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Let's be Tranny Town

01 March 2004
By SID PICKERING

Rocky Horror Picture Show creator Richard O'Brien wants to bring fishnetted fans from around the world to Hamilton next year.

The former Hamiltonian would like to stage the movie's annual convention in the city at the end of 2005 to mark its 30th anniversary.

He has faxed copyright holder Lou Adler for permission.

"I think it would be great, a lot of Rocky fans flying to New Zealand for the weekend," he said. "I will have future conversations with him (Mr Adler) -- I've no idea what he will say."

Rocky Horror conventions typically run for three days, and feature panels of people connected to the movie for fans to meet.

The call is certain to horrify some city councillors and members of the public who were last week opposed to a statue commemorating the cross-dressing cult hero, Riff Raff, who Mr O'Brien played in the movie.

One city councillor feared Hamilton would become known as "queer city" or "transexual town", and some letter writers to the Waikato Times said it was not suitable for children to see the statue.

Speaking from London, Mr O'Brien said those comments were generally from people standing on moral high ground... "those people generally get there without climbing it".

Since its premiere in 1975, Rocky Horror has become arguably the world's most loved cult movie.

Though Mr O'Brien regards Rocky Horror as a "naive and juvenile" work, he is not bothered it will be what he is most remembered for.

"I don't think I have any choice in that particular matter...I can never really back away from it, and I'd be rather loath to do so anyway."

Mr O'Brien emigrated to New Zealand from England as a 10-year-old in 1953, and returned to London at 22 to pursue a career in showbiz. He said his days watching B-movies in Hamilton's old Embassy theatre inspired him to write
Rocky Horror.

The city had changed markedly since his days as a Waikato Times paper boy in the early 1950s.

"I think it's fantastic...it's becoming very groovy."

The 61-year-old has had a long career in theatre and movies, including roles in Dark City, Ever After -- A Cinderella Story, and Spice World. He is working on a screenplay for a movie set in Auckland he describes as "Hitchcock meets Fear And Loathing In Los Vegas".

Mr O'Brien said it would be useful if the statue unveiling could be delayed until next year to coincide with the 30-year anniversary. But he did not want to interfere with Perry Foundation's plans to use it to mark its 50th
anniversary in Hamilton.

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