The Marvelous Mr. John Waters
by Mike Albo
Published September 20 in Town & Country
Excerpt: John Waters is rattling off a list of upcoming projects. It is summer, and he’s looking ahead to appearances on Search Party and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. He is the host act for alt-country fabulist Orville Peck at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, and he is expected to do the same at the California indie music festival Halloween Meltdown in October. There are also art exhibits of his visual work staged by his New York gallerist Marianne Boesky, and more dates for his long- running one-man show, This Filthy World.
“And then I go to Europe,” he says. “I do stuff there a lot, too. I have to get used to it again. Suddenly I think, Oh my god, how did I ever do that—19 cities in 22 days?” Waters says all this with a nonchalant exhale, almost as if he still smoked (he quit years ago), displaying zero stress. At 75, with a backlist of cult films he readily admits didn’t make much money, the Bard of Baltimore has never been more in demand.
Perhaps unexpectedly, Waters has been elevated, by both Hollywood and his critics, to the highest echelon of film culture: an auteur. From his first full-length film, Mondo Trasho, to his most recent, A Dirty Shame (starring T&C’s May cover star, Selma Blair), not to mention his books and shows—even the one-liners and film clips of his cycling through TikTok—there are few artists as easily recognizable, or as beloved and embraced by battalions of fans.