Toronto seems to get its annual dose of legendary outsider filmmaker John Waters around this time.
A couple of years back he was hosting the TIFF gala of his latest film, A Dirty Shame, then in late 2006, he could be found gallivanting around Roncesvalles overseeing the transformation—for good or ill—of his 1988 comedy, Hairspray, into this year’s hit family-friendly musical starring John Travolta (based more on the 2002 Broadway remake than on its original source material).
Anyhow, Saturday saw the William Burroughs-dubbed “Pope of Trash” channeling his infamous obsession with Christmas into a one-man show at the Phoenix Concert Theatre, appropriately titled “A John Waters Christmas” (after his 2004 album of the same name).
The 90-minute speaking engagement—ending early for the Saturday night floppy-haired Edge102 live-to-air dance crowd—saw a dapperly-dressed Waters field questions from a boisterous crowd, tackling such wholesome topics as his fake son Bill (an anatomically correct doll that sits in his living room), his crush on Alvin the chipmunk and subsequent excitement about the totally awkward-looking new movie (he owns an animation cel of Alvin masturbating, given to him by unnamed ex-Disney employees after hearing about his kink), and how he can be found speaking as an expert in literally any documentary made in the last ten years (“You want me to be in a documentary about flowers? Sure, I like flowers”).
Waters also announced plans for upcoming projects, including a follow-up to his A Date With John Waters compilation CD, titled Breaking Up With John Waters. Also, his new Christmas movie Fruitcake is scheduled to start shooting this winter, starring Johnny Knoxville and a cast consisting entirely of school children.
Basically, John Waters is great. The night was festive. Laughs were had. And if you weren’t there, you missed out. You should probably go catch him in Montreal tonight. He goes on in about an hour.
Photo of John Waters from his 2005 Christmas card.