Confessions of a Transylvanian is a one-of-a-kind, backstage look at the greatest cult movie phenomenon of all time—the live Rocky Horror Picture Show—told by those who lived it.
Confessions is a moving snapshot of life in a Rocky Horror cast that captures the grit, language and teenage angst of a group of fishnet-clad performers as they explore a world where the only rule was: Don’t dream it. Be it.
So, get ready to take that jump to the left and that step to the right…and do the time warp again.
Genre: Nonfiction coming-of-age tale
Cold Coffee Review: Unique story, a memoir of men, women and yes, teenagers who worked and lived backstage as well as those who sat in the audience and participated in the live Rocky Horror Picture Show, performing their roles as a shadow cast in front of the big screen as the movie played.
Many of us remember this “cult movie phenomenon” but for those of you who either don’t remember, or are too young, let me quote the description of the Ultravision Theatre:
“A few words about the Ultravision Theatre before we proceed. Remember, this was in the early 1980s; in the days before the mega-plexes and maxi-houses. The Ultravision was an old-school auditorium movie house, the kind the I-Max theaters are now trying, unsuccessfully, to mimic. The screens at the Ultravision were simply enormous, stretching well over a hundred feet across and over thirty feet high, surrounded on all sides by a set of lush, red curtains that encircled the entire room.
The sound system was something else, too. These speakers didn’t simply squeak out the score of the film on some tinny little low-rent system; these babies blasted you right out of your f****** seat. If you saw “Raiders of the Lost Ark” at the Ultravision (which I did, five times), you knew what a true movie-going experience was supposed to be like: The sound hit you in the chest like a sledgehammer and the screen pinned your eyes open wide, filling your entire periphery, making it feel, at times, as if Indiana Jones was kicking you’re a**.
Another distinctive feature of the Ultravision was that it was its own building. It wasn’t connected to a mall or attached to some corporate complex. This entire structure—this huge, sprawling edifice—was built to be nothing more than a place to show movies. That was it. End of story.
Imagine you’re standing in a gigantic round room, fifty feet high and 300 feet across. Just a colossal seating area, okay? As you strolled past the door, you’d find yourself in a gently curving aisle on the outer perimeter of the theater. The seats themselves stretched across the entire width of the circle with no center aisle, so the rows are forty, fifty, sixty seats across. And there are dozens of rows.
The seats were big and comfy; old fashioned movie-house seats with plush cushions that actually rocked back and forth”.
Now let’s go back in time and focus on the stories of those who worked behind the scenes and even the audience members who were drawn into the drama of the live performance aspect. The language in this book fairly depicts the times, times where sex, drugs and self-expression were part of this cult movement. I quote.
“Clearly, joining the Rocky cast involved on-the-job training. We were going to learn how to swim, but the teaching method this cast employed was to throw you in the deep end of the pool, lob an anvil at you and wish you good luck.
In defense of our friends and colleagues in New York: Doing Rocky can get to be a drag after a while.
I know it sounds like Rocky blasphemy (if there is such a thing), but the truth is that performing the same show, week after week without any variation at all, can be draining and demoralizing. This is true of live theater, rock music and dolphin acts. Doing each and every piece of Rocky choreography, by rote, each and every night leads inevitably to boredom and stagnation. You think Keith Richards likes playing “Satisfaction” at every single concert while he’s on tour? No. He f****** hates it. But he does it because that’s what the people want. And, you know, for all the money and stuff.
Fortunately, the people who perform the Rocky show on a regular basis know that atrophy can set in after constant and mindless repetition. And their solution to this malady is: Mix things up every once in a while.”
If you have ever felt left out, ostracized especially in your youth, this story will strike accord in your heart. When all is said and done, this is a coming of age memoir as a young man finds he can be part of something spectacular and cultivate lifetime friendships.
I, Theodocia McLean, endorse Confessions of a Transylvanian: a story of Sex, Drugs and Rocky Horror by Kevin Theis and Ronald Fox. The characters are real, the stories are true and times have changed as this generation has moved on with their lives. As dramatic as this story is, it is a part of a generation’s history which this book chronicles. The authors invite you to visit “RockyConfessions.com/extras for pictures of the original Wild and Untamed Things along with a few more stories and other goodies from the Ultravision years”. This review was completed on December 3, 2015.
Amazon Customer Reviews
“Wake up, awake,” the voice called. “Reach for what has been laid before you by the Fates. Keep moving forward. Do not waste this time. Your life, good and noble squire, depends on it.
Tomorrow your journey begins, and thus begins the rest of your life. Your impact upon your world shall be no small matter. Exhaust yourself to gain safe passage and pray to God. Go now, in haste, and make thee ready.”
