The exhibition John Waters: Pope of Trash, which runs from September 17, 2023 to August 4, 2024 at the Academy Museum in Los Angeles, is the first comprehensive retrospective of Waters' cinematic career, spanning from his early underground classics to his mainstream hits. It is a celebration of the unique and influential career of a filmmaker, author, artist, and iconoclast who has been pushing the boundaries of good taste and challenging traditional institutions for over five decades.

The curators, Jenny He and Dara Jaffe, decided to showcase Waters' unique vision and style which have earned him the nickname "Pope of Trash" by William S. Burroughs in 1986. Waters is known for his irreverent humor, his subversive satire, and his celebration of the outrageous and the marginalized. His films feature unforgettable characters, such as Divine, Mink Stole, Edith Massey, and David Lochary, and tackle taboo topics such as sex, violence, crime, and religion.

Over 200 objects from Waters' personal collection are featured, including original scripts, storyboards, props, costumes, posters, photographs, and ephemera. Visitors can also view clips from his films, such as Hag in a Black Leather Jacket (1964), his early masterpiece Pink Flamingos (1972), Polyester (1981), the pop culture phenomenon Hairspray (1988), Serial Mom (1994), and A Dirty Shame (2004). The exhibition also includes a section dedicated to Waters' influences and inspirations, such as exploitation films, underground cinema, Hollywood classics, and contemporary art.

John Waters: Pope of Trash is positioned as an immersive experience that invites you to enter the world of Waters and his characters. You can download an app that lets you style yourself as Waters or one of his film characters, such as Divine, Tracy Turnblad, or Beverly Sutphin. The Academy Museum is also presenting a film series that features all of Waters' films, along with some of his favorites by other directors. More information on John Waters: Pope of Trash can be found here. For more on events happening at the Academy Museum, visit their website.

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