The Rocky Horror Picture Show


My first time at Burning Man in 2010 was an incredible experience in so many ways, and this is kind of a love letter to all the wonderful people I met – too many to mention. It was so different to all the UK festivals I’d been to. And perhaps my favourite memory is, maybe unusually (although perhaps not for me), watching a movie. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.

Depeche Mode Night at Club Verboten with Sam Kimmins, Stephanie Sack, Jessica Alsberg and Mike Dee was definitely a highlight. Dancing under The Man one night with Stephanie, Mike and Jane All Ways until the sun came up over the mountains was another. But yeah, watching this movie in the middle of the desert was fantastic fun.

I can’t remember if I’d lost some people in the dark or was just tired. I went back to camp intending to go to sleep. But they’d put up a screen to show the movie (maybe it was just a sheet). I’d seen it many times before, but never in what I’d call the “cult midnight movie” way. By that I mean with performers and audience participation.

The wonderful Sarah Groomay and Katie Boyd were our hosts (I don’t know the correct term) performing on either side of the screen. And the audience all knew the lines, the shout-outs and interjections. The film is already a classic, with some fantastic dialogue and songs. But Katie, Sarah and the audience made watching the film a thousand times better. I got to enjoy a wonderful show and I didn’t even have to wear fishnets!

In case you’ve been living under a rock all your life, it’s a comedy musical written by Richard O’Brien, who also plays the butler Riff Raff. It’s based on classic sci-fi, horror and B-movie tropes. Engaged couple Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon) are forced to spend a night in the castle of bisexual transvestite Dr Frank-N-Furter (an amazing turn by Tim Curry) while he’s hosting a weird and wild Transylvanian Convention. It’s now considered one of the greatest musical films ever, and was selected for the US National Film Registry in 2005.

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