Pink Flamingos; the mawkish rock and roll B-movie Hairspray; the venal, craven art world in Pecker; or the normative American nuclear family in Serial Mom, as well as for his own forays into art and literature as a primo collector and manufacturer of trash, kitsch and other tell-tale dross of the American dream. It’s one of those self-evident truths that every iconoclast needs icons to smash, so here comes Santa. In Mr. Waters’s words, and these must lie near the heart of Thursday’s show, Santa is the first lie that parents tell their children, the one that moves kids to completely mistrust authority and, later, to heroin and meth abuse.
A John Waters Christmas is quickly becoming an unlikely seasonal tradition in itself, one in which he rekindles the disappearing art of comic storytelling à la Mark Twain or Oscar Wilde, in order to wax acidic on the subject of holidays past and present, like a dapper Marley, except more prone to wit than whining. Waters’s polymath perversity looks its best when draped around archly traditional subjects. After all, he’s best known as the iconoclastic filmmaker who has basted genres in sleaze, like the trash Americana of