BALTIMORE: Mayor Gives To Nod To Proposed Divine Monument (Including Bronze Dog Poop)

Via Flavorwire:

The corner of Read and Tyson Streets in Baltimore will forever bear the glorious ghost of an iconically filthy moment: Divine (aka Harris Glenn Milstead), as Babs Johnson in John Waters’ Pink Flamingos, asserting her status as the “Filthiest Person Alive” by watching as a dog poops, approaching the poop, and then eating the poop.Soon — Kickstarter gods willing — this moment will be commemorated with an eight-foot-tall monument at that very street corner. No, it’ll no longer be a ghost people step through unawares (incidentally, much like dog poop), but rather a gargantuan, unmissable work of art, homage, and filth. And apparently Baltimore’s mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, is completely down.

From the Baltimore Sun:

“The mayor thinks that the idea sounds divine,” said Howard Libit, a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, “and looks forward to seeing more details on the proposal.” The monument, which supporters believe would cost between $50,000 and $100,000, would rest on the side of a house at the corner of Read and Tyson streets, on the western fringe of Mount Vernon. The actual scene, according to those who were there, was shot on a lot alongside a house in the 800 block of Tyson St., where Pat Moran — a long-standing member of the Waters troupe, known collectively as the Dreamlanders — was living at the time. The proposed site is actually across the street from the house, at a location (a blank wall) its designers thought would work better.

  • 2karmanot

    I’m pooped just thinking about it.

  • Gay Fordham Prep Grad

    While I applaud the idea of a monument to Divine, and believe one is long overdue, I think we can pass on the poo. Not everything in pop culture need be memorialized in bronze.

    • Gustav2

      It is just another pile of shit called “ART!” I mean, really, have you ever been to Art Basel Miami?

    • another_steve

      My guess is that the city will nix the bronze poop part of the monument. Besides, even if the city allowed it, it wouldn’t last long. Someone would come with a saw or blowtorch or whatever it took, and abscond with the poop.

      Trust me.

      I know my trashy Baltimore brethren.

  • Friday

    Uh, …why?

    • JVB

      If you have to ask why, you just don’t get it.

      • Silver Badger

        Can you explain so she can “get it”?

      • Friday

        That’d be why I asked why. 🙂

        • olandp

          What JVB meant was, if you have to ask, you never will get it. Try watching Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble. The last scene in Female Trouble is every bit as Oscar worthy as anything Meryl Streep has done.

          • Mark Lewis
          • Phillip in L.A.

            Thx for the vid, Mark Lewis!–I have a Scratch ‘n’ Sniff card from Polyester autographed by “I Warmed It Up in My Own Little Oven” Divine

          • Mark Lewis

            GAAaAAAAAAAAAAAH *MAD JEALOUSY*

  • JoeMyGod

    I remain a big fan of Divine’s non-John Waters film.

    https://youtu.be/JYiu3GqUfjc

    • Robincho

      We owe “Lust In The Dust” to Paul Bartel. In addition to resuscitating the career of Tab Hunter, he gave us the almost equally divine “Eating Raoul.”

      • Captain Jack

        Loved Eating Raoul, along with Eat the Rich

        • motordog

          I always kind of liked ‘Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills.” Especially the seduction scene between Robert Beltran (Chakotay!) and Ray Sharkey.

          • Robincho

            “I thought you was gonna KNOCK ’em off.” Rrrowwrrrr….

          • Phillip in L.A.

            Oh, Chakotay–you were such a rebellious weretiger! (Sighs.)

    • jimbo65

      Lust in the Dust is such an underrated Divine classic. So many great scenes. This scene at the 1:40 mark has always been one of my favorites from the movie. Classic Divine!
      https://youtu.be/qL9LATRN9jA

      • KCMC

        “My ass is on its last legs.”

