Queer Events

Feminist Friday: The Appalshop Part 1

 by Jordan Roach

Tucked back in Whitesburg, Ky., there is a large unassuming, wood clad, building holding a treasure trove of resources, history and culture.  The Appalshop, while it’s been a constant staple of Eastern Kentucky’s culture for nearly 50 years, there is a big chance many people haven’t heard about it.

If you are looking for an expressive hub of mountain Kentucky culture, I’d have to say this is where you’ll find it. They host events, have a radio station with many diverse shows, camps, readings, archives and workshops. You want DIY? This is the spot. The first time I found out about Appalshop was at Pikeville’s Pride. They sent up a booth and I learned about some of their histories and filled out a survey on a safe space they are creating. The next week I was at a reading of “Biscuits and Blisters,” written and read by Misty Skaggs. Afterward, I talked to her mom, who gave me earrings and told me stories about the quilt that covered their table, her artistic inspirations, and traveling to readings with her daughter. On Friday, Nov. 9, I went to see a show put on by the Girls Rock Camp benefit, supporting both the camp and All Access EKY.

Girls Rock Camp is for girls and gender variant youth who want to play music. Having gone to a similar camp in Ohio when I was a preteen, Girls Rock had a special place in my heart. This is the third year of Girls Rock Camp (hosted by Appalshop’s radio station WMMT), and this year they teamed up All Access EKY. All Access EKY is an organization focused on informing and finding birth control resources for anyone who needs either in this region. The bands Slutpill (a local band), Slugpit (a band formed during the camp), and Hedonista (from North Carolina, but with members from the area) performed. During this benefit All Access EKY was providing information on various birth control options, and also had created interlude videos for between sets detailing information on sexual health specifically as it pertained to Kentucky. What was particularly nice is this was an all ages event. There were families supporting their younger family members playing music, and families with kids dancing in the aisles to loud punk music about the necessity of safe access to abortions. There is something very comforting about the normalization of both queer culture and discussions on safe sex in rural Appalachian Kentucky.

I was lucky enough to get to meet and talk to so many wonderful people who have come together to create what feels like to me, a very organic Queer space. This includes the director of WMMT and one of their staff who hosts a radio show. Really, I felt both quite blessed and comfortable in this space, which is one of the first places I’ve discovered out here in Eastern Kentucky that makes me feel that way. I’ve named this Appalshop part 1 because it is my hope to go back and speak with the people who know this place best and learn about the Appalshop’s 50 years of cultural influence in this region.

To me, it feels like this place has always been this way, but I know many people have put in the footwork to create this rural Queer space and it is in my plans to explore further what came into play to make Appalshop what it is today. This won’t be the last y’all hear about Appalshop, and if you have time, definitely check out the work they do.

#unstoppable

Queer Kentucky sent two youth mentors from the Louisville, Kentucky community to the Baptiste Foundation’s #unstoppable program.

This is a training for anyone who works with youth – school teachers, school counselors, aides, coaches, community center employees, police officers, etc. Our participants learned through personal experience, a set of tools to teach basic yoga poses, breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques to youth as a part of how they already work with them. The training will also gave an introduction as to why and how these tools can help people who have experienced trauma. Our participants were given valuable tools that taught them how to care for themselves first so they can more effectively serve others.

Jefferson County Public School teacher Trina Helson works as the adviser to the LGBTQ+/alliance student group at Eastern High School and participated in the training. Also, Chris Wilson, diversity and outreach coordinator for Louisville Youth Group attended. Both participants filled out an application through Queer Kentucky and were selected based on their interaction with LGBTQ+ youth.

This training covered how yoga, meditation and self inquiry are powerful tools for self care, but also through personal experience, how it can be shared with others.

We thank 502 Power Yoga and the Baptiste Foundation for offering an inclusive space for education and self-growth.

*The Baptiste Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization contributing to individuals and communities in need by sharing the powerful tools and techniques of Baptiste Yoga. The Baptiste Foundation exists to bring yoga and educational programs to empower and inspire communities across the planet.

