Arts + Culture

Shock-Comedy Auteur John Waters Returns in “A John Waters Christmas,” with Jonathan Richman and Featuring Tommy Larkins, at UCLA Live, Dec. 1

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UCLA Live welcomesthe return of legendary filmmaker, author and actor John Waters in his funny and delightfully wicked holiday show, "A John Waters Christmas," with rockerJonathan Richman and featuring drummer Tommy Larkins, at 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1, at Royce Hallon the UCLA campus. This celebrated third annual event begins with a set byRichman and Larkins, followed by an intermission before Waters takes the stage.For tickets call (310) 825-2101,visit www.UCLALive.org or contact Ticketmaster.

Waters has become theworld's preeminent auteur of dark, gross-out comedy, changing the cinematiclandscape forever with unexpectedly intelligent camp classics such as "PinkFlamingos," "Hairspray" and "Serial Mom." The sultan of sleaze is back bypopular demand with another dose of holiday cheer in "A John Waters Christmas," delivering caustic holiday observationsin a rapid-fire monologue covering all of his favorite Christmas obsessions.The evening offers a Joyeaux Noellike no other, as Waters reveals his compulsive desire to give and receivepersonal gifts, a religious fanaticism for Santa Claus, an unhealthy love oftrue crime and yuletide horror stories. This year's command performance willfeature new holiday jokes that, says Waters, "will hopefully make you feelbetter when the Christmas season is making you mental."

The off-the-wall eveningopens with subversive holiday tunes performed by eccentric cult rocker andformer Modern Lovers front man JonathanRichman, with drummer TommyLarkins. The duo was featured in the Farrelly brothers' films "There'sSomething About Mary" (1998) and "King Pin" (1996), and are interviewed in the2003 documentary short "Up a Tree with Jonathan Richman & Tommy Larkins," also included on the special edition DVD release of"There's Something About Mary."

Basedon the success of its debut in 2004, Waters'Christmas-themed one man show has been seen in cities including Los Angeles,New York, Portland and Washington, D.C. "A John Waters Christmas" (2004, NewLine Records) is a cynically hilarious CD compilation of outlandish holidaymusical oddities and obscurities selected by Watershimself, featuring songs by Tiny Tim, the Chipmunks and Fat Daddy.

Ina career spanning 40 years, Waters has moved from the margins of culture to themainstream, applying his notorious perspective and aesthetic to filmmaking,writing, acting and photography. Starring for the first time in aseries, he will play the Groom Reaper in Court TV's original scripted program,"'Til Death Do Us Part," set todebut in early 2007. Dramatizing stories inspired by true crimes of happilymarried couples whose once-wedded bliss ends in murder, Waters' character willguide the viewer through each case of unbelievably bizarre and sometimesgruesomely funny stories. An avid fan of Court TV, Waters was known for a timefor going to high profile court cases as an observer.

Born in Baltimore, Md.,in 1946, Waters was obsessed from an early age by violence and gore, both realand onscreen. Dubbed "The Pope of Trash" by writer William Burroughs, Watersbegan making silent 8mm and 16mm movies in the mid-1960s with hiscounter-culture friends as his cast. From the early 1970s, Waters and hisDreamland repertory company made shocking, low-budget feature films that hemanaged to get shown by sheer perseverance at midnight screenings in artcinemas. Waters first found fame with "Pink Flamingos" (1972), a deliberateexercise in ultra-bad taste starring his friend and muse, Divine. Hollywoodcrossover success began in 1988 with "Hairspray," which was turned into a hitBroadway musical that swept the 2003 Tony Awards, and is currently beingadapted as a feature film starring John Travolta and Queen Latifah, set forDecember 2007 release by New Line Cinema. Waters' most recent film, "A DirtyShame," is a move back toward his earlier, more controversial work. He iscurrently a professor of Cinema and Subcultural Studies at the European GraduateSchool in New York City.

Called the "Godfather of Punk,"Massachusettsnative Richman launched his singer-songwriter career as the leader of thelegendary Velvet Underground influenced proto-punk band, The Modern Lovers. In1972, the original group, which also included future Talking Heads keyboardistJerry Harrison, recorded the seminal classics "Roadrunner," featured in themovie soundtrack of 2003's "School of Rock" and covered by artists as diverse as the SexPistols and Joan Jett, and "Pablo Picasso," performed by the Burning Sensationsin the 1984 cult film, "Repo Man." Shortly after these songswere recorded, Richman broke up the band and embarked on a long and eclecticsolo career. Richman's 21st album, "Not So Much to Be Loved" (2004, VaporRecords), is the follow up to his live DVD "Take Me to the Plaza" (2003,Sanctuary Records), both of which also feature Larkins on drums.

Tickets to "A John Waters Christmas" are availablefor $48, $35 and $25 and can bepurchased onlineat www.UCLALive.org, via phone at (310)825-2101,in person at the UCLA Central Ticket Office at the southwest corner of the James West Alumni Centerand at Ticketmaster outlets. UCLA students may purchase tickets in advance for$17. Student rush tickets, subject to availability, are offered at the sameprice to all students with a valid ID one hour prior to show time.

Presented in association with Ian Brennan.

CANCELLATION: The McGarrigle Christmas Hour tour and UCLA Live concert, previouslyscheduled for Dec. 6 at Royce Hall,has been cancelled due to an unexpected illness in the family.

UCLA Live's Holiday Events Continue:

Dec. 7: "The Roches with a Holiday Twist" features folk music's most endearingartists, sisters Maggie, Terre and Suzzy Roche, in acelebration of holiday favorites and songs spanning their career.

Dec. 12-Jan. 7,2007: World-renowned Russian clown Slava Polunin presents his internationally acclaimed "Slava's Snowshow," winner of theOlivier Award in Londonfor "Best Entertainment."

UCLA Live is aninternationally acclaimed producer and presenter of music, dance, theater andspoken word, bringing hundreds of outstanding and provocative artists to Los Angeles each year.

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