Mondo Middle Aged

Where are members of John Water's original shock troupe today?

Baltimore magazine, April, 1993

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Twenty years ago, John Waters and his Dreamland Repertoire group set out to shock America with their cavalcade of celluloid perversions: Mondo Trasho, Multiple Maniacs, Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble. We all know Waters parlayed his Prince of Puke notoriety into a slightly more mainstream movie career. As you read this, he’s hard at work on his latest, Serial Mom. We tracked down the rest of Waters’ clan to see if they had remained any truer to the banner of filth.

Hardly. Although Edith Massey, Divine, and Cookie Mueller died in the ‘80s, and David Lachary passed away in 1976, the rest of the Dreamlanders lead surprisingly domestic lives.

Bonnie “Mary Vivian” Pearce played the fashion fanatic who was seduced by a foot fetishist in Mondo Trasho. Now, she lives in Mt. Washington and works as a docker at Pimlico Race Course.

In Desperate Living, Susan Lowe starred as the butch Mole McHenry, a character who had a sex-change to please her lover, only to chop the organ off minutes later. Still in Baltimore, she’s a neo-expressionist sculptor and teaches art at the Maryland Institute and School 33. She is married, with two children and a grandchild.

Living in LA now, Nancy “Mink” Stole, the ultra-bratty Taffy in Female Trouble, is writing autobiographical short stories and reading her work at coffee shops. She also occasionally speaks for PETA.

George Figgs, the nude garbageman in Desperate Living owns and operates the Orpheum Theatre in Fells Point.

In Pink Flamingos, Channing Wilroy dutifully inseminated kidnapped women and crossed-dressed in Connie Marble’s finery. Today he enjoys the milder pleasures of model railroading, building phones, and running a cottage resort in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Danny Mills played the heart-throb Cracker in Pink Flamingos. Today, he works at the Convention Center setting up and tearing down whatever needs to be set up and torn down there

Inevitably, perhaps, the Dreamlanders are all rather average citizens these days. But most keep in touch with each other, and remain shocked by their fame. As Alan Reese, a bit player in Multiple Maniacs turned Baltimore County school teacher, says, “None or us ever predicted that these movies would have gotten as popular as they did.”

--Joab Jackson

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