Saturday, August 4, 2007

2007 Rolling Roadshow: the John Waters Tour of Baltimore

For those of you coming in to Baltimore from out of town, we have compiled a list of John Waters points of interest: some filming locations, some haunts, and some simply must-see spots. There's a link to a google map for each location. Spend a day or two getting primed and ready for the marathon by soaking up the seedy underbelly of John Water's Baltimore.

Calvert Hall College High School
8102 Lasalle Rd
Baltimore, MD 21286
John Waters' alma mater.

Geometrics Hair Salon
523 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD
(410) 539-1080
Where John Waters gets his hair cut (he trims his own moustache).

Club Charles
1724 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21201
Art deco walls with bartenders in black leather and excellent drinks. A dive bar where John Waters apparently regularly appears.

The Atlantis Club
615 Fallsway

A low-down gay club with erotic dancers where the infamous teabagging scenes in Pecker were filmed (real performers from the club were used). In true Waters style, it's located right next door to the Baltimore City Penitentiary.

The American Dime Museum
1808 Maryland Ave
Baltimore, MD 21201
Another Waters haunt. Hairballs and unicorns are on display in a museum that's part Ripley's Believe It Or Not, part carnival sideshow. Waters is on the board of advisors for the museum.

Divine's Grave
Prospect Hill Cemetery
9720 York Rd
Cockeysville, MD 21030
(410) 252-8462
The grave reads HARRIS GLENN MILSTEAD, "Divine." Check out the Dreamland site for the specific location within the cemetery.

"The Avenue"
West 36th Street
Baltimore, MD 21211
Asked to pick a spot that exemplifies his kind of Baltimore, John Waters chooses Hampden, the working-class neighborhood where he filmed parts of "Hairspray" and pretty much all of "Pecker." Its centerpiece is "the Avenue" -- formally West 36th Street -- a strip of cafes, galleries, thrift stores and antique shops.

The Ottobar
203 Davis St, Baltimore, MD
(410) 662-0069
Another John Waters haunt, which he has dubbed "a great rock 'n' roll, punk hangout."

Cafe Hon
1002 W 36th St
Baltimore, MD 21211
(410) 243-1230
'40s-style creamery known for its "Much Better than Mom's" meatloaf, vegetarian Mexi-Hon Salad with black-bean stew, home-baked pies and ice cream topped with tasty hot fudge from a secret recipe salvaged from the cafeteria at the landmark Hutzler's department store, which closed in 1990. Sometimes the waitresses sport '60s-style beehive hairdos; they always call you "hon" or "sweetie."

728 S. Broadway
Stop by on Tuesdays and Saturdays after 2 p.m., when they can visit with owner Bob Adams, a Waters pal of such long standing that 1972's "Pink Flamingos" was filmed on his farm. Adams has made cameo appearances in most of Waters's films, most notoriously as Ernie in "Female Trouble." The store's shelves are stuffed with videos, vinyl and tape, assorted knickknacks and memorabilia, while the walls are full of posters and artwork from Waters's films.

Atomic Books
1100 W. 36th St.
Baltimore, MD
Home to "Literary Finds for Mutated Minds." "That's where I get all my fan mail, so people don't have my address," Waters says. "It's a great store -- they have extreme books of all types!" The store keeps a supply of books autographed by Waters.

Holiday House
6427 Hartford Rd. at Pinewood Avenue
Baltimore, MD
A real biker bar in the working-class 'hood of Hamilton. Selma Blair's character in A Dirty Shame, Ursula Udders, works as a well-endowed topless dancer here, and many real motorcycle riders were used in the filming. Be sure to pop in to the Hell Bent for Leather store one door down.

The Drinkery
205 W. Read St.
Baltimore, MD
In the Mount Vernon area is one of Baltimore's oldest gay bars. Just outside is where Divine performed the infamous dog feces-eating scene at the end of Pink Flamingos.

10 Ft. Statue of Divine
American Visionary Art Museum
800 Key Hwy.
Baltimore, MD

Perry Hall High School
8100 Ebenezer Rd
Perry Hall
Maryland, USA
Used for scenes in Hairspray.

