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Waters’ first full-length feature was Mondo Trasho, made for $2,100. During shooting, almost the entire crew was arrested for “participating in indecent exposure.” It was a five-second shot of a nude man in the middle of a road, and the community took sides. In February of 1969, Waters screened his early shorts in court to prove he wasn’t a pornographer. He won. It cemented the Dreamlanders outlaw status.

“The Weathermen were a big influence,” Waters told The Washington Post about making Pink Flamingos. “We wanted to do cultural terrorism in a funny way.” Mondo Trasho premiered on March 14, 1969. Three months later, a late-night raid turned into a riot at the Stonewall Inn, a West Village gay bar owned by the Genovese crime family.

The Dreamlanders were film and performance over-enthusiasts drawn to downtown Baltimore’s gay scene. They included Waters’ childhood friends, the petty-criminal, dope-smoking, shoplifting, self-proclaimed “bad suburban kids” from Towson and Lutherville: Bob Skidmore, Mark Isherwood, and Mary Vivian Pearce, the only Dreamlander to appear in every one of Waters’ movies (her scenes in Cry-Baby were cut).

Joining in on the fun was the crowd who lived in “the Hollywood Bakery,” a former commercial bakery owned by Vincent Peranio, who would go on to become Waters’ art director. He’d also turn the space into a studio, and share it with George Figgs, who also arranged the first public showings of Waters’ Hag in a Black Leather Jacket and Roman Candles; Susan Lowe, best known for playing Mole McHenry in Desperate Living; and Mink Stole, who appears in all of Waters’ features.

The original troupe also included Bob Adams, Paul Swift, Chris Mason, Peter Koper, Maelcum Soul, and David Lochary. Original Dreamlander George Stover went on to make his sci-fi debut in Don Dohler’s The Alien Factor, the first science-fiction movie filmed in Maryland. Pat Moran is now a casting director who won Emmys for his work on VEEP, Life on the Streets, and Game Change.

The term Dreamlander has come to refer to anyone who acts in more than one Waters film, such as Traci Lords who appeared in Cry-Baby (1990) and Serial Mom (1994), and Jean Hill and Ricki Lake who make irregular appearances. Danny Mills is considered a Dreamlander even though he only appeared in Pink Flamingos.

Source: Den of Geek

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