Exclusive Portrait: Director John Waters for New Novel at Spring Chicago Humanities Festival

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CHICAGO – The legendary “Pope of Trash,” outrageous filmmaker John Waters, promoted his new novel “Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance” at the Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) on May 7th, 2022, and HollywoodChicago.com was there.

Waters sat down for an interview with Chicago cinéaste Richard Knight Jr. at the Spring CHF, and signed his new novel afterward. Photographer Joe Arce got an Exclusive Portrait of the filmmaker, and Patrick McDonald got a bit of insight into his film film, “Hag in a Black Leather Jacket,” which Waters made on 8mm in 1964 at age 18 … see the 30 second documentary below.

John Waters at Chicago Humanities Festival, May 7th, 2022
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

John Waters was born in Baltimore, and his met his frequent collaborator Divine (Glenn Milstead) while growing up in nearby Lutherville. He absorbed the atmosphere of “Charm City” and used Baltimore as the early settings for his films, most famously in “Hairspray” (film and musical). After showing “Hag” just once publicly, he went on to do film happenings around his short films, and made his first features – Mondo Trasho (1969) and Multiple Maniacs (1970, soon to be a Criterion release).

He cemented his trash reputation by producing the cult classics “Pink Flamingos” (1972) and “Female Trouble” (1974), and began the 1980s – his “mainstreaming” decade – with Polyester (1981). This was followed by his breakout “Hairspray” (1988), “Cry-Baby” (1990), “Serial Mom” (1994) and “Cecil B. Demented” (2000). His most recent film has an apt title, “A Dirty Shame” (2004), but he hinted during his talk that a new film was in the works, and he continues to tour with his stage events, including the recent “A John Waters Christmas.”

“Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance” is his first novel, and involves the adventures of Marsha Sprinkle … a suitcase thief, scammer and master of disguise. Dogs and children hate her and even her own family wants her dead, but she’s smart, she’s desperate, she’s disturbed, and she’s on the run with a big chip on her shoulder. They call her “Liarmouth” – until one insane man makes her tell the truth.

John Waters appeared at the Chicago Humanities Festival, a year-round celebration of curiosity, celebrating creativity and exploring the boundaries of contemporary knowledge and culture. The Spring Season continues throughout May.

The following is a 30 second documentary on John Waters first film, “Hag in a Black Leather Jacket,” featuring a question to JW from Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com …

The Chicago Humanities Festival continues throughout the month of May. Click CHF for information and events. “Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance” by John Waters is available wherever books are sold.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2022 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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