For a director who has built his career and reputation on being the “King of Bad Taste,” John Waters has surprisingly good (or at least interesting) taste in people. In his book Role Models, Waters gives an expansive survey of his influences, from the good (his love of early gay icons Little Richard and Johnny Mathis), the bad (his 25-year friendship with one of the Manson family murderers) and the ugly (his school librarian telling him he would go to hell if he read Tennessee Williams).
Those who are fans of the work of John Waters can easily imagine how colourful the cast of characters his role models would make. An American filmmaker, actor, writer, and visual artist, Waters is best known for his cult films including Hairspray, Cry-baby and Pink Flamingos. Despite the cultish popularity of his movies, it can be argued that Waters’ most wonderful creation is his own persona, and Role Models is really a self-portrait told through the lens of those who have influenced him. It is a spoil of riches of pop-culture weirdos who have helped mold one of the most unique, perverse and hilarious minds of our generation.
At Kitchener Public Library we celebrate counter cultural figures, fabulosity and weirdo artists like John Waters. Earlier this spring we hosted a live viewing party of Waters’ 1990 film Cry-baby in our theatre, featuring off-colour commentary by KPL’s resident crybabies: me, Ellie Anglin, and Curtis Williams, and performances by local drag stars Kyne and George Swooney. The audience served their fiercest juvenile delinquent get-ups, donned temporary tear tattoos, and danced, shouted and sang along with the movie. They were provided with a copy of The Crybaby Song Book and delighted in drag performances – John Waters is a great lover of drag, and drag icon Divine was his muse and starlet of most of his films, but TBH we use any excuse to bring drag into the library. Here are some photos from this glorious night:
If you missed out on this event, don’t fret – you can check out all this great John Waters material we have at Kitchener Public Library!