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MYSTERIES


















Do you ever wonder...?
















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I think I should tell you how I got the stage name “Auntie PanPan”.

Firstly, it was NOT from the Anne Rice Vampire series-however, that seemed to help later on in life to be a vampire performer and have the ironic stage name of ‘Pandora’, go figure. So thanks to Mrs. Rice for that.

But no.

There was a deeper meaning that that.

I was a studying history fanatic in college…at the same time I had quit performing the audience participation version of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ circuit because I had bigger fish to fry. In fact, I was just finishing the stage version of the Rocky Horror Show…So I wanted to do more with my life that just be a participant under the silver screen. The manager of this particular movie house that I had been working at was losing money at their theater, when ‘Rocky Horror’ was the only theatre screen people were going to see on the midnight movie circuit…but he had four movie screens at his theatre. I had recently had a bad spell at the midnight movie circuit and did not have the urge to belong in that scene any longer. It was weird watching this “war” between Friday and Saturday night “casts” battling it out against each other. Not my cup of tea. After speaking with the manager of the theater, they had an idea on how to get the other movie screens to be used also on the midnight movie circuit. This is when myself and other freaky friends of mine got involved.

Now, please, bear in mind I love the movie version of Rocky Horror…I played in the audience participation version as Magenta for four years and one season as the stage version also as Magenta/Trixie. I was also a rep. for the fan club in part of southern California…so let’s put the rumor to bed that I am anti rocky. I just hate audience participation cast politics. I worked in the trenches. It was my first flash into improv that helped me get where I am today. I learned many things from playing these venues. I believe that Moulin Rogue has this kind of Midnight Movie potential…if given half a chance. But I am rambling.

The point is, I have no issues with the arts…just some of the artists. Here were casts being petty with their meaningless lives. If a person’s only claim to fame is copy cat someone under a movie screen? This is a problem. I love Elvis impersonators too, but don’t let ideation in ANY form consume your own life or personality.

So me and my other outcast friends were asked to participate in other films in the theatres besides Rocky Horror…let the other casts ‘duke it out’ in their sequined jihad.

Remember AuntiePanPan’s golden rule number one:

If it stops being fun…stop. If it’s a hobby and does not pay you? Either find a way to make it pay, or don’t let it consume you.

The manager of the theatre told us of the situation regarding the need for more people to attend the other three theatre screens or otherwise they would have to shut down the midnight movie circuit altogether due to funds. So we got involved.

There were three flicks they had access to.

One I believe was “Pink Floyd’s :The Wall.” I was not involved in this personally…however I did go to the flick one time and the results were fantastic.

I know the potheads just LOVED it.

I will never forget seeing a large podium with gigantic hammer guard banners and bondage SS troop go go dancers gyrating to the tunes of “dirty woman”. A simply fantastic job!

I recently had a flashback of this when I saw Marilyn Manson Re-enact the podium scene.. For I think it was for “The Beautiful People”. I can’t remember.

The second film was Animal House. Oh My Gods. I only attended this re-enactment twice. But it was definitely worth it when I got the chance.

I think the theatre still does this movie when the nearby college starts back up in the Fall. After the second time attending, you could NOT find an empty seat in the house. It was full. The theatre came up with a great idea that the admission was only one dollar per person if you showed up dressed in a toga.

Needless to say there was a run on bed sheets at the nearby thrift stores.

Whenever the toga party scene came on…everyone went NUTS!!!

When the song “Shout” came on, people were dancing in the aisles screaming and howling. A real keg party type atmosphere. It was fun.

I think the height of it was when their cast brought in the “Eat Me” float onto the stage the second night I attended.

I probably would have attended more…but I had my own pet project brewing.

The third film. Which consisted of motorcycles, a lot of eyeliner, and pointy teeth.

The night we chose to perform (two weeks later after the concept came up in the middle of the night at a special midnight diner) was the same night a very angry RHPS (short for rocky horror picture show) cast was beginning their pre show. I don’t know why they were all angry. I could have cared less. We had already set up our theatre gig right across from them. We had already set up our electric candelabras and dry ice inside. The fog machine was already starting up outside on the corner. We had had two hours to prepare our ‘show’ with folding screens and were ready.

Just as the other cast was unloading their gear…with cell phones and walkie talkies in hand, we were on. You see, we had a hearse. I also owned a limo at the time. My friend that had the hearse was in on the project…he even had red neon emitting from under the hearse revealing an evil glow from the undercarriage. With organ music booming from the limo the hearse driver (dressed as a zombie who said not one word the entire time) opened the door to pull out from the back of the hearse a large purple shag coffin (yes, pimp purple!) when he pulled the coffin out, it landed with a large “THUD”. I drove up in the limo and opened the door to two scantily clad naughty nuns in mini skirts and fangs.

