Peaches Does Herself

Peaches Does Herself


Reviewed by: Owen Van Spall

If any esteemed film magazine were to draw up a 'most explicit rock opera' list, singer/songwriter/DJ and general enfant terrible Peaches would probably see her new film easily steal the top spot. Admittedly it would probably be a small list with only The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Hedwig And The Angry Inch keeping Peaches' effort - which she wrote, produced and directed - company.

The electroclash/synthpunk Canadian rock icon formerly known as Merrill Beth Nisker would probably not give a fuck, regardless. This film, a bawdy and full-frontal electro rock opera constructed from live recordings of stage performances by Peaches and her support group and dancers, is as transgressive, explicit, bizarre, angry and gender-bending as they come. This is entirely in keeping with Peaches' history of exploring, among other things, sexuality, ageism, media representations and playing with traditional norms of gender identity in her previous albums. But the opera also serves as a crazily embellished origin story as well, taking us from Peaches' early days of self discovery, to transgressive romance, and later to heartbreak.

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Despite the medley of (usually highly revealing) costumes, props and scenery changes that whirl by on screen, the strongest asset is the incorporation of Peaches' back catalog. Fans will be well satisfied that more than 20 songs are crammed into the show, including AA XXX, Boys Wanna Be Her and Mommy Complex. What impresses about many of the tracks is not just the force with which Peaches can belt them out on stage, but her vocal range, which can switch from a snarl to a ballad on the drop of a hat.

There is plenty going on elsewhere on stage - backing dancers The Fatherfuckers, shapely and brazenly nude she-male Danni Daniels, with whom Peaches enjoys a whirlwind romance on stage, gyrating and humping backing vocalists tooled up to the nines in jockstraps and leotards, but it is really Peaches you want to see. She is in the thick of the action at all times, morphing from punk queen to glam rocker, and sporting at one point a huge dildo and ruptured fake breasts oozing fake blood. Given the opera is semi-autobiographical, Peaches herself is on stage most of the time. Unfortunately, the film also sags whenever she is off it, and her absence is often filled by foul-mouthed muse Sandy Kane (AKA The Naked Cowgirl) in scenes that aren't half as pleasing as watching and hearing Peaches do her thing.

Peaches clearly sees herself as doing important work in the areas of sexual politics in what is still a mostly rigidly policed world. If watching her explore these themes in a ultra-glam, lewd, loud and admittedly silly and unevenly entertaining rock show appeals to you, then get your ticket today. If you just like the music, there's plenty of the hits, too. Those looking for a more detailed sense of the film's star will probably have to buy a book, as there's little context provided to the goings-on on stage. Peaches is a cult figure, and this film is probably only going to score with the acolytes.

Reviewed on: 08 May 2013
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Onstage shenanigans and rock opera mayhem with the eponymous rockstar.

Director: Peaches

Starring: Peaches, Danni Daniels, Sandy Kane, Mignon, Sweet Machine Band, Jolly Goods

Year: 2012

Runtime: 80 minutes

Country: Germany


Sundance 2013

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