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25th Anniversary Reunion
August 24, 2002



Inside our brilliant reunion programme
extra copies are


by Richard Andreoli

_____Panic swelled and chaos erupted. There must have been a hundred people, maybe two, screaming as they charged at Storm, Dean, Sami, Jason and me.
_____We’re gonna die! Ike would be first because his back’s fucked up and then the rest of us. Oh yes, we’re deader than Charles Gray.
_____“Get together!” someone shouted—I think Ryan—in the same sort of voice I imagined anyone on the sinking Titanic might have used; whether the real one or the one with Celine Dion’s music playing in the background, I can’t be too sure.
_____“Scoot together, ladies!” I joined in, urging the group of fresh-faced girls in front of me to save themselves and perhaps us as well. The chunky one with her blond hair pulled back in a smart little ponytail spun toward me, thrilled.
_____“I’m so excited to see you guys!”
_____That’s so sweet.
_____“My mom finally said I was old enough to come.”
_____Thus began The Rocky Horror Reunion at The Ken Cinema on August 24th. But I’m jumping the gun a bit.

_____AUGUST 10th: Mission Valley in San Diego. Amy Alexander and I rush frantically from the Goth store Hot Topic to the Goth store Torrid (for the plus-size girl like myself).
_____“I need a corset without breasts sewn in and fishnet stockings, preferably ones with a seam up the back,” I say to the perky pierced-nose gal behind the counter. She didn’t even blink and said she was sorry, but they don’t sell corsets without the boobs anymore. Over to Victoria’s Secret. Same deal, this time we speak with a sexy woman in league with, but not as attractive as, Susanna Anderlohr-Pearce.
_____“Without breasts?” she asked, genuinely confused.
_____“It’s for me,” I explained and she nodded.
_____How times have changed. I remember first walking into a store looking for fishnets and being petrified of what the saleswoman would think of me. Now I was petrified that my mission to find a complete Floorshow costume would take so long that we’d miss happy hour at Hamburger Mary’s. As it turned out, we couldn’t find the right corset. It was a return to the old days that brought success. Amy simply lost patience, bought some fabric and, 30 minutes later, I was ready to go. It really shouldn’t have surprised me considering she and Todd Mullin sewed the first Space Suits I ever remember seeing. Then again, this whole event now seemed so surreal that I could no longer predict anything.
_____I’d often fantasized about a Rocky Reunion, and with it there would be drama, flair, and a return to fabulousness for all involved. However, when Michael Reed first contacted me, the event itself was so far off that it didn’t seem possible. It was still a fond dream. Now that it was really happening, it was no longer exciting, but strange and frightening. This couldn’t really be happening, could it? We couldn’t really be trying to pull this off, could we?
_____It was at that moment in Mission Valley that I realized the only thing keeping me from panic was grounding myself in memories of the glory days at Rocky: smoking out before a show, keeping out of Terri’s way (or else!), staying up late to work on costumes, lugging props from one location to another and Margot licking her lips. These slices of the past arose like choice gifts and reassured me we could handle any problem that arose. This fantasy I’d long harbored would become a welcome reality… if only I could remember my role.

_____AUGUST 17th, I’m making one of many phone calls to Amy Alexander.
_____"Okay I have a question," I say. "Did I ever perform at Rocky Horror? Did I ever do the character of Brad in my entire life? Because I don’t know his left from his right on-screen actions! And originally I was gonna learn the whole part, you know, just in case Mark gets sick or something, but now I’m only focusing on the second half of the movie because I DON’T HAVE THE SKILL TO MEMORIZE THE WHOLE ROLE!"
_____“I know,” she agreed. “Todd and I keep forgetting…”
_____“This is why I have no career!” I interrupted. “All those years I thought I was a star at Rocky. In reality, everyone was just being gracious by allowing me to perform. I was like the retarded kid that no one tags out in softball; they just let him run the bases. I am that retarded kid!” I think I started crying at this point. “So, God forbid, if something happens to Mark Englehart we are fucked, Amy. Do you hear me? Fucked! Because I can’t do Brad in the first half, and Dean can’t do it and then get into Frank makeup in time to have sex with me in the second half, and…”


_____Okay, I eventually learned my role because, thank goodness, Brad mostly stands around or has his back to the audience in the second half of the film. How convenient.
_____Nevertheless, when I arrived for the noon rehearsal on the 24th, I wasn’t the only wreck in the crowd. Ilana “Sami” Goldberg showed up and we excitedly jumped around like two little girls (which isn’t that far from the truth, but whatever) because we were each other’s Brad and Janet. Then we immediately sunk into our mutual worries that we were going to suck big donkey dick because each hoped the other knew where to stand on stage at which time. Vicki Wygal joined us, because, as the second half Columbia, we’re all pretty much together. It turned out, together in our confusion and fear. Then Amy Berner, who was my Janet for the longest time when I did Rocky, tried talking us down like a counselor at a rehab clinic. It did no good, and those sweet memories I was cultivating weren’t helping much either.
_____Finally, I said, “Look! If we mess up, what’s the big deal? It’ll be over in a second, and the audience probably won’t notice. _____Remember, it’s only Rocky.”

