Thursday, August 28, 2014
Through interviews with friends, family (including Divine's delightful and similarly maquillaged Mother), his makeup artist, hangers-on, wannabes, and most bizarrely, a high school girlfriend, the doc explores not just Divine but Glenn Milstead, the shy, overweight teen who barely left the house before the age of 15 and went on to become the biggest, baddest, cross-dressing gay icon we all know and love.
Divine's signature look was created on a whim when makeup artist Van Smith shaved back her hairline in order to accommodate more eye makeup and cartoonishly arched brows. In the 1960s, most drag shows (and yes, they did exist in small underground circles, even in Baltimore) were dominated by thin, stereotypically "pretty" girls. Divine threw the paradigm on its head when she went onstage at 300 pounds, swathed in sequins and crowned by big hair, spewing obscenities that made audiences wild with laughter. She was a true performance artist, and much more than a creation of John Waters. Divine was, above all a method actor, as capable of shocking audiences with outrageous performances as she was of playing 'straight' roles, both in and out of drag.