PEACHES CHRIST AT THE 2015 REEL Q FILM FESTIVAL
by Mike “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant.
Joshua Grannell is returning to Pittsburgh. Grannell who wrote and directed the horror/comedy, “All About Evil,” is flying in for a screening of the film for Reel Q’s 30th Anniversary fundraiser on October 8 at the Harris Theater. Grannell was a film student at Penn State University almost twenty years ago. His senior thesis film, “Jizzmopper: A Love Story,” won the audience award at the annual Penn State Film Festival in 1996.
Grannell said, “I used to hang out in Pittsburgh. I used to watch screenings at the Beehive and I used to go to Pegasus. The Andy Warhol Museum was just opening when I left [May 15, 1994].”
The filmmaker is more commonly known by his on-stage persona, Peaches Christ, a character he first developed back in “Jizzmopper: A Love Story.”
Grannell said, “I was queer at a young age. I didn’t know I was gay, but I wasn’t interested in sports. I liked drama, theater and movies. I was always attracted to horror. I was obsessed with ‘Psycho.’” He added, “I was a sensitive boy, but I liked movies with dark subject matter.”
After graduating at Penn State, Grannell moved to San Francisco where Peaches Christ flourished. He began producing Midnight Mass, a midnight movie series. At Midnight Mass at the Bridge Theater in San Francisco, Peaches attracted a slew of special guest stars like Cassandra Peterson (“Elvira, Mistress of the Dark”), Mink Stole (“Desperate Living”), Tura Satana (“Faster Pussycat Kill Kill”) and John Waters (“Hairspray,” “Cry Baby,” “Pink Flamingos,” “Serial Mom” and more).
Mark Cuban (“Shark Tank”) took an interest in Peaches. In Midnight Mass’s tenth annual season, a six-part series, “Midnight Mass with your Hostess Peaches Christ” was filmed and televised on the HDnet Movie Channel produced by Cuban. Peaches went on to make appearances on VH1, AMC and IFC.
In 2007, the de Young Museum hosted a retrospective of Peaches Christ called, “Cattychism.” The exhibition featured artistic contributions inspired by Peaches, including ten years of iconic costumes.
But it was the connections that help launch “All About Evil.” Grannell said, “I became friends with people who were big inspirations to me.” The writer/director formed long-lasting friendships with Cassandra Peterson and Mink Stole.
He added, “We did a Midnight Mass with Mink Stole and screened ‘Desperate Living’ and she told me later that it was really important to her. She was always regarded as a member of the John Waters family, but at that screening she said, ‘I never received accolades without the others around.’ It was really special to her.”
Grannell said, “I was inspired by people like Cassandra Peterson.” There is a resemblance. Grannell hosts midnight movies, and Peterson hosted midnight movies as Elvira. Neither Grannell nor Peterson look like their personas without the hair and makeup.
The filmmaker was able to entice both Mink Stole and Cassandra Peterson to appear in “All About Evil.” The film winks at Bette Davis, Mae West and other movie stars. The movie stars Natasha Lyonne (“Orange is the New Black,” “But I’m a Cheerleader”) as a mousy librarian who inherits her father’s Movie Theater, but when she commits a grisly murder (inside a Bed, Bath and Beyond of all places) she becomes a horror genre sensation. Although the audience is unaware that the on screen murders are real.
At the Pittsburgh screening at the Harris Theater, 809 Liberty Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh, the San Francisco filmmaker will host special performances by Vinsantos, Janet Granite and Bambi Deerest. Local drag diva Sharon Needles will introduce the event. After the movie, the celebration will continue down the block at There Ultra Lounge, 931 Liberty Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh.
Grannell will spend a few days in Pittsburgh before heading to a special screening at his alma mater, Penn State.
Grannell added, “I’ve got a couple of days in Pittsburgh, and Sharon Needles has offered to take me around.”
Picture it, Peaches Christ and Sharon Needles out on the town. It’s going to be a wild weekend in the ‘Burgh.
For more information about the event, please click here.