I've seen it four times.

The First Time I Saw "The Rocky Horror Picture Show": I was a freshman in college, and the university activities board put on a midnight showing. A friend of mine and I drank a bottle of Seagrams before we went. We weren't willing to dress up in the silly costumes, but someone told us it was okay if we wore trenchcoats, so we did.

Anyway, the movie was shown in the big ballroom in the campus union building, and they covered the floor and the walls with butcher paper, thinking that would be enough. The FOOLS! We did a little movie-watching, a little water-squirting, a little toast-throwing (best moment: tossing a slice of wet toast in the air and hearing someone yell, "EWWWWW!" when it hit them), and quite a bit of chair-throwing and borderline rioting. It was fun!

The Second Time I Saw "The Rocky Horror Picture Show": Two years later, the activities board finally screwed up their courage to try again. This time, they got smart and showed the movie outdoors. The same friend and I got together, drank another bottle of Seagrams, and wore the same trenchcoats. This showing was much more sedate, though I looked for excuses to throw chairs. They also found a bunch of Rocky Horror fanatics who knew all the audience participation lines, and they helped everyone get into the spirit.

The Third Time I Saw "The Rocky Horror Picture Show": It was at a friend's house. "Rocky Horror" had just been released on video. I was the only person who had ever seen the movie. They wouldn't let me throw chairs. They also wouldn't let me holler any of the lines ("Quiet! We're trying to watch the movie!"), (then they complained afterwards: "That wasn't so good -- what was the big deal?") so it was kind of a waste.

The Fourth Time I Saw "The Rocky Horror Picture Show": At a completely different college and, unbelievably, even lamer than watching it on video. We showed up ready to do battle, and they told us we weren't allowed to bring water guns or toast into the theater. Wha? "Somebody might try to sneak a real gun in there." Hey, sister, does this ORANGE PLASTIC SPACE GUN look like a FUCKING UZI to you?!? Well, we had to leave our water guns at the desk, but our toast was safely hidden in the inside pockets of our jackets, so they didn't get that, ha ha. They also had campus cops patrolling the theater. Unbelievably pointless.

Okay, who's next?

Yup, the movie sucks. That's why making fun of it is so fun.

I've seen the ghastly show forty-odd times, almost all at the Loews^H^H^H^H^H Sony theater in Harvard Square, where it's been playing regularly for years and years. My dad brought me the first time - he had never been before either. I was a regular the summer I was 15-16 (snuck in as often as I could, got my dad to buy my ticket sometimes). After seeing the ceremony by which first-timers were anointed with a red "V" on their foreheads and publicly humiliated before the show (the stage Frank-n-furter puts a red balloon, a symbolic cherry, between the Rocky-Horror-Virgin's legs and pops it with his teeth), I systematically brought all of my friends to the show and, one by one, got them up on stage and sacrificed. The best part was that they'd dress the poor schmuck up in a bridal outfit and have them play the bride during the first scene.

I had a math class with the girl that played Columbia on the stage in front of the screen. She was behind in math; I was ahead. I did her homework a few times in return for free admission and a chance to say hi to the "stars" of the stage show. I remember the thrill I got when one of her nipples briefly escaped her gold sequined top.

The Harvard Square cast is dedicated, and mostly good actors. They'll let random people play Rocky, though, so he's always a toss-up. The crowd there is also dedicated - most of them know funny things to scream, and they rarely get the timing screwed up. All in all, I highly recommend it.

They've been facing increasing opposition from the theater, though. They decreased the showing from 2 a weekend to 1 a weekend, and were even threatening to go to 1 a month, which would be a real tragedy. Help support them, have some fun, and laugh at a friend in the process.

In Ottawa, Canada, theatre owners and managers now give the stage show cast a list of rules that must be followed, and items not to be permitted within the theatre.

Most of the rules are fairly straightforward. It is only when looking at the banned items list that you may notice something odd:

Toasters.

A mythic number of years ago, some clever little boy smuggled a toaster into the show. He waited until the appropriate cue, and then hurled it towards the screen with all his might.

Fortunately, it managed not to hit any of the cast members... It did, however, punch right through the screen, leaving a very large hole where Frankenfurter's head should've been.

Toasters have been contraband ever since.

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