Over the course of his dynamic career, Waters has pushed boundaries within independent film, art and writing.
And he’s one to never stay idle.
“I have millions of different careers, and I like them all the same,” Waters says. “You need to find a career that you like as much. You should have a million careers.”
Waters is the mastermind behind such classic films as “Hairspray,” “Pink Flamingos,” “Pecker,” “Polyester,” “Serial Mom,” “A Dirty Shame” and “Cry-Baby.”
The 71-year-old entertainer will perform his one-man show, “John Waters – This Filthy World: Dirtier & Filthier” on Saturday, Oct. 21, in Santa Fe. His show is part of the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival.
“I’ve been doing this show for years,” he says. “It is always an evolving monologue. I talk about everything, and it’s really great that I get to keep in touch with my audience.”
Waters jokes that when he’s in town for a performance, the audience members show up looking their best.
“Everyone needs their roots done, and beauticians and barbers’ weekly gross goes up when I’m in town,” he quips. “I’m amazed by my audience – whether it’s Santa Fe or Paris – at how everyone is so cool in their own world. It’s wonderful to see these people adding color to the world.”
Waters grew up in Baltimore in the 1950s, obsessed by violence and gore, both real and on the screen. With his counterculture friends as his cast, he began making silent 8mm and 16mm films in the mid-’60s. By the early 1970s, he was making features, breaking into worldwide notoriety with “Pink Flamingos” in 1972.
Waters successfully crossed over to Hollywood with “Hairspray” in 1988. The film was turned into the eight-time Tony award-winning Broadway musical.
These days, Waters chooses his film projects sparingly. He still goes to movies – he loves “Baby Driver” – and gets popcorn when he goes to the cinema.
He’s very selective about his own projects now.
“I don’t go backwards,” he says. “I own four homes, and why would I panhandle for money to make my film? Then when people are interested in one of my projects, they want me to make it for $1 million. And the backers still want (big-name) movie stars. I’m not doing that. I’m not sitting around for anything. Patience is not my virtue, and excuse me, I don’t have any.”
Writing has been taking up much of Waters’ time as well.
His last book, “Carsick,” was released in June 2014 and followed his 2012 trip across the country hitchhiking.
“I’m writing a book called ‘Mr. Know It All,’ ” he says. “And why do I do it? It’s part of my passion. I knew William Burroughs, and this part of my life is all about reinvention.”
Waters hosted “Camp John Waters” in Kent, Conn., in September, which sold out in one afternoon.
The event was a once-in-a-lifetime camp for fans and featured a dance party, a John Waters costume contest, a film marathon and a book reading.