Metro Weekly

John Waters on Christmas, COVID, and ‘government-recommended’ glory holes

The legendary filmmaker and author returns live to The Birchmere on Wednesday night with his holiday musings.

John Waters -- Photo: Todd Franson
John Waters — Photo: Todd Franson

“Contaminated presents. Infected sticks and stones. Who says Santa has been vaccinated? Not even an elf!” reads the press release touting the return of “A John Waters Christmas,” one of the Holiday season’s most (glory) holy events.

The one-man show returns to The Birchmere on Wednesday, Dec. 15, and, after a year of COVID-mandated hibernation, Waters couldn’t be happier to get back in front of a crowd eager for his annual, original holiday musings.

“I’m writing it right now,” he says, during a quick phone chat a few weeks ago from his home in Baltimore. “I’m about half done. There are always things that are going on in society and culture that you can twist into Christmas.”

Not performing for a year took a toll on Waters. “Let’s be crass — there was a financial emptiness,” he laughs. “I lost 50 speaking engagements last year because of COVID!” Turning serious, he points out that several of the clubs he’s toured the Christmas show to for years are forever closed due to the pandemic.

Waters, who has been doing the show for 25 years, still enjoys “meeting the fans, seeing what ages they are, and seeing what their limits are…. I am interested in what my audience thinks I can get away with. Because my audience has a pretty good sense of humor and they can laugh at themselves. And my audience is pretty varied, too. It’s not all gay. It’s not all straight. It’s all types, really, who don’t fit in with their own minority.”

He’s guarded about what he’ll talk about in this year’s show, but concedes he’ll discuss “how COVID affected sex at Christmas.”

“I feel sorry for young people,” he continues. “And that’s a whole thing I go in on the show, about the new subcultures of what porn would be during COVID. Are there COVID hags? Are there COVID bug-chasers? I don’t know. Is there a new perversion that has to do with COVID?

“Technically, and this isn’t in the show, but the health department said that you couldn’t kiss. What anal sex was to AIDS, kissing is to COVID. So they said oral sex was better with a barrier around. They actually said this. What does that mean? A barrier. Does that mean a glory hole? That’s the only thing I can think of. That’s the first time I ever saw the government recommend glory holes.”

“A John Waters Christmas” is Wednesday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m. at The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria, Va. General admission tickets are $55. Visit

For more about John Waters, visit

Read More

Leave a Comment:

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!

  • Scene