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Divine and friends action figures from John Waters’ ‘Female Trouble’


“Mr. Wineberger, Dawn Davenport is eating a meatball sandwich right out in CLAESS!”
 
Divine’s official social media guru directed my attention, yesterday, to the work of sculptor Tyson Tabbert, who recently created a batch of “action figures” for John Waters’ masterpiece Female Trouble.

In Female Trouble, perhaps Waters’ best film, Divine plays Dawn Davenport, career criminal and fame seeker. An addiction to injected liquid eyeliner sends her on a berserk crime spree, ending in art/murder. In one of its most famous scenes, Dawn destroys the family Christmas when she doesn’t receive the gift of “cha cha heels” she is expecting. “Nice girls,” it turns out, “don’t wear cha cha heels.”

Tabbert has created an entire playset devoted to this iconic cinematic scene.

Unfortunately, according to Tabbert’s Instagram, the figures are not for sale. But maybe if enough people beg him? I know I’d throw down for the “Female Trouble Christmas Morning Playset.” It would have a place of honor every year, right next to the Nativity and Christmas shit log.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
A sackful of holiday greetings from Divine, Edie the Egglady & Miss Jean Hill (NSFW)


 
Here are the grand goddesses of John Waters’ Dreamland repertory company, Divine, Edith Massey, and Jean Hill, making spirits bright for the holidays in this collection of pin-up photos.

Though all three performers have sadly left this planet (Divine in 1988, Edie in 1984, and Jean Hill in 2013), their beauty and glamour lives on.

The majority of these photos were taken for novelty Christmas cards in the ‘80s—the sort you would have found at a Spencer’s Gifts back in the day.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
The art of ‘EWWW’: Artwork created using bacteria as its medium
10.22.2015
12:21 pm

Topics:
Art
Science/Tech

Tags:
Divine
pop art
bacteria
microbiology


“Superheroes” bacteria art made with Streptomycetes (bacteria spores that live in the dirt)
 
All “ewww’s” aside, I must say that the first (and I’m sure not the last) “Agar Art” contest held by The American Society for Microbiology (whose guidelines specified that entrants create art using only bacteria), has yielded some incredible results.
 
NYC Biome Map made with bacteria
 
A segment of the massive “NYC Biome Map” made with bacterial microbes (by microbiologist, Christine Marizzi)
 
According to the rules, all creations must be made using only microbes instead of paint (or other materials) and agar as their canvas. There were 85 entries submitted by various microbiologists across the country for this art meets biology mashup. Of the ones I’ve seen so far, I was blown away (and a bit grossed out I must admit) by the NYC Biome Map submitted by Christine Marizzi of New York City’s Community Biolab (above). Just read the description of the piece and you’ll likely feel the same way:

Microorganisms reside everywhere, yet they are too small to be seen with the human eye. New York City is a melting pot of cultures - both human and microbial - and every citizen has a personalized microbiome. Collectively, we shape NYC’s microbiome by our lifestyle choices, and this unseen microbial world significantly impacts us

I say grossed out because probably like many of you, I’ve ridden the NY subway system (as well as the equally skanky Boston “T”) hundreds of times before and learned pretty quickly to never touch ANYTHING with your hands. That said, Marizzi’s piece is nothing short of a marvel to look at considering how it was created.
 
Divine Pop Art made with bacteria
Pop bacteria art in the image of Divine!
 
More strange and trippy looking biological pieces of art from the contest (that might also bring out the obsessive/compulsive hand-washer in you) can be seen after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Velvet paintings of Divine, Die Antwoord, Lou Reed and others (& I want them ALL!)

Die Antwoord velvet painting
Die Antwoord velvet painting
 
Today I have pulled together a post that features a pretty solid collection of highly desirable velvet paintings from a cast of characters that runs the gamut from pop culture phenoms such as Weekly World News cave-dwelling poster child, Bat Boy, to the bad-ass South African duo, Die Antwoord. How’s that sound to ya’?
 
