Articles that don't necessarily fit into any specific category.

Rocky Roundup 5/04/2014-5/11/2014

Rocky Roundup 5/04/2014-5/11/2014

Whoa, oh my god. Oh my god. It's a double Roundup, all the way. That's so intense! Would you look at that? It's a full on double Roundup, it's so bright and vivid. I don't know what it means. Oh my god. It's so beautiful:

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_006-01---Michigan-RHPS-1st-birthday-cast-photo.jpgFirst of all, a big "Happy Birthday - fuck you!" to the Michigan Rocky Horror Preservation Society, celebrating their 1st anniversary and still going strong! It's hard work to start a cast and keep it running, so for those who start and don't fizzle out after a few months - I salute you!

Next, let's talk about the past couple weekends. I give you all a double roundup, covering both this weekend and the one before, due to being busy helping put together an extra-special show at my home theater for Rocky Horror Saved My Life (more on that later). So, this week we'll follow the documentary crew around like a creepy stalker, covering all the shows they hit!

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_006-03---RKO-Shocky-Ariel-Guzman.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_006-04---RKO-Rocky-4-Ariel-Guzman.jpgUp in New England, RKO Army put on a double feature with Shock Treatment and Rocky Horror, rocking the hell out of both shows if the photos have anything to say about it. The cast attacked the stage - especially Rocky - as though they were at a convention (RKO Con 1.5?), throwing in multiple performers for each role, and even double/triple/quadrupling the characters in a few key scenes. b2ap3_thumbnail_006-02---RKO-Shocky-backstage.jpgOn top of that insanity, they performed several preshows, and I'm impatiently waiting for video footage to pop up from those, though I fear any potential cameramen/women may have been so dazed with wonder that they never hit "record" and the preshows enjoyed only by that night's audience. By all accounts, their dressing room area was thrown into chaos from all the costume and makeup changes, though there was apparently still time to lounge around, as evidenced by this backstage shot from Shock Treatment...

 

 

 

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_006-05---FBC-RHSML-2-creeper-Thirteen.jpgThe next night, Full Body Cast put on their usual Saturday show with some swapping-out and doubling-up action of their own. It's always lovely to get to see a fully-made-up floor show, or even better, skip out on some of the other quick costume changes. I'd like to take the opportunity to point out how thoroughly the Rocky Horror Saved My Life crew insinuated themselves into the shows for their filming, here - their cameras were all over the place, up to and including on stage! a1sx2_Thumbnail1_006-06---FBC-RHSML-3-Thirteen.JPGAs an aside, props to those actors who pulled double duty, performing both Friday and Saturday as members of both casts, like Rocky here - I know there are casts that regularly do back-to-back shows, every weekend (coughNYCRHPScough) but it's not as common, and no, I don't know how those guys do it either!

 

 

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_006-07---LBADD-3-instagram-shellyyum.jpgSince Dallas was the next stop on the tour, I'd like to take a moment to get personal and tell a story. Once upon a time, many years ago (or back in 1998), there was a cast called Los Bastardos. They did a lot of Rocky, gained and lost cast members and theaters (sometimes peacefully, sometimes with prejudice) and some of those former cast members (unfortunately from the "with prejudice" category) decided to form a Repo: The Genetic Opera cast called Amber Does Dallas, the one I joined. Not long after their first Repo show, ADD decided that they should do Rocky as well, with the help of those ex-LB members - of course, this created no small amount of tension between the two, and there was drama and strife. But, time passes, and people move on from Rocky - and over the next few years, most of the people who had been a part of that dark period did just that.

b2ap3_thumbnail_006-08---LBADD-1-instagram-black_mariah.jpgThen, Rocky Horror Saved My Life came to visit. LB had no show scheduled for the night the crew planned on visiting, but ADD had a Repo/Rocky double feature on their calendar, and two casts decided to make it a show to remember for fans of both movies and of both casts. They would throw old tensions out the window and come together as one, and it would be glorious chaos - we even made a video to show how wonderful it is to work together. And it was. And lo, the crowd numbered in hundreds, including former members of both casts and long-time fans who hadn't been out in ages! And we all took the stage and tagged in and out with one another, and there were shenanigans, nearly two dozen Transylvanians doing the Time Warp, and an epic double kickline that surprisingly didn't end in everyone tripping over each other. And it was good. The end.

