Camping out

Most among us don't love or hate The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Rather, it's a matter of how much you love it -- a little, or a-rice-throwing, Windex-bottle-spraying-lot. Maybe you're just a Brad if you don't dig a schlock-and-roll musical that lampoons '50s uptightness and old sci-fi movies, dolled up in lipstick and leather. And every weekend the kids and those who make Rocky fanaticism a career come together to watch the movie -- though watch is really the last thing anyone does at Rocky Horror. It's more like sing, dance, throw rice, shoot water pistols, and shout dialogue during the midnight audience screenings.

Lord, this has been going on so long, audiences now are young enough to be the children of the fans who started the participation ritual in 1975 during the film's first run. Weekend after weekend, from Bowling Green, Ohio, to Israel, Rocky fanatics get together and create their own community, while also competing Magenta against Magenta, Rocky vs. Rocky, in a sort of freak-show beauty pageant. It never stops, and when one cast grows up and runs away to a life of nine-to-five jobs and second mortgages, another generation steps up to fill its spangled platform shoes. Four local Rocky casts have recently danced their final "Time Warp," but Los Bastardos, the only cast left, performs every Saturday at 11:50 p.m. at the Central Park Cinema in Bedford.

You could almost hear the groan when Casa Mañana announced that it would be performing The Rocky Horror Show Halloween weekend. A theater that normally stages wholesome shows such as Grease tackling Rocky seemed, ya know, a little sacrilegious. However, Casa promises it's doing the musical true to fashion, complete with corsets, fishnets, and all the debauched-aliens-meets-prudish-couple humor. The big surprise is that Los Bastardos actually seem excited to go, joking about their "competition" on their Web page.

But there is a twist: This Rocky Horror Show isn't merely a stage version of the film. After all, a live-theater version preceded the film and does contain some minor differences. And though Casa is making a great effort with Rocky to reach a non-theater crowd, it's unlikely even an adventurous stage revival will reach the decadence of the average midnight movie, which should make it perfectly safe for those Rocky virgins and former Frankie fans. Ya know, the ones who used to spend their Saturday nights in drag with a bag of rice in one hand and a piece of toast in the other.

Shannon Sutlief

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Shannon Sutlief