Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Archive for October 19, 2011

The Avengers at NY Comic Con

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and members of the cast of “Marvel’s The Avengers” took to the stage at New York Comic Con to present awesome new footage from the film. Check out the full gallery of photos from the event right here

Fans at New York Comic Con got to see a new clip from the film featuring Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner and Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow and much more! Reread the liveblog here


Divine

Divine (October 19, 1945 – March 7, 1988), born Harris Glenn Milstead, was an American actor, singer and drag queen. Described by People magazine as the “Drag Queen of the Century”, Divine often performed female roles in both cinema and theater and also  appeared in women’s clothing in musical performances. Even so, he considered himself to be a character actor and performed male roles in a number of his later films. He was often associated with independent filmmaker John Waters and starred in ten of Waters’s films, usually in a leading role. Concurrent with his acting career, he also had a successful career as a disco singer during the 1980s, at one point being described as “the most successful and in-demand disco performer in the world.”

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, into a conservative, wealthy middle class family, in the mid-1960’s he became involved with John Waters and his acting troupe, the Dreamlanders, and starred in a number of Waters’s early short films such as ‘Roman Candles’ (1966), ‘Eat Your Make-Up’ (1968) and ‘The Diane Linkletter Story’ (1969). It was around this time that Waters created the name “Divine” in reference to Milstead, who would adopt and use it for the rest of his life.

In 1969, soon after the production of The Diane Linkletter Story, Waters began filming a full-length motion picture, ‘Mondo Trasho’, which starred Divine as one of the main characters, a “portly blonde bombshell” who drives around town and runs over a hitchhiker. This was quickly followoed in 1970 by ‘Multiple Maniacs’, in which Divine played Lady Divine, the operator of an exhibit known as The Cavalcade of Perversion who turned to murdering visitors. At the film’s end, a scene was shot that involved Divine’s being raped by a giant lobster named Lobstora, before she runs around Baltimore in a  craze attempting to kill anyone who passed.

‘Pink Flamigos’ (1971), designed by Waters to be “an exercise in bad taste,” the film featured Divine as Babs Johnson, “the filthiest person alive,” who is forced to prove her right to the title from challengers, jealous perverts Connie and Raymond Marble. At the film’s end, Divine notoriously placed fresh dog feces in her mouth, symbolizing the character’s right to the title. The movie became one of the biggest cult hits of the 1970s and made Divine somewhat famous in the underground circuit.

After a sojourn in San Francisco, Divine returned to baltimore to work with Waters on ‘Female Trouble’in which Divine played his first on-screen male role, Earl Peterson. In the film, Waters included a scene during which these two characters had sex as a joke on the fact that both characters were played by the same actor. Female Trouble would prove to be Divine’s favorite part, because it both allowed him to develop his character and to finally play a male role, something he had always felt important because he did not want to be typecast as a female impersonator.

In the 1970s, Milstead made the transition to theater and appeared in a number of productions, including ‘Women Behind Bars’ and ‘The Neon Woman’. He returned to star in ‘Polyester’ (1981), starring as Francine Fishpaw, a figure who, unlike earlier roles, was not a strong female but a meek and victimized woman who falls in love with her dream lover, Todd Tomorrow, played by Tab Hunter. The film was released in “odorama,” accompanied by “scratch ‘n’ sniff” cards for the audience to smell at key points in the film.

‘Lust in the Dust’ (1985), reunited him with Tab Hunter and was Divine’s first film not directed by John Waters. Set in the Wild West during the nineteenth century, the movie was a sex comedy that starred Divine as Rosie Velez, a ‘slut’ who works as a singer in saloons and competes for the love of Abel Wood (Tab Hunter) against another woman. Divine followed this production with a very different role, that of male gangster Hilly Blue in ‘Trouble in Mind’ (1985). The script was written with Divine in mind, and although not being a major
character in the film, Divine had been eager to play the part, because he wished to perform in more male roles and leave behind the stereotype of simply being a female impersonator.

He again became involved with a John Waters project, the film ‘Hairspray’ (1988), set in the 1960s. Divine played two roles, male and female, as in Waters’s earlier Female Trouble. It was to become both Divine and John Waters biggest financial hit. Remade into a theatrical musical which was in turn remade into another movie version.

On the evening of March 7, 1988, a week after Hairspray was released, Divine was staying at the Regency Hotel in Los Angeles. After dining with friends and returning to the hotel, he died in his sleep of an enlarged heart at age 42.