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John Waters Keeping Busy In All Media

John Waters lacks the funding to film his most recent script Fruitcake, a Christmas family comedy about meat thieves — those people who rap on your door or accost you at a bar and yell, "You want some meat?" and deliver, say, some blatantly stolen ground beef. He says the market has dried up for mid-range independent movies, even one that could be brought in for $7 million, and he refuses to lower the price tag by recreating Baltimore in another state that, unlike Maryland, boasts substantial moviemaking-incentive programs.

But he has kept busy.

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He's done a story draft for Hairspray 2, and though he's sworn to secrecy, he will say that it takes place "when the Sixties really hit."

He's recently given five lectures in eight days in three countries (Sweden, Denmark and America), presented an art show called Rear Projection in New York and Los Angeles (where it's still up at the Larry Gogosian Gallery), and completed a book called Role Models for Farrar, Straus and Giroux. It is, he says, "My memoirs told through the people who inspired me." The list includes Johnny Mathis, Tennessee Williams, Charles Manson family member Leslie Van Houten (Waters has long championed her parole), and the daughter of Zorro, the lesbian stripper.

Waters may be best known as a filmmaker and movie-TV personality, but he really has become a man of letters and a man of the arts, high, low and middle. He even says that by far the most money he ever made came not from any of his own movies but from the Broadway musical of Hairspray.

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