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The Adventures of Bat Guano - Part 2
The Adventures of Bat Guano - Part 2
The Village East - A normal looking theatre on the outside, but a total freak-fest on the inside....and yes I was on the inside. Jealous huh? Bat Guano, supreme overlord of the Village East twin was truly a ringleader in a circus of transvestites, oddballs and a small minority of truly interesting and genuine people. I think the most accurate film to watch that would categorize these people visually would be "Ed Wood" with Johnny Depp, Martin Landau and Bill Murray. Ed Wood is a mostly accurate biopic of the worst director and film maker of all time, Ed Wood. Ed made many pro-Heterosexual Transvestite films, and Bat was an avid fan. Now Ed Wood the director was mainly guilty of making VERY bad movies and being just generally odd. One of his greatest achievements, "Glen or Glenda", was one of Bat's favorites and is actually quite funny to watch. Its difficult to see it as a serious pro-ANYTHING movie as it appears to be a joke. The last scene has Glen in his living room, and his puzzled girlfriend has just queried him as to why her angora sweaters are often missing and when finally found, they are stretched out. Glen tells her his awful secret - he likes to dress in ladies clothes....but it's ok...because he still likes girls..... You see the light go on in her head. She takes off her angora sweater and hands it to Glen, looking down at the floor in shame that she could ever not see her husbands true and pure desire to dress like a lady...she finally understands his desire, and forgives him. Glen Clutches the sweater to his face breathing in the delicate angora fibers.... If you don't know Ed Wood's films, I highly recommend "Plan 9 from Outer Space". This could be the equivalent of Citizen Kane in the D- film word. It was to star super-creepy horror film legend Bela Lugosi, but Bela died of addiction to morphine and formaldehyde before principal photography was set to begin. Using some junk footage of Bela at the beginning for the set up, they replaced him in the principal shots with Ed's Chiopractor. He was a logical choice being several years younger, many inches taller and several pounds lighter than Bela, and not to mention much balder. You'll probably come to the conclusion that Stevie Wonder would be better at visuals than Ed Wood after seeing his movies.
One of Bat's all time favorite films was "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". If you haven't seen this one, wait til you can see it with a seasoned audience that has attended at least 100 screenings of it (And see it in a MOVIE theatre). Most of the flimsy fun comes from the audience yelling alternate lines at the screen and throwing toast and rice....yes, you read correctly, toast and rice. As a former theatre Usher, I can tell you that nothing smells crappier than moist week-old rice.......Bat finally got the Rocky Horror Picture show booked for an undetermined number of weeks at the Village East. We received two acetate prints with reels in various conditions. If you don't know anything about film, acetate film is an older film base that that became brittle as it aged and was cooked in front of the xenon lamp meant to illuminate it on screen. Bat was smart by getting two prints, he could combine the best reels from both, and then send the really damaged stuff back to the distributor. This is a trick I use to this day at new theatre openings - combining two prints to make one good one as we get MANY damaged films to show for the "Dollar Days" promotions for new theatres.
"Transvestites! I need more Transvestites!"
Some things you need to know about Rocky Horror - It is a modern re-telling of Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein" with...um...transvestites and music and a whole bunch of plot meddling. It stars Susan Sarandon who will to this day deny she had anything to do with the movie. It also stars Barry Bostwick...DING...you got it, the mayor on the late TV show, "Spin City". And finally, Tim Curry, who brought the whole thing together, and without him, would have been the dismal failure that Fox executives though the film would be. To get the full 3 dimensional effect during a screening, you have to have lots of real live men and women in various states of dress "performing" the film right in front of the movie screen. Also, you have to have an audience complrised of at least 50% fans and 50% "virgins". The fans know the film word for word and have made up phrases or words to yell at the screen- go to this link to see an example of the audience participation script - there are probably thousands of variations:http://AdultFriendFinder.com
Next, you have to have a ringmaster, which of course is the guy or gal playing Frankenfurter. There were rules that had to be laid down, and the only legitimate one was not to "Destroy anything in the theatre". One other rule that was full of irony and humor is when Frankenfurter yelled in all his transvestic glory "And Rule number five, NO POOFDA's!" This rule was also numbers 3, 4, and 10. Finally, you have to bring props - mainly toast and rice; you guessed it, you throw them at key moments during the film. If you are drunk or stoned, just throw them whenever.
