For the third consecutive year, OUT@UTM screened The Rocky Horror Picture Show as part of their Halloween event. All attendees were encouraged to wear costumes, either as characters from the movie or whatever they were planning to wear for Halloween.
“It’s a cult classic,” said Bobby Diaz, the social coordinator. “It’s like that quote: ‘Halloween is like the Fourth of July for gays.’ ”
Wearing a costume gave attendees the opportunity to participate in the Costume Ball and a chance to strut down a catwalk and get judged on who has the best costume. Some people wore simple costumes, just throwing on a boa, a brightly coloured wig, or a pair of animal ears. But others went all out, including a few who dressed as the likes of Ke$ha, a police officer, a scientist, and a belly dancer.
Last year, OUT@UTM had 192 members; however, the execs of the club don’t expect everyone to show for this event. They made a Facebook event and had about 30 people listed as attending, but hoped for at least 45 people to show up.
“Facebook makes organizing events much easier,” Diaz explained. “Just a few clicks and everyone is invited.”
The event was organized by OUT@UTM and PHE (Peer Health Educators). Anyone and everyone was welcome to attend. Pizza, wings, and salad from Boston Pizza were served as people came in and sat around the tables set up in the decorated Presentation Room at the Student Centre.
Balloons and streams coloured the room in the traditional Halloween orange and black. Spider webs were delicately strung across chairs, and a large sign proclaiming The Rocky Horror Picture Show in blood-red lettering hung on the wall outside the room.
After 8 p.m., about 40 people were assembled in the room, only 10 of whom were wearing costumes. Songs by Lady Gaga blasted through the stereo system as people finished eating. OUT@UTM execs made announcements about the lineup for the evening, including the Costume Ball and a short presentation, followed by the movie.
Hilary Receno, OUT@UTM’s secretary in charge of finance, instructed everyone who hadn’t seen it—the Rocky Horror “virgins”—to raise a hand with their thumb and forefinger in a circle. Then she went around “popping the cherry” for all the people who were going to see The Rocky Horror Picture show for the first time.
Soon after, the Costume Ball was announced and everyone willing to participate walked across the floor to music, posing for the audience and the five judges. After a walk-off between two contestants, the winner was announced as “The Umbrella Guy”, who claimed his prize of a gift basket before they all sat down again to applause from the audience.
Three volunteers from PHE went to the front to make their presentation, which involved having 14 of the Rocky Horror virgins go up to the front. They were handed safe-sex instructional signs and had to rearrange themselves, amidst much amusement, so the signs were in the correct sequence. One particularly funny sign read, “Carefully remove—don’t spill!” followed by symbol for BP gas stations. The short presentation finished and then it was time for The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
As people came in for the event, they had been given small paper bags filled with seemingly random objects, such as a little bag of uncooked rice, an empty balloon, toast, a party hat, and a noisemaker.
OUT@UTM execs explained that these were to be used during the movie, keeping up with the usual traditions involved with watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show during Halloween.
“We’re making the movie interactive,” Receno explained as people looked on the sheets of paper also in the bag to see when they would use each object. Not only would people be throwing rice and yelling certain words whenever a character’s name appeared on screen, but when it rained onscreen, the execs went around with water sprayers and attendees held newspapers above their heads to keep from getting wet, just as the characters in the movie.
“Hopefully, future execs will continue to host this event,” Diaz said regarding the future of the event.