Sunday, December 20, 2009

John Waters: Change of Life

I just went to the John Waters Christmas Show on Friday, so I thought I'd take a look back at Change of Life, which was published in conjunction with an exhibit at the New Museum of Contemporary Art about five years ago.

It originally had a dust jacket with the title on it but I liked the one underneath so much better that I threw the regular cover away. The image correlates to a series of photographs in the book.

Most of the exhibit consisted of these montages of photographs that Waters took of his television, juxtaposing various movie stills in one long strip, in a way creating a new film. Pictured above are sections of "Mental" and "Grace Kelly's Elbows."

"Puke in the Cinema" is a great one. What else would you expect from "the prince of puke"?

Also featured in the exhibit were various artifacts from Waters' collection, such as these vintage books. He actually made reference to books starting with "I" in the Christmas show—in fact, he went on to discuss how books are the best gift you can give, and that if someone gives you a book for Christmas you should reward them sexually. Which strikes me as an incredible marketing platform for the holiday gift-buying season. So Mr. Waters, as an employee of a book publishing company, I propose that next year you develop this idea into a full-fledged advertising campaign. I'm kind of serious. It would be far more interesting than the usual crap we come up with. 

Moving along...

More from his collection. The toy electric chair is pretty incredible.

Some vintage candies from his collection. I wonder why dingle berries never caught on...

And finally, perhaps the best part of the show was the screening of Waters' earliest films in constant rotation. I got to see Hag in a Black Leather Jacket, Roman Candles, and Eat Your Makeup, three films that I will probably never have a chance to see again (at the Christmas show Waters was asked by an audience member if he would ever release them; he said no). Eat Your Makeup, pictured above, is the best of the three—it features a young Divine as Jackie Kennedy, part of a reenactment of the Kennedy assassination.

Now I need to go watch some John Waters movies. I wish I owned a copy of Female Trouble—it'd be a nice addition to the holiday viewing I've been doing. Nice girls don't wear cha cha heels!

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