Waking up drowsy and happy on a chilly November morning, I find myself replaying the events of the previous night in my mind. The memories of the dark theater, deafening noise, the plethora of fishnet-clad attendees and excessive profanity bring a tired smile to my face. Townies and students alike coming together in bald caps and dark makeup as well as modest pink dresses and cardigans, every one of them proud to be there. You may think was just another night at The Blue Note, but no — this was The Rocky Horror Picture Show on the night of Halloween. It was a celebration of differences and fun and a break from reality.
I’m sure to Rocky Horror aficionados, this kaleidoscopic collection of people is nothing new — in fact, it may be commonplace for a lucky few. To me, a brand new attendee, this celebration of life and intensity left me awestruck. I had seen the film many times, so I was walking in with no new expectations and predictable notions of “The Time Warp” and “Sweet Transvestite.” After taking a few elbows to the side and some spilled drinks, it hit me that this experience was not about the film. It wasn’t about the plot or characters — it was about the permission and freedom that the entire idea of Rocky Horror offers the audience.
Once me and my brood of incredibly loud and fantastic friends (most of whom were dressed as Janet Weiss complete with the news paper over their heads) found our seats, it was almost time to begin. After a group rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the emcee gave a few wonderfully vulgar remarks and the “rules” of the night were spelled out. When it was time, the screen brightened and the opening song with the iconic talking lips appeared. The crowd roared with encouragement and profanity while Brad Majors and Janet professed their love for one another. The entire audience bellowed and screamed when Riff Raff, the handyman, opened the door to the castle for the first time. When “The Time Warp” blared, we all did a jump to the left and step to the right. Then he appeared, Dr. Frank-N-Furter, singing “Sweet Transvestite” and the aisles filled with dancing patrons. Inhibitions were lost and freedom swept the room. We watched Eddie crash through the wall in style and proceed to sing the delightfully-campy “Hot Patootie (Bless My Soul).” The room heated up and sweat dripped down my face, reminding me of how alive the Day of Dead can truly be. We were all there for the same reason, to forget what is and to get lost, just for a little while, in the world that is “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” “Toucha, Toucha, Touch Me” came on and the room echoed with everyone wanting “to be dirty.” The multitude of Janet’s in the audience sang in high-pitched voices.
The movie progressed but the energy in the room didn't falter — in fact, it grew. It swelled and filled the space with the sounds of bottles breaking, cheers and the occasional fight that was quickly resolved. This was a space of kindness and craziness and I had never before been a part of such universally understood openness. Rocky Horror is not only a classic for its incredibly progressive subject matter, it is timeless because it is forever identifiable and welcoming. It offers safety to all and a chance to explore absolute pleasure. Watching Rocky Horror at anytime of year is an escape, but watching it on Halloween — the night of creepiness and joy — is a religious experience and I, too, “want to be dirty.”
Edited by Siena DeBolt | firstname.lastname@example.org