        • jimbo65

          “What do you want? It’s me isn’t it? You’re going to have your way with me under the hot desert sun, aren’t you?…You’re going to ravish me like I’ve never been ravished before” lol

    • Steverino

      Hubby and I saw the first showing of Lust in the Dust at the Castro Theater after it was released. The line to get into the theater went around the block, down Castro to 18th and back around to Hartford. Somehow they got us all seated!

    • ScubaBearLA

      Back in 1987 I did a movie with Tab Hunter; every chance I got I was asking him to tell me more stories of working with Divine and John Waters. When he got around to talking about Lust in the Dust, he said John Waters was originally supposed to direct that film. But the producers raised more money than they expected to ($4 million, I think he said) and they felt that was too much money to trust to John Waters (this was before Hairspray). I still wonder how that film would’ve turned out had John directed it…

      • Phillip in L.A.

        Thx for the great story, ScubaBear!

        Budget for Pink Flamingoes: Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000) [!]

  • bkmn

    Overdue but the poop may be a bit much.

    • Gustav2

      “Think of the children!” and all the giggles they will enjoy.

  • bryan

    If the christians start whining, I suggest that the artists declare Divine as divine, and ask them to respect their religious freedom.

    • Brad Lathem

      Religious freedom is only for Christianists

    • David Walker

      And chant “Eat da poo poo! Eat da poo poo!”

  • Texndoc

    Forget the bronze poop, Divine should be memorialized with Cha Cha heels.

    Black ones.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpYTkavEt20

    • Mark Lewis

      Love the Female Trouble.

      • Robincho

        “SEIZE HER AND FUCK HER!” — Queen Carlotta of Mortville, referring to her then-hapless daughter, Princess Coo-Coo

        • Phillip in L.A.

          MOLE: I warned you about thinking about men before your afternoon nap! Dirty thoughts about dirty men bring on dirty dreams and you’re a dirty girl, Muffy!

          — Mole McHenry (Susan Lowe) of Mortville, admonishing Muffy St.Jacques (adult superstar Liz Renay), Mole’s best girl, to keep her thoughts away from cock and way more on muff

          • Robincho

            Dear Phillip in El Lay —

            Why, I do believe I’m detecting in you another SERIOUS aficionado of the cinematic œuvre of John Waters!

            *pats pillow* Come sit here by me this instant!

            Robincho in Ess Eff

            p.s.: “HOLD that goddamn chicken!” — Crackers

          • Phillip in L.A.

            Cheerfully admit! (Don’t tell, but I’m bucking for the job of John Waters’ “official” [officious?] biographer).

            P.S. You can sit by me any time, Robincho ;}

          • Robincho

            “Bucking”? Do I detect a typo here? (When Dorothy Parker was invited to a Hallowe’en party at which there would be ducking for apples, she replied, “Change one letter, and you have the story of my life.”)

            Oh, and here’s something for your family crest (courtesy of Aunt Ida, by way of Rome): “Mundus directi vita ægrota et tædia est!”

          • Phillip in L.A.

            No typo, but thx for the Motto!

            Very difficult (in fact, almost impossible) to render “heterosexual” in Latin–qui stuprum nec pueris nec viribus ut non commitat(?)

          • Robincho

            From her cage aux folles, Aunt Ida noted that the construct didn’t exist in ancient Rome, so she went with “straight”…

          • Phillip in L.A.

            Ida was a clever girl–way before her time! ;}

    • Phillip in L.A.

      DAWN: (Sneeringly Contemptuous.) I hope I get arrested. I hate this school and all these ignorant teachers who don’t know one thing–I’m the one who should be teaching! I hate my parents too.

      • Robincho

        “Who CARES if we fail!” — Chiclet

  • Gest2016

    I am a big fan of Divine, I even met him/her once at Studio One in West Hollywood where she performed “You think you’re a man / but you’re only a boy.” She had a question and answer session before the performance and for some reason I raised my hand. Bad idea as Divine pointed to me and said “Shhhhhhh everyone, that cute boy in the corner has a question.” The entire room of hundreds of gay men became hushed and all eyes were on me. I had no idea what I intended to ask, and I was burning with embarrassment at the sudden unanticipated attention. So I quickly thought of anything I could and asked, “Is your bellybutton an innie or an outie?” And Divine didn’t skip a beat: “Audies are for driving honey, I’ve definitely got an innie!” and the whole room roared with laughter. And I was so relieved I could die.

