Mink Stole and Peaches Christ Source: peacheschrist.com

Mink Stole and Peaches Christ Talk Queer Cult Films in New Cabaret Show

Frank J. Avella READ TIME: 14 MIN.

Cult cinema icon Mink Stole and queer cult filmmaker/movie aficionado Peaches Christ are teaming up this month for "Idol Worship," a brand-new collaborative cabaret-style tribute to queer cult movies. The show is currently on tour with 20 dates in Salem, MA, Providence, RI, and more. For full ticketing information, visit peacheschrist.com.

Mink and Peaches have been besties for over two decades, ever since Peaches invited Mink to be a special guest at her "Midnight Mass" series tribute to the John Waters epic "Desperate Living" in 2001. Mink went on to appear in number of Peaches productions and had a supporting role in Peaches' writer-director feature film debut (as Joshua Grannell), "All About Evil," a delightful dark comedy slasher film starring Natasha Lyonne ("But I'm a Cheerleader," "Poker Face"), Cassandra Peterson ("Elvira Mistress of the Dark") and Thomas Dekker ("Kaboom," "Do You Take This Man").

Mink Stole, of course, has appeared in every John Waters film beginning with his short, "Roman Candles," in 1967 and including, "Pink Flamingos," "Female Trouble," "Polyester," "Hairspray," "Cry-Baby," "Serial Mom" (Pussywillows!), "Pecker," "Cecil B. DeMented," and his last feature to date, "A Dirty Shame."

The legendary actress has also been featured in "Liquid Dreams," David Lynch's "Lost Highway," Greg Araki's "Splendor," "But I'm a Cheerleader," "Another Gay Movie," and all five "Eating Out" films, to name just a few of her credits.

In addition to filmmaking, Peaches has held many movie events in the Castro Theatre in San Francisco that have attracted special guests like John Waters, Cloris Leachman, Linda Blair, Bruce Campbell, Barry Bostwick, Pam Grier, and more. Peaches is the drag artist alter-ego of Joshua Grannell and hosts a "Midnight Mass" podcast with Michael Varrati.

EDGE had a blast chatting with the dynamic duo about their upcoming show and queer cult cinema.

Director John Waters and actress Mink Stole pose at the afterparty for the premiere of New Line's "Hairspray" in Ackerman Hall at UCLA on July 10, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

EDGE: How did the idea of "Idol Worship" come about?

Mink Stole: Joshua had it.

Peaches Christ: Mink was the very first person who ever came to my "Midnight Mass" movie event way back in 2000 or 2001... And I did what you would consider to be a miniature version of this "Idol Worship" show before a screening of...

Mink Stole: "Desperate Living."

Peaches Christ: Mink was the first guest to ever come and do this sort of a show, which basically is an evening of queer worship, where I, as Peaches Christ, get to channel the sheer love that we as a cult film community have for these people. Mink did the show. And... in my mind, this is something that probably had been done for her a million times – when she was there and receiving that standing ovation and we were celebrating her. It was obvious that it meant a lot to her. It set us on this path where I got to recreate that experience with her over the years, with movie screenings. Then, eventually, we had been friends for so long and done so much together and Mink had put out this fantastic album of music, that it just made more sense to take that that idea of a sit-down interview type show and turn it into more of a fully realized cabaret experience with singing and storytelling and something a little more structured, without the movie screening, so that we could actually have more time to spend on stage with the audience.

Mink Stole: Yeah, it was the one time my life when I actually had a publicist, and my publicist got a request for me to do this thing. I knew it was going to be a screening of "Desperate Living," and then they would interview me on stage – it'd be kind of a fairly small thing. But when I walked into the theater, I looked up, there was this huge banner across the back of the stage that said, Hail, Mink," and animatronic Peggy Gravel (her character in "Desperate Living") on the stage, stirring a rabies potion. And I walked (out) and got a standing ovation. This had not happened to me before. It wasn't that I had been completely ignored, but I had never had this kind of response. It completely overwhelmed me...It really was something that I had not experienced before. I did cry... it was it was very moving. And I was impressed with Peaches. I was also impressed with the quality of the production and the way I was treated... I wasn't just thrown out of a car! All those little things, they matter. They add up to making an evening a really memorable experience. I automatically had enormous respect and admiration for this person.

