Directed by: Peaches
Written by: Peaches
Featuring: Peaches, Dannii Daniels, Sandy Kane
There is nobody quite like Peaches. Her music plays with gender norms and is full of sexually explicit lyrics that love to push the envelope. She is practically a one-woman army, playing her own instruments for her songs, programming her own electronic beats and producing her own albums. So, the next logical step for her was to direct her first feature film.
I was fortunate to see the premiere of Peaches Does Herself at the Toronto International Film Festival this year. It was interesting to see so many of Peaches' friends, family and collaborators in the audience for such an autobiographical film. After all, Peaches is Toronto born (and actually used to be roommates with singer Feist in case you are interested). So it was quite surreal seeing Peaches bounce around onscreen clad in an outfit sporting fake boobs and a fake dick while singing "Shake Yer Dix" and "Fuck the Pain Away" with her elderly parents sitting next to her during the screening. But that is what Peaches is all about: letting it all hang out for the entire world to see without worrying about judgments or conventional social norms.
Peaches Does Herself documents the autobiographical transsexual rock opera that she put on in Germany at various live shows between fall 2010 and spring 2011. Like other musicians who've made films of live events, such as Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense and Laurie Anderson's Home of the Brave, Peaches is an artist that goes beyond the "regular live concert" show. The film features a stellar live band, dancers and 65-year-old stripper Sandy Kane, who comes out periodically to sing her songs as well as a few Peaches tracks — and this crazy old cowgirl in a bikini just about steals the show.
The movie is extremely autobiographical, showing Peaches' evolution both as an artist and as an outspoken sexual provocateur. The most brilliant part of the film is the opening section, which finds Peaches sitting in her pink underwear with a beat box playing her music. As her inspiration increases so do the people coming out of her vagina-shaped bed. Gradually, as the beats and the song evolve, it turns into an "anything goes" simulated orgy. The film then transitions into a big fist-pumping rock concert that is more in line with her regular live shows. I loved this sequence and would have liked it if this section had been expanded more.
The core of the film deals with an onstage storyline involving Peaches getting together with her transgender partner, Dannii Daniels. For me, this is where the film morphs from autobiographical to slightly self-indulgent. It comes across as Peaches "showing off" her boy/girl toy more than anything else. Having said that, Peaches' work has always been about incorporating her own sexuality and personality into her lyrics. So, with Peaches it's all about accepting the entire package.
In the end, Peaches Does Herself is a great introduction to the wild, pumping, sexual world of Peaches. It is all about "I, U, She, together, come on, baby let's go..."
" I grant, at least, that there are two distinct conditions of my mental existence -- the condition of a lucid reason, not to be disputed, and belonging to the memory of events forming the first epoch of my life -- and a condition of shadow and doubt, appertaining to the present, and to the recollection of what constitutes the second great era of my being. Therefore, what I shall tell of the earlier period, believe; and to what I may relate of the later time, give only such credit as may seem due, or doubt it altogether, or, if doubt it ye cannot, then play unto its riddle the Oedipus. " - Eleonora, Edgar Allen Poe