JOHN WATERS

We have an intimate conversation with award-winning cult-classic filmmaker John Waters.

To watch the full interview, click here. 

Aired on July 9, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

> CULT CLASSIC FLICKMAKER AND KING OF CAMP JOHN WATERS SITS DOWN WITH MARYLAND PUBLIC TELEVISION'S RHEA FEIKIN FOR A CONVERSATION ON FILM, ART AND POP CULTURE AND HOW WATERS SUBVERSIVE HUMOR WAS ABLE TO ENBODY THE COMPLEX MORAL CODES OF THE TIME.

IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE THERE WOULD IT BE SOMEBODY IN THIS COUNTRY OR MAYBE THE REST OF THE WORLD WHO DOESN'T KNOW YOU, BUT SHOULD THAT WILL PERSON APPEAR, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ART TO THAT PERSON?

WELL, MY ART, I WOULD NEVER SAY ART.

I DON'T TALK ABOUT MYSELF.

I MEET YOUNG PEOPLE AND SAY WHAT DO YOU DO, AND THEY SAY I'M AN ARTIST.

I'LL BE THE JUDGE OF THAT.

NO THE HISTORY BOOKS WILL BE THE JUDGE OF THAT.

DON'T CALL YOURSELF AN ARTIST.

THAT IS FOR OTHERS TO CALL YOU.

I WOULD SAY MY PHOTOGRAPHS CELEBRATE EVERYTHING THAT CAN GO WRONG IN SHOW BUSINESS AND THE ART WORLD.

TWO INSIDER PLACES I MAKE FUN OF THAT I LOVE.

I LIKE ALL THE ELITISM OF THE ART WORLD.

IT'S HILARIOUS.

IT'S A SECRET LANGUAGE, YOU DRESS A SECRET WAY.

ONCE YOU JOIN IT, IT'S A MIRACLE.

YOU CAN SEE THE EMPEROR'S NEWS CLOTHES.

IF YOU CAN WALK DOWN THE STREET NAKED AND EVERYBODY ELSE THINKS YOU'RE DRESSED, THAT IS ART.

JOHN IS AN AMAZING MULTITALENTED INDIVIDUAL.

I THINK THE WORLD REALLY KNOWS QUITE WELL HIS CONTRIBUTIONS TO CINEMA AND YOU KNOW HIS BOOKS AND EVEN HIS WORK AS A PERFORMER.

BUT PERHAPS THE LESS KNOWN ASPECT OF HIS WORK IS HIS VISUAL ARTS PRACTICE.

WE'VE BROUGHT TOGETHER OVER 160 WORKS FROM EUROPE AND THE UNITED STATES FOR THIS EXHIBITION.

HIS WORKS RANGE IN TIOOM 1992 T.

THROUGHOUT THE EXHIBITION, I THINK PEOPLE WILL FIND WORK THAT THEY FIND SHOCKING OR IN BAD TASTE.

OBVIOUSLY, THIS IS A STRATEGY THAT JOHN HAS EMPLOYED FOR YEARS.

JOHN, IKE AND TINA TURN TER I KNOW YOU LOVE THEM.

I DID.

THIS MAY BE MY FAVORITE PIECE IN THE SHOW.

I DON'T KNOW I KNOW THAT TINA SHE SHOULD HATE IKE.

SHE COULD HAVE KILLED HIM AND A JURY WOULD LET HER OFF HE TREATED HER SO BADLY BUT THEY WERE SO GOOD TOGETHER AND SUCH A HUGE INFLUENCE ON MYSELF AND DIVINE.

THIS IS WHAT SHE WAS LIKE THEN.

A RATTY MINK COAT, A PROCESSED WIG, A MUSTACHE SPRIINGOLATORS, SHE WAS SO GOOD.

TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT HOW THE WHAT YOUR PROCESS IS.

THERE'S ONE I HAVE CALLED SHE SHOULD HAVE SAID NO.

BASICALLY IT'S THE NAME OF A MOVIE I LOVED GROWING UP BECAUSE THE NUNS USED TO SAY WE WOULD GO TO HELLFUL WE SAW IT.

I LIKED HEARING THEM SAY SHE SHOULD HAVE SAID NO.

THE PICTURES IN IN SERIES NONE ARE FROM A MOVIE BUT WOMEN THAT SHOULD HAVE SAID NO TO DRUGS IS, BAD AIRPLANES, BAD HUSBANDS.

I'M TELLING A STORY COMPLETELY THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT ORIGINAL MOVIE.

SO I THINK IT UP AHEAD OF TIME AND THEN I HAVE TO FIND THE IMAGES READING IT LEFT TO RIGHT JUST LIKE A STORY BOARD IN A MOVIE.LLID RE-ENACTMENT OF THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION IN 1966 WHICH WAS THREE YEARS AFTER IT REALLY HAPPENED.

WHICH IT DID GNT G OVER SO WELL.

LATER I REPHOTOGRAPHED THAT OFF A BAD TV SCREEN AND BLEW IT UP.

TO ME IT LOOKED SCARILY LIKE THE REAL ZAPRUDER FILM THAT BECAME SO FAMOUS.

OF COURSE, TOO BIG FOR ONE WALL.

IT'S AN EPIC.

WHY DIVINE?

WELL, DIE VIN WAS MY LEADING LADY.

WARHOL DID JACKIE.

DID I VINE WAS TO BE JACKIE SO MUCH SHE'S DAYDREAMING AND IT TURNS INTO THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION.

IN REAL LIFE SHE WANTED TO BE ELIZABETH TAYLOR.

I'M THE ONE THAT WANTED TO BE JACKIE KENNEDY.

WE PUT IT TOGETHER AND IT WEIRDLY TURNED OUT TO BE FRIGHTENING AND TOUCHING BECAUSE IT ENDED UP LOOKING LIKE THE REAL ZA PUD DRER FILM.

THEY PERN OR TOPIC IN THAT'S TABOO.

YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL WITH RACE JOKES.

ANY KIND OF THING IF YOU'RE NOT THAT PERSON OR MINORITY, YOU HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL TO TELL IT.

I DO USE IT.

IT'S A GRAY LINE.

ALL HUMOR IS A THIN LINE OF HOW FAR YOU CAN GO AND MAKE PEOPLE LAUGH AND WHETHER YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH.

IT'S ALWAYS I'VE BEEN INTERESTED IN AND THINGS I DON'T UNDERSTAND IS ALWAYS A SUBJECT MATTER THAT I'M DRAWN TO.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

WNET

© WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019