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Town Hall Seattle: Arts & Culture Series

Town Hall’s Arts & Culture series elevates the voices of local artists while bringing world-renowned cultural icons to Seattle audiences. The series celebrates music, photography, sculpture, philosophy, heritage, and traditions around the world that enrich our lives.

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Jun 11, 2019

No one knows more about everything—especially everything rude, clever, and offensively compelling—than John Waters. He joined us for a discussion of his new book Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder. Town Hall invited you to a conversation with Waters, joined onstage by writer David Schmader, that spans the breadth of his incredible and eclectic knowledge, fielding questions of every variety and exploring the idiosyncrasies of life.

In Mr. Know-It-All, he offered insight on everything under the sun: how to fail upward in Hollywood; how to develop musical taste from Nervous Norvus to Maria Callas; how to build a home so ugly and trendy that no one but you would dare live in it; how to tell someone you love them without emotional risk; and even how to cheat death. Through it all, Waters swears by one undeniable truth: “Whatever you might have heard, there is absolutely no downside to being famous. None at all.” Listen in for a deep conversation drawing on a lifetime of experience from a master of transgressive film.

John Waters is a film director, screenwriter, author, actor, stand-up comedian, journalist, and visual artist. He is the mind behind numerous beloved cult films, including Hairspray, Multiple Maniacs, Cry-Baby, Pink Flamingos, and many others. His books Role Models and Carsick were major national bestsellers, and his spoken-word shows This Filthy World and A John Waters Christmas continue to be performed around the world.

David Schmader is a writer and performer devoted to exploring his obsessions, from homophobic rock stars and conversion therapy to cannabis and trash cinema. From 1998-2015, Schmader was a staff writer and editor at The Stranger where he wrote the issue-opening column “Last Days: The Week in Review” for 18 years.

Recorded live at The Great Hall at Town Hall Seattle on May 29, 2019.