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John Waters to receive honorary degree from the University of Baltimore

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BALTIMORE -- John Waters, Baltimore's beloved iconoclastic filmmaker known as the Pope of Trash, will tap into his academic side Wednesday when he accepts an honorary degree from the University of Baltimore. 

The university holds its 2023 commencement ceremonies Wednesday afternoon, where Waters will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the university during the undergraduate ceremony.

Mayor Brandon Scott will deliver the commencement's keynote address. 

Waters' 1972 cult classic "Pink Flamingos" features the late drag performer known as Divine in a contest over who is the filthiest person alive. He might be best known for his 1988 hit "Hairspray," a film inspired by a teenage dance show filmed at WJZ that went on to become a Broadway play. 

Although Waters hasn't released a new feature film since 2004's "A Dirty Shame," his Baltimore-set movies pushing the boundaries of taste continue to be celebrated through elaborate re-releases and, as Variety recently reported, a planned exhibit in the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, not to mention his exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art. 

Waters has kept plenty busy writing books -- his first novel, "Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance," came out in May -- and creating artwork in various media. The novel is in development for Waters to both write and direct a film adaptation.

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