By Michael Varrati
Just as hearing certain songs can instantly transport us to times gone by; there are some cinematic experiences that will always contain the stamp of the film’s initial viewing. However, it’s more than just remembering the first time you saw a movie. Some films carry with them attributes that are almost impossible to describe, an “it factor” that serves as a perfect culmination of the movie’s content and where you happen to be in your own life. It’s a little cinematic synergy, if you will, that makes that particular flick special to you in ways that aren’t always easy to put into available words. It just clicks. You know them when you find them, and, as the film geeks we are, you cherish them deeply.
For me, Amy Heckerling’s Clueless is one of those movies.
In the summer of 1995, my family had taken a brief respite to the small city of Flagstaff, Arizona. I remember distinctly that it was the month of July, because it was that long stretch of the season that tends to be almost creepily hot. When I wasn’t spending my time by the pool or trying to raise money to buy a new Super Nintendo game, I was most typically glued to MTV. I know it may seem weird to the kids of today, but the once proud network had not yet slipped into the reality TV abyss and was still pumping out some pretty hip content. Even as a kid, I wasn’t particularly one to fall for ad campaigns or the latest trends, but somewhere in the midst of Road Rules reruns and Blind Melon videos, I started to take notice MTV was aggressively promoting this teen flick about a Beverly Hills mallrat.
After about a week of getting inundated with Alicia Silverstone (who I had previously only known as “that Aerosmith girl”), I caved and cajoled my mom into taking me to Flagstaff’s little theater to see the movie.
…and dare I say? It was love at first sight.
by Jason LeRoy
After a prolific 2013 that saw collaborations with queens such as Jinkx Monsoon, Sharon Needles, and Alaska Thunderfuck, midnight movie priestess Peaches Christ is kicking off her 2014 programming slate by working with one of the most notorious RuPaul’s Drag Race girls of them all: the one and only Willam Belli, whose controversial appearance (and unexplained disqualification) on the show’s fourth season made him one of the most talked-about contestants in the show’s history. Not that Willam needed the scandal to make an impression—from his Barbie-pretty looks to his fantastically dry wit, he was always destined to be a contender.
Now Willam will bring those assets to Peaches Christ’s first tribute to the ‘90s mega-classic Clueless. In an all-new original pre-show called Get a Clue!, Willam will play a character based on Alicia Silverstone’s Cher, Christ will pay homage to Brittany Murphy’s hapless Tai, and Mahlae Balenciaga will embody Stacey Dash’s non-polyester-hair-wearing Dionne. Baldwins, Bettys, and—yes—even Monets can check it out at the Castro Theatre on Saturday, March 8, at 8 p.m. Here’s a full transcript of my chat with Willam, who was recovering from the RuPaul’s Drag Race Battle of the Seasons at the time of our conversation.
By Michael Varrati
I’ve never been one of those single people who carry a sense of vitriol for Valentine’s Day. While it’s true I don’t have a paramour with whom to share the holiday, I just don’t quite understand the need to allow an embittered sense of self-pity ruin what could otherwise be a good time. Furthermore, Valentine’s Day really should be a day of celebration for everyone, because it signals the fact that, in less than 24 hours, a shit ton of candy is about to get discounted at the local drug store.
If you can’t find the love in that, then honey, I don’t know what to tell you.
However, while I take no issue with Cupid’s special day, regular readers will be happy to know that I’m still undeniably me, and that means I can’t let this lover’s holiday slip by totally unscathed. While I do honestly appreciate Valentine’s Day, I’ve always had a habit of celebrating it in a way that is hugely, shall we say, non-traditional.
You see, whether I have a Valentine or not, one of my favorite things to do on this most romantic of days is to take in slices of cinema that highlight couples for whom the “til death do us part” portion of love is brought to the uncomfortable forefront. Maybe it’s a little sadistic, but there’s nothing quite like cuddling up to a date, throwing in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and seeing if they’ll stay snuggled up to you as George and Martha descend into martial dysfunction.
I mean, can you imagine a better evening? I know I can’t.
