Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond
It’s been said that what we most connect to when we’re teenagers, leaves this giant imprint in our lives. Whether it’s music or movies or other forms of media – that sweet spot of our pre-teen and into high school years – there’s something that just grabs us and sticks with us. For each of us it’s different, but generally, we do find ourselves re-listening to whatever music we grew up with or get stuck watching the same movie on cable again, just because we love it and the memories we associate with it. For me, Rocky Horror Picture Show’s on that list.
I was somewhere in my pre-teen years when VH1 still would show the movie around Halloween. I became obsessed enough with it that I actually recorded it on my VCR, so I could re-watch it at my leisure.
I re-watched it enough times that I actually made the VCR tape unplayable. The movie had made it’s imprint on me.
It was a movie and a musical that made all my weirdness, oddness, and not belonging feel okay. That’s the magic of Rocky Horror, no matter what you look like, no matter who you are, no matter what you’re into – you could find kinship. It was an oddball cast. The squares were the ones made fun of and by the end they’re not so square.
Now, I’m not going to go into the history of the movie itself and how it was a play first, still is a touring play and the remake that Fox decided to do a couple years ago – because you don’t have to love every flavor of Rocky Horror to understand it.
But, there’s this whole other thing that’s still happening and I’m grateful to be a part of- and that is the midnight showings of Rocky Horror. It’s something that Club LA in Destin approached us, me and mom, about a couple years ago. They had installed a giant movie screen and were looking for ways to capitalize on that, and Rocky was something we kicked around.
The first few showings were literally just rolling the movie. There was no pre-shows, sometimes a costume contest, but definitely no cast. The idea of having a shadow cast was something that was so far out of reach that we didn’t think we could make it a reality. (If you aren’t familiar a shadow cast is named such because they’re actors that pantomime what happens along with the movie. Shadow comes from how a lot of times, their shadows loom over the movie screen.)
Finding a full shadow cast sometimes can be like pulling teeth. It’s a labor of love and it’s a lot of work and crazy costumes. You have to kind of be fearless in order to even want to get up there and do it. Whether it’s in front of 20 people or 100 people, you’re still showing part of yourself, expressing part of yourself, that a lot of times we’re encouraged not to.
So, those first few times of only showing the movie went well. We met some really cool people, among them were Krystal and Lucy who were massive supporters in the beginning. And then came Daniel and Paula, who encouraged the heck out of us as we were trying to make a shadow cast happen. Mom and I’s excitement, that other people were excited about it too, that other people wanted to see this grow and become something bigger was through the roof. Then it began.
Once we found a Frank in Nicole, everything else just began to fall into place. We roped some friends into some other parts and Nicole helped us find others as well. Before we knew it, we were off and running with our first full shadow cast. It was the stuff of dreams. My pre-teen self, that never imagined I would be standing in front of an audience of fellow weirdos, welcoming them to a showing of Rocky Horror.
Since then, we’ve had three complete midnight showings with shadow casts, each one with its own personality. Each one with a slightly different cast. Each one still with Krystal, Lucy, Daniel, Paula, pitching in and being a part of it and loving their enthusiasm for every minute.
Over the years, Rocky Horror has gotten a different kind of spotlight, because it’s crass and far from politically correct, especially when viewed from a modern lens. But under that, there is something about just being accepted as who you are. As being the oddball, being different, and it all being okay.
There’s something about the lack of judgment in the way Rocky Horror is presented. With it’s visibility there is an air of acceptance. It’s not ‘Hey, look what these people are doing wrong,’ but more, ‘Hey, look, we’re going to take you on this wild ride.’ Or as Chucky says in the beginning, on a ‘strange journey’. And that’s how it’s perceived, a journey for us – the strangers. A journey for us – the ones who feel strange.
So, if you’ve never seen Rocky Horror before, if you’ve never seen the movie, the play, know the music, or have seen it at midnight – I’d encourage you to do so. But do so with an understanding that it comes from a different place. It comes from a different time and at the end of the day, it’s just supposed to be a wild ride. It’s supposed to be fun, a chance for us all to be a little weird in a safe place. A chance for us to express ourselves and relive our teenage fantasies without judgment.
I think what most is fun, is on any given time we’ve been a part of the event, are the range of people that show up. Because Rocky’s been around for 40 years everything from grandparents to teenagers joing the part. That’s a pretty cool thing in today’s age of divisiveness and us versus them mentality. It’s how a strange, little movie can bring together everybody who may feel just a little bit different.
We usually put on Rocky two or three times a year at Club LA in Destin. We completed the last one in June of 2018, but hopefully they’ll be another one soon-ish. If you have any questions or want to make sure you don’t miss the next one, please make sure to follow our Facebook page, because we always make sure to promote it there. As always, thank you for supporting 850 Music and Entertainment and please continue to support what you love.