Peaches stays busy with new ‘Superstar’

In her new hometown of Berlin, Peaches — whose real name is Merrill Nisker — wishes she had had time for a fun hobby.

“But I am so occupied, so occupied with everything I’m doing, because I don’t just make music,” says the former Toronto resident. This year alone, she performed five different types of concerts, one solely on laser harp, another from a wheelchair after she twisted her ankle.

“There’s even an installation that I’ve done in Korea, where I built a cave out of all the things that people have thrown onstage to me,” she adds,  “and I also acted in Chilly Gonzalez’s movie ‘Ivory Tower,’ so I’m heavily into tons of new artistic endeavors at this point.”

One production, however, has totally consumed this artist — “Peaches Christ Superstar,” her one-woman re-enactment of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hippie-era classic “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which she brings to San Francisco Saturday.

Anyone familiar with the stripped-down, punk-fueled performance style she has employed since her definitive 2000 “The Teaches of Peaches” set will know they’re in for a surreal audio/visual treat.

It all started with a small theater in Berlin that invited her to conceive an extravaganza.

“Doing ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ as a one-woman show was something in the back of my mind that I always thought would be an interesting project,” she says. “Because in North America, it was a phenomenon as music, not really as a musical. So I think a lot of classic rock fans really understand it as such, as I do. There are all these people who are secretly in love with the music itself, people who would never go see a musical.”

There was one hitch — “JCS” rights holders initially denied them to Peaches. “Basically, they want all Webber productions to be huge and make lots of money,” she says. Angrily, she Tweeted about the slight, and once the story got picked up by the New York Times, composer Tim Rice himself contacted her.

“I guess his grandchildren and cousins knew who I was, and they told him, ‘That girl’s cool, you should let her do it!’” she says. “And on my second run, Tim actually flew from London to Berlin just to see it.”

Peaches doesn’t view “Superstar” as overtly religious. “I see it as a tale of human nature that happens constantly in governments and circles of friends,” she says. “Where one person has a good idea and good intentions, but then the fear sets in. And having a woman do all the parts? That definitely adds a subversive angle!”   


IF YOU GO

Peaches Christ Superstar


Where:
Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $30

Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

artsentertainmentmusicPop Music & JazzSan Francisco

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