'Rocky Horror' shines at El Fishnet Fiesta

2014-03-13T00:00:00Z 'Rocky Horror' shines at El Fishnet FiestaBy Gerald M. Gay Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

It’s easier than you think to fill three days with activities revolving around the 1975 cult hit, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Just ask members of Heavy Petting, the local troupe hosting the Southwest “RHPS” convention at points around Tucson this weekend.

Dubbed El Fishnet Fiesta Dos, an homage to the city’s Southern Arizona surroundings, the gathering of Dr. Frank-N-Furter fans, will include:

  • A cosplay party Friday at the Whistle Stop Depot, 127 W. Fifth St., that will feature burlesque dancers from Arizona and California and a live set from The Mission Creeps.
  • Themed activities, including karaoke, Rocky Horror yoga and panel discussions ranging from costuming to audience safety during performances.
  • A screening of “Shock Treatment,” the Jim Sharman follow-up to “RHPS.” Filmmakers will also be at the convention, catching atmosphere shots and conducting interviews for the Kickstarter-funded documentary “Rocky Horror Saved My Life.”

The main event will be a midnight showing of “Rocky Horror” at The Loft on Saturday. It will enlist the talents of 35 handpicked shadow cast members from across the country who will tag-team to play different characters such as protagonists Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, Eddie and Dr. Furter.

More than 500 people, coming from as far away as Germany, are expected to attend.

“It is pretty exciting,” said Ruben “Rooster” Ruiz, the cast director and producer for Heavy Petting. “You get to meet people from all over the world who share a common interest in ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show.’ It makes the experience unique and exciting.”

The convention has been held in Tucson twice, first as “El Fishnet Fiesta” in 1999, then as “Queens of the Desert” in 2006.

Ruiz said Tucson is a popular spot because of the weather and the city’s history with the film.

Regular screenings of “Rocky Horror” have taken place in Tucson for 36 years. The Loft only screens the film once a month these days, but still gets between 200 and 250 people per showing.

“They throw rice,” Ruiz said. “They throw toast. They do things that you can’t do in a regular theater.”

Like any convention, Ruiz said, there is more to it than celebrating the film itself.

“I don’t see a lot of these people on a daily basis,” he said. “The only time I see them is at a convention. It is great to reunite with them and see what is going on in their lives. People can take that with them.”

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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