Photo by Al

Filmmaker, writer, artist and comedian John Waters has built his iconic career upon a body of work made right here in Baltimore. Now, he’ll have a lifetime achievement from the Writers Guild of America, East to show for it, too.

The East Coast branch of the Writers Guild announced today that Waters will receive the Ian McLellan Hunter Award at its annual ceremony in New York on Feb. 19, 2017. The award has been around since 1992 and goes to a Writers Guild member to honor them for lifetime of work in TV or motion picture writing.

Waters has made his mark on film over the course of his career with not only the movie-turned Broadway classic Hairspray! (1988), but also cult films like Pink Flamingos (1972), Polyester (1981), Cry-Baby (1990), Serial Mom (1994) and Pecker (1998), among a host of others. NBC recently brought back Hairspray! with a live nationally syndicated musical, which received mixed reviews.

“Decades ago, a critic once wrote that my screenplays ‘were merely clotheslines to hang out my dirty wash’. I’m glad the WGAE disagrees – or maybe they DO agree, who knows?” Waters quipped in a statement from the Writers Guild of America, East. “Either way, I couldn’t be more honored and excited to get this award.”

And who better to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Waters than The Wire creator David Simon, who himself was given the same award three years ago? In a statement, Simon said in part that “only John Waters has made being not right, not normal, not ordinary, nor expected seem so, well, Baltimore.”

“I’ve shared my crew with this man. I’ve shared some cast, at points. I’ve shared some meals and jokes and the very real benefit of his having been a pioneer for a film community that has punched well beyond its weight class,” Simon added. “But most of all, like damn near every Baltimorean, I am proud that I share a city with this fine storyteller.”

To make the whole event even more interesting, comedian Lewis Black will be hosting the 2017 award show. Between him, Simon and Waters, we can expect some enjoyable commentary on the state of modern times should they all join one another on stage.

While all of this is going on in New York, the Writers Guild of America, West will be holding its own simultaneous award ceremony to honor its members out in Los Angeles.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...