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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 13 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 50
John Waters wishes you a very pervy Christmas
Arts & Entertainment
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John Waters wishes you a very pervy Christmas

by Ron Anders - SGN A&E Writer

Among the definitions of the word 'outrageous' are 'exceeding the limits of what is usual' and 'going beyond all standards of what is right or decent.' John Waters, our sultan of sleaze, would cheerfully claim these descriptions as his own. The man himself descended on Seattle last week to regale us with 'A John Waters Christmas,' his stand-up salute to our love/hate relationship with the holiday that keeps on giving. Along the way, he makes us privy to his most prized notions of (im)propriety.

Renowned as the grand old man of cinema sleaze, Waters has morphed into a raconteur of brute force, taking multiple one-man shows on the road to delight his worshippers. And worship him they do, as evidenced by the rowdy crowd of acolytes filling the Neptune Theatre last week, where he managed to compress a lifetime's worth of banter into a rapid-fire barrage lasting a mere hour and a half. (His other show, 'This Filthy World,' can also be seen on DVD.)

His comic screed dismantled one sacred Christmas institution after another.

One of his fondest memories was spending the holiday in Provincetown with his cinematic muse, Divine. During a hunt for a low-budget Christmas tree, Divine spied a beautifully decorated tree in someone's yard and decided to make it his own, sawing the tree down and dragging it home, only later to find that it belonged to the town sheriff. Musing on the plight of the Virgin Mary, Waters convinces us that she got the raw end of the nativity deal: after all, she had to bear the son of God, but didn't even get to have sex. His greatest disdain is reserved for live nativity scenes. Watching a real baby in a crèche, he insisted, would even be too much for Diane Arbus. He further confounds us by saying that he really, really loves Christmas. Who knew?

Waters pushed the envelope into non-holiday territory as well. His - shall we say - 'non-feminist' broadside included a fervent wish that he could be a woman so that he could get an abortion. He also prefers to think of Tina Turner in her downtrodden days of 'doing it nice and rough' under the thumb of Ike Turner. He also weighed in with his opinions of sex education, noting that all such training should include instruction on the judicious use of poppers.

You may have noted that Waters dotes on extremes - good and bad - as the things that make his day. Toward the end of the evening, he reflected on a recent conversation with a friend who asked him 'Can we still be dirty at age 70?' If anyone can do it, it's our man in Baltimore.

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