    All tha being said I’m not sure a monument to her infamous poop eating scene is the best way to remember her or to honor her outlaw legacy which was subversive in so many more ways than just eating shit.

    • Rolf

      One fears she may be reduced to ‘one queen, one turd’ by spotlighting this rather odious moment in her career.
      And buried under votive bottles of mouthwash.

    • Tigernan Quinn

      Thank you. It bugs me that this is the moment they decided to memorialize.

    • KCMC

      ZOMG, Studio One. Was trying to recall where at 21, I saw Weather Girls. Faded youth and memories.

      • LADY MABELINE

        There were some nights that I have no idea how I climbed that long stairwell up to The Backlot before going into Studio One. We were always in a constant loop of the bars in Weho. If it was an unlucky night for a hook up, there was always The Gold Coast to make you feel a little better before 2 a.m.

        • Phillip in L.A.

          the Mold Roast–remember it well!

        • another_steve

          Re “no idea how I climbed that long stairwell”:

          In the Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse — a popular NYC gay organization Saturday night dance venue of the early 70s — there was a circular metallic staircase leading upstairs. As I recall, there were tables up there where people sat and drank and chatted.

          So there I was, a totally drunk 19-year-old, climbing and descending that circular staircase. I can’t tell you how many times I fell down that thing, shit-faced, to the bottom.

          I was a pretty twink back then though, and plenty of guys were more than happy to come to my rescue.

          • LADY MABELINE

            Good times.

          • Phillip in L.A.

            Honey, how ’bout that circular stairway at “The Saint”?!

          • another_steve

            After my day, The Saint.

            By the 80s I was already living here in the Baltimore area, chained to my wonderful (now-husband) man.

    • another_steve

      Great story, Gest. Thanks.

      I have a John Waters story. I’ve told it before here on JMG, but I like to tell it, so what the fuck. One more time.

      My man and I were sitting in the now-defunct Club Atlantis in Baltimore, having our drinks and ogling the cute go-go boys dancing totally nude on the bar (yes — Baltimore is one of the few cities in the U.S. where totally nude — 100 percent nude — go-go bar dancing is permitted), and in walks John Waters and a small entourage of his.

      So they sit down at the table right next to ours. I was overcome by the waves of filth-thought emanating from their table.

      We later found out that they were there to scope out the place as a possible filming location for a scene from “Pecker.” Admirers of that wonderful film will remember the go-go bar scene.

      That scene was filmed in the Club Atlantis.

    • Strepsi

      Agreed! What makes Divine and John Waters so important to cinematic history and queer history is that they showed that the Queerest people were loving people, and the normal world is filth.

      • Phillip in L.A.

        love love love this comment, Strepsi! thx so much!!!

        • bdsmjack

          “The World of the Heterosexual is a sick and boring life!” –Edith Massey

          • Phillip in L.A.

            If I had a motto, this would be it!

            (Note to self: translate into Latin.)

    • Phillip in L.A.

      “her outlaw legacy which was subversive in so many more ways than just eating shit”

      Agree. But, no other actress/actor has *ever* outdone Divine in this regard….

      Thx for the great story, too, Gest2016!

    • Bj Lincoln

      I agree. Eating dog shit is not the way I want to remember Divine. It’s not the way I want to remember anyone. Well….most people I know.

  • Michael Rush

    <—- went to Edith Massey's thrift store ( before i had seen any of the films ! )

    • Robincho

      Edie’s Shopping Bag?…

      • Octavio

        One of my most cherished possessions is a glamour photo of Edie (BIG HAIR) looking seductively into the camera. She sold them in her store. But on mine she wrote, “To Octavio, Happiness is eating eggs. Love always.”

