Event Review – This Filthy World by John Waters
The Parker Playhouse – 07/28/12
Fort Lauderdale, FL
John Waters came into town
John Waters looked all around
John Waters filmed what he found
John Waters then laid it down
John Waters performed a one man show – This Filthy World – at the Parker Playhouse this past Friday evening. Preceded by the full length showing of his film “Polyester,” John did a ninety minute monologue of his life, followed by a nearly half-hour Q&A session. A film maker with a dozen of the worlds most recognizable titles to his name including “Pink Flamingos”, “Hairspray” and “Pecker” (touted in one Japanese review as being a Disney film for perverts), Waters’ made his name and career on bringing the dirty, the disgusting and the downtrodden into our homes and theaters for all to see and ogle. Nicknamed the Prince of Puke and the Pope of Trash, he lives a teflon coated life where sticks and stones may break your bones, but John just couldn’t give two shits.
Now some would say that the best way to see a Waters film is to watch it with the television turned off while you’re asleep. But that’s just the type of person who needs to watch John’s films, because he’s gonna show you what you’ve been avoiding all your life. For far from ridiculing and haranguing the outcast subjects in his movies, Waters celebrates them, offering them to us in full-fledged technicolor that we may feel their feelings, hear their pain, and even smell their odors (yes, for those of you who remember the originals, Odorama cards were available for the willing that night). But this is not John’s way of humiliating anyone, for as Oscar Wilde so brilliantly once stated, “There’s only one thing worse than being talked about, and that’s not being talked about.” And Mr. Waters understands this. He’s seen the store clerk trainee who was so shy that he felt abusive toward the cash register if he pushed its buttons; he’s asked if it’s better for your kid to be the drug dealer (discreet business person – future republican), or the kid buying from the drug dealer (misguided consumer – future Harvard drop-out); and he’s been gay and proud long before those two words even knew each other existed.
Then what about those who actually watch John’s films? Well, for one, I have, and I can tell you this for sure. If you want to see the ninja super hero transformed into the wild west outlaw, pick any Clint Eastwood spaghetti western you like. If you wanna see the GQ man kiss the Vogue woman, check out any number of John Travolta flicks. And if you wanna see the pumped-up, testosterone oozing, white knight in shining steroids, then there’s always the Terminator. But if you ever want to know about the real life people who never had a chance to be seen or heard, not even in their own lives, then go see a John Waters flick. He’ll take you to the freak show of everyday life, the bizarre bazaar of any city’s 24/7 underbelly, and the midnight lives of the unseen and unspoken, helping you to see, feel and understand those living on humanity’s edges far beyond the constraining blinders of our mass-media, acculturated society.
Yeah, John Waters’ films are absurd, and yeah they’re over the top, but you wouldn’t be able to watch them any other way. The harsh truth is that the harsh truth takes a bit of getting use to, and any of John’s films are a great way to pry open that door just a little bit and find some of yourself inside. So wake up, turn the television back on, and snuggle up with your favorite crow bar… I mean John Waters’ film.