I could do the Time Warp all night, darling, but this corset is killing me.

January 3, 2010

I let a lot of things go when Viking Woman and I embarked on our Damn The Pension World Tour earlier this century. One of those was a 15-year career as a syndicated movie reviewer. In the line of duty, I once sat through five movies in a single day. My ass has never forgiven me.

My movie viewing is now done in the comfort of my own lounge, courtesy of a nearby movie store and its collection of DVDs. Truth be told, I can’t afford a ticket at the local cinema. I’m also deathly afraid of encountering my worst nightmare: a grotesque (yes, I did just make up that collective noun) of teenagers, preening, giggling, chatting, answering their cellphones, throwing popcorn, kicking the back of my seat and just generally ruining the viewing experience for every other living person in the theatre. Little bastards that they are.

I made an exception to my stay-at-home rule last week when Viking Woman and I, clutching freebie tickets, actually left the house of an evening and rode a red double-decker bus to Havelock North and the Black Barn OpenAir Cinema.

This is the sixth season Black Barn Vineyards has hosted this series in its Amphitheatre but the first time we had participated in one of Hawke’s Bay’s summer traditions.

Of the eight movies on the schedule, we chose The Rocky Horror Picture Show because, well, it’s fun, we know all the words, and a young Viking Woman once tapdanced at the front of a theatre during midnight screenings, dressed as the character Magenta in a French maid’s ensemble of her own making.

There were probably close to 400 of us in the Amphitheatre, camped out on assorted chairs and cushions. Some people had dressed up as characters from the movie, including a group of drama students from the local high school. There were also a number of older men who arrived in corsets, garters and fishnet stockings — as worn in the movie by Tim Curry’s Dr. Frank-N-Furter — who probably thought it was a good idea after a glass or four while still at home, and then blanched at having to parade in front of a wolf-whistling crowd as they scurried to plop down in the nearest available space.

One costumed young lady named Olivia stopped to chat with us. While her body said Hello, I’m 24!, her birth certificate said, Back away, perv, I’m 17!

You could buy popcorn or cotton candy or ice cream and, because we were in a vineyard, wine by the glass or bottle. Viking Woman opted for the latter, plus two glasses, of course, lest anyone think she was going to slurp back the entire contents by herself.

The kids danced during the Time Warp scene and some people,  led by Viking Woman, sang along, but, for the most part, people just sat quietly and watched.

I felt bad for those in costume when a wind that had been merely annoying during a hot, summer day, suddenly turned cold once darkness descended. And then, in the midst of the final musical number, the rainstorm that had been promised all day, finally arrived.

Cue a mass exodus to the parking lot. I scrambled to fold up my chair and gather up our things and protect my camera from the wet. For her part, Viking Woman simply draped one of our picnic blankets over her head and sat there giggling.

She was either reliving her youthful exuberance or feeling the effects of the wine. Either way, she was enjoying herself and that, when it comes right down to it, is exactly why we were there.

We had so much fun, in fact, that we’re going back again this week for another movie. This time we’re taking warmer jackets. And an umbrella.


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