The Horror! The Horror!…The ROCKY Horror

I’ve been familiar with The Rocky Horror Picture Show since my early high school days. I’d puzzled over the movie, remained confusedly captivated over the Sweet Transvestite lyrics, and generally enjoyed the idea that such an absurd film could have such a devoted following. Yet, until recently, I’d never seen a cast performing the movie on stage while it simultaneously played on film (though I did attend a delightful shadow cast of The Princess Bride).

Despite my apparent interest, I had never attended a production partly due to my excessive time spent with my cat, partly for fear of how they would treat the inexperienced-in-all-that-is-Rocky virgins. No one seemed willing to discuss the hi-jinks that the cast would play on the newbies for fear that it would deter them from participating in the spectacle that is The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and after my first show and participation in the Virgin Games at the behest of my former friend Eric, I think I get why.

247135_10151678616010695_1545180286_nWhile it may be fun for the audience to laugh and point as Rocky Virgins are sent onstage to switch clothes with someone they’re standing next to, or scream out in the ecstasy of an imagined intimacy, or parade around with lipstick letter “V”s on their forehead, I can say from personal experience that it is nerve wracking as heck and my face has been permanently marked by a blush so deeply red that others are continually offering me sunscreen. But boy was it an experience! I may have just had my most embarrassing moment(s) of my life witnessed by a theater’s worth of people, but I can truly say that I’m glad that I went through with something that put me outside of my comfort zone while remaining within the point where my line is drawn.

Yes, I imagine a good many people in my life would judge my participation.

Yes, some of the subjects and themes broached were a tad risque.

Yes, there were scantily clad individuals parading around throughout the night.

No, there was not an empty seat in the house.

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Everyone who showed up to the show was so involved in their choice of costumes, props, verbal insults, strange and secretive greetings, and the actual movie itself. In a world where everyone needs constant entertainment and five iProducts constantly shoved in front of their face, it was just so sweet and rewarding to watch a room full of people staring unblinkingly at a film that they’d seen hundreds of times. The concentration on their faces as they would boogie to the Time Warp conveyed a sense of purpose and devotion that is rarely found in this generation. Though this angelic contemplation was occasionally interrupted by vulgar shouts towards the cast, characters, and general audience, I felt grateful to be a part of such a devoted group of people who were simply interested in having a good time according to their standards.

I truly have nothing particular to say about the movie itself, because there truly isn’t too much I could say to make sense of  what went down on that night of Horror. But really, when you’re in such a joyful setting with good friends, free candy, and that guy from your Shakespeare: The Later Works class that you didn’t expect to be wearing a midnight blue sequined dress, singing sexually ambitious aliens don’t really matter.

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Charm City

baltimore skylineI’ve lived just outside of Baltimore, MD my whole life. As a child, I never frequented the city unless it was to visit the prairie dogs at the Zoo or pay testament to Barney on Ice. Once I grew up a tad and  figured out how to properly work the light rail, I could really begin to appreciate the beauty of the city and everything Baltimore had to offer (my Super Bowl-winning Ravens). I fell in love.

I don’t consider myself a city girl by any means, but there’s just something about Baltimore that pulls on my heart strings and makes me feel like I’m comfortably at home but also capable of discovering untold adventures. Everything that Baltimore offers is dear to me and I am so grateful that I’ve grown up next to such a prominent and delightful town.

I think Tracey does a pretty good job of describing Charm City:

In Baltimore, I’ve:

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The Harbor was gorgeous at night

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The prize was meeting Torrey Smith. GIVE ME MORE CARDS!

Played Bingo in Ravens stadium.

Celebrated my anniversary on the Inner Harbor.

Gotten an internship with a premier medical center.

Tolerated my brother at baseball games.

Beauty and the Beast!

Beauty and the Beast!

Bonded with my Dad on the 20 yard line.

Relived my childhood with my Mom.

And created memories that are bound to last a lifetime.

We all have that one special place around where we grew up that just calls to us, and for me, that’s Baltimore. I hope that one day I can find some way to give back to the city I love. For right now, I’m content to just reflect on all the wonderful experiences it’s lent me and continue planning for more memorable times.

baltimore harbor

Rain Will Make the Flowers Grow

It’s been a rainy couple of days here in Maryland, but am I letting that deter my spirit? No way!

