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Rocky Horror Picture Show in Second Life


Nostalgia hit hard tonight with a short (but interrupted) Rocky Horror Picture Show party in Second Life.

RHPS has been a cult phenomenon for over a decade, inviting audience participation and becoming an old ritual for the college scene. Wikipedia has the obligatory cultural info at

I first encountered RHPS during my old days in computer bulletin boards (BBSes), in this case around 1990-1994. Tons of my friends and associates online at the time were RHPS fans and some even played roles onstage. The Rialto Theater in Raleigh, near the Five Points area hosted the event every Friday. I’m surprised to say that a history page exists for the Raleigh crew (I didn’t get that far,) but I did go to school with Jesse London and hope he’s doing well these days.

These were important years for me, not only because of the cultural aspects of college kids throwing food in a theater (although that was very enticing and rebellious,) but largely because these were the years where I was first breaking away from childhood and developing independence from home and the small town of Clayton where I grew up. The 90’s were it! Despite all the bad music, I was living it up.

Anyway, back to the Second Life aspect… I found it in the Events tab of the Search feature in SL, dropped by, and was amazed that we were having this time honored tradition online. Not only that, but the movie was streaming onto a virtual screen! It made a signifcant point about something I had chatted with another SL’er about a few weeks ago. She pointed out that the value of SL, amongst other things, was that it promoted experiential participation, as opposed to simply streaming a video to your computer display.

While I didn’t know anyone else in the room tonight, it was clear that we had all experienced this event before in different places and at different times, and now we were all sharing it again – in a virtual movie theater, running somewhere between here and the west coast.

Then, naturally, the Macbook decided it had had enough of that virtual craziness, and the Second Life app crashed out. The Macbook didn’t have the horsepower, I suspect, to keep everything together, and something likely fell out of sync along the way and it just died.

That’s fine, it was enough to dig up some old, fond, memories, and now I’m wishing for a time warp of my own…

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