By Rebecca Nagel, Features Contributor
“‘Janet!’... ‘Dr. Scott!’... ‘Janet!’... ‘Brad!’... ‘Rocky!’” You may recognize this quote from the cult classic film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” performed by shadow casters around the world hundreds of times every year. But did you know that Buffalo has its very own cast of transvestites (this is what they call the aliens in the film)? They are a group called the Francis Bacon Experiment, and they perform not only at the Riviera Theater during Halloween but all year round for many holidays at the Screening Room in Buffalo. Within the past couple of years, they have performed a show in June for Pride Month and a show in December for Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's celebrations, and they are planning a show in just a few weeks for St. Patrick’s day, which is already sold out. Along with performing “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” they have also taken to performing other cult classics such as “Shock Treatment” and “Reefer Madness.”
So, why is “Rocky Horror” a must-see in Buffalo? Well, mainly because of the sense of community. If you enjoy dressing up in your underwear, fishnets and extravagant makeup to watch people sing and dance to music, this may be the event for you. Along with dressing up, there is audience participation at times throughout the show, such as using props like party hats, noise makers, toast, playing cards, toilet paper, newspaper on the head, glow sticks and a water gun. Along with using props, there are also callbacks, meaning that you can shout things at the film — many are too vulgar to write here — at corresponding parts. One of my favorites is to yell “Where’s Santa Claus?” while the following lyrics of the song answer “burning in the fireplace.” (Song: “Over at the Frankenstein Place” by Richard O’Brien.)
To make things even better, every event starts with a sacrifice! And no, I do not mean that we are choosing someone to kill, but rather all of the “virgins” are brought up in front of the audience to be slightly humiliated (keyword: slightly) in front of all the other audience members. There are two ways in which “Rocky Horror” virgins are sacrificed. One route is to spank everyone and the other is to have them participate in a moaning contest. Yes, you read that correctly… a moaning contest. The judge explains the different types of moans each participant can do, then has them compete. I promise this isn’t as bad as it sounds, because it allows the audience to gain a sense of connection and it is truly a great icebreaker (imagine if they made us do that at NGO).
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is also a must-see because where else will you have someone consensually sit on your lap in lingerie singing show tunes? To wrap up, I have been to every single “Rocky Horror” performance in the past two years and I highly encourage you to go check them out! While “Rocky Horror” is not for everyone, the people who do enjoy the company will keep coming back. The audience ranges from age 16 to 60 and everyone gets along so well because of their love for “Rocky Horror.”