Director John Waters has influenced and created many movie stars over the years with an iconic career. Known as the Dreamlanders, many of his actors were repeatedly used in multiple films, as in the example of Mink Stole.
Her career began as a party guest in Roman Candles and continued to Waters last film A Dirty Shame. The only films of his she has not appeared in were some early short films. Stole went on to act with LGBT camp classics such as Eating Out and Another Gay Movie. If that was not enough, she sings lead in Mink Stole and Her Wonderful Band and is also an ordained minister.
Filmmaker Peaches Christ will be joining Stole on an upcoming visit to Chicago at the Attic of Hamburger Mary's. The drag performer is known for films like Whatever Happened to Peaches Christ and All About Evil.
Windy City Times: You live in San Francisco. Are you from there?
Peaches Christ: No; I grew up in Maryland. That is part of my obsession with the Dreamlanders. I discovered John Waters, Mink Stole and Divine. It touched a special place in my heart because I couldn't fathom the things they were doing just up the road from where I lived.
WCT: How long have you been a fan?
PC: Since Hairspray came out. I was in junior high. Hairspray was the big crossover movie. People from Maryland were finally proud of them. Before that they were embarrassed and ashamed of them because they didn't understand it. Hairspray was celebrated so I was allowed to see it.
I remember one of the kids from school had been on the set and talked about how the mother of the movie was played by a man. I had to pretend that wasn't interesting, because I was such a sissy and was bullied. Of course when I saw Divine that changed my life. That led me to renting the older movies at a video store. I rented Pink Flamingos and Desperate Living. I discovered Mink Stole and Edith Massey. They were part of a weird filmmaking cult.
WCT: You wound up making movies and drag.
PC: Yes and leaving Maryland. The movie I wound up making in college was not supported by Penn State University faculty partly because it was called Jizzmopper. I played a drag queen and was also directing the movie.
I brought John Waters to the queer student group that I was a part of for an appearance. I got to spend a weekend with him. He suggested I try San Francisco before New York or LA. He planted the seed in my brain that I could come to San Francisco and do something interesting.
Little did I know 22 years later I would still be making movies and doing drag! [Laughs]
WCT: John Waters is such a nice guy when you get to know him.
PC: Very nice. We didn't become friends then, it was about 10 years later as a tried to establish my movie series. I had been working with Mink Stole. She was the first celebrity to come and do my Midnight Mass show back in 2001. I was still a young drag queen that had created a midnight movie event that was popular. I just wrote a letter to her manager and he called me. She came and got a huge standing ovation. We had a huge banner that said "Hail Mink" and there were drag-performance tributes. She told me later that it meant a lot to her to be honored on her own.
The show that we are bringing to Chicago is a little version of this.
WCT: We need to give her a standing ovation at this show, then.
PC: That would be great!
WCT: What will the show at Mary's Attic be like? Clips or a Q&A?
PC: It is more like a conversation. If you can imagine an Oprah Winfrey style interview. Incorporated into that are songs and live performances. Mink is a singer, so we have a cabaret show into this conversation. This also includes film clips. If you like early John Waters and Mink Stole, I have built a show where we celebrate all of things you love about those movies. It is a variety show starring two people.
WCT: Do you have a favorite John Waters film?
PC: If I had to pick a favorite, I guess it would be Female Trouble.
WCT: Polyester is my favorite.
PC: Polyester, Female Trouble and Multiple Maniacs all showcased the Divine character as a homicidal maniac. No one can argue that Divine isn't a brilliant actress. Same thing with Mink Stole, she played so many different roles.
That kind of camp performance sticks with people for generations. It is not easy to do. When it is done poorly, it is awkward to watch and not fun.
WCT: Would you ever audition for RuPaul's Drag Race?
PC: No, but don't think I haven't thought about it. I have thought about it a lot.
Those of us that have been performing for two decades and have built a career all talk about it to each other. After fighting for years to promote our shows, being on a show like that with so many eyes on you is so attractive.
On the flip side, what makes that show work is people have to be competitive, young, and hungry for a crown. I tend to think it's not the right fit for me, even though I would love to show myself to that many people.
There have been a couple of queens that have gone on with longer careers that I applaud like Bianca Del Rio, who I think we both started around the same time, and Chad Michaels.
I'm not competitive. I don't think there's a challenge that showcases me. So I do other things like host a major drag event or write a play.
WCT: What are your future projects?
PC: I am opening a new show called Drag Becomes Her, starring BenDeLaCreme, Jinkx Monsoon, Heklina and myself. We are traveling it around with Los Angeles in April and hopefully other parts of the country in the next few years. I hope the show will have really long legs!
Idol Worship: A Evening with Mink Stole arrives at Mary's Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., on Wed., April 18, at 8 p.m. Visit HamburgerMarys.com and Store.PeachesChrist.com for ticket information.