Making an LGBT+ Hub in Appalachia

by Jordan Roach-Calderone  

Kyle May has always wanted to help people at some capacity, in college he studied counseling. Now he’s currently working in mental health at the Mountain Comprehensive Care Center, as their Healing Program Clinical director, focusing on getting grant assistance to help people in this region who have survived trauma. That’s pretty much just the tip of the iceberg of Kyle’s dedication to helping create a more healing environment in Appalachia. May talked about the stigma of mental health struggles and how people in this area, even though largely affected, are simply just not getting the help they need. From this dream and motivation to sustain and uplift rural Appalachian people he has recently begun another journey, The Big Sandy LGBT+  Safe Zone.

  What’s interesting about the creation of this center is, it was not something he had always planned on doing. His idea grew from a class he took a few years ago while getting his Masters degree, during a class on grant writing they had to create a program they wanted to get funding for.  About a year ago, after hearing from and meeting like-minded people he realized that this center could be made into a reality. Folks around here, both allies and queer people saw a need, so the work came off the page and into the world. May said he’s been very excited by all the support he’s getting from the community, and that when he started putting together real plans and telling others about the center, “It just snowballed and got way more traction than originally thought,”

Kyle said he didn’t receive very much support growing up and realizing he was gay and it didn’t really make him feel any less isolated. This center could change that for many younger queer people in the community, who just need a place to go to find help and support. May hasn’t just thought about the immediate future of getting the center started, he has a whole plan for the future and hopes of what could be.

“My goal is to have a brick and mortar location that people can come to that will house a variety of different services like events or resources in that location.” May said. “Eventually if it grows big enough, have different locations so that there are different services and resources across the region.”

  Currently, the goal is to service the Big Sandy region, which includes Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, Martin, and Pike counties. Now, he is only a few days away from being officially incorporated, he and a board of three people will then file for not for profit status. Even while the dream has not been fully realized, he and his center have also come in to support Pikeville’s first Pride celebration. He hopes that next year once the Big Sandy LQBT+ Safe Zone is really off the ground that they can do more by either being the parent organization or a financial sponsor for the event. It’s not just the center that Kyle sees as being his goal, it’s creating a sustainable and supportive community for people in this region. He hopes one day it grows beyond him, maybe even being able to hire staff and creating job security for some of the folks around here. By creating a hub that all the various LGBT+ groups, clubs, and organizations can maybe find a home together.  

  As for now, their small board is looking to expand from three to nine members, and maybe some folks who just want to help actualize this dream. Right now they are keeping a low profile, and building a strong foundation. The organization’s Facebook group is private, but Kyle said if you find him on Facebook and message him about wanting to help he’ll add you to the group. If you aren’t on Facebook and still want to throw your hat in the ring to help, email them at BigSandySafeZone@gmail.com.

Mitchell Martin on The Laramie Project and Queerness

My first experience with the word queer was that it meant weird. I remember driving home and my mom asked my friend how his day at school was. He sighed and said, “queer”, and then he explained to me that queer meant odd, or weird. Years later, I found out it was a gay slur, butwe’ve taken it back, I think. It does mean weird. I can’t tell you one person who would describe me as “normal”. I’m weird. I’m gay. I’m queer.

Louisville. Born and raised. I knew I was gay when I was in kindergarten. I had crushes on boys and I had a hard time relating to them, so most of my friends were girls. I learned quickly that being gay was looked down upon and I kept a part of myself locked in. That kind of shame plays on you, and you learn to live with secrets. I was always observing the subtleties with which people can hate. I remember watching HBO’s The Laramie Project in middle school which made an impact on my life that I’ll never forget. That was the first time for me that people weren’t censoring themselves on what they thought about homosexuals. It wasn’t taboo, or this fun, sly thing where people make jokes with a smirk. It was real issues, out in the open. I came out when I went to college in Illinois. I didn’t want to deal with coming out in high school. I knew most of their opinions, and I didn’t feel safe.

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“Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” I’ve been there. Its not easy. You’re not alone. Talk to a friend who doesn’t mind who you are.

