John Waters, inside Aunt Ida, inside Dawn Davenport. Such is the beauty of nesting dolls – and such is the extreme beauty of "Female Trouble"-themed nesting dolls.
The dolls, which are seriously awesome and should be prominently displayed in every Baltimore home, are the work of Irene Hwang, an Australia-based artist whose creations completely capture what is so divine about Divine, as well as all the other Dreamlanders.
"I walked out of the anniversary showing of 'Pink Flamingos' at the Angelika Film Center in NYC years ago a bit shell-shocked but thinking that anything was possible due to the director's ability to convince his lead actress to snack on dog poo," Hwang wrote in an email from her home in Queensland. "Thanks to John Waters," she added, "I believe I can do anything."
Hwang has created several different Waters-inspired nesting doll sets. They include two dolls that depict characters from Waters' 1974 "Female Trouble." One features Dawn Davenport (Divine, of course) before the horrible "accident" that left her face acid-scarred, plus smaller dolls of Aunt Ida (Edith Massey, bless her snaggle-toothed heart) and Waters himself.
Another features a post-accident Dawn Davenport, complete with leopard-skin wrap, plus smaller dolls of fashionistas Donald and Donna Dasher (David Lochary and Mary Vivian Pearce) and, finally and smallest of all, Dawn's little girl, innocent little Taffy Davenport (Mink Stole).
The dolls, as is clear from the pictures, are profoundly irresistible; scarred Dawn's Mohawk alone is worth whatever the set costs.
Hwang has also created a five-doll set featuring characters from "Polyester" (no word on if they smell when scratched, like the Odorama cards that accompanied the film's 1981 release), as well as dolls for "Serial Mom" and "Pink Flamingos" ("It took me a while to do the 'Pink Flamingos' set,'" she wrote, "because to me it is the pinnacle of all of John Waters' films and I didn't want to disappoint"). She's also created an all-Divine set of dolls.
"I believe 'Desperate Living' is next on the docket," she wrote, tantalizingly.
Hwang wrote that she has a "permanent waiting list" for her hand-painted doll sets, which she sells for $100-$300. In all, she said she's sent more than 800 sets of dolls to customers all over the world -- her other subjects have included TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," characters from "Saturday Night Live" and Henry VIII and his six wives. She hopes to have some of her Waters-inspired dolls available in August.
Our suggestion: bookmark Hwang's website immediately and keep checking for updates.
Her future plans, she wrote, include re-creating a Waters film, but using the dolls as actors. "Sort of like 'Thunderbirds' meets 'Wallace and Gromit' but way more low budget with incredibly stilted acting because, well, they're dolls."