Fishnets & lipstick: Experiencing ‘Rocky Horror’

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The Time Community Theater in downtown Oshkosh held its biggest annual event on Saturday: a screening of the 1975 cult classic, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” preceded by interactive games and costume contests.

“Rocky,” as it’s referred to by fans, due to its LGBTQ themes and intentionally raunchy and corny B-movie tone, has developed a cult following over the years that embraces sexuality of all persuasions, creating a welcoming atmosphere for those who might otherwise feel shy.

The line leading to the theater was filled with a rambunctious crowd of “Rocky” fans dressed in fishnets, top hats, heels or sometimes just a pair of gold-painted briefs. Some dressed as characters from the film, others dressed in whatever kinky outfits embrace their sexuality.

Those who have never attended a live interactive screening of “Rocky” were branded with a “V” made of lipstick on their forehead, labeling them as a “Rocky virgin.”

Before the screening of the film, Eric Egan, who has hosted the event for years, gave the audience a brief education on consent before leading them through an hour and a half of raunchy entertainment.

In the first game of the night, audience members volunteered themselves to come on stage and simulate oral sex with each other using bananas and pies as props held to their groins.

The second game involved different volunteers choosing the name of their father figure before being told they have to shout that name as if an animal of the audience’s choice was achieving orgasm.

Egan brought out a 1970s era vibrator for the third game and held it to volunteers’ genitals while they tried their best to recite their multiplication tables.

In the last game of the night, Egan paired volunteers (who, remember, do not know each other) to act out fictional sexual positions, one of which was named “the broken wheelbarrow.”

After the games, Egan held three costume contests where audience members competed for best “asshole,” “boss” or “slut.”

For the duration of the film’s screening, the audience were sold bags of rice, newspapers, playing cards, rubber gloves and other props to be thrown or used during specific moments throughout the movie. Audiences of “Rocky” have also developed certain rituals throughout the picture such as yelling “asshole!” or “slut!” when certain characters come on screen.

For those who’ve never seen “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” it might be worth waiting to see at an event like this. The film’s opening title sequence with a singing disembodied mouth, a shot towards the beginning of the film where a boom mic is clearly visible, a schlocky narrator and the sheer fact that some characters sing directly into the camera gives the idea that this film was intentionally made to be watched with a large enthusiastic group like the one at the Time Community Theater.

According to Phillip Krause, president of the nonprofit board that runs the Time, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” screening brought in about 300 people this year and raised over $5,000 that will go toward keeping the theater alive.