I think being closeted for so many years taught me how to act “masc”, or like a traditional straight dude. Unfortunately, society’s norms on men is that we are emotionless, strong, or protectors. However I’ve always identified with traditional “feminine” stereotypes: I’m sensitive, empathetic, and very compassionate. So what happens when you have a young boy who feels these emotions that are considered “weak”? If they can’t cope, they overcompensate and become aggressive or indifferent. We’ve started calling that toxic masculinity, but its not a new idea–look at The Laramie Project: two young men in 1998 had such a problem with the fact that another man might actually have “feminine qualities” that they killed him. I make a point to be unapologetically me. I laugh when something is funny, and I’m not embarrassed to cry. I show strength in sensitivity. My hope is that young people, especially young men, will see that they don’t have to fit in this “man means strong, woman means weak” mentality that I definitely grew up with.

Cast line silo

I love the queer community. I think we are just trying to find ourselves in whatever 2018 is. I wonder what life would be like if we grew up without gender roles, and stereotypes. There are major problems with body image. I view myself as “gay fat”. I’m “gay fat” because I don’t have a six pack. That doesn’t make me fat–that just means I love pizza. I think it changes with TV and movies: until we start showcasing NORMAL looking people in roles where maybe they are made to be the love interest, we are still going to have this airbrushed view on what we should look like. Good luck with that.

I don’t party as much as my friends, and have been called, “the worst gay” on multiple occasions. I don’t really feel excluded from the mainstream gay culture … If I wanted to be included, I would (and do) insert myself. However, I’d like to meet more gays at not bars… and not apps.

I’m at my best when I’m in a rehearsal room working with others. Devising. Creating. I love to collaborate and come up with something that couldn’t have been made by just me. It’s different as an actor, and a director. I’m used to mostly acting, but as the director of The Laramie Project, I’ve done a lot of improvising. I come in with a plan, and then realize that we need to hit point A, B, C, and D before we can do what I need to. They key is being adaptable.

I’ve had so many teachers who taught me what its like to have a sense of humor. On the opposite end, I’ve had a lot of teachers teach me what it’s like to hate your job. I think that the greatest ability one can have is the ability to laugh at themselves. In the end, we have one life to live, so we might as well giggle our way through it.

I Remember Doing the Time Warp

By Remy Sisk

In the spring of 1973 at the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs, an eclectic bunch of actors and designers were preparing to open an extraordinarily unconventional musical called, “They Came from Denton High.” At the insistence of director Jim Sharman, creator Richard O’Brien’s mashup of glam rock, Steve Reeves muscleman flicks,1950s early rock and roll and mid-20th-century science fiction and horror B movies was eventually retitled “The Rocky Horror Show” just prior to opening. On June 19, 1973, this off-beat musical premiered in that 63-seat theatre and unintentionally yet unequivocally launched an immortal worldwide phenomenon with an exceedingly gritty and glamorous history stretching from the United Kingdom all the way to Louisville, Kentucky.

Following the unexpected success of the original “Rocky Horror Show,” filming began in October 1974 for the big-screen adaptation: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Although the stage production had been a hit in London and Los Angeles, its debut on Broadway and the subsequent film adaptation were both critically panned – TIME magazine’s review of the 1975 Broadway version noted, “It is not easy to see why this campy trash was a long-running hit in London and a smash success in Los Angeles, except that transvestism has always fascinated the British and the L.A. scene is almost as kinky.”

The film was just as poorly received and thus quickly pulled from the few theatres to which it had been distributed. However, a young executive at Fox named Tim Deegan urged the studio to promote the film for midnight screenings, and upon this re-release, “Rocky Horror” began to grow into the cultural juggernaut that it is regarded as today.

 

Marty Sussman
Marty Sussman | Photo courtesy of Dave Conover

The first theatre to offer late-night “Rocky” screenings was the Waverly Theatre in Greenwich Village in 1976. People began responding to the movie, coming back time and again, dressing as characters and eventually yelling things at the screen. This cult following grew into full-fledged organized affairs spreading across the country with “official” callbacks, prop involvement and actors putting together shadow casts that would act out the film in front of the screen.