_____Only Rocky.

_____Were it “only Rocky” would any of us have returned? Would I have written Yohann a huge letter describing the events in detail so that he could experience the evening while sailing in Mexico? Would any of us have spent the money, the time or the energy to come? In some cases, having to connive our partners to come along and share in the night? I think not. Even though I’d said this was “only Rocky”, we all knew it was bigger than just a night up on a stage. It was a moment to grasp a shred of that joy we’d once held 10 years ago.
_____Besides, the cast from the La Paloma would be watching, and I’d be damned if I was going to do a shitty Floorshow so some young bloods could make fun of us geriatric gigolos and jezebels!
I eventually walked into the Ken with Andy Cameron and Michael Reed behind me. The sight of the empty theater seemed to pull me in and embrace in some strange, familiar way: the scent of old popcorn, dust, and cushions that probably hadn’t been cleaned in years. While I’m not one to give a “spirit” to locations, I swear there was a small sigh of relief that we’d returned home. It was immediately ripped from my consciousness as Andy and Michael shouted…

____“OH ROCKY!”

_____I had forgotten the ritual blessing we yelled to announce our entry into the theater. They took me off guard with it, but that same comfortable feeling quickly returned and a chill ran down my back. I wanted to cry, pleased to be present.
Time for introductions…
_____Todd Mullin’s at a wedding, he’ll be here tonight. Amy Alexander has been a trooper through all of this, and still talks to me even though I’m a freak. Susanna is still as beautiful as ever, and the only one who remembers what the hell to do. Over there is RJ, the friendliest guy around who I really wish I could’ve seen perform back in the day because he’s DAMN fine. Terri Ferris IS BACK and she’s just as I remembered. Dean and I met this morning, but have so many mutual friends that you’d think we were gay. Laura and I met years ago, but I’ve fried a few brain cells since then. There’s Ryan, who’s led the glamorous life abroad and is gentleman enough not to gloat about it. There’s Storm, my personal savior with a battery-powered fan because the building’s hotter than a two-dollar hooker in the middle of Mardi Gras. (What? They STILL haven’t fixed the AC?) There’s Ann who’s my second favorite person with her innovative ideas on how to smuggle Valium over the border. What would Rocky be without a little drug talk? There’s Chris, who is no longer “little”, and deals with dead bodies for a living (which I find ironic because he’s playing Rocky and no one seems to get it). And Jason, who’s got the gossip on all things going on and there’s nothing I love more than some good dirt!
_____Then there’s Mark, the first half Brad who shares my fondness for Yohann. He told me the story of the first time he met Yohann. (Apologies, this is from memory.) “Everyone was out of town for an SCA War and Michael Reed needed a cast, so he started pulling people out of the audience and grabbed Yohann for Rocky. He’d only seen the film twice. During the death scene, with Margot playing Frank, Yohann picked her up and carried her around the stage while growling at the audience. THAT was the best Rocky I’d ever seen.”
_____The glorious history and dirty secrets played a part in the rehearsal, the dinner, and the actual performance. We all swapped tales that began with, “Remember when…” We wanted to know who dated who, who screwed who, who experienced the gay butt love but didn’t admit it, who did drugs then, who did drugs now, which ones, do you have any and on and on. They were grand memories, made all the more important because Rocky was the place where we were the stars, the “in crowd”, the (Super) heroes, if you will. I always feel bad for the people out in the “real world”, the cool kids who never got to experience what we all did by attending Rocky. I was thrilled at the knowledge that tonight - “Is the night!” (SNAP!) - when a whole new group of people would get to experience Rocky Horror because of us.

