Q&A With John Waters: How Hairspray secretly corrupted a generation

John Waters / Phoenix New Times

By Jason Keil | Phoenix New Times

John Waters became notorious for his hilarious and trashy midnight masterpieces like 1972’s Pink Flamingos. Decades later, the world has finally met the filmmaker at his level, improving both his infamy and reputation. This is partly the result of the 1988 comedy Hairspray becoming a Broadway musical. It’s now played in high schools across the nation and was the basis of the 2007 hit film starring John Travolta and Christopher Walken.

Waters has also authored several best-selling books. His latest work is Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder, which chronicles his rise to respectability. He also dishes on what happened behind the scenes on his films, many which starred drag queen Divine, and doles out advice to those looking for a way to stand out.


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