For this week only, John Waters is available to the highest bidder.
The Provincetown Film Society is having a virtual winter auction to raise funds to support its programs in Massachusetts, including the Provincetown International Film Festival. As a strong supporter of the film society and longtime summer resident of the beach town on Cape Cod, Waters offered himself as an auction item.
The auction began January 29 and has more than 160 items, from books and artwork to restaurant gift certificates and hotel packages. The website is https://m.biddingforgood.com/auctions/341697328/items and bidding ends Sunday night.
In addition to dinner, drinks and a signed copy of his latest book, Waters has offered to take 10 winning bidders on a tour of Provincetown’s “sex spots.”
Here’s how the listing reads:
“Join writer, director John Waters on a tour of Provincetown’s past and public sex spots. Hear the stories and visit the sites. After the tour, join John for martinis and dinner at Bubala’s By the Bay,” a popular restaurant on Commercial Street.
The film society has added a note of “special instructions” that weren’t put on any of the other listings: “Must be 21 or older to bid on this item.”
The auction comes one week after Waters, 74, helped Calvert School in Baltimore raise more than $30,000 by taking part in “A Night with John Waters ’58,” a virtual Q&A session for students, alumni, faculty and parents.
The event was a homecoming of sorts for Waters, who attended grade school there in the 1950s. “I feel like I’ve been sent to the principal’s office,” he quipped.
Waters said he suggested leading a tour for the Provincetown auction because he didn’t want his contribution to be the same as everyone else’s. He said this is the first time he’s done a tour such as this. He said he’s never contributed an auction item that’s so participatory and “involved,” but he knows the film society needs support and wanted to go all out. Plus, he wanted it to be fun.
“I didn’t want to do some boring thing,” he said. “I wanted it to be something in the spirit of me.”
Film society executive director Blythe Frank predicts the tour and dinner will draw a lot of interest.
“It is deep and it is involved and it is a lot of fun,” she said in a video about the auction. “And then moving on to a dinner with him at Bubala’s to hang out and have drinks and talk about all of it…I think it’s going to be one of our most talked-about items that we offer in this auction and for many years to come.”
According to Waters and the film festival treasurer Gabrielle Hanna, there will be 10 winning bidders, because there are three groups of two up for bid and four single slots up for bid. All of the winners will go on the same tour and have dinner with Waters at the same time.
According to the auction listing, the tour and dinner will take place on a secret day and time in July, a month when Waters is in Provincetown. Hanna said the exact day will be chosen once the winners are identified and contacted, so people can coordinate their schedules and make travel plans if necessary. She said it will be a “mutually agreeable day.” The winning bidders have to get to Provincetown on their own, if they aren’t already in town.
The tour is expected to take about an hour, and a van will transport participants from place to place. Dinner, drinks and a signed copy of Waters’ Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder are included as part of the bid. Participants are expected to follow all public health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Bubala’s By the Bay and East End Books of Provincetown joined Waters in planning and donating this item.
Other noteworthy items in the auction are a literary tour of Provincetown for up to 12, concluding with lunch at the Norman Mailer House; a virtual tour of Provincetown architecture for up to 10 with New York Times writer and Building Provincetown author David Dunlap; a writing salon with author Michael Cunningham; a history tour of Provincetown restaurants, and a personalized voicemail greeting recorded by actress Kathleen Turner.
Additional Waters-related items include a poster for A Dirty Shame and a poster that Waters designed for the 2020 New York Film Festival. For Tab Hunter and Divine fans, there’s an original poster for Lust in the Dust.
Bidding ends at 11:59 p.m. on February 7. The website is: https://m.biddingforgood.com/auctions/341697328