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John Waters and His ‘Filthy World’

Photo: Getty Images


"You've got to keep them interested!" said John Waters. "If your daughter is promiscuous, give her a book on womb raiders!" The 62-year-old performed his one-man show, This Filthy World, at the Society for Ethical Culture last night to packed pewlike rows of fans old, young, hip, and nerdy as hell. (We heard one guy chat up a girl with the line, "I just got back from Fangoria.") It was an appropriate setting for the Pope of Trash, who is also an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church. Since 2006, Waters has been staging and updating This Filthy World, which focuses on the origins of his singular worldview, his films, and the various obsessions and cultural observations that fuel them. Though he told the crowd that the kids in Omaha and the East Village mostly look indistinguishable — that is to say, "cool" — his act included a few New Yorker–pleasing zingers with respect to the rich: "Porn is art now. Rich kids are jerking off to the Christies catalog!" And of Los Angeles, he noted, "Everyone has face-lifts. Everyone looks surprised and Cubist." We all cheered.

Afterward, we asked Waters, who clearly has an opinion about everything, if he would ever start a blog. "No!" he replied. "I want to be harder to reach. I don't want people to find me. I'll write a book." —Blythe Sheldon