 

In Louisville, Marty Sussman, who had recently subleased the Vogue Theatre in St. Matthews and rebranded it as more of an arthouse destination, noticed what was happening in other cities and decided it was time for Louisville to host its own midnight “Rocky Horror Picture Show” screenings. So in 1977, Louisville became the next market to be a part of the international glam rock party that was “Rocky Horror.”

‘Rocky’ Lands in Louisville

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1979 ticket to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Vogue | Photo courtesy of Dave Conover

Within a year of beginning screenings at the Vogue, a shadow cast took shape, which, somewhat ironically, was originally mostly comprised of heterosexual actors. By 1979, “Rocky” screenings were indisputably the place to be. Held once a month – or at times, twice a month – the screenings were what unofficial Vogue archivist Dave Conover calls “a big celebration of youth.” The Vogue boasted 800 seats and regularly saw “Rocky” screenings sell out, and when it would offer double screenings of the film, such as on Halloween or anniversary occasions, both showings would fill up in advance.

26907472_10208687397982843_943089663496781118_nAttendees, just as at other screenings across the country, were fairly split between true “Rocky Horror” fans and kids who were going just because they heard it was the cool thing to do. However, as Conover relates, once you came, it was hard to leave: “I think people would go out of curiosity and they were pretty thrilled with what they saw so they’d keep coming back.”

The show continued gaining popularity in the early 1980s, to the point where Conover attests that if you were looking for your friends, you would drive to St. Matthews because there was a high likelihood they’d be at the Vogue for “Rocky Horror.” “Everybody went to ‘Rocky’ because that’s where you knew most of the cool people would be,” he affirms. “Some people would never even come inside; they’d be out in the parking lot, so there’d be a whole culture of people sitting outside smoking or putting music flyers up on the poles in the parking lot.”

Left to Right Scott Averill, Doris Carey, Steve Carey, Lore Ciez, Chris Metzler, Steve Prince, Sean Tyler, and Kelly Clarke
Scott Averill, Doris Carey, Steve Carey, Lore Ciez, Chris Metzler, Steve Prince, Sean Tyler and Kelly Clarke | Photo courtesy of Dave Conover

With a rock and roll and punk-permeated atmosphere infused with a sense of rebellion, “Rocky” screenings began to take on a sort of vanguard status in Louisville as one of the first places LGBTQ individuals could come and openly express themselves. Though by 2018’s standards what we see on the screen in “Rocky Horror” is remarkably tame, in its midnight screening heyday, the imagery of “Rocky” was an unparalleled symbol of openness and individuality – it glorified the sexual “others” of society and encouraged viewers to live proudly as they are.

Consequently, straight folks who acted in or attended “Rocky Horror” screenings were, however deliberately, public allies of the LGBTQ movement of Louisville, and LGBTQ attendees themselves were at last enjoying a public place to freely be themselves that was not a bar or nightclub. “It was one of the only semi-open alternative communities there was,” Conover recounts of the screenings. “In the 80s, if you were gay or gay-friendly, you could always go to the clubs – you could go to [LGBTQ bar] Discovery or something – but that was still a pretty cloistered environment off on its own. Whereas if you went to ‘Rocky,’ it was a little more open, it was a little more public, and it was a little more accepted for a lot of people. Because they all knew they were going to get acceptance at the Vogue.”

1981 Steve Prince, Kelly Clarke, Doris Carey
Steve Prince, Kelly Clarke and Doris Carey in 1981 | Photo courtesy of Dave Conover

The screenings, which frequent attendee and videographer Bob Markwell calls “this amazing party you would go to that your friends would throw every couple of weeks,” would always begin with a compilation of three music videos: Meatloaf’s “Bat out of Hell” and Tim Curry’s “I Do the Rock” and “Paradise Garage.” The film would see the usual callbacks that would sometimes be updated to include pop culture references and, at least in the early years, a good amount of prop involvement as well.

