Produced and directed by the electroclash icon of the title, Peaches Does Herself begins with an academic (Armin Dallapiccola) giving a dry lecture on Peaches.
Though in unsubtitled German, it feels like a dare to intellectualize what comes next: an 80-minute performance piece that roughly tracks Peaches’s career, from recording in her bedroom to full-fledged rock stardom. While it helps to already be a fan, it’s imaginative and energetic enough to be entertaining for the uninitiated. Peaches has always reveled in dismantling gender, and forthright sexuality is her trademark, so Peaches Does Herself boils over in the third act when she falls in lust with transgender porn star Danii Daniels, in all her naked, 6-foot-2-inch glory—this, after Peaches, in an onstage operation, has transformed into a Divine-like figure with fake breasts and penis.
Peaches calls this “a jukebox musical that got a sex change,” and it’s troubling that the songs she sings to Daniels use male pronouns and refer to Daniels as “a pretty boy,” reinforcing the misconception that trans women are ultimately still men. Furthermore, the very notion of “getting a sex change” is reductive and arguably ignorant of the transgender experience . . . and this is probably exactly the kind of buzzkill analysis mocked in the opening lecture. Well played, Peaches.