Mink Stole was an early friend in the Dreamland bunch, and we kind of moved in sync between Baltimore and NYC. She was a fixture in Fells Point when I moved down there. She and Delores Deluxe had just opened a collectable/antique clothing store (called Dreamland, I’m pretty sure) on Broadway right next to Edith’s Shopping Bag store. The store never had a whole lot to sell, but Mink was always open to relaxing with a cup of coffee and talk about dreams of hitting the big time with Fells Point’s artists, musicians, actors, writers and movie people. One of the favorite topics was moving to New York, which promised much greater opportunities than Baltimore. Like several Fells Pointers of the time, I moved to downtown Manhattan in 1978 to pursue my dreams.
Other Fells Pointers including Cookie Mueller, Peter Koper, Nick Ghiz, Eddie Peranio, and more were already there or came soon after, and then so did Mink, but she moved way uptown. My wife and I would regularly take a long subway ride to visit Mink and eat newly fashionable Szechuan food on the fringe of Harlem. It was a scary place, and we worried that she might not flourish so far away from the opportunities of the downtown art scene– such as they were. But she never seemed to worry about that.
I love this photo of her. I’d like to make a poster of it. It was taken around 1976 during a short break in filming of “Desperate Living” at the ritzy home of John Waters’ parents outside Baltimore. Her blank and slightly cockeyed stare was in exact character for her role of the wealthy, but paranoid-schizophrenic suburban housewife–soon to turn sadist, Peggy Gravel, in Desperate Living.
Photo from the collection of George Stover.
*Read about Robert Maier’s fifteen years working with John Waters in the new book “Low Budget Hell: Making Underground Movies with John Waters.” Available from Amazon.com and booksellers around the world.