Mink Stole in an ad for "All About Evil"

EDGE: You both did "All About Evil" together. Could you speak a bit about that experience?

Mink Stole: ...It was cold! It was very cold. San Francisco. I don't remember what time of year it was, but most of my scenes were done in the middle of the night. It was it was really fun. There were so many really fun people in that movie.

Peaches Christ: One of the best anecdotes – we love pointing out to people that Mink and Natasha Lyonne co-starred in a film called, "But I'm a Cheerleader," where Mink plays Natasha's mother, and she sends her daughter to Make You Straight Camp, a gay conversion camp, which has camp counselors like RuPaul! It's a fantastic queer comedy made by Jamie Babbitt. And when I ended up casting Natasha and Mink in the movie, that kind of slipped my mind. It was sort of an accident. But if you know both films, it's funny because in "All About Evil," Natasha gets to take revenge on her mother.

Mink Stole: She gets me back in spades!

EDGE: And you had sexy Thomas Decker in that film, too.

Mink Stole: Yeah, we did!

Peaches Christ: Yeah. I was just thinking about that, Mink. We did
"All About Evil" with Thomas. And then you, myself, Thomas, and Jinx did "Return to Grey Gardens" on stage.

Mink Stole: Oh, that's right!

Peaches Christ: Thomas is very much a member of the family... Everyone on that film really did kind of bond, especially the young cast members. They're very, very close. All of them. They're lovely.

EDGE: Let's talk a bit about queer cult cinema. We can go back to "Valley of the Dolls." Then in the 1980s we had Almodóvar's "Law of Desire," "Parting Glances," "The Living End" in the '90s. Of course, Mink is in the John Waters oeuvre which is almost all queer cult cinema.

Mink Stole: I was also in the "Eating Out" series!

Mink Stole in "Pink Flamingos"

EDGE: Yes! You're deep in it, Mink! Have queer cult cinema evolved from the '60s to today? Has it changed?

Mink Stole: Oh, I think it has. Joshua is a much bigger film buff than I am, but I think gay cinema was all hunks and bodybuilder types. Now it's kind of anybody. The gay icons now are skinny. (everyone laughs) Timothée Chalamet, you could blow away with a puff of wind.

Peaches Christ: There are so many ways to look at it all... There's the holy triumvirate of "Valley of the Dolls," "Mommie Dearest" and "Showgirls," which were these movies that were not made intentionally to be queer cinema, right? They were made to be Hollywood blockbuster films that then came out, completely bombed, were misunderstood, critics hated (them).

But this audience, primarily queer people – not exclusively – but this audience found these movies (and) genuinely, earnestly love these movies. I think that's one of the misunderstandings, people think and assume that because I love "Mommie Dearest" or "Valley of the Dolls" that I'm making fun of the film. But I love those movies. Unquestionably I have an earnest love and respect for the craft it took to make those films. I actually think that the actors in those films, because they were women, were thrown under the bus and the movies were unnecessarily bashed because of misogyny. I think that the performance Faye Dunaway gives is good. Now you've got those movies, but then you've also got queer filmmakers like Waters and Almodóvar, knowingly making comedies... So there's these two camps of movies. And now I'd say that you still have this going on... You still have queer people making brilliant queer movies. And you've also got misunderstood, massive releases... maybe "Saltburn" wouldn't be an interesting one to tackle because I think that one's on the fence. I think the filmmakers knew what they were doing.

by Frank J. Avella

Frank J. Avella is a proud EDGE and Awards Daily contributor. He serves as the GALECA Industry Liaison and is a Member of the New York Film Critics Online. His award-winning short film, FIG JAM, has shown in Festivals worldwide (figjamfilm.com). Frank's screenplays have won numerous awards in 17 countries. Recently produced plays include LURED & VATICAL FALLS, both O'Neill semifinalists. He is currently working on a highly personal project, FROCI, about the queer Italian/Italian-American experience. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild. https://filmfreeway.com/FrankAvella https://muckrack.com/fjaklute

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