        It hangs in my bathroom at this very moment. A reminder that I need to watch my cholesterol. 🙂

        • Robincho

          The impression I get from you is that you’ve lived everywhere on the damn planet. Lucky for you they invented time — to keep everything from happening all at once! Cherish that bathroom photo, amigo… La vieja Edie, ella fue una divina tesora!

          • Octavio

            Yes, she was. I met her when on a visit to DC. A close friend who was also a film maker, Larry Roberts, dragged me into Baltimore to introduce me. We also bought some classic T-shirts from her very odd collection. As for travel. Damn right. I’ve made it a point to see and experience as much as possible in this lifetime because I sure don’t expect there is another. However, since hooking up with El Squeeze my travels have been mostly restricted to the US and the Southern Hemisphere. 🙂

          • Robincho

            My work will take me to The Kennedy Center in mid-April (y espero que los cerezos cooperarán!). It’s sad to realize that her snaggletoothy smile isn’t around to greet people anymore…

            Díme sobre El Apretón — y recuerdos a Los Dos!…

        • Phillip in L.A.

          Wow! You better hide that photo if I come to town, Octavio ;}

        • fuzzybits

          This was really sweet. I love that Edie took care of the neighborhood kitty’s. https://youtu.be/iauNcfvntsA

          • Octavio

            Yup. That was Edie. She also had breath that would kill you if you got too close. 🙂

    • Hip Byroads

      One Sunday afternoon in 1980 I took my new boyfriend, new in town, to Baltimore to see Edie’s shop. I wanted him to meet her. She was sitting up front eating a cheesesteak sub and she pulled it out her mouth and pushed it in his direction the moment she saw us and said, “You hungry? Wanna bite?” Those famously rotted out teeth beaming angelically up at my new boyfriend, he graciously declined.

      That was his first time ever in Baltimore. He’d seen a couple of John Waters’ earlier movies and was now convinced they were comic documentaries of life in Baltimore.

      • another_steve

        Big hair, which Edie wore so well, is still alive and well in Baltimore. We all know big-haired Baltimore ladies down here. I actually worked with one, a dear friend named Nancy.

        Nancy had foot-high bleached blond hair. We used to joke that she used so much hairspray on it that when the atomic war came, the only remnant of the human race that would survive would be Nancy’s hair.

        • Robincho

          “Mama, chickens are PLENTIFUL!” — Babs Johnson

          • Phillip in L.A.

            lol

  • Arkansan

    “The times they are a changin'”.

  • Johnny Wyeknot

    Divine did more for Baltimore than the Inner Habor ever hoped to do!

    • another_steve

      Tell it, girl. Divine epitomized the essential trashiness of the Baltimore experience.

      I lived for 27 years in New York City and now live in the Baltimore area. I’ve experienced the trashiness of both cities.

      New York City trash: Bow down, and obey us.

      • David Walker

        And while you’re there, get your hair done.

      • Robincho

        I’d worship the ground you walk on, if only you lived in a better neighborhood…

    • Phillip in L.A.

      Divine and John Waters

      • Johnny Wyeknot

        And Edith the Egg Lady!

    • Judy

      Had more crabs, too.

      • Johnny Wyeknot

        Heehee

  • delk

    You know, kids have no idea how lucky they are to have YouTube. 😃

    • motordog

      Yet, it seems the more resources they get to learn about the past, the less they actually know. I knew more about the world 20 years before I was born than these texting-addicted face-bookers know about last year! And another thing…get off mah lawn, ya punk kids!

  • TuuxKabin

    Was it ever established that Divine actually ate that dog’s poo? Asking for a dog friend.

    • another_steve

      It’s an article of faith among her followers here that she did in fact do that.

      If you knew her, you would know that she would do that.

      • TuuxKabin

        I have the faith.

    • cheakamus

      I think one look at the expression on her face tells all.

      • Steverino

        Literally a shit eating grin!

