Sunday, August 26, 2007

john waters

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just watched this filthy world on dvd. it's a live-performance film by writer-director john waters, directed by jeff garlin.

looking like the geiko gecko dressed as algernon moncrieff, waters speedtalks nonstop for 86 minutes on his career, crimes, + obsessions in front of a (it seems to me) underappreciative new york audience.

the man is brilliant, + his riff is a live bomb. if warhol was the leonardo of american pop (+ he was), waters is its bosch.

unlike the thousands of other 70s provocateurs who came + went, waters crafted, however haphazardly, an aesthetic of shock, characterized by brutal honesty, contempt for right-thinking mediocrity , + fondness for violent + crass outcasts.

nobody since james dean has done so much to glamorize juvenile delinquency--+ waters's j.d. creds are arguably superior to dean's. no american filmmaker has come as close to luis buñuel's eye + ear for middle-class bad faith--including, now, a new gay mainstream--in the new century, gays have more kids than catholics, he observes.

as an actor in not only his own films, but also films of other directors, like jonathan demme + woody allen, he symbolizes american sleeze--his mere appearance in a film implicitly standing for an indictment of an entire nation's false values.

everyone knows the eat-the-rich sensibility of waters' films of the 70s was full-frontal class warfare. that he did (+ still does) this without bitterness + with considerable warmth + charm is just short of a miracle.

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