‘This Filthy World’ Hits Sonoma

As a part of the Sonoma International Film Festival director and provoca-auteur John Waters, a part-time San Franciscan (he’d never desert Baltimore completely), brings his one-man “Vaudeville” act “This Filthy World” to the stage of the Sonoma Veteran’s Memorial Building on Saturday night. And he couldn’t have found a more congenial place for it.

For one, there are times when we look at the cast of characters assembled for the tolerated public drinking spectacle that follows each Tuesday farmers market on the Plaza and we search for John Waters (or maybe Cecil B. Demented) heading a film crew, so sure are we that the odd folk of Sonoma just can’t be for real. And yet they are.

For another, Sonoma is a literary sort of place, what with Jack London’s Glen Ellen nearby and a slew of quaint bookshops. And John Waters loves books. He famously said, “We need to make books cool again. If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.

“John Waters exemplifies some of America’s most unique filmmaking beyond mainstream story lines. His ability to portray extreme characters with both darkness and humor is a testament to his extreme talent,” said SIFF director Kevin McNeely. He’s also made films in which the drag performer Devine variously — playing Jackie Kennedy — forces women to eat their own makeup, runs naked through the streets of Baltimore (during the filming of which Waters was arrested), and perhaps, most notoriously, eats dog shit (Divine’s character Babs was going for the title of “Filthiest Person Alive” and he was something of a Method actor). But maybe that’s what McNeely meant.

So the wonderful, filthy world of John Waters will be on display in Sonoma when the man himself hosts dinner and a show. However, it’s sold out, so if you don’t have tickets already you can eat shit.