who tell me this kind of thing. Maybe they get free drinks or poppers or something for giving me this valid information I need to know!
I played at Coachella [Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, in Indio, California; Coachella.com] last year, [laughs] I thought I was going to be the oldest person, but Sly Stone was—but my act was better.