A very rocky Christmas

Cult classic goes Christmas at Blind Bob’s

By Josher Lumpkin

Photo: Ben Riddlebarger as Tranta Claus

Long considered a cult classic, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is an outrageous film that scoffs at traditional gender roles and encourages viewers to do what they want and have a good time. In cities across America, “Rocky Horror” is still shown at midnight Saturday viewing parties, with full casts reenacting the events on screen and audiences participating in the fun.

Local artist Ben Riddlebarger has added a twist of holiday cheer to the cross-dressing spectacle and will present The Rocky Horror Christmas Show to an eager audience at Blind Bob’s on Saturday, Dec. 20. This will be the third year Riddlebarger has presented the event.

“What we do is we have a live cast that performs while the movie’s playing,” Riddlebarger said. “Then if anybody in the audience wants a part, [the cast] will pull them in, and I’ll pitch it to them. It’s really interactive. It’s a lot of fun. We’re gonna have games and prizes. So we’ll have contests like biggest bulge, ugliest birthmark, introduce people who are virgins to the show. You know, stuff like that beforehand just to get people into it.”

There are many surprises in store for the “girls” and “boys” in attendance. “We go for that Midnight Movie feel, but it’s a Christmas show, too, so I’m dressed up as Tranta Claus,” Riddlebarger said. “I walk around with a big Gucci bag full of toys and candy and condoms and tampons and everything you can think of. There was meat in there last year, some chicken, so the bag is stuffed with everything. I just have people reach in and grab something. We have a big photobooth set up, where people can take pictures with Tranta Claus. Last year I had a naughty elf on a chain of pearls that I dragged around with me everywhere.”

This year’s event will also feature the music of local band Abertooth Lincoln, who will play a set of original music, as well as a selection of songs from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” “Rocky Horror is the perfect reminder that life is too short to not explore the ‘taboo,’” Mike Werthmann, drummer for Abertooth Lincoln, told me.

Though there will be no shortage of fun to be had at The Rocky Horror Christmas Show, the event will also be for a good cause. “For every canned good people bring in, they will get a ticket for a raffle prize, and we’re going to have a bunch of prizes donated from local businesses,” Riddlebarger said. “And all the canned goods and things will be donated to the Dayton Food Bank.”

I asked Riddlebarger what made him think to link up what seem like two mutually-exclusive entities: “Rocky Horror” and Christmas. He said, “As a kid, I remember always feeling left out in pretty much everything with my family, being gay, and they’re very Christian. I don’t really do anything with them around the holidays, and I know that there’s a lot of other people that feel kind of ostracized on holidays. It’s supposed to be a time of fun and people coming together, but it seems like there’s a lot of disorganization in families and things. Bars do a lot of business during this time of year, because the people that feel like [they] don’t have families, or want to escape their families for a little bit, that’s where they go. I know that a lot of gay bars have dinners and things like that, where they try to bring everyone together that don’t have families. And so one thing I wanted to do was have something that’s completely fun and off the wall, and something that everybody can just let loose.”

Riddlebarger said he also hopes The Rocky Horror Christmas Show will be a welcomed reprieve from the stress of the season. “The holidays are supposed to be all about families and love and being together, but it ends up turning into just a bunch of stress, with everyone worried that they’re not going to be able to afford everything that they think they need to be able to buy each other,” he said. “So I just wanted something where you can just let loose and have fun and just forget about all that crap. Be whatever you wanna be, do anything you wanna do. It’s pretty much an open event.”

Though all attendees are welcome to come as they are, Riddlebarger wants to remind people that the more people who come dressed up, the more fun the event will be.

“I try to encourage people to dress up, and each year it’s been getting more and more, which is great. I don’t expect people to wear teddies or anything, but the whole point of Rocky Horror is not to worry about what other people think of you, be what you want to be. Live your own life. So that’s what we try to do with the show, is just no inhibitions. Come however you are. If you wanna be a smurf, be a smurf. If you wanna be a girl, be a girl. If you wanna be a taco, be a taco. It should be a time of celebrating our differences, not trying to be all the same.”

The Third Annual Rocky Horror Christmas Show will be held on Saturday, Dec. 20 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. in Dayton. Abertooth Lincoln will also perform. Doors open at 8 p.m. The movie will start at midnight. Admission is $7 for patrons 18+. One raffle ticket will be provided for each canned good donated. To learn more about Abertooth Lincoln, visit facebook.com/abertoothlincoln. For more information about the event, please contact Blind Bob’s at 937.938.6405.

Reach DCP freelance writer Josher Lumpkin at JosherLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Josher Lumpkin is a nursing student and aspiring historian who enjoys writing about music and geekdom of all kinds. He is especially fond of punk rock, tabletop gaming, sci-fi/fantasy and camping with his wife, Jenner, and their dogs, Katie and Sophie. Reach him at JosherLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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