Sometimes referred to as the “King of Bad Taste” and the “Pope of Trash,” cult filmmaker and Baltimore native John Waters turns 68 today. His early films, like Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble and Desperate Living, included a cast of characters: Performance artist Divine (aka Harris Glenn Milstead, d. 1988), who usually played female roles; David Lochary; actress Mink Stole; and Susan Lowe, who played an asylum inmate in her first role in a Waters film. Later Waters cast Patty Hearst, kidnap victim and convicted bank robber, in a number of films, including Cry-Baby, Serial Mom, Pecker, Cecil B. Demented and A Dirty Shame. Arguably Waters’s most famous film is Hairspray (1988), which starred Divine and an unknown actress in her film debut, Ricki Lake. Hairspray was adapted into a Broadway musical of the same name in 2002 and ended up winning eight Tony Awards, including best musical. An adaptation of the Broadway musical was released as a film in 2007. It starred John Travolta and Zac Efron, but was a departure from the original Waters film production.
Today, in honor of Waters, we celebrate the provocatives, the punks and the progressives who grace the pages of photographer Christopher Makos‘s second edition of White Trash Uncut (Glitterati, 2014). The first edition of White Trash, published in 1977, was a paperback “throwaway,” though like Waters’s films, later became a cult classic and now sells for up to $500 on Amazon. The recently released deluxe second edition features 25 new photographs, a hardcover, and essays by Andrew Crispo and Peter Wise. Images of art-world icons, such as Waters, Divine, Andy Warhol, Man Ray, Tennessee Williams, Halston, John Paul Getty III, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Grace Jones and Patti Smith, fill the book’s pages.
“It wasn’t until I started reading and found books they wouldn’t let us read in school that I discovered you could be insane and happy and have a good life without being like everybody else.” — John Waters