PDP: Rocky Horror Picture Show (Pt. 1)

Section: Diverse Ideas and People

(For an explanation of the acronym PDP, click here.)

I think it’s strange how, sometimes, the things we expect to change us the least end up changing us the most.

I’d like to preface this entry by giving credit to my inspiration from back home, Logan Scholz, for being the reason why I was so ecstatic to have the chance to experience RHPS live. She’s always put one hundred and twelve percent into her get-ups, and has done so with an inspiringly unapologetic confidence. In the relatively conservative community we’re from, that takes more guts than were under the table during the dinner scene. Not only does she make an effort to fully experience all the events she attends (Grand Rapids Comic-Con, RHPS, etc.) but she’s constantly pushing her own limits of what she deems as an expression of herself – – whether it’s in fashion, cosmetics, or art. She’s the one who made me aware of the fact that live-action showings of the show are actually quite common and don’t only happen in books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. So, Logan, I don’t think for a second that this event would have had such an intense effect on me had I not learned what this meant to you, and have you to thank for the growth that I allowed myself to make.

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Photo Credit: Logan Scholz

The supplemented live-action Rocky Horror nights spanned from Thursday, October 27, to Saturday, October 29. On Friday, which was the first night I went (yes, you read that right), I attended the eight o’clock show with other Personal-Development-Project-goers. I had no idea what to expect out of their garb, much less the audience unaffiliated with our group, and I therefore decided to play it a little on the ‘safer’ side by slipping on some old lace tights that had ripped in probably the worst ways you can imagine, knee high socks with frill, a leather skirt, a black lace bra, a cardigan, and a fluffy white coat to help keep me warm on our mile walk as a horde from campus to the theatre. I looked like a prostitute (sorry, mom… PSA: there’s going to be a lot of sorry, mom, in this post, so, once again, sorry mom). I had also wrongly decided that my feet could handle walking a mile in severely restrictive shoes, so about two blocks into the walk, I unzipped

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Photo Credit: Riley Lanfear

my three-inch heels and walked the rest of the way in my socks, hoping to the Divine that nobody had partied hard enough at seven at night to break any glass on the sidewalk.

Once we arrived at the theatre, some PDP’ers filed into the lobby in order to sign up for the costume contest. At that point, I had no idea what to expect, so I sat that one out. I was already planning on attending the last showing at midnight on Saturday, so I was viewing this experience as an experimental pre-game – – test the waters, see what happens, and react the next day as I deemed fit.

The show opened with the costume contest, and as I saw my acquaintances and friends step onto the stage, whether they were in drag, heavy makeup, steampunk, or (as you can see below) nearly nothing, I was smiling ear to ear, because no matter their reason for dressing up and dressing out, they were comfortable with themselves. If they were expressing a new facet of themselves, they were comfortable. If they were pushing themselves farther towards confidence, they were comfortable. If they were just there for the extremity and flamboyancy of it all, they. were. comfortable.

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Now, the unexpected development came into play the moment the movie began. I was definitely expecting a raunchy, cuss-word drenched performance by both the shadow actors and the audience, but I was not expecting that much of a raunchy, cuss-word drenched performance by both the shadow actors and the audience. In all honesty, I was personally offended at first by the absolute disregard people had for the characters and was slightly miffed that I couldn’t follow the story amidst the call-outs, having only seen the film once before, but I began to catch on that it that was kind of the point; that bonding with the characters and the plot (ha) wasn’t really what was important – – it was bonding with the audience. It was the creation of an environment for what society deems as strange to be appreciated and normalized in a safe space.

After I slipped on a card as I exited my chair, I left the theatre with rice in my hair, rice in my bra, toast stuck to my coat, and more rice in other places we aren’t going to talk about. I believed myself to be pretty open-minded before this event, but even if I was before, I am more so now. I’ll rehash the experience of the second go-round in a supplementary post, since it wasn’t a part of my PDP event, but that show affected me similarly, due to the fact I knew what was coming and had the ability to participate. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have another post to bring to you. I hope you can manage the antici – –

Much love,

Quinn ❤

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