Musician and performance artist Peaches is at it again, and this time she does herself. Originally from Canada, the songstress has always been innovative with her tunes, from programming and playing her own instruments to gender-bending lyrics that are not just in the listener's ears but in theirs face.
She has worked with artists such as Christina Aguilera and Iggy Pop. Her tracks have been feature on many movies and television shows while the GLAAD Awards have continually recognized her achievements with multiple nominations.
Peaches Does Herself, her film project, will be featured in the annual Chicago International Music & Movies (CIMM) Festival, and she wrote, directed and starred in the film. It's the story of a young woman inspired by a 65-year-old stripper who then falls in love with a transgender person on the path to self-discovery.
While traveling through Berlin, Germany, I chatted with her at an Asian restaurant one evening.
Windy City Times: Hi, Peaches. How did your film, Peaches Does Herself, come together?
Peaches: There's a theater in Berlin that does a lot of great productions. The guy that ran the theater for the last 10 years, which has changed over now, approached me and wanted me to do a production because he saw how theatrical I was in all of my shows. The first thing that came out of my mouth was Peaches Christ Superstar. He said, "Just do it and what else do you have?" So I thought about it and wanted to give myself some sort of 10th-anniversary present. So I decided to take 22 songs and turn it into a narrative. The challenge was to make it a narrative without conversation.
WCT: Is it about you?
Peaches: Well, it starts off a little autobiographical but then turns into fantastical. Of course, an old stripper comedian did not come down from a pussy spaceship to change the way I hear music, but it did change me and the way I make music. Oh and of course, those dancers did not appear in my bedroom and dance on my pussy bed, where my ex girlfriend caught me. Each part was representative of different parts of me.
Sandy Kane, who is the stripper woman, makes me think, "If I had lived a few generations before would I have been Sandy Kaneor is she my future?"
WCT: Where did you find her?
Peaches: She did a version of that song "Gloria" because she had a cable-access show. The words were changed to "Gloria, she's a cock-sucking warrior. She charges 20 bucks for everything that she sucks, calling Gloria a cock-sucking schmuck."
WCT: She's a character.
Peaches: Yeah, she's such a character. We put her onstage and you either hate her or love her. It is like a train wreck and they get that feeling from me too, people either love or hate me. People look and watch.
WCT: They don't forget you…
Peaches: Exactly. I relate to Sandy in some sort of way. I had her open for me in some of my shows in New York then we developed a relationship. I curated her in a festival. I knew I wanted Sandy in it and dancers to represent my fans. I wanted to think about all of the misconceptions that people had about me. For a little while people thought I was a hermaphrodite so I wanted to explore that in the film with the real version, Danni Daniels.
When I was developing this, I did a show with Perez Hilton in London and Danni was there. Danni came up to me and said, "When I was 14, I lost my virginity in the back of a truck in Florida, and now I can shake my dick and my tits!"
Two weeks later I had busted my ankle and had a big show with Grace Jones in London. It was called the Lovebox and a big festival. So we got a wheelchair and decorated it. I asked Danni to be my nurse and wheel me around the stage. Of course, Danni said, "Only if I am naked!" It was a fantastic show.
WCT: How was Grace? Is she in a good place?
Peaches: Incredible but in her own place as usual. She's great.
I thought Danni was the element missing from my play; [she was] the next generation and could take it to the next level. It was great to have horror elements like the ending.
WCT: It was a little graphic for mesince I have a penisto see one mutilated like that.
Peaches: I know it is a little hard for people to see. They did a really good job on that one.
WCT: It was very realistic.
Peaches: It should never be easy to watch.
WCT: I had a little crush on Chilly Gonzales.
Peaches: Oh you did?
WCT: Just a little one. You are best friends and have worked together for a long time.
Peaches: Yeah. He's incredibly talented.
WCT: It must feel rewarding to be in the CIMM Festival.
Peaches: It is. It was in the Toronto Film Festival, where I did the world premiere. It was also in Berlin's, Venice's and Sundance's film festivals. You have a year to get it in all of the festivals. It was great to go back to my hometown for it. I also had a video-installation project with it. It has been to Sydney and Melbourne. It will be in Buenos Aires next week. It has been in a transgender and a women's festival in Germany as well.
It has been well-received.
WCT: When does it come out on video?
Peaches: Probably in about a year. It is going back to Toronto for the Inside Out big LGBT Film Festival there first. It has to make the rounds first.
WCT: I really like the video for "Unzip Me," the song you did with rapper Cazwell.
Peaches: It was fun.
WCT: When are you putting out more new music?
Peaches: I don't know. Right now, I am doing a lot of shows such as MCing a burlesque show then also singing and DJing at the same time. I am trying to be the least boring DJ I can be while being on the decks since I am mixing and performing. I have two dancers with me too. I have been developing this show for about two years.
WCT: So that is keeping you busy.
Peaches: Yes. Last year I spent six months learning the opera Orpheus by Monteverdi. I learned the part of Orfeo with six other people that are trained so that took up a lot of time. So now I am just making beats and seeing what happens.
If you can't travel all the way to Berlin, then look for Peaches on the big screen as Peaches Does Herself at the 5th annual Chicago International Movies & Music Festival at the Logan Theater on Friday, April 19, at midnight. For tickets and more information, visit cimmfest.org .