After hosting a formal dinner for ten last year at the Provincetown Dump, John Waters is back with a Soiree at the Sewer.
That’s Waters’ name for an exclusive dinner party he plans to host in the LGBTQ-friendly beach town where he’s spent every summer since 1964.
It’s the latest in a series of offbeat auction items he’s donated to raise funds for one of his favorite causes, the Provincetown Film Society, producers of the Provincetown International Film Festival, and other activities.
In 2021, Waters led a guided tour of Ptown sex haunts, ending at the town’s notorious Dick Dock. He followed that last year with his Dinner at the Provincetown Dump. Both were top-selling auction items for the film society, each raising more than $17,000. (That averages out to $1,700 per person, even more than the $1,250 per head that guests paid for their fictional seven-course dinner at Hawthorn in “The Menu.”)
This year the setting is Provincetown’s water treatment plant, which is connected to the town’s sewer system. The facility made headlines at the height of the tourist season last summer when its “vacuum system” failed just before Carnival Week. People were told to keep toilet flushes to a minimum until the “sewer emergency” was over.
“Join John Waters for Soiree at the Sewer,” the auction item reads. “No Emergency This Time – Just a Cesspool Celebration…There’s Nothing Regular About It!”
The online auction went live on February 4 with more than 100 items up for bid, including gifts, experiences, and getaways, and it ends at 11:59 p.m. on February 12. All proceeds will benefit the mission of the film society to present and advocate for gender, racial, and LGBTQ+ representation on screen by providing year-round programming and platforms that allow “voices of all kinds” to be heard.
Ten of the lots in the auction entitle the winning bidder to join Waters at the dinner, which will take place in mid-July. Each lot is for one guest, and people must be 21 or older to bid.
The dinner will be prepared by Jake Hetnarski, former chef at the New York restaurant Prune, now the creator of the Sweet Somethings Supper Club. Hetnarski also prepared last year’s Dinner at the Dump, described as a “dumpster dive meal” with food from local markets served on “custom damaged plates” from artist John Derian, alongside “dead flower arrangements” from Garden Renovations Nursery of Provincetown.
On the menu this year, according to the auction listing: “Log-jam Appetizers, Elimination Entrees, and Mudslide Desserts.”
The suggested dress code: Outfits in shades of “Mellow Yellow” or “Flush-it-down Brown.”
Bidding for the dinner started at $1,000. If two or more people want to go together, they’ll each have to be the top bidder for a seat. The soiree’s exact date will be determined once the winning bidders are identified.
This is all very much on brand for Waters, the “Pope of Trash,” who told Vulture in 2022 that his filmmaking career “started and ended in the gutter.” But his filmmaking days aren’t over yet: Last fall, Waters confirmed that Village Roadshow Pictures had optioned his 2022 novel, Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance, and that he will write it and direct the film. If it moves ahead, “Liarmouth” will be his first feature since “A Dirty Shame” in 2004.
Known for movies such as “Pink Flamingos” and “Hairspray” and books such as Shock Value and Role Models, Waters, 76, is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 18. The same week, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles is opening a retrospective of his movie career that will run until August 4, 2024.
Waters said he had just started writing the film adaptation for “Liarmouth,” the story of a woman who steals suitcases at the airport, and that it’s too early to say who might be in the cast or when it will be filmed and released.
He has been touring the country with two spoken-word performances, his annual ‘A John Waters Christmas’ show and a second one called ‘End of the World.’ He was just announced as a participant at the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival in 2024. He makes a cameo appearance as Franck Boomslang in a short comedy film called “Boomslang 3: Your Future.”
An exhibit featuring art that Waters is donating to the Baltimore Museum of Art, ”Coming Attractions: The John Waters Collection,” is on view until April 16. On May 2, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux will bring Liarmouth out in paperback, triggering a four-city book tour for Waters with stops in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Baltimore.
Started in 1999, the Provincetown Film Society is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to showcasing new achievements in independent film and honoring the work of emerging and acclaimed directors, producers, and actors. Known for its strong support of LGBTQ+ filmmakers and their work, it has three primary activities: producing the annual film festival (June 14 to 19 this year); running a year-round theater operation, the Water’s Edge Cinema; and overseeing the Gabrielle A. Hanna Provincetown Film Institute for film and media artist residencies and conferences.
Other auction items include two nights in a medieval Italian monastery; an apartment for a week in the Italian village of Umbertide; a three-night stay in Quebec; a photo safari to South Africa; a birdwatching tour for two at Race Point on Cape Cod; vacation rentals in Provincetown and New York City; a pickleball clinic for four; a custom voice mail message by actress Kathleen Turner; and souvenirs, private dinners and gift certificates to various Provincetown shops, restaurants and services.
A complete list of auction items and other bidding information is on the website.