By Reggie Cameron
Filmmaker and author John Waters has been referred to as the “King of Bad Taste.” The first time I encountered Waters was at an intimate dinner party in New York City, where his sardonic humor peppered throughout the conversation. After an effeminate friend shared a story about a recent sexcapade, Waters questioned, “What do you call a feminine top?” I sat silently and shrugged. Waters exclaimed, “A BLOUSE!”
On Tuesday, Dec. 2nd, the cultural icon will share cherished holiday memories in his one man show, A John Waters Christmas, at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. He shares some of his yuletide traditions:
Reggie Cameron: Every year you send out Christmas cards; when did that tradition begin with you?
John Waters: I started doing it in high school in 1964. It’s like barbershops used to put out a calendar. It’s my calendar. It’s not really a commercial thing, although I am using last year’s Christmas card for this year’s Christmas tour. It’s a private thing for a year, and then I exploit it the next year. I send out over 2,000 cards by now.
RC: One of my favorite cards of yours features you in a mugshot with a Santa hat. Is that actually an arrest photo?
JW: A lot of people thought it was real, that I’d been pulled over drunk. I actually went down to the police station that year and was very disappointed to learn that mug shots are done now by computer. I got them to take out one of the old machines for me.
RC: What is one of your favorite Christmas gifts, any age?
JW: One year a friend gave me “Rock Hudson: A Gathering of Friends,” the master invitation list from Rock Hudson’s memorial service. It’s so great. Everyone’s in it, with personal addresses all bound into a book. Another year I received Ike Turner’s will. I get great stuff.
RC: What sort of presents do you give out?
JW: I think you should reward people sexually for giving books. Don’t send a thank-you note, repay them with sexual activity. If the book is rare or by your favorite author or one you didn’t know about, reward them with the most perverted sex act you can think of. The rudest possible gift is a gift card. It means you think the person is stupid and has no interests…unless you can use it to buy a hit man or drugs.
Tickets for A John Waters Christmas at the McCallum are available now at McCallumTheatre.com.