Happy birthday, John Waters

April 22, 2013|By Chris Kaltenbach | The Baltimore Sun

Back in 1972, when John Waters successfully persuaded his friend, Divine, to eat a handful of doggie poo in the name of cinematic trailblazing, who would have guessed that Waters would one day be regarded as among Baltimore's most accomplished and distinguished citizens.

It has, indeed, been a long, strange trip.

From quiet, almost clandestine showings of "Multiple Maniacs" in musty church basements to exhibitions in major art galleries throughout the world, Waters' career has undergone quite the trajectory. Once the scourge of the Maryland State Board of Censors (which he outlasted by more than three decades), he became the toast of Broadway, after a musical version of his 1988 film "Hairspray" -- an ode to high hair and high ideals in early-'60s Baltimore -- nearly swept the Tonys.

Even with all that, he remains America's highest-profile, most happily unregenerate degenerate.

Filmmaker. Writer. Artist. Raconteur. Stand-up comic. CD compiler. Talk-show guest extraordinaire. And has anyone ever done more for pencil mustaches?

And so, today, on the occasion of his 67th birthday, we thank civic treasure John Waters for all the delicious bad taste and wish him Godspeed as he searches for even more horizons in which to make mischief.

Also see: A brief history of John Waters in photos
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