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Still divine, 'Pink Flamingos' director John Waters to perform 'This Filthy World' at Key West Film Festival

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Filmmaker John Waters, the pride of Baltimore, says he actively campaigned for Gov. Martin O’Malley and gay marriage in their state of Maryland. But don’t expect the Pink Flamingos writer-director to wed anytime soon.

“I don’t want to get married,” says Waters, 67, who also wrote and directed Female Trouble, Polyester and the original Hairspray, all starring his muse, Divine.

Waters, who performs his one-man show, This Filthy World, Thursday at the Key West Film Festival  says he’s “always amazed” that anyone would be against gay marriage.

“How could it threaten anybody? Everybody — straight, gay, asexual, nymphomaniac, crazy pervert — everybody knows how hard it is to find somebody to fall in love with,” Waters says. “How could it threaten anybody? It’s just amazing to me that anyone could mind that. However, do I want to mimic a ceremony that — actually, I’ve never had fun at a wedding in my entire life. So no, I don’t want to. That’s my personal choice. And I’m glad I have the right to, if I change my mind.”

Waters says he also supports LGBT moms and dads, but he’s not cut out for fatherhood, either.

“I like kids,” he says. “I’m a great uncle — I’ll get you an abortion, I’ll get you out of jail. But I’d be a terrible father. I’m way too self involved. But children like me and I like children. I teach a third-grade class in Baltimore sometimes. I give them Chuckie dolls and rat skeletons. We do improv. We play airplane crash.”

Waters actually foreshadowed gay parenting in his Divine shocker from 1972, Pink Flamingos.

“The only thing that’s really dated — but it isn’t really — is that lesbians would have babies and sell them,” he adds. “Selling them they still can’t do. But the lesbians to have babies? What’s shocking now is that they have more babies than Catholics! That part is funny. But they don’t get pregnant by kidnapping them and raping them in the cellar.”

The revolutionary director says he’s shocked that after 41 years, Pink Flamingos now runs on commercial television. “Recently I got a check from it playing on Venezuelan television. How could that be possible? Do they say ‘This is what capitalism is like’? People eat dog shit in America!”

Waters is firm that Divine, who died in 1988 of heart failure, was a gay man and professional drag queen who never presented himself off-stage as a female.

“Divine is never in any of my movies, in the plots, is never transgender,” he says. “He’s a woman always. The audience knows he’s a man. The characters do not. That’s why the Hairspray musical was successful. It is about a woman and the audience is in on the secret. It’s a shared secret with the audience that they don’t tell the actors.”

Despite his early films being for adults only, kids and teenagers have always been Waters’ best audience.

“They get it. They never question anything like adults do,” he says. “My films are about normal people that think they’re insane. That’s what always interests me.”

Waters believes that at some point, though, it’s time to grow up.

“I’ve always said that after 30, no matter what hand you’ve been dealt, you have to stop blaming your parents. Because then you’ll be a bitter 70-year-old, which is very depressing,” he says. “An angry 20-year-old is really sexy. An angry 60-year-old, you want to run from.”


John Waters performs ‘This Filthy World’ following a screening of the documentary ‘I Am Divine’ 7 p.m. Thursday at the Key West Film Festival, San Carlos Institute, 516 Duval St.

O Cinema Wynwood is screening several of Divine’s films this month, including ‘Female Trouble’ (Friday and Saturday), ‘Polyester’ (Nov. 22 and 23) and ‘Hairspray’ (Nov. 29 and 30).


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