|Divine in perhaps his most famous role, as Dawn Davenport, in "Female Trouble"|
It was only weeks before when I saw John Waters with Harris Glenn Milstead (Divine) on the red carpet at Greenwich Village's Waverly Theater for the premiere of "Hairspray." Milstead had eschewed being in drag as his famed alter ego.
I had an even closer encounter with Divine, in front of the old Bleecker Street Theater in New York. Divine was milling about in front of the old movie house, on the theater's pillared portico, in full drag. She was with a gaggle of men, holding court, and I stood across the way with a friend of mine, watching her and conversing, waiting for the doors to open for the night's showing of "Pink Flamingos," amongst a small sea of moviegoers. Suddenly, Divine broke from her group, stalked directly over to my friend and I, and said hello, towering over me in stillettos. (Milstead was 6'2" without the heels; I'm 5'5".)
So, there we were, and I was very flattered to have the larger-than-life "underground" movie star begin pawing my chest and lavishing attention on me with trademark, camp eye and lip gestures I couldn't take seriously. I was young then, and in tight blue jeans and a black shirt boasting pink flamingos across my chest. A fan of Divine's since I saw "Pink Flamingos" when it debuted in NYC at the Elgin Theater in Chelsea, I chatted it up, even though starstruck. It was a lively conversation, though I don't recall what was said. I do remember laughing a lot.
|Divine with Andy Warhol at Studio 54|
So, cheers! Happy Birthday, Divine, for all the joy you brought us through your films and dance music. And for that brief but thrilling encounter on Bleecker Street that I'll never forget. Wikipedia labels Divine a cult figure; I consider Divine a superstar.