Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, 1 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON
Kate J. Russell
This talk examines director John Waters’s film Pink Flamingos in relation to the midnight movie circuit in major American metropolises during the 1970s. The exhibition practice of screening cult films that tended to transgress social mores late at night fomented a social and participatory form of spectatorship, in which boisterous, effusive responses were encouraged. This talk positions John Waters as a crucial figure in the theorization of spectatorship that extends beyond the space of the theatre through publicity campaigns, and that encourages viewing practices that are opposed to the mainstream etiquette of contemplative viewing. Waters’s work instrumentalizes transgressive imagery in a way that ruptures the separation between the screen and audience, galvanizing a sense of community amongst his cast, crew and their late night fanatics.