you like your drag tinged with deranged humour and B-movie horror
schtick, then get a load of Peaches Christ. Bold enough to name
herself after "the ultimate celebrity", Ms Christ has
been wowing audiences at San Francisco's Trannyshack with her unique
and irreverent brand of entertainment for over 11 years.
is the now legendary venue where drag queens shun the traditional
show tunes and disco in favour of punk rock music and attitudes.
One of Peaches most memorable appearances involved her performing
a musical tribute to the Manson murders with fellow club regular,
on her impressive CV, Peaches also hosts her own annual programme
of offbeat cinema and performance - Midnight Mass - and co-produces
the SF Underground Short Film Festival.
is the creation of writer, film producer and theatre manager Joshua
Grannell. He developed the character in 1995: "She is the result
of many years of Catholic schooling, improv-theatre training and
is inspired by horror movies, shock value, dark humour, retarded
comedy, dark divas, scream queens and human flaw."
induction to drag came about almost by accident when he was a 21-year-old
student. "I always knew I wanted to make movies and started
making films at college. I first did Peaches for my senior year
production - Jizzmopper: A Love Story.
was directing the film and the actor we'd hired to play the queen
was flakey. I stepped in to play the part and saved the movie. Little
did I know this would lead to a career in drag infused with movies
and film making."
year later Joshua moved to San Francisco where Trannyshack had just
begun. "When I started performing there we had no idea the
night club would grow to become an entire new movement in drag and
performance. 11 years later it's still going strong."
how much of the Peaches character is performance, and how much is
the real Joshua Grannell? "I think there are similarities but
I'm increasingly finding out that others see the two as being very
SF Chronicle described Joshua as ordinary and mundane but went on
to rave about how groundbreaking and exciting Peaches is. Should
I be offended by that? I guess I accept that Joshua is a bit awkward
and nerdy. He's the horror film fan, the writer and director. Peaches
is the star, the comedian, the performer ...she's the public face.
there are some similarities between the two but I think of it as
a sort of "superhero" drag. They really are two different
personas. People rarely recognize Joshua, but Peaches can stop traffic."
cutting her teeth at Trannyshack, it was time for Peaches to start
her own show. Midnight Mass was launched in the summer of 1998,
allowing Joshua to "create a show that merged my love for drag
with my love for B-movies and cult cinema".
Mass presents movies that are masterpieces of cinematic trash -
Showgirls appears in every season - alongside anarchic pre-show
performances and exclusive special guests.
get to do really theatrical preshows with my drag friends. Our musical
Trannie before the film Annie was a favourite. I also get to work
with my idols - I'm a fan first and I love my idols. I've done shows
with Mink Stole, Tura Satana and Elvira."
concept for the programme was partly inspired by The Cockettes,
a group of radical drag performers who took over SF's Palace Theatre
in the 60s (see Five Documentaries You Should Own). "San Francisco
is full of artists and freaks. We are the other and many of us ran
away to SF to become the people we were meant to become.
wasn't about having a career, that's often a happy accident. People
perform for the sake of performing in SF, the audiences are the
best in the world and the performers support and love one another.
The city is beautiful and inspiring, I don't think I'd have the
same career or support in any other American city."
also finds time to write and produce her own films and recently
released her first compilation of horror shorts on DVD. Her plans
for the future include, "more movie shows, film making and
idol worship. I'm working hard on developing my first big feature
film and we're currently looking for investors. Do you know any
you've got a tubby wallet, catch up with Peaches on her website