Divine black velvet painting
Divine (as Babs Johnson in Pink Flamingos)
 
Most of the paintings I’ve featured can be had for a couple of hundred bucks or so. Could there possibly be anything cooler than a slightly inception-esque velvet painting of the Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed by artist Diane Bombshelter? Probably not. But I’ll let you dear DM readers be the judge of that.

If while scrolling through this post you find the next thing you never knew you couldn’t live without, most (with the exception of Lou Reed and Morrissey) can be obtained by way of Ebay or Etsy.
 
Lou Reed black velvet painting by Diane Bombshelter
Lou Reed black velvet painting by Diane Bombshelter
 
Bat Boy velvet painting
Bat Boy
 
Robin Williams velvet painting
Robin Williams (RIP) as Mork (from the TV series Mork & Mindy)
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
American Gothic version of Divine and John Waters


 
There’s really not much to say about this fantastic painting of Divine and John Waters taking the place of the old prairie couple in Grant Wood’s iconic 1930 painting “American Gothic.” I simply dig it.

I had a hard time tracking down the artist as I misread the signature as GG Allin. To be honest for a few moments there I actually thought the late shit-hurling hate rocker painted this. The artisit’s name is spelled GIGI ALLIN and here are links to her Instagram and website.


The work in progress via Instagram
 
Via Divine on Facebook

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Insanely adorable amigurumi of Divine and John Waters
04.10.2015
02:43 pm

Topics:
Art
Movies
Pop Culture

Tags:
John Waters
Divine


 
Pope of Trash John Waters and Divine (“the filthiest person alive”) couldn’t look anymore adorable as amigurumi by knitting maven Captain Howdee. I just want to squish the hell out of these dolls ‘cause they’re so damned cute.

These were posted on Captain Howdee’s Flicker page back in 2007. I not sure if they’re for sale, but oh my gawd do I wish they were! I’d like to see an Edith Massey amigurumi. Imagine what that would look like! Why not a David Lochary doll, too?


 
via Divine on Facebook

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Paintings of Divine, Apu, Amy Winehouse, Princess Leia and more, using old coins as a canvas


Divine, over an image of Generalissimo Francisco Franco
 
Andre Levy must be quite the draftsman, to paint such compelling and amusing images on the unforgiving terrain (copper, nickel) of a coin measuring no more than an inch square. But that’s what the artist, who was born in Sao Paulo but is currently based out of Frankfurt, has done. A cheeky sense of humor (he clearly loves the Simpsons) and a sharp eye have surely aided him in his quest to take over the Internet (which he seems to have done).

Benjamin Sutton of Hyperallergic got in touch with Levy per email: “I’m a graphic designer and split my time between an advertising job and my personal projects, which include street art and illustration. The most notorious of those projects, so far, is Tales You Lose, which became popular on Instagram and Tumblr,” Levy told Hyperallergic. “I never collected coins. What initially made me accumulate a few was the fact that I keep forgetting them in my pockets. I learned, though, that outside its territory of origin the coin leaves behind its illusional value as currency to carry a value defined by its carrier. I saw those coins as massively reproduced sculptures, and felt they could be turned into templates for something richer. Painting the coins was a way to give those metal pieces some room for interpretation. The pop characters were a way to bring in narratives as strong as the original ones and enable the new stories when people relate both characters.”
 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Leonardo, over Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man
 

The Flash, on a Greek Olympic coin
 

Princess Leia, over an image of British Queen Elizabeth II
 

René Magritte’s “The Son of Man,” on a Chinese coin
 

YouTube error icon, over Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
 

Amy Winehouse, on a French coin
 

Apu from The Simpsons, on a Thai coin
 

Asterix and Obelix, on a French coin
 

Swiftwind, on an Irish coin
 

Simpsons doughnut
 
via Hyperallergic

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Divine takes the UK: Two Hacienda shows and ‘Top of the Pops’
06.13.2014
01:02 pm

Topics:
Music
Queer

Tags:
Divine
Top of the Pops
Hacienda


 
Divine’s music career was perhaps less well-known than his career acting in John Waters’ films, but his discography contains plenty of music that’ll appeal to fans of Hi-NRG, ‘80s Eurodisco, and good old sleaze. In 1983, he appeared not once, but twice, in that ‘80s dance Mecca, Manchester’s Hacienda.

