I Am Divine

Divine, the raging bitch-goddess of the early John Waters classics, was the drag alter ego of Harris Glenn Milstead, a relatively mild-mannered Baltimorean who rode his notoriety in Pink Flamingos (1972) and Female Trouble (1974) into a varied career as a cabaret performer, disco artist, and straight actor (in Alan Rudolph’s Trouble in Mind, among other things). In this entertaining profile by Jeffrey Schwarz, Divine’s friends and colleagues from the early days (Waters, Mink Stole, Tab Hunter) recall a genial fellow who, though long estranged from his uptight parents, enjoyed his unexpected fame as a drag icon and lived life to the fullest (particularly where his stomach was concerned). A treasure trove of clips shows Divine at his most outrageous, playing Jackie Kennedy in the assassination lampoon Eat Your Makeup (1968), performing onstage in campy shows like Journey to the Center of Uranus, and belting out his hit record “Native Love” on Britain’s Top of the Pops.