A typically quirky, raunchy John Waters Christmas
Were they in the wrong place? Did they get the dates mixed up, and thought it was Thursday, when the Irish Tenors will perform there? Were they expecting Johnny Mathis?
(During the show, Waters, a longtime fan of the singer's, said he thought it would be funny if he and Johnny booked concerts on the same night, one at the Lyric, one at the Meyerhoff, and then switched places without warning their respective audiences. Sounds cool to me.)
If those sweet looking elderly souls actually knew what they were in for, they have my great admiration. Even I was embarrassed hearing some of the raunchier stuff our Baltimore icon said in his roughly 80-minute monologue.
Waters has been doing an extensive tour -- more than two dozen performances all over the place, including Down Under -- and the Baltimore gig served, appropriately, as the last stop.
Decked out in a spirited, Isaac Mizrahi-designed red suit, Waters kept more or less to the Christmas theme, mostly by ...
Along the way, he dispensed keen observations on human behavior ("If you are old enough to remember the fashions, you are too old to wear them") and, especially, sexuality (this guy probably knows more about gay and straight sexual habits than most gays and straights). Of course, he also reminisced about Baltimore people, places and practices -- no one can do that better.
Like some of his movies, the results were uneven, a mix of wickedly funny peaks and dry spells. But those peaks sure could be formidable; mentions of Connie Francis and the 1961 movie "Susan Slade" were particularly delicious. Waters' assured, rapid-fire delivery was never less than impressive, as was the way he fielded questions from the house afterward.
And what a distinctive audience it was, ideal for people-watching in the lobby beforehand. Several seemed to have dressed as if they expected a casting call for the next John Waters film.
It turns out that some of those folks were not on their best behavior. A Sun colleague told me that she and her party were stuck in the midst of persistently rowdy types in the balcony, including a drunken woman who vomited into her purse. I guess there's irony or something in a Waters-like scene playing out during his own show.
SUN FILE PHOTO