No expense was disbursed for these shows—Divine was clearly singing along with his records, like karaoke, but with the original vocals still present. I assume the idea must have been for Divine’s planet-sized personality to overcome the performances’ showmanship deficiencies. And such is the nature of Divine’s cult that even half-ass productions like that were recorded for release on CD as Born to Be Cheap, and on DVD as Live at the Hacienda/Shoot Your Shot. However, the between-song banter IS absolutely worthy of Divine’s trash-diva rep.

Here’s footage from both performances:
 

 
And in the spirit of trying to keep everyone happy, here’s a better, if mimed, performance, but what you gain in production value you lose in raunchy banter. It’s Divine on Top of the Pops, lip-synching what may be his best known single, “You Think You’re A Man.”
 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Fantastic posters for the Cockettes, Divine, Sylvester by Todd Trexler
06.04.2014
01:09 pm

Topics:
Art
Queer

Tags:
Divine
Sylvester
The Cockettes
Todd Trexler

Trexler
 
In San Francisco in the 1970s, Todd Trexler was one of the most prolific and sought-after poster artists for the city’s predictably amazing drag scene. He generated many posters for the Nocturnal Dream Shows and midnight movie screenings at the Palace Theater on 1741 Powell Street (it was also called the Pagoda later on). His attention-grabbing yet stately posters captured and perhaps helped define the distinct aesthetic of San Francisco’s drag happenings. The contrast of art deco filigrees to big personalities like Divine and the Cockettes is very effective.

Sadly, Trexler passed away in February of this year, at the age of 70. His essential posters can be seen in an exhibition that opens this week at Magnet (4122 18th Street) in the Castro district. Some of the items have not been on display in 40 years.

As an art student in 1968, Trexler began making posters, many of them hand-drawn. He was close with Sebastian (or, as he was also known, Milton Miron), a key member of the Cockettes. Todd continued to do work for them for a number of years in the 70s, before moving to Monterey to attend nursing school in 1979.

Here’s Trexler on the “Divine Saves the World” poster shown above:
 

I absolutely adored working with Glenn on the few occasions that I did! The day that we planned to take photos for the VICE PALACE poster I’ll never forget. Glenn and I sat in the back seat of a car with Sebastian in the front. We drove around San Francisco looking for a place to use as a backdrop. We ended up at the Palace of Fine Arts and decided it was perfect! Glenn was in makeup, bib-overalls with the sides split to make them large enough. He had tossed a couple of 50’s net prom dresses in the trunk of the car. He slipped into a pair of open-toed backless mules and wrapped the prom dresses around himself and instantly became DIVINE! I took the photo and that poster is an all- time favorite of my poster career.

 
Todd Trexler
 
Todd Trexler
 
Todd Trexler
 
Todd Trexler
 
Todd Trexler
 
More dazzling posters plus an interview clip with the artist after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘The Filthiest Person Alive’: Divine profiled on ‘Night Flight,’ 1986
05.21.2014
09:01 am

Topics:
Heroes
Movies
Television

Tags:
Divine
Night Flight


 
Night Flight was an all-night, only on the weekends “underground” and “cult” TV programming block show that began airing on the USA Network in the early 80s wild west days of cable television. Before Law and Order:OMGWTF existed to fill every time slot on every cable channel in existence, Night Flight was an essential weekly download of deeply weird underground film and music. It was how I found out that Divine existed.

