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Six superstars from the original Dreamland crew

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Andy Warhol had Joe Dellasandro, Holly Woodlawn, Edie Sedgewick and Jackie Curtis. John Waters had the Dreamlanders. Nominate your favourite.

Like Warhol, Waters defied the art and film establishment with DIY, low-budget, taboo-breaking film making. But this culprit had his accomplices in his subversion and perversion. Oh, and don’t forget to vote in the poll at the end!

1. MARY VIVIAN PEARCE

“Two chicken breasts please, and a very large glass of iced water.” (Pearce as Donna Dasher, Female Trouble)
framed_mvp
Pearce and John Waters were childhood friends in Baltimore. She first appeared in “Hag in a Black Leather Jacket” and has pretty much starred in every movie since, either in a main role or as an extra.

She played the uber snobby Donna Dasher in Female Trouble. Together with husband Donald, Donna convinces single mother Dawn Davenport (Divine) to pursue a career of crime, beauty and infamy. In this clip, she’s invited for dinner at Daveport’s house.

» See her as Cotton in Pink Flamingos with her trademark Jean Harlow hairdo

Pearce currently resides in Baltimore. Bit random, but her sister has a blog, which is named after Mary (good SEO?).

2. DAVID LOCHARY

“I never heard the word “drag” before David.” (Divine)
framed_lochary

Lochary appeared in all of John Waters’ early movies, and co-wrote The Diane Linklater Story with Divine. He was BFF with Divine, doing her make-up before and after she started appearing in John Waters movies. It was Divine who introduced Lochary to Waters.

Lochary is also responsible (tho uncredited) for the vivid hair styles in the early movies, and always bore something of a Dali-esque moustache.

He played Raymond Marble in Pink Flamingos and Donald Dasher in Female Trouble(clip), among others.

Lochary’s work with the team ended tragically in July 1977, when he died from drug-related injuries.

3. MINK STOLE

“I guess there’s just two kinds of people, Miss Sandstone: MY kind of people, and assholes. It’s rather obvious which category you fit into. Have a nice day.” (as Connie Marble, Pink Flamingos)
framed_stole

Born Nancy Stoll, Mink is a longtime Dreamlander. Her first role in was in Roman Candles, a short film from Waters in 1966.

She went on to play major roles in his movies, often as a villain or foil to Divine’s characters. In Pink Flamingos, she played the carrot-haired Connie Marbles (see picture). With her perverted husband Raymond (Lochary), Connie does everything she can to humiliate Divine and win the title of “Filthiest Person Alive”. See superbitch Connie Marbles in action (mind the swearing)

Mink then played Divine’s unwanted and much abused daughter Taffy in Female Trouble — “I’ve DONE everything a mother can do: I’ve locked her in her room, I’ve beat her with the car aerial. Nothing changes her. It’s HARD being a loving mother!”

Mink has pretty much had a role in all Waters movies, including the latest A Dirty Shame, where she plays Marge the Neuter.

Her selfless dedication to the low-brow, tacky and grotesque in film is amazing. She’s appeared in films outside the Waters oeuvre, including “Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth”, “Liquid Dreams”, “The Crazysitter”, “Easting Out 2: Sloppy Seconds” and “Lost Highway”.

In recent years, Mink’s been writing a relationship advice column for the Baltimore City Paper. Read some of her stories

Official Mink Stole site

But without further ado, see her recent live performance of “Female Trouble”

Bless her!

4. EDITH MASSEY

“And remember my offer still stands. If you get tired of being a Hare Krishna, you come live with me and be a lesbian!” (Aunt Ida in Female Trouble)

framed_massey

I seriously don’t know where to begin with Edith … in more ways than one. This gorgeous, charming, crooked toothed, bundle of bigness and joy wins my heart.

Edith’s story reads like Cinderella — an orphan who worked as a maid after leaving school, gets hitched, “gets restless”, gets a divorce, works several odd jobs. One of those was barmaid at Pete’s Hotel, which is where Waters meets her. He offers her a role in Multiple Maniacs (watch her clip). Edith’s then offered a major role as The Egg Lady in Pink Flamingos, followed by the trashy Aunt Ida in Female Trouble, Queen Caroltta in Desperate Living and Cuddles Kovinsky in Polyester. The rest is history.

Tho only appearing in5 Waters movies, Edith by far has the best set of lines, characters and outfits after Divine (but the best set of jugs). Can you beat her snug, sideless bodysuit in Female Trouble or her revealing lingerei as the crib-bound Egg Lady in Pink Flamingos? No way.