Due to insurance concerns after a while, however, throwing props – it became expected for audience members to squirt water guns and throw toast, rice, playing cards and more – was prohibited. But not before, as Markwell recalls, one audience member repeatedly sprayed Frank, at the time played by Steve Carey, with a squirt gun to the point where Carey leapt from the stage and escorted the heckler out himself. Around the same time as the props were banned, for clearly good reason, the use of a real motorcycle for the the character Eddie’s entrance in “Hot Patootie” was discontinued for similar reasons.

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The infamous motorcycle ride through the audience | Photo courtesy of Dave Conover

The shadow cast, as with everything with “Rocky,” had a good amount of cyclical turnover but only seemed to get better with time. As the film was kept off of home media in the U.S. until 1990, early cast members used a bootleg recording of the screen to practice in addition to coming in to rehearse on Sunday mornings when Vogue Assistant-Manager-turned-Manager Carl Wohlschlegel would run the film for them privately.

As the years went on and “Rocky” got released on VHS, attendance kept up at the Vogue, though screenings were not as consistently selling out or filling up in advance as they used to; however the shadow cast, which now featured a much more promient LGBTQ presence, got more and more dedicated to making their performances the absolute best they could be. Mickey Cain played Frank on and off for about eight years and is widely hailed as one of the greatest Franks the cast ever saw. He emphasizes that what they were doing was about much more than dancing the Time Warp – they were building a community and inspiring pride that resounded far beyond the walls of the Vogue.

“The atmosphere at the shows made all feel welcome and created a sense of family for not only the cast, but the audience as well,” Cain recounts of the time. “It was a safe space for all who didn’t feel like they were part of ‘the norm.’ ‘Rocky’ created a home at the Vogue for us.  Because of the bond with everyone involved – cast, crew, audience participants etc. – I think it made the show the best it could possibly be.”

During Cain’s run as Frank, Sandy Harned began hanging out with the cast and soon was regularly playing Janet, which she did until 1996. Harned maintains that there was, just as there had been for the very first crowd that ever came out to a screening at the Vogue, a sense of rebellion inherent in attending “Rocky” shows. “Probably the funniest part is that my parents were pretty strict so they never knew I was even going to the show for most of my tenure – much less that I was onstage!” she remembers.

Doris & Steve Carey, Kelly Ann Clarke on stage in 1981
Doris and Steve Carey with Kelly Ann Clarke on stage at the Vogue in 1981 | Photo courtesy of Dave Conover

The Vogue continued to screen “Rocky Horror” right up to its closing on September 17, 1998. The theatre shutting down was the result of a host of complex reasons, and although its closing was universally mourned by its regulars, this was not the end for “Rocky.” Folks involved were not going to let this now legendary tradition die and consequently contacted Baxter Avenue Theatres and asked if they could transfer the regularly scheduled screenings to one of Baxter’s auditoriums, one of which, conveniently, already had a stage in front of the screen. Baxter immediately was on board and the first screening in this new location was held just over a month later on Halloween night 1998.

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A New Home

The transition was fairly smooth with some Vogue cast members training the new Baxter cast, and many Vogue patrons came out to the Baxter screenings, at least for a while. Screenings, for the most part, sold well, rarely dipping below three-quarters full; although, the theatre at Baxter only held about 150 compared to the Vogue’s 800 and then 700 following the renovation.

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John Magness on stage at the Baxter | Photo courtesy of John Magness

As “Rocky” attendance was always a sort of cycle, the younger audience members at Baxter were becoming children of some of the individuals who had gone to the early Vogue shows. Thus, a mentality began to form that involved certain expectations. Whereas the original midnight screening audience members in Greenwich Village had organically developed the traditions, which the cult following across the country subsequently amplified, these new audience members had heads full of preconceived or told ideas of what a “Rocky” screening was. They weren’t taking out the newspaper during “Over at the Frankenstein Place” because it was part of this novel ritual to imitate Janet but because it was what they thought it was they were supposed to do at “Rocky.” Their parents had told them “Rocky” was a party, so they almost felt that they needed to make it a party, and that intention, which had not been present at the cult’s genesis,  began to rob “Rocky” screenings of the very essence that had made them the extraordinary pop culture phenomena they had been. Make no mistake, many of these new age attendees of course did authentically enjoy seeing the film and greatly relished the audience participation aspects, but the fundamental reasons for the traditions began to get lost across generations.

