Rocky Horror Picture Show

After a lot of effort, I make a pretty convincing Columbia.
After a lot of effort, I make a pretty convincing Columbia.

The first time I saw Rocky Horror I was about 14, and it was with a youth group. We could spend hours discussing the inappropriateness of it all, but why? Throughout high school I went to more Rocky Horror midnight showings than I can count, and along the way picked up most of the (offensive) audience participation call backs.

That's me (left) and FKGuy in the lab coat, along with another Frank and Brad.
That’s me (left) and FKGuy in the lab coat, along with another Frank and Brad.

If you have never seen Rocky Horror (at an actual movie theater – watching it at home doesn’t count) I can tell you it takes some getting used to: people in costume, shouting obscenities at the screen and throwing things (rice and water, to name a few). It is best to go with someone who has been before so you know what to expect.

Once I learned about the showing at the wonderful Tropic Cinema, I went to work securing costumes. These will clearly be recycled for Fantasy Fest. I chose Columbia, the groupie, because it would not require a wig. Of course, I found myself at a costume shop in Hollywood, having the following conversation…

Me: I need a gold sequined bustier, please.

Very nice and helpful costume woman: I don’t have any of those. What are you dressing up as?

Me: Columbia, from Rocky Horror. And I need to find something to wear.

VNHCW: Are you sure you don’t want to dress as Magenta? She was much more important to the story. Plus, I have loads of French maid outfits.

Me: No. I’m committed to Columbia.

VNHCW: OK, well what else do you need? Tap shoes?

Me: Not that committed….

In the theater.
In the theater.

In the end, I sewed sequins on a bustier, sewed stripes onto a tutu, and found a gold sequin jacket online for a mere $20. I bought a gold hat, fishnets, some blue socks (hey, I live in Florida – it’s not like I have an array of socks just lying around…) and copper hair spray, and I was set.

FKGuy’s outfit proved a little more challenging. Clearly he was not wearing a bustier, so I suggested Frank N Furter, from the lab scene. Either way he had to wear makeup. It was more challenging than expected to find a green hospital gown, but in the end I had two. Add an afro, a tacky pearl necklace (which I had to make as the ones found at party stores are too small), pink dish washing gloves, some blood spatter and a lot of makeup, and in the end it turned out great.

Our friend came over prior to the show so I could do his makeup, too. He paired it with a black bustier, a giant wig, a black cape, ruffled boy shorts and knee high lace up boots with a six inch heel. Another friend chose to dress as Brad. Pure genius, requiring nothing more than an undershirt and boxers.

Fortunately, no outside props were allowed, so I did not have to also arrange to bring newspapers, waterguns and the like. In the packed-to-the-gills theater, about thirty people dressed up. It was less than I expected, because it is, after all, Key West, where people will dress up for just about anything.

The costuming on was a lot of effort, but I felt validated as  I won the costume contest, with my Frank N friend coming in second. I’m going to keep thinking that FKGuy was somewhere around 4th place. I’m looking forward to bringing out the Columbia outfit again soon.


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