As I stand here dressed like a freak at the side of the information superhighway, I'd like to say that this -- the Kabuki eyeshadow and Theda Bara lipstick, the push-up bra and patent leather panties, my stupor on Sunday mornings -- this is all Sara's fault.
Sara was my roommate at Northern Arizona University. Early in our freshman year, the student association screened RHPS in a campus parking lot. True to our personalities, I stayed home to study for a math exam, while Sara went to Rocky Horror. She came home enchanted. "You have to see this movie, Kate," she enthused. "I could be Magenta, and you'd make a great Janet."
Who, me? I'd never gone to any movie that started after nine p.m. (How was I to know how Janet-esque I truly was?) But I gamely played along. The film didn't show in Flagstaff, so Sara bought the soundtrack LP and we played it incessantly while planning a pilgrimage to my hometown theatre in Tucson. Like a multitude of others, I lost my virginity during spring break, but I was dressed all in white, with Sara beaming proudly at my side.
Our obsession snowballed. Sara bought the 1990 calendar. I bought the Henkin book. We recruited friends to trick-or-treat with us in costume. (Sara, by the way, looked stunning: cat eyes rimmed in kohl and red curls frizzed to perfection.) I struck up a correspondence with Mike, the Riff from the Tucson cast, who kindly sent me a tape of the film, dubbed from NYC television, with Japanese subtitles. The film had been reverently copied and re-copied so many times, none of the actors had distinct features, but we played that tape to death. By the end of the year we had performed a floorshow in a now-defunct dance club called Lloyd's. I transferred home to the University of Arizona that summer (1990 -- and in '94 I got a degree: Linguistics, which means I work in retail, but I digress); my first weekend home I went to Rocky in my floorshow costume. By an amazing stroke of luck, the regular Columbia didn't show that night, and I was recruited.
After a year of subbing for Janet and Columbia when the regular players would let me, another year of full-time Janet, and a year of alternating between Columbia, Janet, and Frank (with the occasional Riff thrown in), I moved to my present role, which seems to have stuck. I addition to my performing role, I also serve as one of the "A Jump to the Left" cast advisors... which means I try to keep people on topic (between smoke breaks) at cast meetings. When the screaming stops, however, it really is rewarding to help shape the Rocky experience here in Tucson, and work with the beautiful (WaWOW!) and talented folks in our cast.
Conventions are one of my fave things about RHPS. I was spoiled by my first, the amazing 15th in L.A., and have had great times performing at the 16th and 21st in Vegas, the 20th at the Roxy, and the 22nd in Long Beach. They're great learning experiences. (For example, I learned on the way to the 15th that James Norman's (see his bio, 9/96) car door locks rattle open when you drive over 100 m.p.h. [sorry, James]). But the best thing about getting together with my RHPS family -- beyond watching them send passed-out drunks down elevators in cribs -- is seeing truly creative costuming and character ideas in preshow performances. While I admire the determination making a screen-perfect costume requires, and appreciate a "perfect" performance, I feel that those who can infuse new life into the costumes and characters -- while keeping them identifiable -- show true artistry and imagination. I feel, now that the video is widely available, that these fresh interpretations are what will bring audiences into the theatres and carry RHPS into the next century.
And now, some quick thank-you's. Thanks first and greatest to Jon, my wonderful fiance', whose support of my illicit hobby has been amazing, ranging from joining the cast for a time, to helping plan our benefit for the Tucson AIDS Project, to designing the forthcoming AJTTL website. He also lets me vent after cast meetings and thus has been instrumental in preventing several grisly homicides. Hoopla, sweetie! Thanks also to AJTTL for working so damn hard, giving up so much of their free time and marvelous talents, andmaking convention roadtrips such a hoot (hey, Bas, how about a game of Parcheesi?). Hoopla as well to my pals on the Internet and everyone who makes alt.cult-movies.rocky-horror the great resource that it is (e-mail me at email@example.com). A big smooch to Bill Brennan, one of my biggest fans -- buy a subscription to his fanzine, "Crazed Imaginations": you won't regret it. And last to Sara: you did make a great Magenta, and you're an even better friend.
Love you all!