"It never got made," Waters said. "And I did a script for a TV series pilot, which never got made."

The filmmaker does have another, non-"Hairspray"-related project in mind, a movie called "Fruitcake," which is to take place in Remington.

"Remington still has edge," he said, "unlike in Manhattan — if there is one bad street left, the best restaurant would open there. We've got edge [in Baltimore]. We've always had that. That's why 'The Wire' was so great. People come here because of 'The Wire.'"

Waters doesn't have time for mainstream things that pop up in Baltimore ("I hate tall ships"), but always makes room for the quirkier. "This is the only city I've ever autographed a house in," he said — a patron at a restaurant in Hampden came up to him with that request.

Last year, Waters decided to check out the scene beyond Baltimore in a novel way, hitch-hiking across the country. He is on the second draft of a book about his experiences.

"When you hitch, your job is to talk," he said. "The more you talk, the longer the ride. I can usually get along with people."

If he runs into disagreeable sorts, Waters is not inclined to dally, given his overriding philosophy:

"Never having to be around [jerks] — that's what I consider success," he said.

A notion Edna Turnblad would have heartily seconded.

tim.smith@baltsun.com

If you go

"Hairspray: In Concert" will be performed at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda; 8 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 3 p.m. Jan. 27 at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. Tickets are $29 to $91. Call 410-783-8000 or go to bsomusic.org.

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