Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Let's do the Time Warp again!

Fiancé has never seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show. 

A few months ago, he agreed to come with me to a 40th anniversary tribute concert of The Rocky Horror Show in SF with a special appearance by Patricia Quinn (better known as Magenta, or as the person behind the most famous lips of all time).  The tribute had a narrator (Peaches Christ) that more or less connected each of the songs together with the general plot.  It was pretty amazing to see Patricia Quinn sing "Science Fiction/Double Feature" live, and damn Jason Brock's version of "I"m Going Home" was to die for.  That being said, it wasn't The Rocky Horror Show. Fiancé is still a "virgin." 

In the car, on the way home after the show, I mentioned that some of my friends who I've brought to shows thought it was very much an "inside joke that they didn't get."  Fiancé admitted that he had no idea what was going on, so I attempted to explain the plot.  The look he gave me when I said "and then after they kill them, the house blasts off back to the planet of Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania  Oh, and then they sing one of my favourite songs "Superheros," if it's a good theater and cast, that is," was priceless.  He told me to stop adding in audience participations bits while explaining, and I had to tell him that I wasn't, and that the film is just like that

At the tribute concert Peaches Christ explained that Rocky Horror was her own personal "It Get's Better" video.  So later, I explained the show and the rituals to Fiancé, I started to think about why Rocky Horror means so much to me. Why I spent every other Saturday night for years of my life in a theater, in various stages of undresses, "watching" the same movie over and over.  And why eventually that wasn't enough, and I had to participate in a bigger way.

One of the biggest draws of Rocky Horror was the sense of community in the theater.  Most Saturdays I went to the show with friends, but every now and then I was on my own.  Usually just the act of waiting in line was enough to make new friends, to find a group to sit with, and to not feel like an outsider.  I remember one night where I ended up singing a number of songs from RENT while waiting in line, with a group of people who had been complete strangers 20 mins before. Coming from an all-girls Catholic school, I felt like there weren't a lot of people there like me.  Sure, I had friends, but late at night, in the theater? These were my people. 

Speaking of school, I had never been one for audience participation and group events. I didn't have "school spirit" aside from once a year when we had this crazy old tradition called Aquacades, which pitted each class against each other, and I wore the obligatory class colour of purple (which as my favourite colour wasn't too much of a hardship). And now I work at a place that has a big work-spirit, Kumbaya, let's all hold hands feel.  Anyone who knows me from work or school might be shocked to know how much I love the audience participation aspect of Rocky Horror.  But I do. I love that no one is going to laugh at me for doing the "Time Warp," or tell me to shut up when I yell "the home of happiness is in Janet's hat?!" at the screen. I'm not sure that anyone can explain this better except the emcee of The Bawdy Caste, who announces at the beginning, "the Rocky Horror Picture Show is the longest running audience participate movie in the world. Which means, it's a lot like sex: if you don't participate, you can't come!"

When I decided to join a shadow cast and actually "preform" the show in front of the movie it was amazingly liberating. I had always wanted to do musical theater, but I don't really have the musical or acting chops to hold my own.  As a member of a Rocky "shadow cast" I could fulfill that dream of being on stage. And after years of body image issues, the show gave me the confidence to stand in front of a room full of people in fishnets, underwear, and a corset, and dance. I was nervous to have people see me in a swimsuit before this (and now I have a picture of me on the front page of my college news paper in full Floor Show regalia), but in this magical place, no one cared if you had a perfect body. Big, small, man, woman – wear what you want, whatever you want, and you will be welcomed with open arms, and even praised for your choice (especially if it's lingerie). 

I find it hard to explain, even now, if you've never seen the film, and especially if you've never been to a midnight showing, but this movie, this tradition, holds a special place in my heart.  

I expect him to come with me to the midnight Rocky Horror before we get married. He should know what he's getting into before the vows are complete.