_____AUGUST 24th, 7:45am: the morning of the reunion and there’s a handful of us doing The Time Warp for KUSI News. Anthony Pearce, who I’ve long felt was the glue that held much of the San Diego cast together, is dressed as Frank. Anthony, Andy Cameron and Michael Reed are doing their best to promote the show, and yet I can’t help but feel that the rest of us look sad and pathetic as we dance in the rising sun. We’re gonna tank bigger than Glitter. I know it!
_____The reunion dinner brought some wonderful moments. For a brief time, I forgot my growing fear that I’d never have the time to change from being Medusa-ed into a Floorshow costume. I got to meet Ike’s gorgeous fiancée, who fit in with the group as though she’d been there the whole time. Glen Clabaugh and his wife Lori were their ever-wonderful selves, mixing in the humor of our shared past with the grounding of who we’d all become. Janette Gomez looked happier and sexier than I’d seen her in years. I also saw Janalee, Andi, Eileen and Patti, the unstoppable “Mom”, plus more people than I can think of right now. There were many more when we got to the theater…
_____“Oh my God there are more people here than at a…”
_____“Than at a…”
_____There were so many people; I couldn’t come up with a snappy line.
_____Spotlights, news crews, THE DREAM POLICE!!!, and scores upon scores of fans. There were people who shouted my name. I have no fucking clue who they were, but God bless them anyway for coming. Or Goddess bless, because Anthony and I know a few of you out there are Wiccan.
_____My only sadness was missing Lisa Eckert-Mette and James Mette who’d performed my first night at Rocky. Back in the day, it had been their encouragement that prompted myself and so many others to join the cast.
_____The pressure was on, the nerves now real, and the cast was brought into the theater through the back stage door, all of us wondering why we never had that convenience back when we performed Rocky every week. We put out The La Paloma’s props and costumes that made our show look good. Todd and his (golden, lovely and very wonderful) wife, Christine, arrived and it felt like home again at The Ken. Laura’s Trixie looked so hot I couldn’t stand it! Brad Brown arrived which was a thrill to those of us who came into the cast later, but remember tales of his exploits.
_____Then the rules were announced…

____Fuck the rules!

____Um… many people did, as evidenced by everything that was thrown and squirted that evening. But what could The Ken do? Not let us have Rocky there next week?
_____The cast was introduced, and after an eternity, my name was called. I tossed aside the curtain and marched on out as though I were Miss America. Yes, it might have been a bit much, a bit over the top, but what the hell! What if the things I said to Amy, about me being the retarded cast member, were true? After being cut from my 2 minute stint on The Anna Nicole Show, what if Rocky was my only fifteen minutes of fame? Well dammit, I was gonna take it like a man, enjoy the moment and do my pretty wave in front of the 400+ audience.
_____The night ended all too quickly. An instant. A snapshot of our lives.
_____Funny, when looking back on the years I attended and performed at Rocky, they seem similar. Sweet. Finished at just the right time so as not to spoil.
_____With that, let me thank Michael Reed, without whom this long-sought dream of a reunion would never have been.
It’s fitting that there was a break in the film during “Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me”, because what would Rocky be with out a damaged print? It was nostalgic to have Amy Berner and Susanna save the day before Floorshow by helping us get into costume like this was our first night all over again. It makes sense that Sami and I would be told there was no “Superheroes” in this print of the film, because it allowed us to have a last-minute “Oh shit!” moment when it unexpectedly came on screen. The most perfect moment was when the entire Ken Theater lit up with glowing luminescence during “There’s a Light.” I knew then that we’d all sparked a bit of magic. I’d always imagined we’d done the same thing over 10 years ago, and tonight the theater itself was gracious enough to give us that magic in return.
_____Times have indeed changed. Kerri came up to me after the show and said, “You don’t feel like you’re 30 right now, do you?” We laughed. No, especially when she got up at the end of the show to dance with me like old times and found the cast bowing. That was certainly never a part of Rocky. After the movie, a guy asked if he could touch my ass; trust me, that NEVER happened before at this theater. Then again, it’s a different time now. We’ve changed. Thankfully, the people we became were influenced in no small part by our time at that quirky midnight movie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

