Friday, March 5, 2010

John Waters: This Filthy World

Sydney Opera House presents JOHN WATERS: THIS FILTHY WORLD. A New Mardi Gras Festival Event.

John Waters famous for his “push the boundaries “ or “bad taste”, depending on where or how you “sit”, “fit” in the world about you, in pink sneakers and glossy grey jacket with black dress pants was welcomed onto the Concert Hall stage at the Sydney Opera House with the full force of the positivity of an adoring audience. The performance began on a real high of affection and enthusiasm and, mostly it stayed there, and even skittered higher.

The performance was a sophisticated, as in artful, (except for the inexcusable setting of the stage, which, if it had a point was not thought through enough to be clear) concoction of humorous anecdotes of an artist’s skimming of the history of his life, and the influences that helped create his needs to express himself artistically, and the journey that he had, to do just that. From his Catholic upbringing in Baltimore and the fundamental discovery that he was “different” and that his experience of the world was “different”, to the ability to find enough of the “others” to play with him using film, Mr Waters took us through most of the landmarks of his cinematic output, chatting briefly, and generally honouring the people he did it with. (Divine, Mink Stole etc.) Almost 90 minutes of non stop motor mouthing, this stand up act was hilarious and affectionate (Skillful) and as he admitted about his films “all character, no plots”. Shaggy dog meanderings that sometimes lost direction Still, funny (-why carp, Kevin?).

This new phase of Mr Waters career is worth every cent to witness, and we, I, had a health filled laughter response, but I felt it a little too tempered, as the latter films of his career are, with an eye to pleasing rather than challenging. Maybe, after all, his Catholic upbringing, the subtle brainwashing of that Institution is, maybe, insidiously, impinging on his choices and style of conversation in 2010. The bourgeois Christian Gentlemen that that Institution attempts to breed is beginning to assert itself artistically and fiscally, now in the relative comfort of middle age!!!!???? (Or is it just good old succumbing to the demands and “realities” of good old-fashioned American capitalism?)

To paraphrase one of his gags, "Forget the homage give me the cheque." The curtness of his exit told me that this was a professional that really did not need the adoring affection of his audience to sustain him. Still, you know what? He has done enough in the past to warrant my affection, in confronting the “other world” for me, and I will love him adoringly for what he has done, if not wholeheartedly, for what he is doing, now.

On the other hand, Quentin Crisp embodied his rebellion ALL of his life. He may have been less comfortable to be with of course, and he never had fiscal stability. We all make choices.

This event enhanced my Mardi Gras time.

For more information click here.

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