Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Divine !

A new documentary I AM DIVINE opens the new London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (on 14 March), directed by Jeffrey Schwarz it celebrates the life and career of Divine, that entertainer extraordinaire (1945-1988), and his journey from being Harris Glenn Milstead in Baltimore to wowing the movies and record business as the outrageous, shocking, challenging and unique Divine. The films speak for themselves: FEMALE TROUBLE as Dawn Davenport - thanks Jerry for that the other week. I love every minute of course of the original HAIRSPRAY and every quotable line of it (particuarly the one about her (Edna Turnblad) diet pill wearing off...). John Waters of course crafted these masterworks (we also dig his later ones like CRY BABY and SERIAL MOM, and of course he gives great interview).

Divine also of course had pop hits during that Hi-Energy era of the early 80s, and I had my own evening with him in either 1986 or early '87 when he appeared at the (straight) club Coasters, then part of the Kingswest Odeon complex on Brighton seafront, in Sussex here in the UK. I was down there every weekend then with their disk jockey Rory. The night Divine was booked Rory's dressing room was given over to Divine and we watched the quiet Glenn in his kaftan settle in, with the buffet arranged for him. He emerged as Divine at midnight - the place was full, with kids hanging from the rafters, and he brought down the house.
Divine by Hockney
I can still see him in the leopardskin outfit, with sweat pouring off him as he belted out those hits like "Jungle Jezebel" - he also caused a sensation of course on the weekly tv show "Top of the Pops", where I had managed to videotape his appearance.  In Brighton, I was on the stage with Rory at the back as Divine prowled the stage, he chatted afterwards and gave us these signed cards (above).   He also of course starred with Tab Hunter (see below) in POLYESTER as Francine Fishpaw, and LUST IN THE DUST, great fun both. Like that other disco icon of the era, Sylvester, Divine left us far too early, but this documentary should spark off a revival? I must look out for him in Alan Rudolph's TROUBLE IN MIND in 1985.

No comments:

Post a Comment