Introducing: Peaches Christ and the Children of the Popcorn!
Towering at 7-foot-10 (The Heels! The Hair!), drag superstar and bon vivant Peaches Christ (think the lovechild of Zsa Zsa Gabor and Leatherface) is a fuchsia-tinged fusion of “Hagsploitation,” FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!, VEGAS IN SPACE, and obscure VHS cult-titles condemned to blood-caked bargain bins in the shadiest corner of the video store (circa 1989).
The Midnight Maven has earned near-iconic status in San Francisco after years of her sell-out show Midnight Mass (which ran for a decade), building up a rapport with cult favorites including Elvira, Linda Blair, John Waters and FASTER PUSSYCAT star Tura Santana, her risqué gender-bending stage-deconstructions of movies like SHOWGIRLS and THE CRAFT, and her deliciously twisted directorial debut ALL ABOUT EVIL.
The Birth of Peaches Christ
The Cult Leader of The Children of the Popcorn and Glam-Ghoulette Peaches Christ is the drag alter-ego of former weird kid-turned-internationally-acclaimed-queer-outlaw Joshua Grannell. The Dark Dame had a bloody and painfully protracted birth during production on JIZZMOPPER: THE MOVIE back in Penn State, Maryland. When the flake who had been cast in the role of “The Drag” ended up splattered across the cutting room floor (I’m assuming figuratively, but I might be right in assuming literally), Grannell stepped up, and Peaches — the flamboyantly sequinned creature that now lurks among us — was born, springing fully-formed from the dark recesses of Grannell’s imagination. After a chance encounter with (and some advice from) John Waters, Peaches packed up and relocated to her spiritual home of San Francisco…
Peaches Christ: Maven of Midnight Mass
What was a drag artiste to do in a city which was already home to an abundance of kindred spirits? San Francisco is a huge communal area for performance artists, but with a dedicated group of crew members that assist the execution of each show for Peaches Christ Productions — including stage managers, set designers, costume designers and songwriters — Peaches became a huge staple in The Bay. She embraced the horror and the madness, and appropriated landmarks of cult and exploitation for a decade-long drag odyssey of renegade film screenings, and outrageous appearances from cult favorites like Mary Woronov, Mink Stole, and Elvira et al.
Through talent and a no-holds-barred celebration of all things transgressive and quirky, she quickly rose to the top of Drag Queen hierarchy in San Francisco. It was Grannell’s love of underground cinema, B-movies and drag queerdom that led him to pitching the Midnight Mass events to the Bridge Theatre back in 1998. Midnight Movies ran for ten years as a summer-series of events, and always played to a foaming-at-the-mouth, baying and bloodthirsty crowd of morally-loose, celluloid-soaking popcorn aficionados.
Peaches also holds an annual celebration of SHOWGIRLS, a hotly-anticipated event held every year since the movie’s release (it recently celebrated its 18th anniversary). Other spectacular events hosted at Midnight Mass over the years include screenings of TEEN WITCH, PURPLE RAIN and FLASH GORDON. “The Pope of Trash” John Waters and Elvira have come along as participants with other genre vets like Bruce Campbell, Robin Lively, Ricki Lake, Rupaul, Mark Patton and even the late Herschell Gordon Lewis. Peaches’ movie events are a San Francisco staple, but she has also toured Midnight Mass events all over the planet: she’s done shows in Europe, Brazil, Norway and presented at many film festivals — including Frameline, where she just did a VEGAS IN SPACE show with actor/writer and pop culture guru Michael Varrati.
ALL ABOUT EVIL: Peaches Christ and Her Collaborators
No self-respecting drag queen or homicidal cult leader today is anybody without a sycophantic squad of kamikaze-minded, lemming-like acolytes to torment… and a monstrous diva born of cult lore is no exception. So, readers — get down on those knees and prostrate yourself at the spike-heeled feet of Peaches Christ: Maven of Midnight Mass, and allow me to introduce a few of her wicked friends, fiends and collaborators!
Elvira: Mistress of the Dark
Peaches Christ and Elvira are twisted soul-sisters and frequent collaborators in live shows, and Cassandra Peterson (Elvira’s alter-ego) even starred as Thomas Dekker’s dowdy mom in Joshua Grannell’s splendidly bloody B-movie nightmare ALL ABOUT EVIL! I’ve been a fan of Elvira since I was a baby wearing a bib and a suggestive smile in my cot!
John Waters veteran and cult favorite Mink Stole allegedly opened a lot of doors for Peaches by being one of the first interviewees and participants in Midnight Mass. Stole has since appeared in ALL ABOUT EVIL, and attended over a dozen shows.
Peaches is touring the planet with her show RETURN TO GREY GARDENS, and co-starring in the theatrical production with RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE winner Jinkx Monsoon. The show, which serves as both a “sequel” and parody of the original documentary and play, places both statuesque queens in the shoes of GREY GARDENS’ mother-daughter characters. It’s been a roaring success!
It’s a poorly-kept secret that Peaches and her fluffer/houseboy Michael Varratti are in the midst of writing and developing a film together. The TALES OF POE and VERMONT CHRISTMAS VACATION writer-performer is another miscreant who celebrates transgressive performance, and loves to showcase the underground. Also a bon vivant!
The ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK actress also appeared in ALL ABOUT EVIL as the diabolical Deborah — a Doris Wishman wannabe with sociopathic tendencies, into snuff-movie-making and murdering her patrons at a run-down theater. It is a scream!
Equal parts Charles Manson and Lydia Lunch, black-hearted and witchy drag star Sharon Needles performed alongside Peaches on her stage production of THE CRAFT, and they still regularly work together.