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I Spent Easter With John Waters at The Madonna Inn

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Living in a dream

This easter, a huge group of juvenile delinquents, drapes and drapettes gathered at the famous kitsch hotel Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo for the John Waters Easter. The event was postponed for the past 2 years because of Covid. I kept my ticket and had high hopes for the event. Lethal Amounts produced a very unique indoor festival with live music, trivia, meet and greet, Easter Bunny photo station, drinks, exclusive merch, and the highlight of it all: a Cry Baby screening with John Waters commenting on it LIVE! Hell Yes!

The Madonna Inn dinning room, John Waters Easter.

I’m a super fan (checkout my John Waters Fan Club on IG!) I go to every John Waters Christmas show, to Mosswood Meltdown, a music festival in Oakland where he’s the host (get your tickets!) great lineup this year: Kim Gordon, Bikini Kill, Linda Lindas, Shannon Shaw, Hunx & his Punx and more!) to all his art shows and book releases (his new book Liarmouth: a feel-bad romance is coming out in May, and I bet it’s going to be amazing).

Yes, the Madonna Inn in ‘SLO’ is pink like this year-round, and is always getting dressed up for the right occasion.

With that being said, John Waters never disappoints! I can say that with conviction. He doesn’t repeat himself and somehow he’s funnier every time I see him. He doesn’t have a social media presence, so the only way to know his opinion about everything crazy that’s happening in the world right now is going to his shows.

Cream channeling Divine, photo: Becky DiGiglio

Deaf Club

Deaf Club, photo: Becky DiGiglio

The event had 3 tickets options: General Admission, Meet & Great (at a distance, no selfies yet. Thanks Covid!) and a Dinner with John VIP option. I went GA cause I’m young, broke and beautiful. At the entrance there was a photo set with a big banner and inflatable bunnies so you could get your photo for the gram.

There was a bar and merch booths for the bands and exclusive official John Waters merch. Fans sat together at big tables as bands rock’n roll bands started to get the party started.

Kate Clover, photo: Becky DiGiglio

Deaf Club, Kate Clover and Josie Cotton played for the GA audience and it was really fun. In my opinion the highlight was Josie Cotton, she was accompanied by Kevin Preston (from Green Day) on guitar and the incredible dancers: Laura B and my new obsession, Gregory Barnett. Watch them performing Josie’s classic “Johnny are you queer?” and you’ll understand what I mean. Josie said her song was banned in Amsterdam and when John Waters contacted her to use her song in one of his movies, she was on top of the world!

Josie Cotton and her dancers performing “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” photo: Becky DiGiglio

I spoke to Gregory about the performance and he said he recently reconnected with Josie and they came up with the idea for the backup dancing act, they performed a Grecian Dream Ballet to the Beyond the Valley of the Dolls song and it was a great excuse for him to have fun, spray paint things in gold and acknowledge how gorgeous that song is, but also the humor in it. I’m sold! If I had my way they would be John’s opening act on Christmas and would be added to the Mosswood Meltdown line-up. The world needs to see them!

Josie Cotton and Gregory Barnett, photo: Becky DiGiglio

A bunch of us took photos at the Glory Hole Pulpit

Photo by Becky DiGiglio

After all that excitement, the production brings a pink pulpit with a heart shaped glory hole to the stage! Oh my god! It was perfect and made by artist Linda Creepy Gals.

John Waters enters the stage and preach by the pulpit, the audience goes crazy! He sits comfortably at a chair and the screening starts, he tells us that there’s an edition with new commentary coming out soon but tonight is going to be un-filtered and x-rated! He shared stories about the cast: the recent sober Iggy Pop was a gentleman and great actor, the cops were after Traci Lords, how Amy Locane was thrown back in jail after she was released from it and how he wants to do the “Please Mr. Jailer” song outside her prison (sign the petition to free Amy!)

And how some guy in Poland watched an illegal screening of Cry Baby and knew he was gay after he saw Willem Dafoe slapping Johnny Depp’s butt. Interesting and hilarious stories about the production, the good and hard stuff about it, like filming until 5am during the drape party, Amy’s perfect lipsync and how Johnny Depp didn’t think he could dance, but he did it so well. How Susan Tyrrell was so drunk all the time and shoplifting around town while they were filming. The extras were french kissing for hours, if this movie was made today it would have been a headache to deal with all the intimacy coaches and etc.

The audience softly sang together to all the hits and John was tapping his feet to the songs, he was so happy! Everyone had a big smile on their faces and to make the night even better, at the end he answered some audience questions and someone asked about the making of Fruitcake, a movie that he’s been wanting to film for a long time. He smiled and said he couldn’t talk about it, he has to play dumb. Everyone freaked out!!! A new John Waters movie could be in the works, who knows?!

It was a perfect night & the best Easter ever!

John and a bunch of Drapettes. Photo: Becky DiGiglio

Thanks Becky DiGiglio for kindly letting me use your photos <3
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Patricia Colli

Patricia Colli

Patricia Colli is an artist, printmaker and music enthusiast based in San Francisco. Meet me at the mosh pit!


  1. Bert
    April 21, 2022 at 11:46 am — Reply

    I love and miss John Waters.
    I was born and grew up in Baltimore.
    When I moved in with Pam, Regina, and Stephanie .. we would alway go down to Fells Point to the bar Leadbetter’s and The Cat’s Eye. John and the crew alway went there. I remember Paul ( egg man) dancing on the bar and dropping everything below his waist. LOL.. I miss those times. and every time I hear the name John Waters.. I smile when all the memories come back

    • Patricia Colli
      April 21, 2022 at 12:51 pm — Reply

      That’s amazing Bert!!! Thanks for sharing these memories, I’m jealous!

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