A John Waters Christmas
Forget Frosty. Forget Santa. Maybe even forget baby Jesus. When it comes to spreading Christmas cheer, no one can top demented director John Waters in "A John Waters Christmas." He even has his own Christmas album to give him cred. And with tracks like "Here Comes Fatty Claus," "Little Mary Christmas," and "Santa Claus Is a Black Man," you can hardly go wrong.
For more than a decade, he’s toured the country at Christmastime spreading cheer and his thoughts on the holiday, the gifts he wants, and, of course, raunchy stories about his famous friends.
Dressed nattily in a dark suit with a jacket that he said looked as though it had used tinsel interwoven in it, Mr. Waters took to a Los Angeles stage adorned with only a stool (on which he never perched), a bottle of water and a wreath. And without hesitation, he broke into a monologue of rapid-fire anecdotes that touched on subjects as diverse as Johnny Mathis (he’d like to swap audiences with him some night and see just which is more horrified) and chocolate Santa butt plugs.
With his usual debonair style, the renowned raconteur regaled a captive audience with stories of Christmases past. About the times when Divine would dress as Elizabeth Taylor for Midnight Mass. He could pass as a woman with the adults but the children always knew. When, as a teenager on LSD, he was stealing others’ gifts. And how Divine had a serious addiction to Christmas decorations.
The Ghost of Christmas Present was present too, as Mr. Waters told of a film called "Fruitcake" he is trying to get financed. He’s not sure whether it’s the film’s sensibility (he once described it as "the Little Rascals on acid") or the fact that every time he writes a thank you to producers who have met him, his Blackberry auto-corrects his initials to the word "Jew."
Speaking of the future (or at least a fantastical version of it), Mr. Waters explained how he wants a star on the Walk of Fame outside the Scientology Center on Hollywood Boulevard. He also wants to create a living nativity scene with Mary giving birth to Santa Claus. His fantasy Christmas TV special would include guests Kevin Federline and Levi Johnston, who would show his balls to support the Tea Party and then his johnson to support Obamacare.
The anecdotes come from so many different directions and inspirations, the show is more stream of consciousness than monologue. There aren’t in-depth stories that wrap around on themselves; they are more like stones skipping on water, topical and tight yet not meandering.
Even so, the chance for an insight into Waters’ unique brand of insanity is priceless. He is charming, relatable, dapper and always, always true to himself. What he wants for Christmas? Drugs, a nightclub, an amusement park, and popper education in schools. Who can’t relate? His double feature of choice at an Australian film fest?
"Irreversible" and "Antichrist." You get it or you don’t. And he’s not apologizing if you don’t.
Not should he.
"A John Waters Christmas" was a one-off special event held on Dec. 6 at the Wilshire Ebell Theater, 743 South Lucerne Boulevard in Los Angeles. For info about future shows at the Wilshire, visit www.ebellla.com/theater/index.htm