I don’t recall Night Flight ever showing an actual John Waters movie straight through, but they used cut-up segments from his films in their fucked up interstitials and bumps. So when I got to college and had a roommate with a beater VHS tape filled up with nth generation dubs of Mondo Trasho, Multiple Maniacs, Pink Flamingos, and Female Trouble, I knew right away that THAT was the the tape I was going to wear through to thinness while getting high as hell.

But on top of the clips in the interstices, Night Flight showed this substantial interview segment, a wonderful introduction to the talented and genial actor and drag performer, and I don’t just say that because it was my introduction. Check it out.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
John Waters calls it ‘the worst taste thing I ever did,’ Divine in ‘The Diane Linkletter Story’
04.09.2014
10:44 am

Topics:
Drugs
Movies
Queer

Tags:
John Waters
Divine
Diane Linkletter


 
In my tireless quest to become a John Waters completest, I’ve been perusing his interviews and writings for lesser-known films. So imagine my thrill at finding his 1970 16mm short, The Diane Linkletter Story on the humble platform of YouTube! (Okay, don’t hate me because I didn’t even have to trek my ass down to a repertory cinema. I’m in my 20s. Do those even still exist?) For the uninitiated, Diane Linkletter was the daughter of Art Linkletter, a family-friendly media father-figure, and host of such wholesome television fodder as, Kids Say the Darndest Things!. Art was also a staunch conservative, and by the late sixties he was touring the country, giving lectures on the growing “Permissiveness in this Society.” But what really solidified his “brand” as the nation’s moralizing Republican dad was his “duet,” with Diane, “We Love You, Call Collect.” (If you’ve never heard it, click the link, and try not to puke.)

The spoken word recording is among the most insipid drivel I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard “The Christmas Shoes.” Over a maudlin score, Art and Diane read aloud a fictionalized correspondence between father and daughter. The daughter has run off to join the counterculture, and the father gives loving advice while begging her to come home, or at least call. This wild child is breaking her dear dad’s heart, and the listener is meant to sympathize with the family, but ultimately blame the daughter and the decaying morals of our time. It’s quite the pearl-clutcher.

Tragically, in October of 1969,  just months after the release of “We Love You, Call Collect,” Diane Linkletter jumped from a sixth floor window to her death. Perhaps from grief, maybe he believed it or maybe even to do some damage control, Art Linkletter quickly told the press that Diane had only jumped under the influence of LSD. When Diane’s toxicology report came back clean, he still stuck to his story, with a second career as an anti-drug crusader. Art and his late daughter even won the 1970 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Recording, and Art maintained that all proceeds from the record went “to combat problems arising from drug abuse,” whatever that means.

Starring Divine as Diane, and Waters regulars Mary Vivian Pearce and David Lochary as Ma and Pa Linkletter, The Diane Linkletter Story is a satirical interpretation of Diane’s final moments, similar to the style of drug moral panic films of the time. It even opens and ends with excerpts from “We Love You, Call Collect.” But that’s not the worst of it.

Waters actually made the movie the day Diane’s death made it in to the papers, and showed it before the funeral even happened.

I think the film is a gem, and it’s not like the surviving Linkletters were going to make their way up to Baltimore to see it. Waters has since praised the idea as an excellent exercise in creativity—instant movie-making from the headlines of today. And before you get too sensitive, he’s since found out what everyone with half a nose for Republican careerism had already suspected—that Linkletter always knew Diane’s death wasn’t drug-related, but in fact used his daughter’s suicide to push his anti-drug political agenda—so who’s in bad taste now?
 