What can I say, I am a sucker for cheezy.

The zombie hearse driver dragged the coffin with one hand and went into the theatre. The two nuns following close behind, whilst flirting with everyone in line waiting for tickets or popcorn.

The organ music was still playing…however, we had a beautiful remix of a song from the film we were spoofing.

Off in the distance, you could hear the faint sound of motorcycles.

Four motorcycles driving out of the fog and scared the holy crap out of everyone.

Vampires.

Two rambo-esque dressed kids yanked off their trench coats and started passing out fliers to various audience members of the whole theatre carrying their holy water pistols and cloves of garlic necklaces. Warning everyone that there were monster blood suckers amongst us tonight…and they could be anywhere!

The key thing with out audience participation was exactly that. We participated with the audience…it was not an ego thing. We wanted to have a good time and scare the hell out of someone in the process.

Yes. We chose to do audience participation to ‘Lost Boys’.

This was the official beginning of my career as Pandora, the undead limo driver.

The thing also with the participation, was that no one in the audience ever knew who was going to turn into a vampire that night and scare the crap out of them. A tip of the hat to William Castle and Ballyhoo.

We drove the motorcycles up and down the parking lots scaring the hell out of some people, vampires do that. We had tarot card reading gypsies going up to people in the lines and telling them that they had ‘the mark’ and beware of impending doom.

It was truly a sight to see.

Needless to say. We ended up playing not only Friday night, but Sat. night as well. I think we had 200-220 people a night for six months. We were a hit.

We also needed a name.

Soon it became known or rumored that there were real vampires in our theatre group. We fed into this hype because it brought more people to the theatre…we were developing our own stage personalities outside of the film…the film was just a place to vent our inside hidden personalities…kind of like how some men realized they liked wearing woman’s clothes when seeing Tim Curry dressed up in Rocky Horror the first time. It’s okay to be different.

I was Pandora. The name even though it is a Greco-Roman name, I fell in love with the name in my history class. I came across the name Pandora as the name of the HMS Pandora. The boat was commanded by Admiral George Hamilton. The Pandora was also a tavern in Whitechapel near the murder of Mary Kelly of Jack the Ripper fame. Actually it was called “The Pandora’s Tinder Box Tavern” I believe. I had read that Admiral George Hamilton had possibly visited the “Pandora” tavern, hence where the ship got its name.

What drew me to the name was also the irony of what happened on the ship. The HMS Pandora while on route to Australia SUNK in only a foot of water of the shore. I fell in love with this story at once. True story.

I admit I love the Anne Rice character, but there was a sick irony to THIS Pandora.

You see, my father was a film producer and film financier. He had been offered to help produce a vampire film called “Dracula Sucks Again”. But he turned it down for some really crap film that I can’t even remember.

Everyone told my dad that this vampire film was going to be a hit, but he wanted nothing to do with it. Instead a friend of my dad got involved. Then they changed the film name.

“Love at First Bite.” Starring George Hamilton.

It felt to me as a sign. I was destined to be this. It seemed to me then that maybe, just maybe vampires were surrounded in my entire life.

I was abducted later on a early twenties roadtrip to Las Vegas on a whim…I had nothing to do in the backseat, but found under the car seat “Interview with the Vampire”. I had the whole thing read by the time we returned back to California.

I became Pandora.

On my next trip to Las Vegas I now had a copy of Anne Rice’s “Queen of the Damned”.

I will not tell you the page number, you can find it all on your own. But I found the name of the cast.

“Secret Order of the Undead”.

When we published a cast program that was only at first 50 copies…by the next week it was 500.

Can we say, snowballed?

Other films we mocked accordingly were Beetle juice…many a Tim Burton film, and also crashed many a Renaissance Faire.

I started moving into actual real theatre. After a time, our program/newsletter became a success…but due to politics…again. FOLLOW MY OWN RULE: If it becomes real effort and loses the fun…stop.

I went solo.

Anyhow, time passes and there I was in the nightclub scene. I went into this club and ran into five…I kid you not…FIVE girls that each introduced themselves as “THE VAMPIRE PANDORA”. I could not handle the fact they thought they were vampires but didn’t know anything about the time periods they were supposedly from.

IF you are going to be a persona…I believe you better DAMN well know the period you are at least from. I took great delight (as a history major) tormenting various people that didn’t know their own character history or did NO research. I’m smug that way, I guess.

But I realized one thing there and then, I could no longer be “Pandora”.

My nephew and goddaughter solved the problem for me. They called me Auntie PanPan.

The name stuck. Here I am.

AuntiePanPan.

The rest is herstory.

 

 

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2006 copywrong auntie panpan all rights reversed

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