The truth is, I just love movies about love…gone wrong.
By Michael Varrati
It’s a well-known fact that here at Peaches Christ HQ, we’re a deeply spiritual bunch.
As such, we often turn our thoughts to the Holy Trinity, allowing the solace of their presence and worldly miracles to heal us in times of sorrow. In the darkest of hours, it is their light that brings us through to a fabulous new morning.
Of course, for those less devout than we, I’m speaking of none other than the divine trio of Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton.
…and if you thought we were talking about something else, you really haven’t been paying attention.
Of course, independently, each of these women is a dynamic force of entertainment, a towering beacon of greatness that elicits the heartiest of gay gasps when even one of their names is mentioned. Bring them together, however, and you have a union tantamount to Nick Fury assembling the Avengers.
Such a summit of sass occurred approximately once in the winter of 1980, and the result was the epic masterpiece that is 9 to 5.
Hugely celebrated for over three decades, the Colin Higgins directed story of three women in the workplace who turn the tables on their misogynistic boss remains as popular as ever for the outstanding performances of its three leads and continued relevant commentary on the glass-ceiling politics of the modern workplace. Also, it’s just one hell of a fun film.
by Jason LeRoy
For her final movie event of 2013, Peaches Christ will collaborate with her longtime frienemy Heklina and RuPaul’s Drag Race season two fan-favorite Pandora Boxx for her first-ever celebration of the feminist comedy blockbuster Nine to Five. The screening of the film will be preceded by “WORK!”, an all-new stage show featuring Christ playing Judy (Jane Fonda), Heklina as Violet (Lily Tomlin), and Boxx starring as Doralee (Dolly Parton). Below, Boxx discusses what fans can expect from the show, her current TV obsessions, and which Real Housewife she’d lip sync for her life against.
What are you earliest memories of watching Nine to Five?
I watched the movie when I was a kid and I knew every word of it. I think I’ve known every word of it for years! It is one of my absolute favorite movies ever. The combination of the three of them together—Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin—was just brilliant. I actually watched it last night for costumes ideas, and it still makes me laugh. Everybody is just so perfect for their character.
How did a Nine to Five project with Peaches Christ come about?
I’ve known about Peaches for a long time and I’ve been an admirer of her work. We’ve been talking about working together and doing something, so it was just finding the right project. I was talking about projects with Jose A. Guzman Colon, a photographer whom we’d both worked with, and I was like, “What about Nine to Five? Have they ever done that? I would love to do that!” So he talked to her, she called me, and I was like, “Yes, let’s do it.”
by Jason LeRoy
After her smash performances of The Craft starring Sharon Needles and Alaska Thunderfuck, midnight movie queen Peaches Christ continues collaborating with RuPaul’s Drag Race royalty. Reigning RPDR champion Jinkx Monsoon will join Christ and cult film legend Mink Stole for Return to Grey Gardens, an all-new stage show preceding a screening of the classic documentary on October 12 at the Castro Theatre.
Although Grey Gardens is arguably one of the most well-known films in the gay cult canon, this is the first time it’s getting the Peaches Christ treatment. “I think that Grey Gardens found its cult audience really early on, and as the film was shared by its lovers and passed around by fans over the years, the cult of Grey Gardens grew and grew,” Christ says. “I remember attending a screening of the film at the Castro Theatre seventeen years ago and feeling the love the audience had for these women, cheering on their performances when the Edies sang and danced. You could really feel how connected people felt to the subjects in the movie. It’s definitely time for us to celebrate the movie with one of our events.”
On the subject of Ms. Monsoon, Christ says, “I’m a big fan of Jinkx and met her briefly before she was on Drag Race, so I was really rooting for her and Alaska before the show even began. I think her most pivotal moment on the series was when she impersonated Little Edie and won the hearts of CULTivated (get it?) drag fans everywhere. The fact that there were pageant queens on the show who didn’t know who Little Edie was and criticized her choice to perform as her made her big win all the more delicious.”