Moreover, into the early 21st century, everything that was depicted in “Rocky” had reached a far more accepted place in mainstream society – not to the point of 2018, but certainly what was seen in the film was by no means shocking. Additionally, LGBTQ folks were gaining much more acceptance in all areas of life – again, definitely not as it is in 2018, but “Rocky” shows began to lose their indispensable identity as a necessity. LGBTQ people didn’t have to go to “Rocky” to express themselves; it was a fun place to go, but it wasn’t the only place to go as it had been in the past. It was almost as if the decline in “Rocky” attendance, though surely lamentable, was concrete evidence for the positive and progressive direction of society.

Tradition Resurges

As, at least at the time of this writing, there is no longer a regularly scheduled movie theatre “Rocky Horror” screening in Louisville, the history must of course come to an end. The shadow cast at Baxter was mostly made up of high school and college students, so not only was there an at times frustrating amount of turnover but also personal issues between cast and management, which threatened the stability of the screenings. Eventually, in 2010, the organizer of the shadow cast decided the show needed to take a break, and the break simply became indefinite.

But that was not before “Rocky” had made its impact on a whole new generation of viewers. John Magness played Dr. Frank ‘n’ Furter the last five years it played at Baxter and also hosted the pre-show. “I loved performing there,” he remembers. “I never had the opportunity to attend a screening at the Vogue but I went for the first time at Baxter during my freshman year of high school and immediately felt like I belonged and even said to myself that I was going to be a part of that one day. No one was out of place no matter how different you were. As far as performing, how could you not feel like a rock star? Especially as Frank. It was very exciting to back into the doorway before ‘Sweet Transvestite’ and hear everyone start cheering before I turned around for the big reveal.”

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The first live “Rocky Horror Show” presented by Acting Against Cancer in 2014. Pandora Productions annually did the show from 2010 to 2012. | Photo courtesy of Acting Against Cancer

Following the Baxter’s ceasing to screen the film, a new tradition emerged in Louisville of theatre companies presenting the thing that really started it all: the live “Rocky Horror Show” on stage. After having done it once in 2002, LGBTQ-focused theatre company Pandora Productions presented the show three years in a row in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Following that final year and the Baxter show’s ending in 2010, there was simply no more “Rocky Horror” in Louisville. Other than a few pop-up screenings here and there, this glittery and glorious 35-year history had come to an end.

Fortunately, the lull was short. Two years later, noticing the lack of “Rocky Horror” in town, nonprofit theatre company Acting Against Cancer picked up the show and produced its own live version in the fall of 2014. The show starred recording artist and restaurateur Karter Louis as Frank and launched the company on a still-continuing tradition of doing “Rocky” live every fall.

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Shelby Allison Brown, Charlie Meredith and Karter Louis with Michael Detmer and Celeste Vonderschmitt in Acting Against Cancer’s “Rocky Horror” | Photo courtesy of Acting Against Cancer

In its second year, AAC did the show outside in Louisville’s Central Park, but by the third year, 2016, the company had formed a partnership with LGBTQ nightclub PLAY Louisville. Now, Acting Against Cancer starts what the organization refers to as “Rocky Season” with touring the show to PLAY Nashville earlier in the month before presenting it at PLAY Louisville at the end of October.

Meanwhile, Copper & Kings Distillery has renewed the tradition of screening the film in public. The first event was held in September 2017 with another one in April 2018. And this fall in 2018, the Speed Art Museum will hold a screening on October 19 as part of their Speed After Hours programming. Members of Acting Against Cancer’s “Rocky” are also the shadow cast performers for the Copper & Kings and Speed screenings, and in October, it truly can feel like “Rocky Horror” has never been more alive in Louisville than now.

