“Don’t buy your cat a Christmas present. It hates you.”


During his 70-minute “A John Waters Christmas” show at the Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points Thursday evening, the 66-year-old Baltimore director of “Pink Flamingos” and “Hairspray” offered fans a guide to surviving the holidays. Literally. Case in point: Invitees to Waters’ annual Christmas party next week in Baltimore should not ring the host in advance to inquire about who’s catering the party and then disclose an allergy to wheat. “Please don’t tell me about your food allergies,” Waters told the crowd. “If you do, I may use them to kill you.”

Waters also cautioned organic fruit aficionados not to send fruit baskets to friends. “Nobody wants your fruit basket,” Waters said as his fans applauded their approval. “I can buy a [expletive] pear. Gift baskets should be reserved for cigarettes and porn, things you wouldn’t buy for yourself.” The author and actor also offered  gift-giving advice for pet owners. “Don’t buy your cat a Christmas present. It hates you.”

And holiday passengers, beware, if you see a lanky man with a pencil thin moustache on your flight this season, you may want to find your own floatation device. “I like the emergency exit rows because of the extra leg room,” Waters confided. “But then a flight attendant always comes over and tells me, ‘Now sir, you’ll be responsible for helping passengers off the plane in the event of an emergency.’ Sure, as the plane is plummeting toward earth and a ball of fire is coming down the aisle, I’ll be standing there saying, ‘Ok, everyone, right this way!”

And alleged friends who try and sell one of the 2,000 Christmas cards Waters sends out to friends each year on eBay? The director will go all Elf on the Shelf on your ass. “My fans always tell me when they see one on eBay,” he warned. “You will be found out and we will burn your house down.”

Waters spent part of his year hitchhiking across America for a new book he’s writing, “Car Sick.” The director’s friends were worried about the trek, especially after Waters made headlines when indie band Here We Go Magic picked him up and later tweeted about their famous passenger. At the time, another writer Ray Dolin was shot while out gathering material for his own travelogue. The book’s working title? “The Kindness of America.” “Terrible title,” sniffed Waters. “Turns out, he shot himself and lied. I think he was jealous of the front page write up I received in the New York Times. You can’t upstage me, bitch! Now, he’s like the James Frey of hitchhiking authors.”

At the show’s conclusion, Waters brought up the house lights to take questions from the audience. After fans suggested late night haunts for him to visit, he sadly admitted he had to hop on a plane and wouldn’t be able to visit The Eagle or The Clermont Lounge. Remembering his first visit to Atlanta decades ago, Waters recalled wistfully, “The very first thing I did was visit the street corner where Margaret Mitchell was run over. It was magical.”

Instagram photos by Rich Eldredge