Photo credit: Greg Gorman
Director, writer, actor, and originator of the Hairspray dynasty, John Waters returned to the Harris Theater on May 21, 2013 to perform his critically acclaimed one-man show, “This Filthy World.” Updated and expanded from the original film version by the same name, the man affectionately known as “The Pope of Trash” presented this hilarious evening focusing on his early negative influences, fascination with true crime, exploitation films, fashion lunacy, extremes of the art world, Catholicism, sexual deviancy, and his love of reading. This was Waters’ second visit to the Harris after his sold-out show in 2010.
The performance started on time, and Waters instantly captured the attention of audience members with his hilarious recollections of childhood. He is brilliant for turning his negative past experiences into hysterical life lessons. Waters has a unique way of keeping the audience laughing, using his personal life experiences, one-liners from his movies, and the many people he has worked with. Along with stories of his early days and past movies, “This Filthy World” includes sarcastic hilarity about current events and entertainers such as Chaz Bono and Justin Bieber.
All the world needs is a little more laughter – John Waters delivers!
Immediately following the performance, the Harris Theater held an exclusive post-show benefit reception on the stage with Waters.
About John Waters
Born in Baltimore in 1946, John Waters was drawn to movies at an early age. Dubbed "The Pope of Trash" by writer William Burroughs, Waters began making 8mm and 16mm underground movies as a Teenager, using Baltimore, which he fondly dubbed the "Hairdo Capitol of the World," as the setting for his films. In 1972, Waters created what would become the most "notorious" film in the American independent cinema of the 1970s, “Pink Flamingos,” which turned Waters into a cult celebrity.
Waters achieved box office and mainstream critical success with his 1988 film “Hairspray,” starring the then unknown, Ricki Lake; the film was turned into a hit Broadway musical that swept the 2003 Tony Awards®, and was then adapted and released as a 2007 feature film starring John Travolta and Queen Latifah. The success of “Hairspray” brought Waters major Hollywood backing for his next feature, “Cry-Baby” (1990), starring Johnny Depp.
“Pink Flamingos”, the ultimate trash masterpiece, was re-released in theaters for its 25th anniversary in 1997, complete with newfound footage. Commenting on the long-lasting popularity of the film, director Waters proudly boasts, "it's hard to offend three generations, but it looks like I've succeeded." His other films include “Serial Mom”, “Cecil B. Demented”, and “A Dirty Shame.”
In addition to writing and directing feature films, Waters is the author of six books, including “Role Models” in 2010, which earned spots on The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle best seller lists. An artistic visionary, Waters is also a photographer whose photo-based artwork and installations have been internationally exhibited in galleries and museums.
Waters has performed “This Filthy World” to sold-out audiences around the world; in 2006, Netflix released a film version of the live act that was screened at the Toronto, Berlin and Edinburgh Film Festivals. In 2004, his cynical and hilarious CD “A John Waters Christmas” was released by New Line Records, featuring an outlandish compilation of musical obscurities chosen by Waters
himself, including songs by Tiny Tim, Fat Daddy and the Chipmunks.
Waters is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is on the Wexner Center International Arts Advisory Council. Additionally, he is a past member of the boards of The Andy Warhol Foundation and Printed Matter.
photo credit: Hedrich Blessing
About the Harris Theater for Music and Dance
Opened in 2003, the Harris Theater’s mission is to partner and collaborate with an array of Chicago’s emerging and mid-sized performing arts organizations to help them build the resources and infrastructure necessary to achieve artistic growth and long-term organizational sustainability. The Harris Theater for Music and Dance was the first multi-use performing arts venue to be built in the Chicago downtown area since 1929 and today the Theater continues to host the most diverse offerings of any venue in Chicago, featuring the city’s world-renowned music and dance institutions and the Harris Theater Presents series of acclaimed national and international artists and ensembles.
To learn more about the Harris Theater, please visit www.harristheaterchicago.org . The Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Chicago’s state-of-the art 1,470 seat performance venue, can also be found on Facebook www.facebook.com/harristheater
and Twitter www.twitter.com/harristheater