This is how it went down at Village East, for the most part. When the show premiered, we had a full cast of volunteers that not only helped to put on a show, but also helped to promote it.
I was a total square at the time this was all happening (Not that i'm THAT hip now) and I was nicknamed "the Pshyco" because I would glare disapprovingly at the transvestites as they entered the theatre - Transvestites are very sensitive about such things and react accordingly. One particular TV, I'll call him Richard....was a secure Heterosexual guy with a real pretty girlfriend. He really dug dressing up and playing Frankenfurter, the hero/heroine of the movie (Tim Curry). He was the first one that broke the ice with me. We talked after the show one evening as he stood there in his red lips, wig, panties, stockings, and sparkly top. "Y'know, women are really dis-armed by the costume. They really like it". Said Richard. "Really?" I said. "They don't run away from you?" "No". He said. "They are really attracted to my feminine side". "There are some guys in the cast that use the getup to get girls. I just use it to connect with people". Forrest: "?" Relationships are where you find them I suppose. The funniest thing that Richard ever imparted to me was his confusion over the song "Don't let the Sun go down on me". This song is a sappy Elton John epic, and it is performed bombastically in all it's corny glory by George Michael and Elton in concert on VH1 regularly. Richard would say, "Don't let the sun GO DOWN on me?" He would then stand there with a terrified look on his face like he was holding back a miniature sun from going toward his crotch.....screaming the whole time. I can't listen to that song without bursting into laughter and when team Elton and Michael take it so seriously in concert, only makes it funnier. The song is now a plea now for the sun, not to set and have like pass you by, but to not burn off Elton's and Michael's genitals.
A Dynamic Tool
As in the first post on Bat, I noted that he was quite the showman. Bat had flair, a talent for putting on a great show. Bat would cross the line occasionally, and would do so without reservation. One day while I was performing my pedestrian duties in the concession stand, Bat peeked out of his office - looking the to the left, the to the right. Bat: "Forrest! Look what I've got!" What Bat had was a packaged "Part"of the human anatomy that at first glance, didn't look like it was molded from a human. Of course, I never got close enough to the thing to see what it was from.....Bat pulled it out of the package and wielded it like a wobbly short-sword. I was dumb-struck. I had no Human Resources training and in fact, didn't know what a "Human Resources was" - but I knew there was something wrong with my boss and his behavior. People that wave giant dildos around in public are sending out a specific message, although usually not clear. Bat: "It's a new prop for Rocky Horror!" Forrest: "oh." We had a standee for the movie "Black Rain" in the lobby at the time. It has a mean-looking Michael Douglas straddling a motorcycle, wearing shades and looking like he's ready to whoop some butt. Bat revealed that the dildo had a suction cup on the back, and he immediately slammed it onto Michaels crotch. We stepped back, to take a look. Pleased and giggling, Bat patted his little chubby hands in mock applause. Michael was smaller than normal on the standee, and the dildo was much larger than normal - this made the standee absolutely hysterical-looking. What was funnier was when the eventual "POP" occurred and the tool fell to the floor and bounced across it. Whenever Bat wielded the dildo, I made sure to keep a safe distance away of at least five feet. True to his word, Bat implemented the Tool for the next show of Rock Horror, and had the cast members used it in interesting ways. Richard wore it wore it for it's world premiere - Richard at the audience: "Rule Number five, NO POOFDA's" All the while the tool wagging back and forth.
Coming Soon - "The Adventures of Bat Guano - Part III".