by Kimberly Lugar

I still remember the exact date--probably only because it was New Year's Eve, but that's beside the point. It was 1996, about to become 1997, and my friend Ashley and I were drowning our loneliness in pizza and buffalo wings, trying to make each other believe that we didn't WANT to be invited to a party, and channel surfing. There was absolutely nothing on; I guess no one wanted to compete with the big ball of lights in Time Square, so we started on past the networks, past the Disney Channel and MTV and into the dark recesses of the upper numbers. As usual, there was nothing on channels 1-37, but when we got to 38, my life changed forever. Channel 38 is VH1, and they were showing RHPS that night.

We started waching it because it looked so stupid, so insane, so "why did they make a movie out of THIS?", that we might just like it. The only problem was, it was more than halfway over. Neither of us even knew that THIS was the infamous midnight movie we had only heard the name of, much less who the characters were and what quasi-plotline had come before; we were good, innocent people, and all we knew was that a woman in only a bra and slip seducing a man in gold briefs and SINGING about it was a rebellious thing to watch. It completely went against the images we had so carefully created for ourselves, so our eyes were glued to the screen. This was BEFORE we ever saw Frank.

We watched the rest of the movie in rapt attention, never really sure who anyone was, but sure that this was the strangest, most sensual, most FUN movie either of us had ever seen. And then we found out what movie we had been watching. So, this was the ultimate audience participation movie? Our next step, then, would be to participate.

Several weeks passed without either of us mentioning that night. I wanted to rent the video, ro better yet, buy it, and watch the whole thing, but I still had that good-girl image to protect. Surely all of the salespeople at the video store knew what kind of a movie it was... did I dare let the world know how much I had enjoyed it? No, I didn't. I didn't see the beginning of RHPS until I told my friend Kristen about it. She had heard of it before, and was fascinated by what I told her, so she bought the video and we watched it that night. When the lips appeared, I was shocked. It was extremely disconcerting , watching these lips with no face sing to us. But I liked the song. That was possibly the one thing that kept me on that couch: it was a musical, and it was okay to like musicals. Sophisticated people liked musicals, and that was all anyone else had to know about it in order for me to preserve my image.

Even so, it frightened me in a way, and it was MONTHS this time before I saw it again, this time on Comedy Central. I taped it and watched it over and over again, and even learned some AP lines from the Internet. Audience participation was now key--I had to learn more AP lines! Even though there is still no theatre around here that shows Rocky, I knew I would find away to use this newfound knowledge. Again on New Year's Eve, I did. This time Ashley was not the only witness, although she was there. Kristen came and supplied the video (since I had learned that Comedy Central edited it to death), and several other people who only knew what I had told them came to my house and watched the movie. A couple of us participated, and on that night we started the petition. I painstakingly typed out 500 numbered lines for signatures and we began circulating it. Right now we are right at the 250 mark, and when we get the other half finished we plan to contact a theatre. But that isn't enough, as any Rocky fan should know. The promise of seeing it in a theatre SOMEDAY will not quiet the little voice in your head that screams, every Saturday night, "You should be at Rocky right now!"

The way I quieted the voice for one weekend was almost entirely a matter of chance. If I hadn't happened to mention RHPS to someone who was barely an acquaintance, if he hadn't somehow come in possesion of a flyer for a one-time-only showing at a nearby college, if I had made a commitment for that night... I would still be a virgin. Scary thought. Fortunately, all of those things DID happen, and on a day when I had dragged myself out of bed resolved to get through another boring day, I lost my virginity and gained a whole new outlook on life.

After practically walking on air at work, worrying obsessively over the de-virginizing ceremony at home, and realising that I couldn't possibly come up with a decent costume in time, I drove myself and Ashley to the college. We got there an hour before they would even let us in, so we stood in the hallway and sang "Science Fiction/Double Feature" until the doors opened and we entered another world. Everyone was dressed outrageously, even if they didn't have a costume, and most of the people there were Time Warping, singing the songs, and spelling out characters' names cheerleader-style, even before the movie started. I was right at home. It was on that night that I finally realised that image is nothing, and that as long as I was at Rocky I could be whoever and whatever I wanted. So I took off my shirt and danced around in only a bra for the rest of the night. It wasn't much, but it was a step, the defining step that marked my release.

There was no de-virginizing ceremony, probably because most of the people there were virgins, so all of my fears had been for nothing. In fact, I knew more AP lines than most people there, although nearly everyone figured out "Asshole!" and "Slut!" before the night was over. We threw things, spayed water, and forgot that certain words were unacceptable in normal society. For one glorious night, I forgot that society existed--and I loved it!

I haven't been to Rocky since, but I've seen it on video, with as much participation as I can do in my own house. It's not the same, but I guess it's better than nothing. I scrapped the Comedy Central tape and finally broke down and bought the video. The guy at the store commended me for my good taste. I also bought so many Rocky-related CDs that no one else can believe it, and my desperate search for Shock Treatment ended when I realised that I just had to buy it and ordered it from Blockbuster. I've seen it 5 or 6 times, and I love it in its own way, but I've never been compelled to participate. In all aspects of my life I try to live by my newfound motto: "Don't dream it, be it." And the petition is still coming along. Someday, thanks to that one fateful New Year's Eve, we will have Rocky here, or I will die trying!

Written by: Kimberly Lugar