Below, check out our exclusive full-length conversation with Jinkx Monsoon about how she first discovered Little Edie, which of her Drag Race costars have educated themselves about Grey Gardens since the show, the other reference she made that continually left them in the dark, and who would win in a Little Edie-Off between her, Drew Barrymore, and The New Normal’s precocious Bebe Wood.
By Michael Varrati
On August 24th, 2013, hundreds of scantily clad cinema & sleaze enthusiasts descended on the Bay Area as the result of a sixteen year odyssey that began when my dear ghoufriend Peaches Christ invited the city of San Francisco, and subsequently the world, to celebrate a singular chapter in cult film history. For nearly twenty years now, Peaches has hosted thousands of screaming fans who have traveled near and far to worship at the altar of Paul Verhoeven’s seminal masterpiece, Showgirls.
As a committed member of the Peaches Christ family, I’ve done my share of Midnight Mass events, but I have to tell you, there are few that engender the level of excitement that surrounds Showgirls. After so many years of presenting the film, which Quentin Tarantino once famously described as “the last great American grindhouse movie,” the people who gather to celebrate it with us have come to expect nothing but the absolute best in showmanship and sin. Peaches, who has taken her personal love of Showgirls to an unprecedented public degree, has made it her mission to celebrate the movie in the grand fashion in which it was made, and, in the process, inarguably helped add to the film’s new lease on life in the cinematic pantheon.
Indeed, in some circles, Peaches’ preshow celebration of the movie has become just as popular as the film itself, and this latest outing proved no different.
by Alan Kelly
Proving both a rewarding and immersive experience is film programmer and journalist Kier-la Janisse’s punishing film study/memoir hybrid House of Psychotic Women. Self-examination via the other in exploitation & horror cinema is arguably a controversial (and potentially divisive to readers) way to approach non-fiction film analysis, albeit a risk worth taking (is there any other kind?) with the author’s life-long pathological adherence to cult-ish celluloid paying off. So far, the book has received uniformly positive reviews, a glowing endorsement from the late writer Iain Banks and introduced a whole new audience – and not only those affiliated with the broad range of film circles which the author’s obsession has occupied over the years – to the depth, scale and psychological carnage of Kier-la’s life and brilliant work.
Janisse has penned a selection of self-reflective essays (Don’t worry, this isn’t just the one-note ramblings of a narcissistic trauma junky; Janisse cements her conclusions/arguments with expert film analysis and razor-sharp feminist rhetoric) on archetypal female psychotics in cult cinema, offering hardcore cinephiles (and horror purists) even those with an encyclopaedic knowledge of many of the films a meta-driven overview (an opportunity to explore the minutiae of each character by way of painful autobiographical exhumation) of the cinematic ghosts in the historical narrative of exploitation cinema.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Montreal native would end up carving out a career in the blood-and-guts-caked horror film industry with her past & present journalism credits including writing stints with Fangoria and Rue Morgue, respectively. She also happens to be a regular guest at international events like Adele Hartley’s Dead by Dawn in Edinburgh and a short film submissions wrangler at Fantasia and one of the most talented and respected people working in the genre right now…
By Michael Varrati
I will totally admit that I have a thing about witches.
Like most people growing up in the age of modern pop culture, my first exposure to these hexy broads came in the form of Margaret Hamilton’s iconic Wicked Witch of the West. As countless generations of children had been captivated by the magic of The Wizard of Oz, I’m sure my parents thought they were doing a good thing by having a family movie night to show me Judy’s musical adventure.
Of course, they couldn’t possibly know when the film started, nor could I, that major life trauma was mere minutes away. In their defense, everything was going rather swimmingly at the onset. The movie was colorful, the songs were fun, and these little people were singing about candy-centric organizations. These are all things with which a little kid will have no problem getting on board. However, suddenly, in the midst of all this Technicolor gaiety, a flash of smoke and wicked cackle brought my little world crashing down.
Interrupting Dorothy’s gleeful bopping in the most epic way, the green specter of Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch was revealed for the first time…
…and I freaked the fuck out.