Everything I Needed to Know About Bumbershoot, I Learned from John Waters
At Bumbershoot Saturday night, trash auteur John Waters delivered a fast-paced monologue at Bagley Wright Theatre, wearing a great Belgian suit to run through This Filthy World: Filthier & Dirtier and later sign copies of his last book, 2010′s Role Models.
Of course, the appearance also served to get everyone excited for his new book Carsick–yes, the one about his real-life hitchhiking adventures cross-country across America last year. But the best thing about John Waters is all that Baltimore wit and wisdom. A few things that the audience learned along the way:
- Early on in the set, John claimed he would like to “open for Justin Bieber. That’s okay to say now because he’s legal.” So go ahead and hit on anyone of legal age of consent, but stay away from all that Bumber-jailbait, of which there is plenty. Parents, please know that your fourteen-year-old girls are not wearing the same outfit at Seattle Center that they left the house wearing that morning.
- But at the same time, don’t be a helicopter parent. All the kids who appeared throughout Waters’ gross-out oeuvre turned out just fine. Yes, even the girl from Desperate Living who had to be put back into a refrigerator in order to get a second take.
- And no disrespect to those not quite as young as they used to be, because “old chickens make good soup.” When John Waters met Justin Bieber on a British talk show, Bieber said that John’s mustache was “the jam,” and even drew on one himself with a cosmetic pencil. Of course, Waters was over the moon.
- “Let’s celebrate the new freak show–the weakest man, the man without tattoos…”
- One should always be tolerant: “Eminem gave Elton John and his husband matching diamond cock rings.” “Dogs have a sick S&M relationship with their owners.” “It’s okay to fuck a racist, if he is cute enough.” “The most hated minority is a hetero couple who can but chooses not to have kids.”
- But not too tolerant: “Don’t come out as a bear to your parents.” “I’m queer, but I’m also mentally ill. Adult babies? I have my limits. Lock those fuckers up.”
- Always have a pickup line: “Can you see the netting on my wig?” Follow that up with assurances that you hate it when mosquitoes get in your netting.
- Elvis was almost as charismatic of a performer as Alvin, of Alvin and the Chipmunks. Divine made pigs horny. Jeffrey Dahmer was the “ultimate top,” because what is more dominant than eating another human being?
- “Rap music is ex-poor people bragging to currently poor people about not being poor anymore.”
- America’s had juvenile delinquents for decades, and they’ve always taken different forms: greaser, beatnik, hippie, punk. “But what is a juvenile delinquent these days? A hacktivist. No fashion, just bad posture.”
- You just can’t win: John Waters often gets mistaken for Steve Buscemi, who often gets mistaken for Don Knotts, who is dead. Not-so-similarly, lesbians or FTM trans men often come out on top of John Waters look-alike contests.
- John Waters still has a lingering fondness for poppers. He decries the lack of pubic hair to be found in modern pornography. “What you see in Playboy looks like my mustache.” And after he dies, feel free to stop by his grave to drink and/or have sex. Several of the Baltimore actors he’s employed over the years have picked plots in the same cemetery, which they call “Disgraceland.”
So what’s John’s next project? Well, promoting the new book when it comes out, obviously. He’s still talking about trying to get heartwarming holiday film Fruitcake made, which may have been thwarted by an auto-correct that kept changing his initials “JW” into “JEW.” Oh well, there’s always Hairspray on Ice.