Peaches does Toronto
by Boyd van Hoeij
- Electro music artist and queer performance legend Peaches, who was born in Canada but is based in Berlin, presented her concert film Peaches Does Herself in Toronto.
After Wim Wenders’ Pina [+see also:
interview: Wim Wenders
film profile], Germany comes up with a very different kind of concert film: Peaches Does Herself [+see also:
film profile], which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Peaches, born Merrill Beth Nisker in Toronto, has for years been based in Germany, and is one of the most transgressive performance artists on the circuit, bending the rules on things such as lyrics, theatricality and gender representation in her work.
In the film, which features a reportedly semi-autobiographical storyline, Peaches performs work from her entire career, including albums “Teaches of Peaches,” “Fatherfucker” and “Impeach My Bush,” which already suggest that the lyrics can be provocative, sexy and interested in gender inequality.
During the show, shot on the stage of the Hau Theater in Berlin, she takes up the advice of a 65-year-old American cowgirl stripper and starts making sexually explicit songs. Along the way, she transforms into a transsexual, falls in love with a beautiful shemale and then has her heart broken, which leads to more soul searching.
Taking to the stage in suggestive and occasionally outrageous costumes that take cues from everything from the glam-rock era to John Galliano ¬— Peaches’ stage act itself subsequently became one of the main influences on Lady Gaga — the film presents a whirlwind of music, exceptionally voiced musical numbers and backup from musicians and dancers who together form one living, breathing queer animal.
The film was produced by German outfit I U She Productions, a company headed by Peaches herself, in collaboration with the HAU Theater.
In Toronto, Peaches also presents a location-based installation at the Drake Hotel for the duration of the festival, appropriately titled Peaches Does the Drake.
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