Mergenthaler Vocational Technical School
3500 Hillen Rd
Baltimore, MD 21218
Also used for shots of the Hairspray High School

The Parkville Convenience Store
7501 Harford Rd
Parkville, MD 21234
(410) 444-4702
Called the Park 'n' Pay in A Dirty Shame, is where Tracey Ullman's character works. Dorsay tells us, "It was run by a wonderful Indian family who didn't have a clue who we were until we hired a translator to explain what we were doing."

The Harbor Court Hotel
550 Light St.
Baltimore, MD
On Baltimore's inner harbor is the site of much action in Cecil B. Demented. It's also where real-life movie stars often stay when they're in town.

The Dreamland Lot
313 Morris Ave.
Lutherville, MD
Where John Waters shot most of his early films, the expansive backyard of his parents house.

Bengies Drive-In
3417 Eastern Blvd
Baltimore, MD 21220
Where Melanie Griffith defiantly set her head on fire at the climax of Cecil B. Demented.


Jeff Spence said...


Saw that you'd finally posted the list of John Waters' locations on the Roadshow site, and as a lifelong Baltimorean and Waters' fan (we're both Calvert Hall alumni, although I don't think that either of us are all that fond of the place), wanted to give you two updates.

The Club Atlantis is no more.

See the following article from Baltimore's City Paper for more details.

The Maryland State Penitentiary is still there next door to the original Atlantis building - but it (the bar, not the jail) is a hetero strip club (Scores) now.

And the American Dime Museum is no more either, going under for the last time in February of this year.

See for more details.

Some of the stuff from the Dime Museum is still visible down the road in DC at the Palace of Wonders - - but it's not the same.

Anyway, looking forward to the tour stop - see you on Friday.

brian said...

what about the house and cul-de-sac from Polyester???

Babs Johnson said...

Sadly, Flashback no longer exists--it's now a Spanish clothing store called La Mesa. I spoke with the owner of a record store next door and he said Bob Adams "got a day job".

The house from Polyester is located at 528 Heavitree Lane in Severna Park. The front doors are almost exactly the same, but they've been painted red. Unfortunately, the tree that Edie hid behind when she was acting as a "spy" must have been chopped down, either that or I didn't see it because it was dark when we arrived. I was lucky enough to actually go inside because the lady who lives there invited us in. (Though I'm not sure how she'd feel if busloads of people showed up, lol.) I still need to send that family a thank you note!

I would also recommend hitting up Video Americain (the video store from Serial Mom)--they have a fantastic selection of VHS and DVD. I actually got a membership there just so I could rent Mondo Trasho.

Here's a link to my LiveJournal entry about my trip to Baltimore, with photos:

jonathan said...

Hey, anybody know the flea market location in later Waters films, " Serial Mom" and "Pecker" ?

Anonymous said...

Hey. Anyway anyone can give me a shout email wise with some info about the john waters spots???
Any updated info? Any hints?
Please email me

Anonymous said...

I think the house from Polyester is actually at 570 Heavitree HILL in Severna Park. Heavitee Hill is a cul de sac. If you look at google street views, the house at 570 is very similar and the house next door is nearly identifical.,+Severna+Park,+MD&sll=39.101492,-76.604254&sspn=0.003422,0.006866&ie=UTF8&ll=39.102957,-76.603932&spn=0.006844,0.013733&z=16&g=528+heavitree+hill,+Severna+Park,+MD&iwloc=addr&layer=c&cbll=39.101561,-76.604316&panoid=npgf25W3ti_zCCS0tjCYIQ&cbp=12,266.29985033338243,,0,5

Lance Uppercut said...

The flea market scene in "Serial Mom" seemed like it was shot in a school gymnasium of some sort.

Anonymous said...

Pat Moan said...

Half of this info is wrong...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, some of these addresses are right, some are wrong, and some have the correct location but wrong address.

So, check out for a regularly updated location list of John Waters movie locations with pictures and comments from me about my travels to Baltimore.

Anonymous said...

Bob Adams works at an Auction House called Hess Auctions in White Marsh I saw him there and asked you work here he said "Yes, Every Monday" He looks great and is in great health!!

illissemorsirion said...

Hellbent for Leather closed down sometime right after 'A Dirty Shame' came out and I'm not so sure about the Holiday House being a biker bar anymore.

Anonymous said...

this is awesome! it's well worth a trip to Baltimore just to do the John Waters Tour