Despite my sopping shoes, frizzy hair, and grumpy demeanour, I’m looking forward to the aftereffects of this precipitation.

ImageAlready the grass is looking greener than I remember it ever being and the flowers are starting to show their full range of color. After such a long winter I’m extremely grateful for this chance to appreciate the beauty all around me, even if I have to look at it while peeping out from beneath a polka dotted umbrella.

ImageEveryone should recognize that even in perceivably miserable situations, there is happiness and charm to be found if you have the right perspective. And that perspective is easy to take once you look at the vibrant petals of a nearby flower.

If Gene Kelly had some natural scenery to look at, I think he’d be even jollier!

And I have to add this as a shout out to those who understand my title reference. Despite the lack of flowers and the heartbreaking pain of lost love expressed in this song, it’s an absolutely treasure.

A Very Potter Sequel

Somehow, I’ve found myself attending a lot of theatrical productions this semester. But, my soul had not been thoroughly and irrevocably moved until I went to StarTerp’s production of A Very Potter Sequel.

I’ll provide some background on this likely foreign concept first. StarKid, a theater company formed at the University of Michigan, originally decided to parody Harry Potter by creating A Very Potter Musical. The whole show can be found on YouTube and a good three weeks of my life was spent (but not wasted) watching the whole performance with my friend, Caroline. It was the first time I truly understood what it is to love.

There’s just something about these adorable and raunchy kids that transforms Harry Potter into something outrageous, hilarious, and utterly brilliant. Don’t get me wrong, the series is beautifully transcribed by JK Rowling, but the critical perspectives and adult humor StarKid uses to create the play is what makes it truly magical (you can roll  your eyes all you like, but I’m keeping that word)

StarKid later went on to create two more shows, both equally beautiful and capable of inspiring many groups to copy their performances, which is exactly what the University of Maryland’s theater team, StarTerp, decided to do.

Our show was life affirming. I’ve been a Harry Potter fan since the 6th grade and I’ve never stopped caring about the plight of Harry and his friends. This show compliments all I’ve ever known or dreamed about related to Harry Potter and my life has been improved because of witnessing it being performed live. (Also I got to meet Ron and we’re Facebook friends now!)

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The StarTerp production is in the process of being put on YouTube, but here is a clip from AVPM done last year:

I just can’t express what a joy it was to watch this movie and share the experience with my friends. You need to find something you love from this world and never let it go. Even if it’s something as perceivedly pointless and silly as Harry Potter, if you really care about it and it makes you smile, don’t sacrifice it for anything.

Here are some of my pictures from the show:

Song: Harry Freakin' Potter

Song: Harry Freakin’ Potter

Scene: Draco stands up to his Father

Scene: Draco stands up to his Father

Song: Gettin' Along

Song: Gettin’ Along

Scene: Final Gathering

Scene: Final Gathering

Alice in Wonderland – ASL Style

gallaudet universityYesterday, I went to see Alice in Wonderland at Gallaudet University, a university primarily for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Though I’ve been involved with American Sign Language (ASL) for a couple of years now, I’m still not very good and only know basic words, as opposed to whole sentence structures. But, that doesn’t matter so much, because I have fun learning and trying my hand at understanding a new language (pun intended).

I set up this silly little video trying to briefly recap my experience:

I’ll apologize now if I butchered any signs or was completely off base on any of them. Even as I’m re-watching it I can think of what I should have signed differently… But, I wanted to express so much more, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to create a longer and more substantial video.

playbill from gallaudetAnyway, back to the play. It was a trippy version of Alice in Wonderland (but what production of Alice isn’t), and all of the performers fulfilled their roles using Sign Language and tremendous facial expressions and body language. There was also a screen off to both sides of the stage which hosted a written narrative for those struggling to understand more than just the basic gist of the performance.

mad hatter from gallaudet

Mad Hatter and March Hare

I was nervous about the unfamiliar setting and nuances of deaf culture, but I ended up having a great time and will definitely be back to Gallaudet. The fact that these performers couldn’t use their voices didn’t hinder the production in the slightest, in fact, it elevated the show for me and added an area of stage presence that most performances lack. The Mad Hatter was by far my favorite, because he was expressive, adorable, and owned his character. Great actors like him should be recognized for more than their lack of hearing, but for their tremendous talent as well.

I’m not a theater critic and I’m not an ASL expert, but I am lovers of both, and am glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to attend this play.