Friday, May 07, 2004


Let There Be Lips

Part 2: You Better Choose Between Me and Rocky

For Halloween of 1989, I was recruited to be a Transylvanian, the equivalent of the Chorus, at the Lewis and Clark theater by Sea-Tac airport. The cast was led by a girl named Pauline, who was given to wild mood swings. An example: one of our stage props was a replica of Rocky’s tank, which Pauline protected with almost maternal fierceness—her ex-boyfriend had made it, and none of the rest of us could touch it. Until the theater management declared it unsafe, at which point she roared at us to “get that damn thing the hell off the damn stage.”

It was, of course, on the night of the big show that I met the girl I refer to as Miss Hell, who had been a Rocky Horror fan since her early teens. She told lots of stories of the cast she used to be in, but I should reiterate that she lied like a politician; she also claimed to have had sex with Rocky Horror creator and songwriter Richard O’Brien, while she was living in New York with Phil Hartman and dating Mike Myers. Who she said was a vampire.

I quickly learned that it was a mistake to let Miss Hell and Pauline within fifty yards of each other. The proximity of these two unstable personalities led to some truly epic clashes, over everything from costumes, to whether the cast should shout audience participation lines or play it straight, to whether or not Pauline was after Miss Hell’s boyfriend. So when Miss Hell and that boyfriend broke up, the compromise was that he got Rocky Horror, and she got me. No one consulted me.

I didn’t go again until the following Halloween. Rocky Horror had finally returned to Tacoma, kicking off its new run with a Halloween show at the Lincoln Plaza theater. Though things had cooled between me and Miss Hell (she was now dating the sixteen-year-old ex-boyfriend of her younger sister), we went together, just for old times sake. And wouldn’tcha know it, there was Pauline, in her (admittedly quite well-made) Columbia costume, leading things. Well, shit.

I had no wish to get caught up in the drama again, so after Halloween I stayed away. But one night, while seeing another movie at the theater, I thought to ask about the cast. Turned out Pauline’s cast had been a Halloween-only thing, and though there wasn’t an “official” cast anymore, there was an unofficial one slowly forming.

So one night in November, I showed up all by my lonesome. By the end of the night, I had a brand-new circle of friends.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

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