Since many will remember 2016 as relentless, unceasing barrage of high-profile deaths, Peaches Christ is closing things out with a show that has a little fun with the afterlife and matters of mortality: a tribute to Tim Burton’s 1988 masterpiece, Beetlejuice.
Peaches Christ Productions will perform the world premiere of Sheetlejuice on November 19 at the Castro Theatre, with performances at 3 and 8 p.m. RuPaul’s Drag Race champion-turned-superstar standup Bianca Del Rio will star as the title character, Peaches will costar as Lydia, Katya Smirnoff-Skyy is Delia, Sister Roma is Uno, and Lady Bear will embody the role she was born to play as Otho. Tickets are available at PeachesChrist.com.
Below, we sit down for a lively chat with Bianca Del Rio about her wild year, the pros and cons of working with Peaches, the dangers white people pose to this country, and much more.
Since the last Peaches Christ show you did in San Francisco, you’ve toured the world to sold-out theaters with your Not Today Satan show and released your first film, Hurricane Bianca, to a terrific fan response. How are you feeling? You know, I try not to think about it. I could easily get wrapped up in it and go crazy, and I don’t want that. We’ve heard too many of those stories, but I’m eternally grateful for all these opportunities. It’s truly been a wild ride since Drag Race, so for the last two and a half years it’s just been insane. I had no idea that all of this was possible, or that anyone would even be interested in what I was doing.
And now here we are, one year after What Ever Happened to Bianca Del Rio, and you’re back for more. Yes! Peaches is one of my favorite people to work with. I think most queens who’ve worked with her will tell you that she’s a very generous performer, which is rare. And she has ideas! She was like, “I want to do Beetlejuice and have you in it, what do you think?” and I was like “Sure!” I’m quite excited. I love San Francisco and I love working with her. It’s easy! She does all the hard work and then I come in and ruin it.
Are you a Beetlejuice fan? I’ve seen it maybe twice in my life, but I remember loving it. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane was something I was a huge fan of, but this one I only know in parts. I know I was cast because I resemble Beetlejuice and when you say my name a couple of times I do show up, so we have that in common. I don’t know whether to be flattered or insulted that she’s chosen me for this part. Someone who’s very pale with green hair and a gargly voice…I guess it does seem fitting.
I’m really excited to watch the movie again for research. I love Tim Burton, obviously. It’s probably the last Michael Keaton movie that I cared to watch. This was so long ago that Alec Baldwin was still cute! I mean think about it, that’s a while back—a while. Now he’s playing Trump on Saturday Night Live; age is a cruel joke. And I think Geena Davis had her original face back then!
Peaches has cast herself in the Winona Ryder ingénue role… Oh god, yeah. Well it’s her gig, she can do what she wants I guess. She’s not stupid. It’s acting, I can pretend that she’s young and petite.
How do you think she’ll adapt the material to make sure she’s either sitting in bed or has you wheeling her around the stage? Well she’s very lazy, that Peaches. This character’s probably going to end up paralyzed from the waist down, too. She’ll write some big climactic scene into the script where she gets hurt and doesn’t have to walk anymore. I wouldn’t want that myself, because movement helps me to remember what I have to say.
Except when we did Baby Jane all I did was come in and out of that one door, which I did so many times I couldn’t remember what I was going in for. Was it her lunch? Was it her din-din? And she’s just plopped on that fucking bed and I’m thinking, What a bitch. So I prefer moving, but I hope we have a little more interaction than me having to lug her around the whole show. I’m hoping, but I don’t trust her.
Beetlejuice has a hilarious skewering of ‘80s art world yuppies. How do you think the Deetz family would look today? That’s just white people! White people act like that all the time! Look what’s going on in America right now — Trump, hello! White people are crazy. I’ve seen people that still act this way and it fascinates me. I’m in Richmond, Virginia today and I’m amazed at some of the behavior I see.
I don’t think much has changed, which is kind of crazy. I’ve been traveling around America witnessing it. But I am also interested that those kinds of people would even be interested in something like Drag Race. They’re a little more open-minded, which is shocking, but they come to my show and they exist. We thought it was funny then, but they’re real!
White people: crazy then, crazy now. White people have been crazy all along, but I think now they’re showing their true colors and we’re really seeing it in America. White people are a problem!
How has it been touring all around the country during this election cycle? I try not to get political in my show. There’s a couple little moments, but you really don’t know who’s in your audience and it does cause a great divide. I read about what happened with Amy Schumer, where she had walkouts at a Florida show because she was criticizing Trump. It’s a fine line. I think with me, what might make it a little easier for the audience is that I’m already a joke: I’m a clown in a costume onstage in drag. If I were out there as myself without any makeup on, they would say, “Well, that seems awfully racist coming from a gay man.”
I think the packaging I have is a little different, and I try not to go there. You have no idea what their beliefs are. You know the old rule: never talk about politics or religion. I’ve got enough shit to make fun of about myself. I try not to offend them, because the last thing you want is to stir it up and then have that moment where you’re heckled for saying something they didn’t agree with.
It’s a tough spot to be in. I saw Amy Schumer’s open letter she wrote in response to those fans where she was like, “Well…sorry bout it.” She also wrote it after she was already out of town, the stupid bitch. I mean, say it when you’re there! And also, don’t apologize. If you think it’s going to cross that line, don’t do it, but if you’re going to do it, own it. I think that’s very important right now. I would assume it’s different when you’re a white female and you’re playing to a generally straight audience.
Obviously I’m not comparing myself to her on any level, but I’m dealing with a more diverse audience. They know I’m a man in drag, they’ve probably seen Drag Race, they assume I’m all about Hillary just because I’m gay. With her, the line’s in a different place, because apparently you’re dealing with Trump supporters.
With all the entrenched animosity, online fighting, and allegations of rigging, there seem to be a lot of parallels between the election and the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. I think that show was a genius thing to do. It was great exposure for a lot of queens who may not have gotten very far in their original seasons, and it was definitely a fan favorite because they knew all of the contestants already. And there were great surprises like Tatianna; it was amazing getting to see her shine this season. But it has also brought out some other sides of people, which I think is hys-TER-ical. It’s gone from, “Oh, she’s so sweet, I love her!” to SNAKE EMOJI SNAKE EMOJI SNAKE EMOJI!!!
I would never, ever go back. I left on a very good note and I would never go back to high school. It’s television! If you were at the top of something they’re gonna bring you down, motherfucker! I don’t think I could do it, but God bless them. What people see is what they believe, so it’s very hard to shake that off. Roxxxy Andrews could never shake off that she was a bitch because that’s how people saw her; Phi Phi, same thing. Those girls have balls for going back, but it does come with risks. I wouldn’t do it! Fuck you, bye! Nope, never again.
Does that mean the rumored all-winners All Stars season isn’t going to happen? Rumors. Trust me, no one’s approached me about it, and even if they do: I ain’t going back! Have fun without me, because the only way is down and I’m not doing it. It’s not worth it. Also, I probably won’t be available. I’m sure the other girls will have time!
Peaches Christ Productions presents
Bianca Del Rio in
— an all-new, all-drag theatrical parody of everyone’s favorite ghost with the most,
now featuring everyone’s favorite queen of mean!
“The name in laughter… from the Queerafter”
BIANCA DEL RIO as Sheetlejuice
PEACHES CHRIST as Lydia
and many, many more of your SF-drag favorites…
Don’t miss the World Premiere of Peaches Christ Productions’ latest movie send-up, taken from the wild and unabashed cult film BEETLEJUICE, starring Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Jeffrey Jones and Catharine O’Hara. The live show will precede a screening of the 1988 film BEETLEJUICE.