Growing up amid the surreal trashiness of 1950's Baltimore, John Waters gained a shocking reputation in the mid 1960's from his low budget, counter-culture underground movies. In 1972, his ultra bad taste masterpiece Pink Flamingos hit it big, with its famous 'Divine' eating dog-shit scene.
Hollywood success came with Hairspray in 1988, which not only had Waters' distinctive playfulness with a Hollywood polish, but also provided a humorous and profound allegory on segregation in 1960's America. The film starred ex-pop star and "race record" producer Sonny Bono, who later became the godfather of the Salton Sea.
Waters is most remarkable in his ability to tackle such taboos as abortion, religion, drugs, and homosexuality, with a refreshing dose of humor. He is able to poke a little fun at his characters, while always remaining tirelessly respectful of their humanity. Although once called "The Pope of Trash" by William Burroughs, Waters has since become an icon of the independent film world and is now a frequent host of the Independent Spirit Awards.
He considers himself a "documentary whore." On PLAGUES & PLEASURES he says, "When I saw it, I was facisnated. It reminded me of what's going on in Provincetown and in Baltimore. It was if I was watching real estate porn - it was so tragic in a very weird way."
Waters is also the writer-director of films such as Cecil B. Demented (2000), Pecker (1998), Serial Mom (1994), Cry-Baby (1990), and Polyester (1981). He is also an accomplished non-fiction writer, photographer, as well as host and programmer of the new television series Movies That Will Corrupt You. His immortal classic Hairspray is now a musical on Broadway.
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