b2ap3_thumbnail_006-10---Royal-Mystic-Order-of-Chaos-RHSML-2-Instagram-lillyput360.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_006-09---Royal-Mystic-Order-of-Chaos-RHSML-Instagram-spookshow_babee.jpgBut not the end of the weekend! Because Texas is large, and there are other casts in the state, though the Royal Mystic Order of Chaos from Houston, in particular, took the stage on Saturday night. Their theme for the evening was Rockstars & Groupies (and I'm loving the 'hawk on one specific groupie in the show!) so the show and audience both had some special guest stars - Freddie Mercury, anyone? They welcomed the documentary crew with open arms and a whole lot of insanity, just what the doctor ordered. We can't wait to see what those guys run into next, in their quest to film and interview as many casts and cast members as they can possibly stand to see.

In closing, a randomly-selected ridiculous Instagram photo:

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Want your local cast featured here? Encourage fans, cast members, and cast pages to post photos with the #rockyhorror hashtag for all to see! I'll be looking around for interesting theme shows, exciting guest appearances, and good old fashioned Rocky fun from all over the world to highlight. If you come across something cool, you can also drop tips in this handy dandy jar by the register--I mean, email them to me at roundup@rockyhorror.org

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Rocky Roundup 4/27/2014

Rocky Roundup 4/27/2014

Tonight's song and dance number brought to you by the letter R, the number 14, and the color blue. I'm not sure how all of these intangible objects can accomplish the task of sponsorship and promotions, but that's what the cue card says, so I have to accept it as truth. This week's photos capture the physical aspect of that singing and dancing just for you:

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_005-01---LBRH-Bill-Ungs-last-show-instagram-longbeachrockyhorror.jpgFirst, a followup on San Diego's story last week. Important people sat down and had very serious talks about money and things like that, the gist of which is that the Ken will be able to continue operating. Crazed Imaginations doesn't know yet when they will be able to return to perform Rocky there again, but they're confident that with the help of their audience (and a sold out final-not-final show), they'll see you there soon! HOORAY!

Long Beach Rocky Horror said goodbye (no, not like THAT, don't get all sad on me) to longtime performer Bill Ung this weekend, and sent him off in a blaze of slutty glory - shown here performing Once In A While with a bevy of lovely Janets. He's been a Rocky fan ever since his virgin show 25 years ago, and a performer nearly as long, quite a respectable tenure indeed. If you're going to go out, though, that's definitely the right way to do it! Best wishes to a long-time Rocky staple in the next phase of his life!

b2ap3_thumbnail_005-02---HoH--FNS-versus-show-Friday-instagram-njrockyhorror.jpga1sx2_Thumbnail1_005-03---HoH-showgirl-Trixie-Saturday-credit-Keighty.jpgHome of Happiness and the Friday Nite Specials just finished a two-week cast swap party. Last weekend, FNS folks traveled to Denton - I mean, Montclair, New Jersey - to participate in their show, and then flipped it around, hosting this weekend's joint show in Aberdeen. What an adorable pile of Rocky people! HoH went on to do their own regularly scheduled show the very next night, and their Trixie's stunning showgirl-inspired outfit stood out in the photo album. Feathers! Butt floof! This is why Trixie is one of my favorite parts to see other people perform night after night, there is so much opportunity for variety and creativity.

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_005-04---LB-Vegas-preshow-Cristy-Ayers.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_005-05---LB-virgin-collage-instagram-maybeimalittlebitcrazy.jpgSpeaking of butt floof, another cast had a showgirl-inspired night, quite literally. Los Bastardos made a guest appearance at Texas Burlesque Peepshow's "Showgirls" theme night, throwing an intermission dance party and performing one of their preshow numbers. They then brought the glamor back to their theater with a reprise of it for their Rocky audience, as well as feathers and Elvis jumpsuits galore. I threw the second photo in there because I was tickled that I recognized their Rocky in the tiny thumbnail because of his Deadpool tattoo. Bonus!

b2ap3_thumbnail_005-06---Powerful-and-Irrational-Mouthwash-last-spring-show-Delkab-IL-instagram-misfitdolls.jpgThis sparkly young thing, pictured with her siblings, performed this weekend with A Powerful and Irrational Mouthwash (I must say, I love this cast name!) in Delkab, IL. They perform only during the school year - that's college, people, not high school, the little one is just there to support her sis - so this was their last show for the season, but next September they'll be right back in the swing of it.

