Daytonians will get the chance this weekend to put on fishnet stockings, scream unabashedly at a projector screen and pelt strangers with handfuls of rice.
The local variety show group Dirty Little Secrets wants attendees to take a walk on the wild side at its special screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” from midnight to 3 a.m. Friday, July 29, at Wiley’s Comedy Niteclub, 101 Pine St.
The event is a rare opportunity for audience members to view the R-rated feature length film, while also enjoying a full service bar offering movie inspired drink specials, according to J.T. Ryder, who is responsible for the booking and promotion of the event.
“As with the creation and concept of Dirty Little Secrets itself, the screening of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ started with that small, still voice in my head,” he said. “ … This voice always begins our conversations with, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if … ?’”
The public screening comes a decade after The Neon stopped showing the film in spring 2001, when the theater underwent a renovation, according to Ryder.
“The clean up and raucous nature of the movie and the attendees definitely go a long way in explaining why most theater owners are loathe to run the movie on a regular basis,” he said.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” first released on film in 1975, parodies science fiction and horror flicks of the 1940s to 1970s, and is noted as one of the most well known movies of all time, attracting the attention of an international audience. A criminologist narrates the story of a newly engaged couple who stumbles upon a strange mix of people at an annual Transylvanian convention and soon becomes immersed in the world of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite who created a creature he calls Rocky Horror. The film is full of musical performances — including the Transylvanians’ famous dance to “The Time Warp.”
Sean Sandefer, one of the two directors of The Dayton Affair, the Dayton area’s “Rocky Horror” shadow cast, said some of his cast members will take part in the film screening at Wiley’s, acting out certain scenes on stage in costume. The group’s technical crew also will lead the audience in participation callbacks.
According to Sandefer, the show appeals to a wide range of people, which has been key to sustaining its popularity for more than 30 years.
“‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ is a timeless classic with a little bit of something for everyone,” he said. “It’s also a unique experience, where the audience is encouraged to participate by yelling during the movie and throwing things. If you’ve never seen the movie before, this would be a great first experience.”
One of the reasons the film has experienced ongoing popularity is in its ability to build a strong community of fans, according to Ryder.
“There is a commonality between the people who identify with this movie in much the same way as motorcyclists or tattoo aficionados identify with each other,” he said. “A lot of people think that it is the sexual ambiguity of the movie that draws people, but I think that only plays a small portion of it. There is an underground, cult-like presence that draws people whose everyday life could be very mundane, but this experience gives them a chance to delve into their wild side a bit.”
The tight-knit community is exactly why April Pope and her boyfriend Ronald Lynch remain die hard “Rocky Horror” followers. Pope and Lynch met at a showing in 1998, and have been together ever since.
Pope has attended more than 300 performances by The Dayton Affair, and said she used to never miss a show.
“I think ‘Rocky’ continues to thrive because it’s a place where you can go and fit in,” she said. “I come from Preble County, and when I was younger, unless you were into derby cars and tractor pulls, there isn’t a lot for you here. I know a lot of Preble County ‘misfits’ have ended up at ‘Rocky.’ We fit in there. It’s one of the first places I felt comfortable and no one judged me.”
Ryder said he expects a packed house of fans Friday. Attendees must be at least 18 years old, and are welcome to come dressed as one of the characters in the movie, or as “any other combination of outrageousness that is legal to be seen wearing in public,” he said. Those who attend are allowed to bring any of the standard “Rocky Horror” items with them, including hot dogs, newspapers, toilet paper, squirt guns and toast.
Tickets for the event can be bought at the door for $5. Individuals are encouraged to make reservations ahead of time, especially if they are attending with a group, by going to the Facebook event page titled “Dirty Little Secret Sweet Transvestite Screening” or by calling (937) 224-JOKE (5653).
According to Ryder, audience members should come expecting, in the words of Frank-N-Furter, “erotic nightmares beyond any measure, and sensual daydreams to treasure forever,” in a show that changes with every viewing.
“The only mission that Dirty Little Secrets is on, that I can discern, is to create a sense of community, as well as presenting the most unique entertainment available,” Ryder said. “In that fashion, the screening of this movie is right on target.”
Read Ryder’s DaytonMostMetro.com piece titled “Maybe You Understand Me Now” for his take on the philosophy behind the show.