The John Waters Retrospective is Dunzo. Turns Out We Could Have Taken a Lot More!

by Kelly McClure

You may remember how a week or so ago we were nerding out all over the place about the beautiful reality of getting to spend 10 consecutive days at NY’s Film Society watching every little thing that filth king John Waters has made to date. Well, it’s all over now, and while we didn’t exactly plant butts in seats for all 10 days (turns out 65th street is REALLY far from Brooklyn) we did see, and experience, some pretty choice events.

Out of the entire list of films being rolled out for the retrospective, one of the main ones we wanted to catch was the showing of Polyester, complete with the full Odorama experience.  Because we’re completely insane, we got to Lincoln Center roughly 155 hours prior to the film’s start time, so we could loiter in the lobby and eavesdrop on everyone. We overheard the people working the popcorn counter chatting about Waters’ recent book, Carsick and wondering out loud what the book was about, and if he actually talked about getting Carsick in it. Knowing the inner workings of Waters’ mind as well as we think we do, if that had been the case he would have probably just called the book Puke


The Odorama cards were everything we had hoped for, even though most of the scratch’n’sniff scents all smelled the same, like a pleasant mix of gasoline, pizza, and farts.

Here we are! Hitting the town and ready to see (and smell) some shit.

When we spotted this limited edition (they only made 200!) tote bag in the lobby we couldn’t fork over our money fast enough. You can never have too many totes!

After successfully enjoying Polyester to the fullest degree, there were a few days to kill until the next event we had tickets for, so we spent them watching and re-watching all the films we didn’t hoof it out for in the comfort of our homes on DVD. The best thing about watching Waters’ films on DVD is the director’s commentary, which allows you to watch the movie twice — back to back — with good reason because you can watch the film regular style first, and then run it again with the commentary turned on. John Waters has the best voice ever and hearing him say things like “bowel movement” out loud is nothing short of life affirming. 


Following the showing of Cecil B. Demented, Waters took the stage for a brief Q&A where he talked about how almost all of the independent Baltimore movie theaters shown in the film are now gone, and how he still gets royalty checks in the mail from time to time for the tongue-in-cheek rap songs he penned for the film’s soundtrack. At the end of his time on stage he thanked everyone for coming out and said that the retrospective was one of the highlights of his life so far. The same can be said for us!

If you missed out on the retrospective, or didn’t nearly get your fill of all things John Waters, you can catch him at his benefit performance for Basilica Arts in Hudson on Oct. 18. Full info can be found HERE


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