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Filthy Fun

John Waters visits Grounds

John Waters Dan Addison

The theme of the Virginia Film Festival in November was “Funny Business,” which allowed new festival director Jody Kielbasa to show all kinds of funny films, from Chaplin-esque slapstick to political high jinks to mystery and intrigue. Another kind of “funny”—the kind that makes you squirm—was reserved for filmmaker, actor, visual artist and author John Waters, who was fondly dubbed the “Pope of Trash” by social critic William Burroughs. Waters is known for films such as Pink Flamingos (1972), Hairspray (1988) and Serial Mom (1994).

The festival hosted a late-night screening of the 25th anniversary edition of Pink Flamingos, introduced by Waters, as well as a UVA Arts Assembly talk at Culbreth Theatre based on Waters’ one-man performance, This Filthy World.

Waters also met students in professor Kevin Everson’s cinematography class to watch students’ films and share his advice. More than waxing philosophical, Waters stuck to the practical. “No matter what,” Waters quipped, “always put a good song in the credits. Because that’s when people in the audience turn to one another and say, ‘So, what did you think?’”

Elizabeth Hutton Turner, vice provost for the arts (left), John Waters and museum director Bruce Boucher at the UVA Art Museum.