Introducing Peaches Christ: Drag Superstar! Midnight Maven! Cult Leader and Bon Vivant!
Towering at 7’10 (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! and obscure VHS cult-titles condemned to blood-caked bargain bins in the shadiest corner of the video store.
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), her risqué gender-bending stage-deconstructions of movies like Showgirls and The Craft and her deliciously twisted directorial debut All About Evil.
Not to mention building up a rapport with cult favourites like Elvira: The Mistress of the Dark, Linda (The Exorcist) Blair, The Pope of Trash himself – John Waters and Tura (Faster Pussycat Kill Kill!) Santana.
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 Maryland, USA. When the flake who had been cast in the role of The Drag Queen ended up splattered across the cutting room floor (I’m assuming figuratively, but I might be right in assuming literally) Joshua Grannell stepped up and the flamboyantly sequinned creature that now lurks among us: Peaches Christ was born, springing fully-formed from the dark recesses of Grannell’s imagination.
After a chance encounter with (and some advice from) The Pope of Trash, 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 with other Drag Artistes in abundance? San Francisco is a huge communal area for performance artists. But with a dedicated group of crew members that assist in the execution of each show, including stage managers, set designers, costume designers and original music – Peaches Christ became a huge staple in The Bay.
She embraced the horror and the madness and appropriated the staples of cult and exploitation for a decade-long drag odyssey of renegade film screenings, outrageous appearances from cult favourites like Mary Woronov, Mink Stole, and Elvira et al. Through talent and a no-holds-barred celebration of the transgressive and the quirky, Peaches 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 Mass 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-loving popcorn aficionados.
Peaches also holds an annual celebration of Showgirls (it recently celebrated its 18th year) which is a hotly anticipated event. Other spectacular shows hosted at Midnight Mass over the years include screenings of Teen Witch, Purple Rain and Flash Gordon. John Waters and Elvira have come along as participants with other genre-vets like Bruce (The Evil Dead) Campbell, Robin Lively, Ricki Lake, RuPaul, Mark Patton and even the late Herschell Gordon Lewis.
Her movie events are a San Francisco staple, but she has toured with her 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 did a Vegas In Space show with Michael Varrati!
Peaches Christ and her Collaborators
No self-respecting drag queen or homicidal cult leader 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 allow me to introduce a few of her wicked friends, fiends, and collaborators.
Natasha (Orange Is The New Black) Lyonne played the diabolical Deborah in All About Evil. Deborah was a Doris Wishman-wannabe with sociopathic tendencies, including snuff-movie-making and murdering her patrons at a run-down theatre. The show is a SCREAM!
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!
TRIVIA: she once told me she walked off a plane halfway through Plan 9 From Outer Space!
Cult-favorite Mink Stole allegedly opened a lot of doors for Peaces Christ by being one of the first interviewees /participants in Midnight Mass. The John Waters vet has since appeared in All About Evil and attended over a dozen shows.
Peaches toured the country/planet with her show Return To Grey Gardens, co-starring in the theatrical production with RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon. The original theatre show placed both statuesque queens in the shoes of the legendary Beale women and was a roaring success!
It’s a poorly kept secret that Peaches and her fluffer/house-boy Michael Varratti are in the midst of writing/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.
For more musings on outsider artists and filmmakers, make sure to follow Alan Kelly on social media.
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