For the last 18 years, Peaches Christ’s annual drag tribute to immortal cult classic Showgirls has been as much a staple of the yearly San Francisco calendar as Bay to Breakers or that one week every September when the weather gets warm. And while the promise of a free lap dance with a large popcorn has always put butts in seats, this year Peaches is shaking things up with a special guest star. For the first time in herstory, the centerpiece role of Nomi Malone (originated by Elizabeth Berkley in the film) will be played by a “Ru Girl”: the one and only Alaska Thunderfuck.
Beyond her active participation in the SF drag scene—she previously collaborated with Peaches Christ for The Craft two summers ago, and starred as Charlotte in Sex and the City Live! last year—Alaska is by far one of the most prolific RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni: there’s her hilarious appearance on the show’s most recent season as Not Anna Wintour, she’s a frequent participant in the Battle of the Seasons tours, has released a series of singles and music videos, stars in the recurring web series Bro’Laska, and served as one of the American Apparel Ad Girls along with Courtney Act and Willam. Perhaps it’s this hunger for the spotlight that makes her a perfect fit for the role of Nomi.
Peaches Christ’s Showgirls will take place at the Castro Theatre on August 8th at 8p.m. Tickets are on sale now at peacheschrist.com—and while you’re online, check out Peaches’ brilliant Wizard of Oz parody trailer for this year’s Frameline Film Festival.
Below, Alaska Thunderfuck talks (and quotes) Nomi Malone, gently encourages Elizabeth Berkley to get over it already, and identifies as more of a whore than a dancer.
I’ll open with the most pressing question of our time. Nomi Malone: great movie character or greatest movie character? She’s definitely great! She really represents this very crystallized version of sleazy sexuality that I guess has always been a part of me. I didn’t even realize this until we did the Showgirls promo photo shoot with Jose Guzman, but as soon as I had the full Nomi look on, it clicked. Something about her really makes sense to me.
In the storied 18-year history of Peaches’ annual Showgirls production, you’re the first guest star from outside the local crew or Rena Riffel to play the role of Nomi. Is that daunting? I just hope I can be as good as the show. [laughs]
You are, my dear. You are the show! `They could’ve gotten anyone to do it: Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul…
Now we’re just quoting the movie. Tell me about your own personal history with Showgirls. When did you first discover its terrible greatness? I really came to it very late. When it first came out I was way too young for my parents to let me watch it. I just remember the big media hubbub. The NC-17 rating was really shocking at the time; it was box office suicide to do that. I never actually saw it until a few years ago! And of course, I became obsessed with it and have seen it many times since.
I remember being so envious of people who were old enough to go see it. It felt like the ultimate badge of freedom and power to be able to go see Showgirls by yourself. Totally!
Did you grow up with Saved by the Bell? Did you know Elizabeth Berkley as Jessie Spano? Oh, of course! Very much.
And suddenly, boom: there’s her pussy. I know! This was her crossover into being all grown up.
Well, she wanted it to be, the poor thing. I know Peaches has always dreamed of the day that Elizabeth would let herself be worshipped at one of these shows. She seems to be getting more comfortable acknowledging Showgirls with time. I almost wept the first time I saw her post something Showgirls-related on her Instagram, like, “It’s finally happening! She’s had enough time and distance! This is wonderful!” It really is. It’s 2015! Also, I’m a huge believer in taking the worst things about your life or the worst things that you’ve ever done and embracing them and turning them into something great, because they’re not going to go away. I hope she keeps moving in that direction. And I hope she comes to the show!
This year is the 20th anniversary of the movie’s 1995 release, so maybe that’ll motivate her. Alright Berkley, get on up to San Francisco!
Would you say that you personally relate to Nomi Malone? Just like Nomi Malone, I come from different places. I’m a really loyal friend. I’m really committed to show business. I think that everybody has a bit of Nomi Malone in them, really.
She is an everywoman. She is every woman! It’s all in her.
Nomi famously insists that she’s a dancer, not a whore. Do you plan to play her as more of a whore or a dancer? Well, I consider myself more of a whore than a dancer, but that’s me. I guess that’s what I’ll be bringing to the role.
Would you say that there’s a Cristal and Nomi dynamic to your relationship with Peaches? [laughs] You know, I offered to do her nails but she said she was getting a bit too old for that whorey look, so who knows?
Marry, fuck, kill, Showgirls edition: Zack the producer, James the choreographer, Andrew the rapist. Wait, which one’s the choreographer?
The black guy. Oh, I wanna marry the black guy. I mean, that’s pretty clear. I want to kill the rapist, and then I guess I’ll fuck the other one. Who’s the other one?
Kyle MacLachlan. I’ll just fuck him. But I wanna marry the black guy.
If Nomi’s orgasm in the pool scene is any indication, you’ve chosen the correct fuck partner. Where do you stand on the question of whether Showgirls is just an obliviously terrible misfire or a misunderstood masterpiece? Either way, whether it’s misunderstood and intentional or not, it is a masterpiece. It’s a perfect coming-together of so many forces. Gina Gershon supposedly came out in an interview recently and said they knew it was camp and over the top and they did it intentionally, but I don’t believe that at all. It’s so fully committed to the story and the characters, and that’s what makes it so special and fun to watch.
Have you ever read the companion book? Paul Verhoeven wrote all these lengthy essays about things like the theological implications of the story and Nomi as a Christ figure. It definitely wasn’t a joke to him at all. Awesome. She is a Christ figure.
You should bring that quality to your performance. Which experience has been the most like Showgirls for you: filming Drag Race, doing the Battle of the Seasons tours, or the American Apparel tour? Oh my goodness! Let me think. [pause] I definitely think that Battle of the Seasons was the most Showgirls-esque, because there’s a bunch of girls and there’s a bunch of dressing rooms, which are sometimes really small, so we’re always on top of each other. We do these big group numbers, and the lineup of the show is always changing like in Showgirls, so it’s like, who gets to be the Goddess tonight? But luckily no one’s pushed Bianca down the stairs yet. Maybe next year.
Finally, and most importantly: brown rice and vegetables or doggy chow? I eat brown rice and vegetables all the time! It’s like my favorite meal. But maybe I should start eating doggy chow if I want to save some money. If they taste the same, I’ll do it.
Peaches Christ Productions Proudly Presents
The 18th Annual SHOWGIRLS Night of 1,000 Showgirls Returns
With Superstar Drag Queen ALASKA THUNDERFUCK 5000
As always, FREE Lap-dances with every large popcorn
The Castro Theatre, Saturday August 8th
This summer marks Peaches Christ’s 18th Annual summer screening of the best movie ever made and in honor of such an important anniversary, Peaches promises an XXX-tra special Goddess Spectacular pre-show celebration! Tickets at PeachesChrist.com