John Waters’ one-man spoken-word show is a “vaudeville” act that celebrates the film career and obsessional tastes of the man William Burroughs once called “The Pope of Trash.” Focusing in on Waters’ early negative artistic influences and his fascination with true crime, exploitation films, fashion lunacy, and the extremes of the contemporary art world, this joyously devious monologue elevates all that is trashy in life into a call to arms to “filth followers” everywhere.
In 1972, Waters created what would become the most "notorious" film in the American independent cinema of the 1970's, Pink Flamingos. Waters followed the success of Pink Flamingos with three more pictures, spanning the remainder of the decade. In 1974, he created Female Trouble, the story of Dawn Davenport (Divine), a criminal who wanted to be famous so badly she committed murder. 1977 marked the premier of Desperate Living, a monstrous fairytale comedy starring the notorious Mafia moll turned stripper Liz Renay. In 1981, Waters completed Polyester, a wide-screen comic melodrama starring Divine and Tab Hunter. Filmed in glorious "Odorama," ticket buyers were given scratch 'n' sniff cards that allowed the audience to smell along with the characters in their fragrant search for romantic happiness.
In Hairspray (1988), Waters created "an almost big-budget comedy extravaganza about star-struck teenage celebrities in 1962, their stage mothers and their quest for mental health." The film was a box office and critical success and starred the then unknown Ricki Lake, Deborah Harry, the late Sonny Bono, Jerry Stiller, Pia Zadora and Ric Ocasek.
The success of Hairspray brought Waters major Hollywood backing for his next feature, Cry-Baby (1990), a juvenile delinquent musical comedy satire, starring Johnny Depp. In 1994, Waters released Serial Mom, the well reviewed, socially un-redeeming comedy starring Kathleen Turner and Sam Waterston, which was the closing night attraction at that year's Cannes Film Festival.
The 2000s brought Cecil B. DeMented, a comedy action-thriller about a young lunatic film director (Stephen Dorff) and A Dirty Shame, which concerns head injury sufferers who, after their concussion, experience a carnal lust they cannot control.
In addition to writing and directing feature films, Waters is the author of six books: Shock Value, Crackpot, Pink Flamingos and Other Trash, Hairspray, Female Trouble and Multiple Maniacs, and Art: A Sex Book (co-written with art critic Bruce Hainley). His book, Role Models, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in May 2010 and earned spots on the best-seller lists for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. Mr. Waters is currently writing his next book, Carsick, chronicling his adventure hitchhiking from Baltimore to San Francisco in the Spring of 2012.