Divine as “Dawn Davenport” doll
Opening today at La MaMa Galleria at 47 Great Jones Street in Manhattan (and there until June 24) is “Lost Merchandise of the Dreamlanders” a show featuring shouldabeen toys and other fake retro “merchandise” based on characters and situations from the films of John Waters:
Do you remember eating Divine breakfast cereal or sleeping on Pink Flamingos bed sheets when you were a kid? Neither do we, but you just might upon viewing this oddball array of rare collectibles. Lost Merchandise of the Dreamlanders is a showcase of kitschy and ironic retail items based on the early films of Baltimore director John Waters. Discover forgotten toys, home decor, and seasonal artifacts featuring familiar Dreamlander movie personalities. Presented in the spirit of a Sunday morning garage sale, the exhibit revels in the strange, nostalgic appeal of the 70s and 80s.
The Dreamlander exhibition is the brainchild of Tyson Tabbert, a sculptor at New York’s Asher Levine fashion house, who looked into officially licensing some of John Waters characters for the toy market a few years ago, but found that this probably wasn’t in the cards:
“I was initially able to contact someone at Warner Brothers to discuss the possibility of making the figures legit. But the possibility of licensing them was, as I interpreted it, slim at best.”
Undeterred, Tabbert got some artist friends together to create some of the products he had in mind for an art show. Everything in the show is a period piece (ahem) designed to look like vintage toys. There’s even a bedspread! Tabbert self-financed much of the work, which also includes plastic Halloween masks of Connie and Raymond Marble from Pink Flamingos, a Desperate Living tea service and a metal ashtray inspired by Lobstora, the giant lobster that rapes Divine in Multiple Maniacs.
If you are looking for some officially licensed Divine swag, there’s an online Divine shop that sells T-shirts, tote bags, pins and other stuff.
The final scene from ‘Female Trouble’
Thank you, Nick Abrahams!
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Taffy’s parents, Dawn and Earl (both played by Divine) meet cute in a tableau inspired by a scene in ‘Female Trouble’
Metal Lobstora ashtray
A ‘Pink Flamingos’ bedspread, which I think we can assume is made of polyester…
Christmas morning at the Davenport home. Dawn had better get her cha cha heels…
Divine heads via Tyson Tabbert’s Instagram feed