You remember your first John Waters film; you will remember your first John Waters piece of art. I’m excited and uncomfortable to admit that Waters makes me know what kind of man I want to be. Let that wash over you, let John’s water wash over you. If your skin crawls, it’s nothing personal, but John’s just not for you. Waters is always true to his work and himself; his show at Marianne Boesky gallery is no exception.
I am five goddamn years old again. Waters makes you laugh at yourself, at others, at life, at the absurdity of it all. I can’t understand how people find him offensive. John’s honest, if not bordering on obsessive. But that’s OK! We need popper-sniffing queers from Baltimore who are thoughtful and insightful in their creation of visual art. Waters is accommodating. I mean shit, some of the works are hung low enough for a five year old to have a good look. Think what you want, but the man is encouraging the youth and midgets of our world to stop and take a look. He wants everyone to stop and take time to find the irony and playfulness in our darkest thoughts. We all have them. We should embrace them.
He embraces that mustache. So must we.
The most talked about piece in the show by far, is Waters’ reinterpretation of his own film Pink Flamingos. Kiddie Flamingos is a G-Rated version of Waters’ cult-classic film. This reinvention is kid-friendly. A rather simple thing; it is a sit down reading, by kids, of the script Kiddie Flamingos. I sat and watched one of my favorite films of all time, in a whole new way. What I found striking was the other patrons’ reaction to the film. I can’t help but feel people were anticipating the moments that we remember from Pink Flamingos. This is a whole new film, there are all new moments to enjoy, and subtle details to laugh with. I can’t help but feel people were just waiting to hear the moments where they know to laugh. In this way, I realize the true brilliance of John Waters. He plays on himself, he plays on reality and he plays on us.
“We need to make being poor cool again.” I will remember these words from John Waters’ one-man show. He so embodies this sentiment. Through his work he is able to expose his own vulnerabilities. Getting old, being young, finding love, finding place in the world; these are such universally prolific and relatable topics. It’s what John tackles with these works. Take one good look at your big ugly life, and love yourself because you are weird. That’s life.
Efrem Zelony-Mindell is an artist who lives in New York. For more of his work click here …
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