Most cult-movie revivals require one or more of the following: shouting profanities at the screen, doing the “Time Warp,” or getting smacked in the head by a piece of flying toast, à la The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Hostess Peaches Christ, though, has taken to task such clichéd antics with her summer film series, “Midnight Mass.” Now in their sixth year, Christ's midnight showings have featured such chilling horror flicks as Poltergeist, Evil Dead 2, and Annie. Each season she handpicks only the most superb dreck that Hollywood has mistakenly poured its money into, and this year's array of cinematic jewels promises to outwit them all. Pink Flamingos (see Divine eat shit!), What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Bette Davis kicks the shit out of Joan Crawford!), and the season opener, Showgirls (watch Elizabeth Berkley's and Paul Verhoeven's careers turn to shit!), are just part of the jaw-dropping and highly entertaining lineup.
The real event, however, starts before the lights go down; the movies are only part of the program. The pre-show — which has gained “Midnight Mass” its well-deserved notoriety — is reason enough to stay up well past your bedtime. Everything from gaudy live performances to thematic décor to elaborate costumes helps elevate these panned flicks to grandiosity. And celebrity guests (Mink Stole and Pansy Division, to name-drop a few) have made cameos from time to time, shilling themselves for another shot at infamy.
For the opening night, along with a 10-minute reinterpretation of Showgirls, Christ and her sidekick Martiny will provide free lap dances with every purchase of a large popcorn, if you dare. Showgirls attire, or lack thereof, is encouraged. And really, who doesn't want to see Berkley — a former Saved by the Bell 'tween — bare-ass naked, shaved, and snorting cocaine? When Hollywood gives us lemons, it's Peaches' job to turn them into whiskey sours. Get religion starting at midnight at the Bridge, 3010 Geary (at Blake), S.F. Admission is $8; call 751-3213 or visit www.peacheschrist.com.
— Brock Keeling
Mounties, Music, and Militarism
The year is 2006. Bush is still in the White House, the United States has conquered most of the world, and Canada is next on the hit list. The premise of the S.F. Mime Troupe's new summer show, Veronique of the Mounties: Operation Frozen Freedom, may sound scary, but it's intended as a politically charged spoof of current international affairs. In this futuresque vision of American domination, anything goes: Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, for example, resist a mutual sexual attraction, while singing Christian fundamentalists welcome the Apocalypse. Meanwhile, Royal Canadian Mounted Policewoman Veronique Du Bois heads out on a dangerous mission to save her threatened homeland. Written and performed by the radical, never-silent Mime Troupe collective, Veronique promises savvy themes, live Christian pop tunes, and a leftist wonderland of scathing verbal satire. Like all of the troupe's shows, this is bound to be a bastion of giggles — that is, unless its predictions leave the realm of fiction. The show opens its multipark Bay Area summer tour at 2 p.m. in Dolores Park, on Dolores between 18th and 20th streets, S.F. Admission is free; call 285-1717 or visit www.sfmt.org.
— Karen Macklin
Copyright or Wrong
Freedom of expression: illegal?
Standing between trod-upon individual artists and large-footed corporate fat cats you'll find, often enough, the institution of the museum. SFMOMA has made that position more interesting by presenting “Illegal Art,” a showcase for art forms that draw from copyrighted materials. Bringing up questions like “Would Pop Art ever have existed if 1960s copyright laws had been the same as they are today?,” the exhibit also reminds viewers that many people believe Congress' pivotal Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 was created to protect Disney from losing control of Mickey Mouse. Some of the folks with work in the show have spent time in court as a result of using images or sounds that “belong” to someone else. Bay Area artists Packard Jennings, Clare Rojas, and organizer Ray Beldner are among the outlaws in this traveling exhibition, which has gotten good reviews. Tonight's opening reception features “appropriation-based music” and begins at 5:30 at the SFMOMA Artists Gallery, Fort Mason, Building A, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is free; call 441-4777 or visit www.illegal-art.org.
— Hiya Swanhuyser
Talk about your global village: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1967) was produced by Italians, shot in Spain, and features American stars in a Civil War western. Starting July 4, Sergio Leone's wide-screen Techniscope masterpiece appears in a polished new print at the Castro. GBU, a key spaghetti western, is a classic picaresque, with three charismatic criminals double- and triple-crossing each other in a search for hidden gold. So much is memorable here — the close-ups (especially of Lee Van Cleef's hyper-angular face), the ingenious riffs on the unlawful collaborations of Tuco (Eli Wallach) and Blondie (Clint Eastwood), and the unexpected moments of tenderness, as when Tuco and Blondie blow up a bridge to honor a dying alcoholic captain. There's a strong anti-war message for those who care to look, but most viewers will be mesmerized by the killer story, fabulous performances, sunbaked landscapes, and Ennio Morricone's gloriously stark, “screaming bird” score. GBU runs July 4-10 at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro (near Market), S.F. Tickets are $5-8; for show times, call 621-6120 or visit www.castrotheatre.com.
— Gary Morris