 

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The Acting Against Cancer shadow cast at Copper & Kings Distiller’s “Rocky Horror Picture Show” screening in 2017 | Photo courtesy of Acting Against Cancer

AAC doing the show at PLAY, in a way, does evoke a bit of the original essence from the Vogue. Just as Mickey Cain described the Vogue screenings as being safe spaces for those who felt like they did not fit in, PLAY has a strong reputation of also being a kind of haven for LGBTQ individuals or anyone who may feel marginalized by society. So while it may not be as vital as it once was, “Rocky” in Louisville is still a sanctuary for individuality and an indelible incubator for expression.

“Almost five years into being here in Louisville,” says PLAY Louisville Co-Owner and Operator Micah McGowan, “we at PLAY continue to strive to bring not only a top-notch entertainment experience but also serve as a community center for the LGBTQ community.” Indeed, PLAY, like the Vogue did, allows those who may feel out of place a space to be themselves – with confidence and pride.

The Lips Live On

“Rocky Horror” has, in part, always been about celebrating individuality. Although what’s seen in the film and on stage is no longer shocking, the visualization and encouragement it gave LGBTQ individuals in the 1970s and ’80s was nearly unparalleled. It set a generation on a path to freedom and expression. “The memories from doing ‘Rocky’ are some of the best times of my life,” Cain remembers. “I am who I am today because of ‘Rocky’ at the Vogue. It gave me the strength to be who I am and know that it was okay to be different.”

While in their heyday “Rocky” events may have been a stepping stone to LGBTQ liberation, they are now, in 2018, a celebration of how far we’ve come. Acting Against Cancer’s “Rocky Horror” audiences at PLAY are indeed some of the original folks from the Vogue but also younger members of the community who are gay, trans, bisexual, straight, gender nonconforming – the list goes on. It is a show for everyone and ultimately about everyone – we all have pieces of ourselves we may be shy to freely express, but if there’s one thing “Rocky” tells us, “Don’t dream it, be it.”

“Rocky Horror” is without question ingrained in Louisville. It played such a tremendous part in multiple generations of locals and fortunately now continues to be a part of the area’s robust culture. Louisville is often regarded as a bastion of liberalism in Kentucky and it seems probably that the city’s embracing of “Rocky Horror” has in some way contributed to that. But regardless of its part in developing the progressive and forward-thinking mentality of Louisville, at its heart, “Rocky Horror” is just a whole lot of fun and unlike anything else. And after over 40 years of being a part of Louisville, it looks like the party’s only sure to continue. As Bob Markwell said of screening events, “It’s two hours of insanity that is just the most awesome time in the world.”

Rocky Poster WebUpcoming “Rocky Horror” Events

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at Copper & Kings Distillery: Friday, September 28: 9:00 p.m.

Rocky Horror Season Launch Party at Acting Against Cancer: Friday, October 5: 8 p.m.

“The Rocky Horror Show” at PLAY Nashville presented by Acting Against Cancer: Friday-Saturday, October 12-13: 8:00 p.m.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Speed Art Museum After Hours: Friday, October 19: 8:00 p.m.

“The Rocky Horror Show” at PLAY Louisville presented by Acting Against Cancer: Friday, Saturday, Wednesday; October 26, 27, 31: 9:00 p.m.

Author’s Note: Remy Sisk currently serves as the executive director of Acting Against Cancer and directs its productions of “The Rocky Horror Show.”

Forecastle’s Queer Party Cove

 

Gearing up for Forecastle Festival here at the Queer Kentucky office! We are grateful to have such an inclusive event filled with art, love, sustainability and music in our state. If you’re searching for the Queerest area of the festival, check out Party Cove, founded by Mo McKnight Howe, owner of Revelry Boutique Gallery.

Howe said, “Party Cove is Love and we have a super inclusive lineup this year.”

Between Queer weddings, genderless sea creatures, dancing and sweat, Party Cove is a Mecca for all Queer festival goers. See you there! We’ll probably throw you a condom or two.

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