Friday, July 20, 2007

A Little Tale From The Past (Hairspray edition)

The musical movie "Hairspray" comes out this week. It is based on the Broadway musical by way of Seattle which was based on the 1988 movie by way of John Waters. I was reading about the star Nicki Blosky, who came out of nowhere to become the star of the movie. this reminded me of an old friend Staci.

Back in the late 80's I went to the School of Visual Arts. Our dorm rooms were in the former YMCA Sloane House on west 34th street. Our school occupied the 8th, 9th, and 10th floors. Our rooms were tiny, but each student had their own rooms. If you had the will to stay more than one year, you get a bigger room. Anyway, My room in my second year was across the hall from Staci, a freshman.

Staci was a sweet, cute, friendly girl who was a bit on the plus side at the time. We used to hang out in the hallways talking about....whatever. One afternoon, she comes up to me wanting some information. She had a father who had some show business connection and she wanted to know if I knew anything about John Waters.

This was 1987. John Waters was famous for making guerrilla R-rated exploitation movies like "Polyester" and "Pink Flamingos". I had recently seen these movies and others for the first time at the time. They are very gross even for my tastes. "Pink Flamingos" ends with the infamous scene in which Divine literally eats dog shit. This is all I knew about John Waters in 1987.

Staci tells me that they are looking for a lead in the next John Waters film and that she had the opportunity for an audition.

Now, Staci was sweet and to me, a little naive. So I told her what I knew about John Waters with a cautious tone that maybe steer her away from taking that audition. I thought it might be a mistake to be in that film, though I felt that she should do what she felt was in her best interest. I never talked to her about it again and I lost touch with Staci soon after.

About a year later I see previews for the movie "Hairspray" I thought it looked like a hoot, it seemed delightful, a PG movie that had enough quirkiness to keep me interested. I then saw Divine playing the mom of the lead, a chubby charmer by the name of Riki Lake. The movie was directed by John Waters. It was unlike any movie John Waters had done before. I instantly thought of Staci, and felt guilty that I prevented Staci of certain fame. Every time I saw Ricki Lake with her talk show and other movies, I felt that it could have been Staci. She was nice enough to deserve the fame. The only thing is I don't know if Staci even went to the audition. She might have done the audition and didn't get the part, but I can't help but feel that I prevented Staci from enjoying life long fame.

I hope she's doing good these days, at least she has avoided tabloid exploitation.

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