Speaking of youngsters, there is nothing better than raising kids right, and this video proves it! I still don't know how that song makes it onto CDs of Halloween songs for kids, but I'm not going to question a good thing.

 

In closing, a randomly-selected ridiculous tumblr photo:
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Want your local cast featured here? Encourage fans, cast members, and cast pages to post photos with the #rockyhorror hashtag for all to see! I'll be looking around for interesting theme shows, exciting guest appearances, and good old fashioned Rocky fun from all over the world to highlight. If you come across something cool, you can also send me tips, right here in my g-string--I mean, email them to me at roundup@rockyhorror.org

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Rocky Roundup 4/20/2014

Rocky Roundup 4/20/2014

Have you ever sung in a round? The verses overlap and twist together to create something a little more complicated and a little more lovely than they would be originally. It's a form that never needs to end, not while a new door opens as old doors close, so this week's picks celebrate new beginnings to make up for the inevitable endings:

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_004-01---Crazed-Imaginations-Ken-Cinema-closing-Facebook-Jason-Davenport.jpgBad news to start out with, of course. San Diego's Crazed Imaginations - and, indeed, everyone else in the area - lost a piece of history this past week when the Ken Theater closed its doors. Luckily, that was only one of the two theaters the cast regularly performs in, but it's always a shock to have a theater go like this. Perhaps new management might take over the Ken and restore it to its old glory, even bring back midnight movies and the Rocky cast? We can only hope! Good luck waving those signs around, guys, and may it bring results. The cast put on a blow-out goodbye show for the venue, though - check out this line waiting to get in!

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_004-02---Michigan-RH-Preservation-Society-1st-Easter-show.jpga1sx2_Thumbnail1_004-03---Michigan-RHPS---honorary-transie.jpgTurning that around, we see the Michigan Rocky Horror Preservation Society (try saying that three times fast), about to celebrate their first anniversary as a cast next month. They've had fun with "firsts" throughout the past year, including this weekend's first Easter themed show, complete with honorary brand new Transylvanian (on questioning, the cast director rushed to reassure me that ordinarily, they require all cast members to be 17+). To Michigan RHPS, a traditional "Happy birthday - FUCK YOU!" with love from a director of another very new cast, and do enjoy the rest of your firsts, because they'll never come again.

b2ap3_thumbnail_004-04---Dramakuins-Madrid-Instagram-victorheranz.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_004-05---audience--virgins-RKO-Floor-Show-Webb-City-Missouri-Instagram-therkofloorshow.jpgThese fresh-faced virgins on the left have discovered Madrid's Dramakuins (it took me a distressingly long time to pick up on the Spanishization of drama queens). This troupe does regular variety shows at various venues in the city, not just Rocky. Party on - I know who I'm looking up next time I'm in Madrid! Fun trivia: In Spain, what we call in English a "midnight movie" becomes "sesión golfa" - liberally translated, a "slut screening", due to the often risque nature of the films.

To the right, the RKO Floor Show in Webb City, Missouri certainly knows how to get down and dirty with its virgins - some of them look to be enthusiastically wearing their lipstick as war paint. My favorite is the Rocky, complete with triple-threat headwear: blonde wig, baseball cap, and party hat. This is Rocky Horror, and fashion is what you want it to be!

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_004-06---Wondercon-cosplay-Instagram-madisongreycosplay.jpgYou don't even have to be at a Rocky screening to show off your love, as this pair headed to WonderCon in Anaheim prove. The cosplay community and shadowcasting community overlap extensively - after all, a convention is just another kind of show to make costumes for - and it gives other congoers a chance to ask questions about the costumes and be exposed to Rocky. Perhaps even intrigued enough to see it for themselves!

 

 

 

 

In closing, a randomly-selected ridiculous tumblr photo:
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Want your local cast featured here? Encourage fans, cast members, and cast pages to post photos with the #rockyhorror hashtag for all to see! I'll be looking around for interesting theme shows, exciting guest appearances, and good old fashioned Rocky fun from all over the world to highlight.

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Are You Having a Party?

Halloween has been called the "high holy holiday " of Rocky Horror, as it should be, as dressing in costume is at the essence of Rocky experience and Halloween is the one day of the year everyone can be a creature of the night. 

