This Feb., in conjunction with the SLFC, Kennedy gives Xanadu a tranny makeover. Photo: Bethany Fischer
I have a friend named Peaches Christ who has been a heavy hitter among the glitterati of trans-American drag for quite a few years. Peaches has been involved in the film world at some level as long as I’ve known her, and she’s just completed her very first feature-length independent film called All About Evil. The show centers around a girl whose stepmom tells her that she is going to shut down the family business after her father has died. This sets the main character off on a murderous rampage in order to save the only connection she has to her true family. The film is full of everything a gory horror movie buff will love, and has a star-filled cast of B-movie actors, including Mink Stole of Jon Waters fame and the one and only Elvira, doing her role out of Elvira drag!
Since Ms. Christ began touring her flick around the country, I have been incessantly calling her, trying to figure how to get it to SLC. I contacted the Salt Lake Film Center and asked what they could do to help me get it here. In the midst of our conversation, I told them how Peaches Christ got her start. Christ’s day job was running an old-timey movie house, much like the Tower. During the summer, she did a Saturday night midnight movie series called Midnight Mass. Each week, a different cult classic was shown with a preshow—to put a little Drag Queen stink on it. Before Showgirls, there was a re-creation of the Vegas show, Mommy Dearest, featuring mommy/daughter mud wrestling, and for Annie, there was a pre-show of “Trannie.”
Levi Elder and Mariah Mellus—my brilliant contacts at the Film Center—listened to my pitch and said they could help me get All About Evil to SLC if I helped them with a fundraiser for the annual LGBT film festival, Damn These Heels!, which happens two weeks after Gay Pride in June. Years ago, I asked Peaches if she would want to do a sing-along Xanadu, but we never got the chance. I pitched my idea to the Film Center and they loved it!
It quickly came to my attention that even though people know of Xanadu, many have never actually seen the movie. How does one go about defining the glory that is Xanadu? It came out when I was about 10-years-old—a time in history when roller rinks replaced discothèques and leg warmers were the height of fashion. Xanadu captured the effects of Tron, the moves of Flash Dance and completely bastardized the late ‘70s punk scene of London with a soundtrack of Olivia Newton-John, the Bee Gees and ELO—cutting-edge electronic musicians at the time.
As it goes, Kira, (played by Newton-John) is one of the Nine Sisters of Olympus who is sent down by Zeus and Hera to inspire the main character, Sonny Malone (Michael Beck), to follow his dreams. Malone quits his day job of painting life-size album covers for in-store promotions, and with fellow geriatric dreamer (Gene Kelly) opens a wacky state-of-the-art nightclub/roller disco and calls it Xanadu.
What Newton-John didn’t realize was that she inspired this tiny tranny to modern-dance her way into the hearts of America, and also sparked my lifelong love of lip-syncing in the mirror.
The schizophrenic feature includes massive musical productions of roller skating while flying, Muses dancing their way out of graffiti and an anime short that features Newton-John as an angelfish sporting leg warmers on her fins. While watching it the other night, I was captivated with the scene where the two men envision the club’s concept: A 1940s big band duels with an ‘80s rock group until the two mash up with old-meets-new! I suddenly realized my friends, Fea Waybill and Prairie Prince, whom I back-up sing for in The Tubes, were playing in the rock band. This gives me a single degree of separation from the greatest movie of all time! I swear every time I watch, it’s like the first.
In true Princess Kennedy fashion, I needed to take my version of Xanadu one step further than a simple sing-along. I introduce to you Tranadu: The Musical on Ice! I have pulled out all the stops and used every favor in my little black book for this pre-show. I’ve secured some of the biggest names in SLC, including Nova Starr and her girls, Charles Lynn Frost and the Salt City Derby Girls. We’ll be lip-syncing the biggest hits from the movie, and what really excites me is since it’s with the Film Center, we’ve even done a music video. Look out for the trailer at the beginning of February.
I know you are wetting your tranna-pants and cannot wait for this show. Clear your calendars for Monday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m. at the Tower Theater. Bring the kids, I’ll be 86-ing the 69 talk in this off-Broadway hit, making it a family affair.
Come out and support this so we can keep Damn These Heels! going. The festival gives us some really great independent films and a place for gay and lesbian film talent like Peaches Christ to show their chops. The Salt Lake Film Center does so much to add to our pretty great state and, without them, I would never have the opportunity to take you, my faithful readers, to a place that nobody dares to go—Tranadu!