If Peaches could write her own ending to this phase of her performance career, her campy quasi-autobiographical musical Peaches Does Herself would become a cult classic in the vein of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Audience members would attend in costume and toss fake boobs during the scene for “Operate” and other props to coincide with the soundtrack.
“That’s the dream,” Peaches tells Rolling Stone in her hometown of Toronto, where the film screened during the Toronto International Film Festival.
Described as a “wild transsexual rock opera,” Peaches Does Herself – written by Peaches and shot by Robin Thomson – is culled from a 10-date live stage production she presented in her adopted home of Berlin and features songs such as “Set It Off,” “Lovertits,” “Diddle My Skittle,” “I U She,” “Shake Yer Dix” and “Fuck the Pain Away.”
It also features a colorful cast – 18 of whom Peaches flew to Toronto and invited onstage with her after the screening – such as beautiful she-male Danni Daniels, who plays her love interest; Sandy Kane, a.k.a. the Naked Cowgirl of Times Square, whose talent is putting lit matches in her nipples; the Fatherfucker Dancers; rock duo Jolly Goods; and Peaches’ live band, Sweet Machine.
“This is not a documentary, but it’s a way to understand me in a fantastical way,” Peaches explains. “It’s also subversive – an anti-jukebox musical. Actually, the songs relate more to what they’re actually about in the musical than something like Mamma Mia, where they make up another story, or We Will Rock You, where [they have] this cheesy future crap.”
Instead, Peaches (who grew up Merrill Nisker in the suburbs of Toronto) says she was inspired by Phantom of the Paradise, Tommy “and, of course, The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” as well as Busby Berkeley musicals, her mom’s influence.
“There’s enough of a story there for me to have originality, but I also – not even parodied, but gave homage to all my favorite musicals. Like the speech at the beginning, the professor – that’s kind of borrowed from The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the scene ‘I Feel Cream,’ when they bring in all the sets and all of a sudden we’re in love. That to me is so Singin’ in the Rain, An American in Paris, all those Gene Kelly [and] Fred Astaire movies.”
The boundary-pushing performance artist says she has far too much going on in her life presently to make a traditional documentary – and “traditional” is not a word in Peaches’ vocabulary. But when the time comes, she has “thousands and thousands of hours” of footage. She has been video recording everything she does since the start of her career.
“It helped me to deal with everything that was happening to me,” she explains.
The footage of Peaches Does Herself was originally intended to be another filed-away piece of her life, but “then it turned into a feature.” She says if someone wanted to “throw a bunch of money at it and produce it,” she would be game to take the stage musical on the road.
Meanwhile, she has a new single, “Burst!,” coming out next month on Boysnoize. “It’s hard electro awesomeness,” she says of the song – and it’s not about her boobs and dick exploding, as we see in the film.
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