John Waters: Change of Life
at the Orange County Museum of Art
Unfortunately for you. If for some reason you didn't see the traveling John Waters show, 'Change of Life' originally in New York, based for the past three months at Orange County's Museum of Art, truly, you should be kicking yourself right about now because it's over, January 15th was your last chance and it said a lot.
Change of Life features some eighty fairly recent images and three fairly ancient films playing in constant rotation. It's hard to imagine, John Waters has been a public figure for nearly forty years. The movies alone were worth the price of admission, Hag in a Black Leather Jacket (1964), Roman Candles (1966) - marking the screen debut of Divine and Mink and 1967's, Eat Your Make-Up, had never previously been screened on the West Coast.
Eat Your Make-Up offers a disturbed couple, kidnapped models - who are forced to eat make-up, and model themselves to death. The film includes a Zapruder fantasy sequence in which Divine plays Jackie Kennedy.Waters describes each of these as 'home movies' and is not all that keen on people seeing them at all. I think their exposure has been limited to one Baltimore coffee shop.
The photographic work on display here comes from humble and somewhat inadvertent beginnings... Waters wanted a still from one of his own films and took photographs of his own movie playing on TV. He was excited with the results and realized this was a rich format. Now he says, even when confronted with the most hopeless film, when imagining 24 frames every second running through the projector, that's billions of frames and somewhere he's sure, you'll find something good.
There was much to see and of course you can find a lot of his images included in this show online too. Enlightening, I hadn't realized I'd rarely if ever seen a dirty foot in a porno movie... Personally, I'd like a FLOP pillow for the house.
Lots of Credit to the OCMA - a free podcast was provided on their website, which we were able to download and take to the museum. What a treat, John Waters himself, taking you through each item as you walk through the show. If you closed your eyes, it was almost like John was there with you. It also features an introduction from Ricky Lake.
The free audio simply made the show much more interesting, accessible and meaningful to friends I attended with, who aren't at all sure about John Waters beyond his reputation as the Pope of Trash.There's a tiny piece of that MP3 here which probably infringes someone's copyright, sorry in advance, in it, John Waters provides a little advice, of sorts, for self-proclaimed 'artists' everywhere. John Waters Audio
All museums and galleries should offer the free downloadable mp3 service if they're really into art and not solely into commerce.
John Waters has always been excellently understatedly articulate about his work. That he appears so publicly urbane makes us enjoy him and his films and books all the more. Change of Life is a funny, odd, compelling, heartfelt, unusual and joyous collection. Hating Katherine Hepburn is as outrageous as it gets. Not much wrong with that. Good stuff.