PEACHES DOES HERSELF directed by Peaches, with Peaches and Sandy Kane. A filmswelike release. 80 minutes. Opens Friday (June 7). For venues and times, see listings.
Peaches is playing with her food.
Okay, so technically she's toying with a fruit plate at a booth in the Drake coffee shop, surrounded by three or four members of her crew. We're halfway through the Toronto Film Fest, and they're all recovering from turning the Drake into an overnight art installation at TIFF's behest. Except for their leader, who's still pretty jazzed by the whole thing.
"I really love curatorial work," says the Toronto-raised, Berlin-defined Peaches. "I wish I could do that more. I really like to see what people come up with when you tell them, ‘You're a piece of this puzzle.'"
Peaches' night at the Drake included laser harps, living exhibits and a mic-stealing appearance by Sandy Kane, the Naked Cowgirl. So pretty much the same freaky, techno-sexual universe we see in the Berlin stage show captured in Peaches Does Herself.
"The HAU theatre in Berlin asked me to do a production," Peaches recalls. "And the first thing I said to them was, ‘I'd like to do Jesus Christ Superstar as a one-woman show.' And they were like, ‘Done. What else? We want a bigger production, we're gonna get government money,' blah blah blah. And so I thought of all these ideas - burlesque, Weimar - and then I thought, ‘You know what? I am all that, right now! So I'm just gonna take 20 of my own songs and make a narrative.'"
The one thing she didn't want to do with the show that became Peaches Does Herself was create a jukebox musical. Peaches hates jukebox musicals.
"They never have anything to do with the band they're about," she says, and "also, the asinine dialogue - that's horrible, I don't relate." She gestures to the rest of her crew surrounding her in the diner booth. "That's the reason why people like us don't like [those] musicals - it's never the original artist.
"That's why I loved Tommy so much as a child," she says, talking about the Ken Russell movie of the Who's rock opera. "They're all in it, and there's no talking. The entire Acid Queen scene is, like, ingrained in my brain for life. And I also saw Phantom Of The Paradise - the music isn't actually so great in that, but Brian de Palma did an insane, amazing job. And then Rocky Horror, which has amazing music, amazing production, [an] amazing theme - that's my holy trilogy, right there."
But there's more going on in Peaches Does Herself, thanks to a lifetime of pop culture rattling around in its creator's brain.
"My mother was really interested in the Busby Berkeley movies and Singin' In The Rain," she says, "and all that stuff. I got to pay homage to all those things that I loved, all those other musicals. And we decided to film it."
There's also the wall-breaking coda - better seen than described - which Peaches created especially for the film version.
"It's my little homage to all the Super 8 movies I used to do walking around Queen West," she says. "That came after, too: ‘How do I end it?' The stage production was just singing Fuck The Pain Away and everybody jumped onstage and joined us.
"But that doesn't translate to film," she laughs. "It would have been the worst ending."