Rockies get set to erupt
- Joseph Gallivan
- Portland Tribune - Features
The Rocky Horror Picture Show' has been playing once a week at the Clinton Street Theater for 25 years. Every Saturday night the Clinton Street Cabaret gets on stage and leads the audience in a singalong, throwing rice at the screen during the wedding scene and toast during the toast and filling in the weighty pauses with wisecracks.
To celebrate the show's longevity, the cabaret is hosting Northwest Rockypalooza. 'Rockies,' as they are known, will gather from all over the Northwest for two days of film and fun. This includes two performances in front of the silver screen, the first night by the locals, the second by an invited cast.
Also on the calendar is a 2:45 a.m. postshow visit to the International House of Pancakes, at 4931 S.E. 82nd Ave. It's not surprising, really, when you consider that the patron saint of the black-nail polish set, Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, spent his teen years hanging out at an all-night Denny's.
' 'Rocky Horror' has always attracted people who don't quite fit into the norm, or who are unsure of their sexuality,' says Mike Bennett, 38, one of the Rockypalooza organizers and editor of the fanzine Crazed Imaginations. (He's also a keen fan of medieval historical reenactments.)
Bennett discovered the 'Rocky' scene in Lakehurst, Ill., fresh out of Navy boot camp in 1982.
'It's not as wild a party scene as it was then, but it's a lot better organized,' he says. 'The costumes now are incredible.'
For anyone who has been living under a rock, as it were, 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' is a B-movie musical about a bisexual Frankenstein figure, Dr. Frank-N-Furter. He's a transvestite mad scientist trying to create the perfect man (Rocky Horror). The action takes place at a convention of visitors from the planet Transsexual. Men in stockings ensue.
Gatherings of Rockies can get competitive to the point of bitchiness.
'That's why we want this to be not like a convention, but a big group hug,' Bennett says. 'The only competition allowed at this event occurs at the bowling alley.'
To accommodate all the lip-syncers, the second night's preshow begins at 9:15 p.m.
The cabaret's casting director is 14-year-old Taurra Spencer (lip ring, purple hair, favorite bands Something Corporate and Dashboard Confessional). Members commit to the cabaret for six-month terms, but she was voted into the current position for her 'vision' of the cabaret.
'I loved the show instantly because it let me spread my wings and learn about different lifestyles,' she says. 'Also, I had a crush on the guy playing Frank.'
All are welcome to join the Rockies at play, but first-timers ('virgins' in official parlance) risk being hauled up on stage.
'My mom keeps a watchful eye on me to make sure nothing funny is going on,' Spencer says. 'But the cast feels like one big tribe Ñ they're my family.'