Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Pink Flamingos

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Pink Flamingos

Article excerpt

It's hard to imagine that there could be more of Pink Flamingos. Yet for Fine Line Features' 25th anniversary rerelease of the infamous movie masterpiece, trash auteur John Waters has come up with something extra. The film's new version ends with almost ten minutes of commentary by Waters (too funny to recount here); appearances by the films surviving stars; and best of all, entire unused scenes from the movie, stored until now in Waters's attic.

Strutting back into theaters this month, Pink Flamingos is poised to give gay audiences a gloriously sick alternative to the thrill of Star Wars: Special Edition. Now a generation of gays who have experienced Pink Flamingos only on video can finally descend into the total midnight-movie hysteria that carried the film for a 95-week run in New York City and ten consecutive years in Los Angeles.

To mark the rerelease of Pink Flamingos, The Advocate invited gay director Gus Van Sant to contribute his impressions of what Interview magazine once called "the sickest movie ever made. And one of the funniest."

The exaggerated seaport barroom drag-show pageantry and antics in 1972's Pink Flamingos, mixed with classic '50s rock-and-roll kitsch classics such as "The Girl Can't Help It," pushed audiences of the early '70s close to riot. If you watch Divine and Edith Massey exchanging pleasantries in their new mobile home, there is something so W.C. Fields about Divine and something so Baby LeRoy about Edie, especially since Edie's in a baby crib. You couldn't hear most of the dialogue when this was first shown in theaters, because the audiences couldn't control their rowdy off-the-map laughter, Tourette's syndrome--like barking, and over-the-top screaming. Everything was too outrageous for them to contain themselves.

Pink Flamingos was directed by John Waters, who, previous to the film's 1972 creation, had been kicked out of NYU film school for the wrong attitude. Because of his penchant for revolting scenes in this and other early works, he was sometimes known as the Prince of Puke. Originating and working in Baltimore, Md., and inspired by New York underground filmmakers like the Kuchar brothers, Andy Warhol, and Kenneth Anger, Waters perfected his art of low- to no-budget filmmaking with features like Mondo Trasho and Multiple Maniacs. But it was Pink Flamingos that drew international attention to itself, enfranchising its ensemble of disenfranchised stars, including Massey, Cookie Mueller Mink Stole, and Harris Glenn Milstead, otherwise known as Divine. …

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