John Waters Remakes Pink Flamingos for Children

Baltimore filmmaker and author John Waters spent time in the hospital briefly on Dec. 23 and missed his own annual Christmas party, but he’s already on the mend.

Guests invited to Waters’ North Baltimore home for the party two days before Christmas say they arrived to learn that the host would not be present. They say the explanation was that Waters went to the hospital for treatment of kidney stones.

“It was a very weird Friday evening, a John Waters party without John,” one guest said after the party.

Waters had just ended a whirlwind 18-city tour of his holiday comedy show, “A John Waters Christmas,” with a sold-out performance in Baltimore on Dec. 21.

A man who opened the front door at Waters’ house on Monday afternoon declined to provide information about the filmmaker other than to confirm that he was back home from the hospital. The man said he would take a note to the filmmaker.

Waters sent an email message shortly afterwards, addressing the situation with his characteristic humor and aplomb.

“Since my party has always been private and off the record I think I’ll just keep it that way,” Waters wrote. “I am fine and it’s a new concept in home entertainment — the host doesn’t show up. All is well. JW.”

Dubbed the ‘Pope of Trash,’ Waters is well known for films such as “Hairspray” and “Pink Flamingos” and books such as “Shock Value” and “Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America.” His annual Christmas party is a highlight of the holiday season in Baltimore for those fortunate enough to receive an invitation. The Baltimore native had a big year in 2016, with Hairspray Live! airing on NBC and a restored version of his 1970 film Multiple Maniacs released in movie theaters over the summer.

Guests at Waters’ party couldn’t help but note that his trip to the hospital fit into a pattern in which celebrities on both sides of the Atlantic have become ill or passed away in 2016, including musicians Prince, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen. Two days later in Great Britain, Queen Elizabeth, 90, missed a Christmas Day church service due to a “heavy cold.”

Waters, 70, was in the hospital the same day that actress Carrie Fisher went into intensive care after suffering a heart attack on an airliner flying from London to Los Angeles, and two days before British singer George Michael died at 53.

Waters seemed to offer a premonition that something unusual might take place this Christmas during an interview last month on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, when the host asked him what he loves about Christmas.

“I love it’s so extreme,” Waters replied. “It’s extreme. It’s coming at you. You can’t change it. There’s nothing you can do about it.”

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.

11 replies on “John Waters Briefly Hospitalized, Misses His Own Annual Christmas Party”

  1. I’ll bet the real reason for his absence was because Santa didn’t bring him those cha-cha heels – black ones!

  2. Back off, 2016. I get that you’re going for some celebrity death high score, but get your boney hands off of John Waters.

    1. Well said. A bit ghoulish of Mr. Gunts, predicting that (we all) will die some day. This piece has a leering, hand rubbing, “I called it first” tone.

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