» Here’s a fantastic collection of her best performances

After her acting career, Edith set up a thrift shop at Venice Beach, CA. But Edith was never one to limit herself. She went on to singing in punk rock band Edie and the Eggs. Check out these hits:
» Big Girls Don’t Cry
» Hey Punks, Get off the Grass
She also appeared with John Cougar Mellancamp is his music video for “This Time”

Edith continues to have an amazing cult following. The 1975 documentary about her, Love Letter to Edie was recently released on DVD. Watch a clip or buy it.

Edith passed away in October 1985, but the legacy of this wonderful woman lives on. Bless her soul.

Newsweek Review of Polyester came out and said Massey deserved either the Oscar or a 24-hour nurse, Massey replied, “I’d like both, actually.”

5. DIVINE

“I’m a thief, I’m a shitkicker … and, oh yeah, I wanna be famous!” (Dawn Davenport, Female Trouble)

“All my life I wanted to look like Elizabeth Taylor. Now Elizabeth Taylor looks like me.” (Divine)

framed_divine

Well, well, well. Speaking of legacies and cult followings.

When 12-year-old Harris Glenn Milstead moved with his family to Baltimore’s suburb Lutherville, he soon met the young John Waters. It was the beginning of a wonderful friendship that would eventually see them crowned King and Queen of Filth. Divine was to Waters what Dietrich was to von Sternberg — the ultimate actor-director duo.

Divine first appeared in Roman Candles, and then every successive Waters movie up Hairspray. Her most notorious role was as herself in Pink Flamingos, where desperate to win the title of “Filthiest Person Alive”, she ate a dog turd. And, yes, it really was a dog turd. It was a difficult scene to shoot, with Divine having to follow the camera-shy dog around for at least 3 hours waiting for it to make its offering.

Dawn Davenport was another infamous role, which she played in Female Trouble.

In between movies, Divine worked on other movies and built a legendary career as a performer, singing and dancing at reknown clubs such as Studio 54. Here’s the music video to her song “You Think You’re a Man”.

Her last movie, Hairspray, would earn her mainstream attention in years to come. Just a week after the film’s release and aged 42, Divine passed away overnight from sleep apnea. Time enough tho for her to relish in the great positive reviews from the movie. Whoopi Goldberg sent flowers to the funeral with a card saying: “See what a good review will do!”

An ebullient, unabashed, voracious and professional performer was Divine.

She was a publicity whore as well, so there’s plenty of interviews and performances across the net to check out. Here’s a couple:
» A 1981 interview with Glenn Milstead about his relationship with Divine
» Interview with on the Alan Thicke show after the release of PolyesterPart I, Part 2 + Part 3
» Music video to “Shoot Your Shot”
» A great collection of photos of (and art inspired by) Divine.

6. VAN SMITH

framed_van

“He’s hard-core Dreamland royalty, a fashion terrorist who understands what my characters would wear before and after I write them. His costumes have been a huge part of any success my films have had. I can’t imagine making a movie without him.” (John Waters on Van Smith)

Van Smith appeared in just one of Waters’ films — Pink Flamingos, as an extra. But he was an indelible part of the Dreamland cast. This is the man responsible for Divine’s costumes and make-up. He’s also worked on costuming and make-up for all of the Waters’ repertoire.

Smith and Waters studied together at the Maryland Institute College of Art, along with set designer Vince Peranio.

Read what Mary Vivian Pearce wrote about Van Smith


» Here’s a great photo of the gang
» A rare 1975 interview with Divine, Lochary, Stole and Waters. The quality ain’t the best but it’s a rare opportunity to see these four together.

Of course, these are just a few of the original Dreamland crew. There’s also actors Susan Walsh and Cookie Mueller. There’s Pat Moran — long-time assistant to Waters and occasional extra. Susan Lowe, occasional extra and mother of the actor who played infant Taffy in Female Trouble. Then there’s Vince Peranio, who’s worked across all the films on set design and production.

Stay tuned for my next post on two late-comers to Dreamland. In the meantime, vote for your favourite Dreamlander below.

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Written by Darren Smith

22 February 2009 at 2:05 pm

2 Responses

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  1. […] superstars from the Dreamland crew In culture, film review on 22 February 2009 at 10:29 pm In my last post, I gave you a list of the original Dreamlanders — the cast of John Waters’ first movies. […]

  2. […] shares stories of working with Dreamland regulars such as Divine and Edith Massey, as well as Johnny Depp, Patty Hearst, Tracie Lords, Ricki Lake and […]


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