The Fangoria Radio stint was fun. Too short, though. I had at least an hour of brilliance I could have expounded. Debbie and Mike Gingold must have plugged everything we were ever involved in and I had a nice moment with Dee Snider when we realized we both hate Kubrick’s version of The Shining. Since I’ve actually gotten death threats (true!) over my opinion of this “classic”, I felt moderately vindicated.
Saturday, on a whim, we went to see Rocky Horror, playing up at the Oaks Theater. This would be our first RHPS screening in at least three years—if you count an aborted attempt to check it out with Ryli Morgan and Mark Baranowski at a showing in
Amy was a regular, starting on a big Halloween show, where we sold out the theater. She sat in the front row with her friends and started coming on a regular basis after that. We became friends and got together at my 21st birthday party, where I was introduced to medicinal marijuana. Two weeks before, at another party, she’d made me my first drink and, thereby, corrupted me forever. By the end of our first year together, the
The friends I made during that time are still, for the most part, some of the closest friends I’ve ever made and people with whom I will continue to work as long as they’ll work with me. There are some folks I met there, of course, who I hope I’ll never see again, but they’re by far in the minority.
But since the late ‘90s, we really haven’t been back. Rocky Horror was not part of our lives, aside from listening to the sound track on long trips. I still remember most of the call-backs and almost all of the dialogue/lyrics word-for-word, making me wonder what all of that replaced in my brain that I actually needed.
Every now and then I’d hear that a theater was playing RHPS and we’d toy with the idea of going, but nothing ever solidified. Then we met Jordan Palez, who did some P.A. work for us on Splatter Movie. He’s involved with the latest incarnation of the Junior Chamber of Commerce Players. Our friends Tara and Dave were planning on going to the next RHPS showing, so we figured, what the hell. We’d make a fun, nostalgia-filled night out of it.
So this past Saturday night, Amy and I found ourselves standing in line to see Rocky Horror. I remembered the last time I’d stood in line to see the movie: seventeen years ago. I felt very old. So much older than most of the kids in line around us.
The new J.C.C.P. cast members bounced around us, asking if there were virgins among our crowd.
Fortunately, the tickets were cheap and there was a kick-ass bar called Steve’s
We ran into an old regular, Ed, and his new girlfriend. And I saw other old regulars in the crowd as we searched the crowded theater for seats. It was very surreal. I was drifting down the aisle like the signature shot in a Spike Lee film.
It seemed like forever before the movie started. The cast had to do the virgin roundup, then the “fake-an-orgasm” virgin sacrifice, then a costume contest, then the Tim Curry videos of I Do the Rock and Paradise Garage (which Amy and I tried to drunkenly dance to, but only the cast was dancing and we felt very, very out of place). Then a “bonus” video of Curry singing from The Worst Witch—one of Amy’s favorites, but something I find to be the aural equivalent of a prostate exam. Then the movie… which was, strangely, a digital projection from a DVD.
And suddenly, I’m having a “back in my day” experience. I was astonished that the Oaks hadn’t arranged to get a print of the movie from Fox. The print rental was never that expensive, compared to other movies, but maybe it’s gone up since I left the game. Since they don’t perform every weekend, I understood why the pre-show was so long and elaborate. Our own, even on a weekly basis, seemed interminable as well.
But midway through, I’m the Grinch, feeling affected by the noise, noise, noise, even when I was contributing to it. When I was a hardcore Rocky fan, I got bored immediately after “Sweet Transvestite”, as did the rest of the audience, who usually took the creation scene to go downstairs to smoke (which was another shock—you couldn’t smoke anywhere in the theater, down or up. Not that I smoke, but wading through a thick haze of nicotine exhalation used to be part of the whole experience). So I was bored immediately again, and immediately after, I started to sober up, which is a whole new horrifying experience.
Ed and some of the older audience folks tried to keep the nostalgia going. There were numerous “Mike Watt” callbacks (“What diabolical plan had seized Frank’s crazed imagination?” – “Oral sex with Mike Watt!” “Any sex with Mike Watt!”) courtesy of Ol’ Ed, but I was stuck in Robert Frost territory, constantly reminded that you can’t go home again.
I love the movie. I love the soundtrack. I loved performing it once and still got a kick out of watching these kids experiencing the whole thing while it was still fresh to them. RHPS is that thing that resonates the deepest with the post-high school, mid-college crowd when everything seems fresh and new. Seeing the whole thing with older eyes—yet I was not, by far, the oldest person in the room—I just couldn’t recapture the spirit of the moment. What I did achieve was screaming myself hoarse and sinking deeper into a curmudgeonly fit of “when we did the show…” Glory days.
The cast was great. The show will always be fun. I will always have rice in my pockets. But it’s not my world any more.