The school where my wife works has a Fall Festival every year near the end of October. Fall Festival being the non-denominational, non-occult version of Halloween. As I walked through the halls I heard a vaguely familiar tune that I wouldn’t normally associate with a school environment. It was the Kidz Bop version of “Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
This disturbed in a great number of ways. It’s just so wrong when that stuff filters sown to the elementary school set. The first time I saw a group of five year olds clamoring to be included in a YMCA line dance, I cringed and wondered what happened to all that was edgy and subversive from my younger days. Rocky Horror was a vital part of my youth that has now been co-opted as children’s entertainment. Not to mention the cloying children’s chorus arrangements that the succubae at Kidz Bop use to totally defang anything. I think they could do Iron Maiden Kidz Bob style and no one would object.
I was never a huge Rocky Horror aficionado, but went at least a half dozen times when in high school. I knew what to shout and when, but never went out of my way to bring props or show up in costume. A casual fan.
In college, my future wife and I were visiting an old junior high friend of hers that attended Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Her friend, B., said he was a cast member of the local Rocky Horror troupe at the only Cineplex in the area and wanted to know if we wanted to go along. My wife is the only person I know that has fallen asleep at Rocky Horror and she begged off, but I was game.
B. warned me that the Saturday night performance was a little looser than their by-the-book show on Fridays and cast members frequently skipped out. B. played the monster and had the gold bikini shorts for the part. We got there and found out that the regular actor that played Brad had called in sick. B. asked me if I wanted to substitute. I tried to beg off by saying I didn’t know the movie well enough. He rightly said “What is there to know? The movie is right there on the screen and all you have to do is pantomime the action.”
Besides, the cast thought I was perfect for the part. I was tall, thin, wore glasses and had a dorky yellow Members Only jacket. Secretly indulging my deeply repressed thespian tendencies, I went on with the show.
It was easy and a great time. The cast was a lot of fun and everyone went out to Waffle House afterwards, where I found out that Columbia and Magenta stayed in character off stage, if you know what I mean. While the whole event seems pretty tame in retrospect, it was all wild and bacchanalian when set against the mores of the surrounding community. Greenville, after all, is also the home of Bob Jones University, but that is a whole ‘nuther culture clash.
So I did wear a yellow jacket while in college, but that is not why I am yellojkt. But if anyone needs a Brad for a Rocky Horror revival, I’ve got that on my resume.
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