This past weekend, CAB hosted its annual showing of the film Rocky Horror Picture Show. Being a first-year, this was my first year attending the event, but also the first time ever seeing the movie. I was totally blown away by the enthusiasm that everybody showed as well as the fantastic preparation on the part of CAB. Not only was the event amazing, but it also was a real comfort to know that there so many LGTBQ+ people and allies here at Gustavus.
Lots of people came all dressed up for the event, and even the people who didn’t dress up were totally enthusiastic to be taking part. CAB provided all of the tools and props necessary to participate (rice, glitter, toast, etc.- you’ll understand if you attended or ever do end up attending). Throughout the film, people were laughing, commenting, and singing along. The great thing was the veterans of the event helped people who have never come before (namely, First-years), understand what to do and made sure that they felt like they were being included.
Even the people who attended the event were very diverse. People of all gender identities, sexualities, races, and ethnicities attended. Some may have even been surprised about how many different types of Gustavus students that were in attendance, from active members of organization such as Queers and Allies and the WAC, to people who are less involved with activist or diversity groups on campus.
Having events such as Rocky Horror are essential to creating a LGBTQ+ friendly environment and community at Gustavus and on any campus in general. Knowing that other students on campus care about things that are a part of LGBTQ+ pop culture, such as this film, makes queer students feel welcome and accepted. The event also allowed for younger students, or even older students who were just accepting themselves, know that there are other students at Gustavus who identify in a similar way to them and/or that there are plenty of people around them who will accept them as well.
While the actual film Rocky Horror Picture Show may have some problematic themes (concerning things such as consent and outdated trans vocabulary), overall the message of the movie is one of diversity and accepting oneself as well as the other people around you. All the people at Dr. Frankenstein’s home as well as Franky himself were radical people to include in a movie at the time of movie’s release as well even arguably now.
The theme of openness and focus on happiness and uniqueness even for queer people is awesome. Songs such as Don’t Dream It, Be It, and Over at the Frankenstein Place tell the viewer, respectively, that they should be who they are and go for what they want to do, and that there is always a positive side to life that they could look towards.
Other than the positive message of the film, the total craziness and silliness of the movie brings joy not only to people who identify as LGBTQ+ and their allies. Liking the movie is almost like being in a club, simply because there is no discernable plot and the actual story of the movie is so odd. It takes a unique kind of person to enjoy the film, so having this movie can give somebody even more of a sense community and togetherness. As I have discussed before, having representation (no matter how limited it is in Rocky Horror) can be so validating and helpful to somebody of a minority.
Overall, the event was one of the best events that I have attended on campus so far this year. It was fun, inclusive, and the perfect introduction to Rocky Horror Picture Show. CAB did an amazing job of making everyone feel welcome and made sure that everything ran smoothly. Seeing all the different arrays of students who attended was an uplifting experience. The movie itself is a great representation of LGBTQ+ culture both historically and today. I would highly recommend attending the event next year, as it is an annual event. It will expose you to a culture that you may have never encountered before, and I can guarantee that you will enjoy yourself.