John Waters brings ‘This Filthy World” to BGSU

"Life is nothing if you’re not obsessed," said actor, director, producer and writer John Waters.  Without a doubt, that is the life that Waters has led and continues to lead.

Waters will bring "This Filthy World," his rapid-fire, one-man, spoken word "vaudeville" act celebrating his film career and joyously appalling taste to BGSU. His presentation begins at 8 p.m. Nov. 5 in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center and is for mature audiences. The program is free, but tickets are required and are moving quickly, the box office reports. Tickets are available at the Wolfe Center for the Arts or online.

His BGSU residency is part of the Edwin H. Simmons Creative Minds Series. Funded by a private donation, the series is intended to elevate the importance of the arts in our everyday lives. Following his evening talk, Waters will work in classes with students on Nov. 6.

“John Waters is an icon of the counterculture,” said Dr. Lawrence Coates, chair of the Department of English and author. “For more than 40 years, as a writer, director, actor and filmmaker, he has created a body of work unique in American culture, rooted both in his native Baltimore and in his own unique vision of the world.”

Waters is a man of many monikers: The Pope of Trash, the Duke of Dirt and the Sultan of Sleaze, just to name a few. He revels in pushing societal standards and challenging the norms on just about anything.

“I pride myself on the fact that my work has no socially redeeming value,” he said. “I never say anything bad about something unless it’s something that everyone in America loves and has made a million dollars.”

What does Waters say to critics who say his work showcases bad taste?  “To me, bad taste is what entertainment is all about,” he said.  “But one must remember that there is such a thing as good bad taste and bad bad taste. Good bad taste is celebrating something without thinking you’re better than it… Bad bad taste is condescending, making fun of others.”

His movies are renowned for provocative topics and images that few others would attempt. From “Pink Flamingos” to “Cecil B. Demented,” Waters films are cult classics that often reflect anger, violence and assorted sexual themes.

Waters spends most mornings writing. A self-proclaimed bibliophile, he has over 8,000 books in his personal collection and says that being a writer lets people see him in a different way.

He has written seven books, the most recent being “Carsick.” The book chronicles his adventures hitchhiking from Baltimore to San Francisco in the spring of 2012. Waters’ other books are “Shock Value,” “Crackpot,” “Pink Flamingos and Other Trash,” “Hairspray,”  “Female Trouble” “Multiple Maniacs,” and “Art: A Sex Book.”

“You know, before I was paid to be a writer, people thought I was crazy to just go on these little missions of things that would interest me,” Waters said. “But now that I get paid to do it, people say, ‘Oh, how interesting.’ So, I think that’s really the difference between being a writer and a crackpot.”

Updated: 01/23/2018 04:41PM