June 3rd, 2009

Allah Sulu-Powerpuff

Con Story Part III: Phantom of the Paradise

On Saturday Saturday afternoon (16 May 2009) at the Celluloid Jam convention in Cincinnati (actually, it was over the line into Kentucky; but that's still considered part of "Greater Cincinnati" just as some people consider Rhode Island and New Hampshire to be suburbs of Boston), there was a showing of the 1974 Brian De Palma movie Phantom of the Paradise with a live floorshow cast. There were three movies performed with a live cast that weekend; the others being Shock Treatment and, of course, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I don't usually perform in movie floorshows at conventions (as I mentioned earlier, I have thus far never actually performed in Rocky Horror at a Rocky Horror convention), but a number of people (including Q) told me that I had to play the part of Arnold Philbin. I applied for, and got, the part; I'm always keen to try something new. One of the reasons I never perform in Rocky Horror at conventions – in fact, I rarely even watch it at conventions – is because I've seen it so many bloody times and played every single part in it (including several of the inanimate objects). Rocky Horror conventions always end with a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which I find boring and anticlimactic, and I generally find somewhere else to be. But I digress. Anyway, I got the part, so I had to learn it (not easy, since I've never been that fond of Phantom of the Paradise so I didn't know it nearly as well as certain other people to whom I'm married) and assemble the costumes (for which Q did the lion's share of the work – every time someone at the con complimented me on my costumes, I told them that she gets the credit). Anyway, for a second-tier character, Philbin has an awful lot of costume changes. Three pairs of pants, four jackets, and God only knows how many shirts (along with shorts, a bishop outfit, scarves, etc.) that he mixes and matches into a different combination in every scene. (I decided not to even bother trying to keep up with the different pairs of shoes and boots he wore; a couple of times I was out on stage in my socks because I didn't even have time to get shoes back on at all.) Seriously, the man has more costume changes than Frank-N-Furter, often with less time in which to do them. (Out of the entire Phantom cast, I think only bmajors had more changes than me – plus, she also had make-up to worry about. Seriously, let's all give her a hand.) I had a couple of sheets of paper with me listing which clothes I wore in each scene, in order; but it was dark backstage so I couldn't read the bloody thing. Anyway, there was a lot of running around, quick changes, occasional let entrances, and a whole lot of stress – and I loved it. I was so freaking happy once it was over, but I loved it. And once the show was over, I took the bag of Philbin costumes (and Q's bag of Swan costumes) and stuffed them in the trunk of my car (rather than go all the way around the building to get from the convention hall to our room, there was actually a quicker short cut through the parking lot outside) so there would be less packing to do Sunday morning. Anyway, I didn't get any pictures of the Phantom of the Paradise show (what with being in it), though I got a few pictures of the rehearsal (which are at the top, here) Saturday morning. Below the cut are (for my personal reference) a series of photos from a variety of con-goers, all cropped and resized into a consistent 800x600 resolution, and in chronological order of the show from start to finish (best as I can remember). I don't have the con program with me, so I can't place names to all of the faces, but I will identify at least where each of the photos came from.

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