      • TuuxKabin

        yeah, that’s what I was thinking, the way she spit it back out.

      • Rolf

        Looks to me like she gagged a little at one point, but got herself together and kept on munching.

    • Hip Byroads

      In one of John Waters’ books, I think I remember him saying that Divine had dropped acid before the scene, and they took her to hospital afterwards to see if she would be all right after ingesting dog shit.

      • TuuxKabin

        That sounds familiar, thanks.

      • Phillip in L.A.

        Not exactly–please see my comment upstream

    • Hereweare

      I saw John Waters a couple years ago on his one-man show and he told the story of filming that day, and according to him, yes, Divine did in fact eat the poo.

      • TuuxKabin

        oo.

    • Phillip in L.A.

      Says John Waters:

      It couldn’t be fake. It had to be one continuous shot, turd-to-mouth, so to speak. No cutaway reaction shot to give me a chance to replace the real shit with some special-effects ripoff. No sirree, you’d see the dog shit, she’d pick it up and eat it before your very eyes. My audience demanded as much. I realized filmgoers would have trouble believing it even without a cut. No actor could be that dedicated to cinema “art” to eat dogshit, dressed in drag, solely for the audience’s amusement. But no one realized what a trouper Divine really was.

      John Waters, Shock Value: A Tasteful Book About Bad Taste (New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1981) at 13 (emphasis in original).

      They eventually had to give the dog, named “Nazzi” (owned by Pat Moran), “an enema, and an assistant came up with a hair-dye applicator bottle filled with warm water. The dog wasn’t thrilled, but luckily this was a nonunion movie, so she didn’t have much of a choice.” Ibid.

      At the wrap party later that night, someone said she hoped Divine didn’t get sick, so Divine called the local hospital, and “assuming the voice of a suburban housewife,” told the nurse who answered the phone that her son “ate some dog feces.” The nurse said he’d probably be okay, “but it’s a possibility he could get the white worm.” Id., at 14. Divine “survived without even a single day of bad health.” Id.

      • TuuxKabin

        Well that explains it. Thanks Phillip.

  • another_steve

    Here is the “male/female” statue in front of Baltimore’s train station — referenced in the Baltimore Sun article.

    Art critics either love it or hate it.

    Vehemently.

  • jomicur

    Now she belongs to the ages.

  • SoCalVet

    okay, I admit it. I ate dog crap as a child…according to my mother. Sadly, she did not catch the event on 8MM.

    • Helen Damnation ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Do we have to ask, why?

      • SoCalVet

        because it was there? 🙂

  • houstonray

    A memorial is awesome, and definitely long overdue, but really, is the poop thing the right thing? I think it’s kind of over the top. And just one more thing conservative can point to and complain about….

    • Johnny Wyeknot

      Let them complain

    • olandp

      Can you name a more iconic moment for Divine. She once said,”If anyone ever tells me to eat shit or go fuck myself, I can say, ‘I’ve done both.'”

  • Octavio

    And it came to pass in the land of Nod a giant statue of a big ol’ multi sexed shibboleth, once ancient and new, was worshipped in the city. When the furies blew the statue would nod, protecting worshipers. And it was good.

    • Tor

      I read that as “furries.” Nice mental image.

      • Octavio

        Furries? Good. I should change it to that. 🙂

  • MBear

    Would probably cut down on all the people showing up in the middle of the night to poop on John Waters’ front yard…?

  • Gerry Fisher

    Be sure to stop at Leon’s for a cocktail after visiting the statue. Friday and Sunday happy hours are two-for-one and very bear friendly. 🙂

  • Phillip in L.A.

    Why do they need the poop at all? Why not just have the bust or w/e and her dates. Divine was much more than “just” eating poop

  • fuzzybits

    Not the dog poop scene. There’s way too many other ideas for a sculpture of Divine.

  • Randy

    There is a recent story about her and how she was the inspiration for Ursula from The Little Mermaid.
    http://hazlitt.net/longreads/unearthing-sea-witch