There are two types of people in this world, and the line separating them is 10 words long: “It must be weird not having anybody come on you.” That is to say, either 1995's tits-and-ass Vegas trainwreck Showgirls resonated deep in the champagne room of your heart, or you are a communist.
Justifiably disgraced Showgirls screenwriter Joe Eszterhas is said to be planning an intentionally funny stage-musical adaptation of his unintentionally hilarious film, to play in Vegas (duh). He was recently quoted in New York magazine crowing that the project “celebrates the over-the-top and campy nature of the [original] piece.” This attitude is revisionist bullshit; when the movie came out the man said it was “a deeply religious experience.” The film would never have endured in the pop-culture collective memory except that it was so excruciatingly and earnestly terrible. To wit: Assistant choreographer Marty says sincerely at one point, “She's no butterfly, Tony. She's all pelvic thrust! I mean, she prowls! She's got it!”
Anyone who's felt compelled to watch Showgirls a second time clearly “celebrates the over-the-top and campy nature of the piece,” but our very own Peaches Christ has taken this celebration to a revolting nadir with her annual Midnight Mass screening, a show replete with dog-food consumption, free lap dances with every popcorn purchase, and a who's who of San Francisco drag queens.
“Showgirls used to be such an inside joke,” Christ says from her vacation spot in Maryland. “Then the appeal broadened and MGM put out a boxed set, trying to capitalize on the camp value. … Part of me was disappointed: Our inside joke was no longer an inside joke. The movie was running on VH1! Showgirls should not be running on VH1 regularly.
“I went through a phase where I resented Showgirls and was angry with people [for spoiling the joke]. I was a brat about it, I was burnt — I had helped to create the cult status, at least on the West Coast, and [MGM had asked me to] help them sell DVDs. I was doing these lame, tired-ass shows at the Metreon to promote the DVD. … I can't recreate [Midnight Mass] here at the Metreon at 7 p.m.!”
She continues: “After a year of resenting Showgirls, I sat down and really watched it again. I realized they can't take this away from us. It's too amazing. [All the hype] can't take away the magic of seeing it with a real, enthusiastic audience.”
And how does she feel about the purposefully campy musical?
“They're taking these things that we love, and we just have to sit back and watch. Once they're in on the joke, it stops being funny. The reaction needs to be organic. Showgirls was joyous crap — joyous because it was earnest. It's so perfect the way it is, and everyone should be able to enjoy it.”