A John Waters Dollhouse

The weird world of John Waters just got a little smaller with a new exhibition of action figures and playsets from his films.

Photo by Tyson Tabbert

Few filmmakers dig deeper into all-American weirdness than John Waters, the Baltimore-bred auteur behind Pink Flamingos, Hairspray, Female Trouble, and Serial Mom. Besides Hairspray, which has gone on to become a hit musical, most of Waters’ works are family-unfriendly cult films, which is probably why no one ever thought to make tie-in toys and merchandise. Until now.

At La MaMa La Galleria until the end of June, you can stop by the garage sale–styled exhibition of miniature playsets based on scenes from his films. Created by sculptor Tyson Tabbert, the kitschy action figures of Waters’ stalwarts like the fabulous Divine evoke an imagined past in which even a movie as shocking as Pink Flamingos could be transformed into kid stuff. We can’t help but feel a little bit nostalgic about childhood—locking our bedroom door and turning the volume down on our 12-inch televisions to watch Kathleen Turner going on a crime spree in Serial Mom—while wondering how Tabbert could possibly pull off this ironically charming collection.

Why You Should Go: Even Waters himself is a fan of Tabbert’s work. “I think they are wonderful,” the director told The Baltimore Sun last year. We think they’re divine.

Photo by Tyson Tabbert

Lost Merchandise of the Dreamlanders”
Thursday, May 25—Saturday, June 24
Wednesday–Sunday, 1 p.m.—7 p.m.
La MaMa La Galleria
47 Great Jones Street (between Lafayette Street and Bowery), East Village

Make a day of it in the East Village with this ‘dreamy’ itinerary: