John Waters shared his own brand of ribald Christmas cheer with a sold-out crowd at The Birchmere last night. Playing a music hall that's more likely to host septuagenarian bluegrass pickers may seem like a curious choice for Waters, but, keep in mind, this is a guy who's taken his stand-up act to the Virginia Military Institute.
Onstage, Waters was sharper than ever, as both a fashion-forward icon (extra points for the festive red blazer and suede shoes) and whip-smart intellectual. Who else references the likes of Richard Serra, Tennessee Williams, and Jean Rhys in a comedy routine and expects the audience to get the jokes? It was a far-ranging and generous performance that also touched on things Waters hates about Christmas, what he loves about the holiday, and hilarious remembrances of Christmases-past in Baltimore--he gave new meaning to "cruising" past a local creche/nativity scene. Overall, the show was a hoot, and the audience Q&A proved equally entertaining.
We also got updates on various projects: Waters's new book, Role Models, comes out June 1st; Hairspray 2: White Lipstick has been written, and it's set later in the 1960s, with LSD and Black Panthers in the mix; and Fruitcake, the holiday film he's been pitching, hasn't yet been green-lighted.
And when asked about his favorite holiday film, Waters chose Christmas Evil, which he called "the greatest Christmas movie ever made." Believe me, Bad Santa was never this bad.