John Waters’ Homage To Trash E-mail
by Bruce Madden

Was I the only audience member who felt that John Waters standing on the Civic Theater stage with a large orange stool by his side reeked with symbolic irony? I know I wasn’t the only one who laughed out loud for the next hour and a half.

Waters, the first speaker in the Grand Rapids Artprize Speaker Series unloaded a frenetic, acidic and thoroughly comedic onslaught of the bizarre by anyone’s standards during his 90 minute creative schtick before a capacity crowd of West Michiganders.

John Waters The 66 year-old director of such cinematic underground gems as “Pink Flamingoes” and “Mondo Trasho” peppered his dialogue with recollections of his early childhood rebellion, Catholic school stint and reactions to various denizens of Baltimore, his boyhood home. Waters also injected plenty of funny commentary on many of his movies plus he mentioned some of his favorite movie directors – all predictably trashy.

Here is an example of his best perverted sense of humor which he repeated with rapid fire consistency and spontaneity across a range of subjects.

The audience roared with laughter when Waters who resembled a dapper exclamation point said, “_______________________________________.”

Waters sense of timing is impeccably precise, a hallmark of all great comedians and apparently underground film auteurs. The more timid attendees may have come to be shocked (and they were) or stand in solidarity with him during the standing ovation (and they did) but whatever the reason, Waters, as they say in show business, delivered the goods.

John Waters I just can’t print the goods because the best of his one-liners and recollections overflow with imagery and words that many readers would find BEYOND OBSCENE. I’ve chosen not to chop up his delicious stew of perversity spiced with a razor sharp wit to bring a wholesome G-Rated review for general consumption because that would be sick and wrong. You had to be there.

If you need a little help in that department, go here and consider watching a film or two of Water’s early, sick, sick work.

For the faint of heart or for those who would prefer to preserve their state of innocence, go here for his first Hollywood extravaganza:

Bruce Madden is the former entertainment czar for Music Revue and founding member of the blues group The T-BONES. He is currently living in self-imposed exile at an undisclosed location, creating music and photographing subjects of interest. Photos by Paul Jendrasiak.


Published: September 26, 2012

John Waters

John Waters

John Waters

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