Revisit the Mighty Divine in Trash Classic Pink Flamingos


Every scene in Pink Flamingos without Divine is a little less filthy. Baltimore-based trash king John Waters put the drag queen on a pedestal worthy of a sideshow. But Divine, the subject of BAM’s six-film “I Am Divine” retrospective, shone even without Waters’s carnival barker hype. She even exudes beguiling charm in Lust in the Dust, Paul Bartel’s otherwise snoozeworthy 1985 kitsch western. But Pink Flamingos remains the ur-text for Divine and Waters fans because it is a manifesto. Divine is introduced as “The World’s Filthiest Person,” a title that villainous power couple Raymond and Connie Marble (David Lochary and Mink Stole) covet. But Divine earns it throughout Pink Flamingos thanks to what Waters argues is a natural perversity. Try, if you can, to ignore the laborious real-life process that went into the excretion of Divine’s now-infamous dog treat (in real life, the poor mutt was constipated after eating steak for three days). Instead, revel in the scene where Divine saunters around after shoving an uncooked skirt steak between his legs (Divine identified as he). Better yet, see the blow job scene that even Waters feels is excessive. What better way to combat, in Waters’s words, contemporary “porno chic” mores than filming a vaguely Mothra-esque Divine as he voraciously fellates his son? It may be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but Divine’s not wrong when he bellows, “I will be Queen one day, and my coronation will be celebrated all over the world. Do not forget: I am Divine!”