It is the Middle Ages. Rand wakes to find himself thrust into a time of violence and upheaval that grips Medieval England.
It becomes for him a journey of discovery, of growth, of love, and of learning. He must adapt to a lifestyle entirely foreign to him, and a culture he has only read about. He must adapt or die. Sword in hand, he charges into the most fantastic adventure of his life.
Genre: Historical reference guide, Fictional medieval time period with true historical references
Amazon Customer Reviews
Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Ronald Fox
In Theatre he studied the Bard’s work under Stephen Jenn, RSC – Old Vic Theatre.
In Film & TV, his global experience has afforded him the opportunity to work with world-class crew, directors, coordinators and talent.
As an Author, Mr. Fox’s wildly imaginative mind supports a prolific production of ongoing projects, spurred on by a tremendously supportive family and public.
In Public Speaking he is dynamic facilitator often sought for his ability to engage diverse audiences, deliver key insights, and create memorable takeaway moments.
What makes you proud to be a writer from Florida? The great thing about being a writer is you can do it anywhere. I live in Central Florida and find a lot to be inspired about. The beauty of Central Florida is an hour in any direction takes you to pristine beaches, conservation areas, towns that have stood the test of time for two centuries and flowing natural springs. Plus, a mere two hours away is the country’s oldest continuously inhabited city, Saint Augustine, a place rich with history. I like to tell stories that resonate. When we connect as writers and bring others into a world we’ve created, and we envelope them in that world, that’s magic.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? Like most authors, I’ve written ever since I discovered pen and paper. I have always crafted stories, mostly short. Reading Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth compelled me to write Oaken Rings.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? I spent a lot of time exploring my world as a kid. I grew up in a suburban area right on the edge of wilderness. A short bike ride would take me to a copse of forested land, and one of my favorite areas to visit had a creek that ran through it. This environment brought out the adventurer in me, a sensation I have successfully carried over to my storytelling.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? Oaken Rings was probably the first time I decided I had a story to tell, a story worth sharing with others.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? As much as I thought “giving wings to our baby” would be the most rewarding part of the book writing process, more so has been the constant and growing fan base. At the RHPS 40th anniversary convention in New York we were constantly beset by people wanting to meet us, get the book, take photos with us, and simply talk to us. It is uplifting to say the least
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? One of the most rewarding experiences is having the opportunity to speak about my research. When you work on a project that uses facts as your foundation, you are more likely to connect with your audience, who will be more eager to connect with you. For the book release party of Confessions of a Transylvanian, we had nearly one thousand people show up for two book readings, autograph sessions, and an after party. It was rewarding beyond expression to meet people from the Rocky community who were enthusiastic to be a part of the affair. In the weeks that passed we were comfortably blanketed by countless emails and posts from fans that enjoyed the story, and in some instances felt we were telling the story of everyone.
Just as thrilling as our fan base is to Jack and me, getting an endorsement for Confessions from Susan Sarandon (who played Janet in the film), followed by Barry Bostwick (who played Brad) thrilled our growing fan base as much as it delighted us.
How many published books do you have? I currently have two published books. The most recent is a collaborative endeavor titled Confessions of a Transylvanian. My first book is Oaken Rings.
Do you come up with your title(s) before or after you write the manuscript? For Confessions of a Transylvanian we worked on the book and had it nearly finished when the title came to us. With Oaken Rings I knew the title and the end of the book before I even started telling the story.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? Confessions of a Transylvanian is a nonfiction coming-of-age tale. This particular story had to be told in the first-person narrative (even though it was written by two people) because, in this case, truth was more amazing than fiction.
I don’t stick with one genre; I do however tend to write stories that use real locations as a teeterboard for launching my characters.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book (one book) that you are seeking promotion for? My co-author and longtime friend, Jack, and I both tossed around the idea of documenting some of the experiences we had had as a cast, and group of inseparable friends. When we lost one of our own this motivated us to quickly assemble the various stories and build a storyline by which to tell the world what it was like to be part of a shadow cast (even before the term existed). We sought to write a love letter to our cast, The Wild and Untamed Things, but also an open love letter to anyone who had ever been part of the Rocky Horror Picture Show in any form.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Writing is like film production. When you get an idea that won’t leave you alone, start to jot down the details so you can keep track of who’s who. Use a notebook or index cards to keep your locations and characters organized. The more work (pre-production) you do before you start the first draft of your story, the better prepared you’ll be as you embark on your word crafting journey.
Who is your favorite author and why? Ken Follett. His ability to walk you through a scene with tremendous detail allows the reader to see, feel, smell, and experience what is written.
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