On Halloween night, 1974, the 20th Century Fox distributed and marketed rock musical Phantom of the Paradise opened in Westwood Village at the cavernous National Theater, a couple blocks away from the UA Theater, where The Rocky Horror Picture Show would have its debut in 11 months. The gala premiere included an invitation to "come as your favorite phantom," with cash prizes for the most outrageous costumes. It's been rumored that amongst the guests that night  were various members of the upcoming filmed version of Rocky Horror though it may be just a rumor as no hard evidence has been uncovered. 

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Meanwhile, on that same night, across town, The Rocky Horror Show was in its 8th smash month as a live show at the Roxy Theater on Sunset Boulevard.  The play was still wildly successful in its flagship US run, event though Tim Curry had recently vacated his signature role to film the movie version in England. Frank N Furter lived on with Tim's replacement, Paul Jabara (the same man who would later pen "Last Dance" for Donna Summer and  "It's Raining Men" with Paul Shaffer) in the role.

In what may have been the birth of a tradition, Halloween night, 1974, the Roxy hosted the first ever Rocky Horror Costume Contest as part of the night's festivities. Thought the film adaptation was nearly a year away and there were no working crystal balls around, the Sunset Strip saw its first seeds of the cult to come with an audience peppered with the first primitive costumed tributes. 

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Today, 39 years later , the tradition remains. Rocky Horror has become ubiquitous and indelibly attached with Halloween. "The Time Warp" is included on Halloween soundtracks everywhere and mass marketed Frank N Furter costumes are available at retail chains. Rocky horror is synonymous with Halloween, and figuratively remains remains the longest lasting costume contest in history. Happy Halloween, everyone. Are you having a party? It is , after all, a rather special night.

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The Phantom Connection

The Phantom Connection

 

 
...My closest friend, Dawn Morrison, joined the ever growing list of absent friends this past week. Like so many of us who met at Rocky in the late '70s, her love for Phantom of the Paradise came first. In her honor, I repost my most popular pre-existing blog: The Phantom Connection (from 10/19/11)...

 

 

 

Phantom of the Paradise is often mentioned in the same breath as  The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is appropriate, since the two films share a common history. Not only are both rock-musical parodies of a familiar mix of horror films, both were also distributed and (barely) marketed by 20th Century Fox, and had special premiere openings in Westwood Village.

 Both were also commercial disappointments and equally dismissed by critics. Phantom of the Paradise came and went pretty quickly after its Halloween of 1974 debut, though it did get a respectable cult following fairly quickly, as well as an Oscar nomination for its fantastic score.

In its initial L. A. run,  Phantom actually grossed higher receipts in the weeks following its opening week, indicating the power of word of mouth (since promotion and media acclaim was almost non existent) setting a precedent for Rocky Horror's handling by Fox the following year. Once going wide, Winnipeg, Canada, was the most receptive Phantom market, where the film surprisingly played for eighteen weeks, uninterrupted. It also did well in France, but, that's to be expected from a culture that worships cheese, wine and Jerry Lewis.

Rocky Horror  lasted only 4 weeks in the cold climate of Winnipeg a year later, while in the same town,  Phantom became a returning ritual. With pockets of small success,  Phantom  was given a revamped ad campaign in mid '75 and was resuscitated via a run on pay cable channels not long after.

 

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In Los Angeles,  Rocky Horror  had moved from Westwood to the Holly Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in March of '76, where it ran 5 times a day until October 5th. On the 6th, Fox began to pair Rocky and Phantom, reissued it citywide in Southern California, in addition to rolling out screenings across the country in revival theaters and in college cinemas. In LA, the reissue was to several first-run theaters and drive-ins (!), including the famed Egyptian theater, down the boulevard from the Holly. Rocky, sans Phantom, also returned to the UA Cinema Center in Westwood, where it remained almost continuously for several years.



The pairing became a regular revival-house double-bill which lasted for the duration of the early RHPS cult, slowly separating as Rocky Horror  evolved into an exclusively midnight movie over the next couple of years. For early enthusiasts, it was not unusual to attend the 7 pm screening of Rocky, sit through the 9 pm  Phantom and stay for the rowdier 11pm Rocky rerun. Although Rocky Horror became huge and widespread,  Phantom remained more of a standard cult film, with a quieter, but still devoted following. Where  Rocky Horror  was a weekly costume party, Phantom  became more of a special occasion.

 

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All these years later, both films loom large in their own right, and have left a legacy of two of the best rock soundtracks of all time. For those reading this that have somehow never seen Phantom of the Paradise, I urge you to give it a try. Trust me, I'm a Historian.

 

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