# # #
Richard Andreoli


_____There are things you think about doing and things you actually do.
_____Like The Lord of the Rings. Countless people have dreamed of converting it to film. Some have even tried. But despite attempts by Rankin/Bass and Ralph Bakshi, everyone has come short of the mark. Until now. It blows my mind, honestly, how concisely, how clearly Peter Jackson and team have translated such a huge body of work. And, amazed as I am at the brilliance of their editorial choices, the perfection of their casting, the sheer balls at tackling so monstrous an endeavor, two words capture my awe.
_____Not me.
_____I wouldn’t even know where to start.
_____There are things you think about doing and things you actually do.
_____It’s like the angry letter you pound out before sitting calmly down to the one you’ll actually send. (Okay, these days the instant gratification and anonymity of the Internet has granted every puissant with a pulse the courage to spew their angst all over the rest of us…but we’ll discuss the Yahoo chat group some other time). Suffice to say that a modicum of common sense (a misnomer if ever their was one) should make clear that there are some things you thing about doing and other things you actually do.
_____Which brings me to the Ken Rocky Reunion. Sure, I’d thought about it. Not a day goes by that some ghost from the past, for good or ill, doesn’t beckon me. I’m constantly digressing into people searches online, usually in fruitless attempts to track down the flesh to whichever specter has tapped my shoulder today. Come to think of it, I don’t know that I have ever successfully found an old Rocky friend. But they sure have found me. All thanks to Michael.
_____Because man, there are thinks you think about, things to ponder in lonely hours, dreams to entertain in waking and in slumber, possibilities you juggle with priorities and always come out in the end with the same sane (and let’s face it, often lazy) conclusion.
_____You’re not gonna really do them.
_____Unless you’re Michael. Unless you have no fear. Unless compiling all the data, searching ending phone lists and cold-calling strangers is something you’re good at. Something you love enough to dedicate a year to. Something the scope of which, despite looming over you like the fiery shadows of Mount Doom (that’s a Lord of the Rings allusion for those of you who are paying attention. It’s that whole closure thing. Forget it) does not deter you. Does not, in fact, send you screaming for the comfort of your own little microverse. How many of us would tackle this beast? Which of us would even know where to begin? And who could rekindle dead leads after ever wellspring has run dry?
_____Not me.
_____I did my bit. A lot of us did. Well, a few of us did. Michael knows to whom he owes the greatest thanks. Because whether you attended the dinner or not, or liked the food or not (although I got shivers of joy learning it was Pat and Oscar’s), or were in the show, or in the audience, or in the audience wishing you were in the show, or in the show wishing you were in the audience, or in the theater wishing you were sitting at home, or sitting at home pissing and moaning about not being in the show, or sitting at home bitching about not making it, or sitting at home leaning on your crutch that with six months of warning you couldn’t forego a half dozen jaunts to Jack in the Box and save up the cost of a ticket, or kicking yourself for being so unbelievably incommunicado that even Michael the mole couldn’t burrow you out in time and you found out about the whole thing too late to go, or if you just blew it off altogether deciding that you have “moved on” (unlike the rest of us). No offense taken, in case you were wondering. Even if you fall into some ambiguous and unexplored middle ground, you still owe Michael a huge debt of gratitude. The connections alone are worth their weight in gold. Maybe you’ve already hooked up with old friends, rekindled old romances or just snuck in that quickie with the one you always wished you’d scored with when your waistline was still fit for lingerie. Perhaps you boycotted it all believing it bore no relevance to you. You’ll never need to talk to any of those people again, so there.
_____But I have ghosts every day.
_____There are things you think about doing and things you actually do. And then there are things that you cannot, in a million years, being who you are today, believe you ever did. You hurt the wrong person. Or you let the right one go. Or something somewhere sometime reminds you of how much that person made you laugh.
_____Michael found them for you.
_____So I’m not even talking about the show here. This isn’t about the miracle of media coverage or how many butts we actually packed into seats that night. There’s no doubt that coordinating rehearsals, and costumes, and props, and actors, and lighting, and sound, and TV spots, and print articles, and videotaping, and photographing, and a tech crew, and theater management, and flyers, and roles, and schedules, and just getting a damn copy of the film was a hell of a lot of work, even for a guy with a heart the size of Canada.
_____And it’s not just about the hours spent transferring the hundreds of images we all sent him in different formats, or burning and labeling the discs, or writing reminder emails and updates, or calling caterers, or forging and maintaining the website, or getting the hall, or printing the nametags, or mixing the music (for the dinner and the show), or the million other little details that I don’t even know about, but if I did my head would explode, but somehow he managed it all and is still doing it, as he monitors the chat list and prepares the video compilation that most of us probably didn’t even have the foresight to realize we’d need.
_____Okay, maybe it is all that. Because when you put it all together you come out with a damn impressive truth. Michael accomplished something in one year that was bigger than what most of us achieve in a lifetime. He manufactured a miracle; a once in a lifetime chance at time travel and a unique, in the true sense of the word, memory that affected lives.
_____I’ve always preached that the Rocky phenomenon is larger than any one performer. Which is why this tirade isn’t about my personal memories of the reunion. Sure, I thought about it. But there are things you think about doing and, well, things you will never forget that someone else did for you.

Anthony Pearce
October 2002

back up to the lab!