My bro Ryan, sis-in-law Hedda, GF-Unit, and I decided to attend the second to last showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at our soon to be defunct hang out Billy Joe's.
I've been a fan of Rocky Horror since about fifth grade (1985-ish) when I stole the bootleg soundtrack cassette from my older brother. Still to this day when I think Rocky Horror, the first thing I picture in my mind is that white cassette with "Rocky Horror" scrawled in red magic marker. It was not what I thought. I was looking for some kind of heavy metal (hey, it said Rocky Horror - what would you think it was if you had no idea? Sounded metal to me.) Even though it wasn't even close to what I was expecting, it was still damn fine music...a subversive retro pop mix that has a little something for all types and a group dance much better than the horrible country line dancing that was to pop up a few years later. I listened to the music and played the crappy Apple II video game (which I didn't understand at all at the time - you can download an emulator here and play yourself although both look better quality than the Apple version I remember) for years before finally seeing the film.
I remember the first night I went to see Rocky Horror. I had just gotten my license (1990) and so was finally able to get to Billy Joe's for a showing. It wasn't that my parents would have had an issue with me going before that, but we lived a ways away and getting a ride was often next to impossible. So after years of waiting - I show up prepared for this amazing experience. Admittedly, I was a little naive. I knew people shouted at the screen, I had seen a few clips on various TV shows, I knew a little bit of the interactions - throwing rice, newspaper on head, etc... I was not prepared for how much the actual movie sucked. It is atrocious...but the music is so good. It is one of those movies that you can not imagine how it actually came about. you wonder to yourself "someone thought this was a good idea?" But I guess that is part of its charm...like Plan 9 From Outer Space, the awfulness is what makes it so good.
Upon first viewing, I was disappointed. The crowd didn't help. I just wanted to sit and watch the movie and sing along with all the songs...but of course the crowd is walking around, talking, yelling at the screen and just generally being annoying. I wanted to scream "Shut the f*** up!" at all the guys in their late 20s who were hitting on the 14 year old girls. There was way too much smoke in the air and the place just smelled bad. (ha ha nothing has changed much right Thursday night crew?)
I was never a die-hard. I always wanted to watch the movie and sing along instead of yelling back at the screen and for me it always seemed like way too much work to dress up, but I did end up going 3 or 4 times a year throughout high school. Usually I would be by myself and just kind of hang out shyly in the corner - a misfit among the misfits (hey just like high school!), but still it was a good enough time that I have a few fond memories of it. The last time I had been there was around 1997 when I came back from college...nothing had changed, it was still the same Rocky, the same type of crowd (actually I am pretty sure some of the late 20s guys were the same just now they were mid-30s guys hitting on 14 year-olds).
Hedda had never been to Rocky Horror (Ryan, GF-Unit, and myself had varying levels of experience). So when we heard that Billy Joe's was closing, we told her that she had to go before it was gone forever. Unfortunately, I don't think we did a good job explaining what it was...I think she was expecting a GOOD movie and underestimated how annoying the Rocky people could be if you didn't know what to expect. I had a good time though, it was good to relive that one more time. Was I now the creepy old guy hitting on the young girls in corsets and fishnets? GF-Unit took some pictures that will probably be up here before the end of the week...I may post one here later.
When GF-Unit was getting people to pose for one of these pictures, someone yelled "The original Rocky family!" But she busted them on that going "Original? I was coming here 12 years ago." Which made me laugh because I was about to interrupt saying that I had probably been there before they were born...and even that time it wasn't even close to the "original" Rocky group that always came.
For me, high school wouldn't have been the same without it. I will miss knowing that there is a guaranteed place to see all the tattooed freaks and goth kids when I am feeling lonely and alienated from normal society.
One more Rocky left...this Friday (2/6/09) at 11:45pm. I'm not sure if I will be there or not but if you have never seen Rocky or haven't seen Rocky in years, you should check it out before the chance is gone. I can guarantee an interesting time.