 
Below, a cringe-worthy “showdown” takes place when douchey conservative TV host pits Art Linkletter (on phone) against Timothy Leary, the man he blamed for his daughter’s death:

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Inauguration of the ‘Pleasure Boat’: Divine rocks London’s 1985 Gay Pride event from the Thames
03.27.2014
11:55 am

Topics:
Music
Politics
Queer

Tags:
Divine

Divine
 
The summer of 1985 was an awfully interesting moment in the struggle to achieve gay rights. AIDS was in full swing but “the story” had not “broken” in the general media—Rock Hudson’s death of that terrible disease, which would do so much to “mainstream” AIDS, hadn’t happened yet. The gay community was obviously acutely aware that an epidemic was occurring, but clueless Ronald Reagan refused to countenance it. During the 1980s and into the 1990s, the gay community was intensely politicized, in a way that we have to some extent forgotten. A gay pride event was no ordinary thing, it was politicized by definition. (The Oscar-nominated 2012 documentary How to Survive a Plague does an excellent job of documenting this period.)

Gay Pride Day in London that year was June 29, and as the blog Gay in the 80s well demonstrates, after lackluster turnout in the previous two years, there were many passionate protest events.

At this point in his career, Divine was spending a good deal of time in London and Europe generally, as Richard lovingly outlined in this post a couple of months ago; the same post includes several videos from Divine’s Hi-NRG/disco phase. He appeared on Top of the Pops, and some of his tracks made the charts. The beloved DJ John Peel lavished praise on him on the radio.

For the Gay Pride event in London, someone had the bright idea of showcasing Baltimore’s favorite drag queen on a boat on the Thames River. It’s difficult to reconstruct from the vantage point of today, but there just weren’t that many celebrities who were out in 1985. Being an out gay actor was tantamount to ensuring oneself marginalization, if not penury.

But as the star of several of John Waters’ scummy cinematic masterpieces, Divine was used to marginalization. His qualified successes on the pop scene surely felt like a measure of acceptance. It may also have been clear to him that his appeal cut across the regular lines of sexuality. Humor does that; if you’re funny and lighthearted (no matter how much pain you may be masking), people are going to respond to that.

Having insisted that his appearance not be “political,” Divine sang two songs as the “pleasure boat” floated past the Jubilee Gardens. But that appearance was as political as anything he ever did. The video below is enjoyable just to hear a portly 39-year-old former hair stylist from Baltimore belt out, with a voice as raspy as can be, his cover of the Four Seasons’ “Walk Like a Man” and then “Native Love (Step by Step),” the latter of which includes the defiant lyrics: “Hey GQ man, here I stand / For everyone to see / And if I’m not your type, well that’s alright / ‘Cuz that don’t matter to me.”

And there’s nothing quite so “Baltimore” as Divine’s between-songs patter: “Well fuck you all very much! … Let’s hear it for London, yeah! … Okay, It’s real good to be here, I fucking love you, yeah!” Pithy and to the point.

Divine’s manager Bernard Jay, in his book Not Simply Divine, reveals some of the background of the event:
 

Although he was always loyal to and appreciative of his gay audience, he was also very well aware that it wasn’t every one of them who approved. “I am trying to say to people, ‘Learn to laugh at yourself,’” he said. “Gay or straight, it helps if you can look at yourself for what you are and either accept it or do something about it.” For those gays who believed he demolished their public relations efforts, he added, “I cannot believe anyone can be so prissy and humorless. I am sure they are closet numbers who go home from the office, slip off their three-piece suits, and cook dinner wearing a silk slip and high heels.”

When he finally decided to stop avoiding the issue and answer the probing journalists directly, his astute comment was more amusing than revealing. “Don’t tell me about minority groups,” he told them. “I am a gay actor trying to make his living wearing a dress. Now that really is a minority group.”

Our good friends at Heaven in London [one of the largest gay discos in Europe] had approached Divi about being this year’s guest performer on Gay Pride Day. Divi and I agreed that he owed it to the club that started it all for him in Europe. And this particular community who had always supported him so loyally and enthusiastically. However, we were still insistent that his participation—without fee, of course—be as an entertainer and not interpreted as a political statement. He would make no speeches from the stage.

