John Waters: Pope of Trash

John Waters: Pope of Trash opening September 17, 2023 at the Academy Museum (Photo ID Hairspray (USA, 1988), Warner Bros./Photo Henny Garfunkel)

  • By Arlene Winnick

An exhibition celebrating the cinematic provocateur bad boy John Waters opens at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opens this month and its’ guaranteed to have people talking. John Waters: Pope of Trash explores Water’s 50-year career of filmmaking that redefined independent cinema as he pushed the boundaries of good taste with outrageous characters, salacious elements, hilarious situations all starring his merry band of traveling exhibitionists! 

Accompanying the exhibit is a retrospective screening series of Waters’ works kicking off with an ultra-rare screening of Eat Your Makeup presented with live commentary from Waters.  Other films in the series include Hairspray (his homage to hometown Baltimore), Polyester (starring his larger than life muse, Divine, with Tab Hunter filmed in Smellovision), Female Trouble (a life of depravity), Cecil B Demented plus twelve more of the most outrageous cinema you will see in your lifetime.

The creatively staged exhibition takes you on a journey through Waters’s complete filmography with handwritten scripts (on legal pads), costumes, props, posters, film clips and photographs.  There is also an experiential gallery highlighting the films’ music and dance.  But my favorite part are the rare iconic objects on view:   electric chair from Female Trouble; the tutu from Desperate Living; Debbie Harry’s exploding wig; Tracy Turnblad’s roach dress worn by Ricki Lake in Hairspray; Johnny Depps leather jacket and much more. Get your tickets NOW, it will surely be sold out.

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