Heaven’s man in charge came up with the novel idea of Divi performing two songs, standing on the roof of a hired pleasure boat as it sailed slowly along the Thames and passed the Jubilee Gardens, where the celebrations would be taking place.

It was a huge success. The sight of Divine, in a body-hugging silver-blue gown, precariously balanced in heels on the sloping roof of the small craft, gently rocking on the tide of the Thames, while the makeshift speakers screamed “You Think You’re a Man,” was definitely one for sore eyes. As he performed, gyrating to the beat in his usual outrageous manner, another pleasure boat—this one full of innocent tourists—passed by. I noticed their tour guide busy trying to explain this extraordinary additional London attraction of a huge bum, swaying and rocking on top of a boat, to music that they couldn’t hear in their position on the Thames.

 
As Gay in the 80s noted, “All-in-all, it was an extraordinary – and empowering – day. It was the day that our community came together to ensure the future of Lesbian and Gay Pride. The rest, as they say, is history.”
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Born To Be Cheap’: The immortal Divine, drag disco diva
12.12.2013
09:30 pm

Topics:
Music
Queer

Tags:
Divine


 
In 1984, at the massive Hippodrome nightclub in London, I saw Divine absolutely WOW an audience of several thousand people with her Hi-NRG Eurodisco set. The place was packed to the gills with adoring—and very glamorous—people who were there to be bathed in her low rent divinity… if not her flop sweat. Looking around the audience that night, it occurred to me what a personal triumph this event must have represented for someone who was so marginalized growing up. Let’s face it, Harris Glenn Milstead was a full-blown freak (in a good way, the best possible way), and John Waters was absolutely right when he said “Divine stood for all outsiders. A young person could be inspired because anything is possible.”

Divine’s life and rise to worldwide fame and unlikely icon-hood was the ultimate “It Gets Better” story, whether you are gay or straight! His is a legend that will last forever, truly.

I also met Divine once at a Manhattan nightclub I was working at during the mid-80s. I took up a tray of food to his dressing room. You’d expect maybe that he would have been intimidating—a diva—but I can assure you that he was absolutely a total sweetheart. I still have the autographed invite for the event—a “Father’s Day Party”—with Divine wrapped in an American flag on the front, posed like the Statue of Liberty. In marked contrast to the London appearance, Divine had, just a few years years later, become morbidly obese and appeared to be very unhealthy. I saw him when he walked offstage and he was really out of breath, sweating profusely and it took him some time before he was breathing normally again. I asked “Are you okay?” and he silently indicated that he was fine and waved me off as he stood there wheezing. A friend of mine remarked that he didn’t expect that Divine would be “long for this world.”  A little over a year later, Divine was dead.

Here’s a selection of some of the best of Divine’s 80s disco diva period:
 

1984’s “I’m So Beautiful” made it to #16 in the British pop charts and was the first hit for powerhouse songwriting/production trio Stock Aitken Waterman, later responsible for dozens of Hi-NRG hit records in the 80s by the likes of Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley, Bananarama and Dead or Alive.
 

“Walk Like a Man,” 1985
 
Much more Divine after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Trash with Class: John Waters’ muse Divine immortalized in $1300 knitted sweaters
09.24.2013
10:54 am

Topics:
Fashion
Movies
Pop Culture
Queer
Superstar

Tags:
Divine


 
While I love the above knitted Divine sweater (I’d probably wear it) by designer James Long, I hate the one below. The sleeves! Oh gawd those hideous sleeves!

And when I say “I’d probably wear it,” I’d probably wear it if I had an extra $1300 to burn ‘cause that’s how much these “high-fashion” sweaters cost. Holy crap!
 

 
Via WOW

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Female Trouble! Divine’s Dawn Davenport spotted shopping at Wal-Mart


 
It’s uncanny! And reminiscent of the scenes between Dawn Davenport (Divine) and Taffy (Mink Stole) in Female Trouble.

Thanks to I Am Divine, photo by Benjamin Lee Thomas.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
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