By Denise Ortuno Neil
I was a pre-teen when I first heard of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. My sister Colette had long been into the cult movie craze and as the curious little girl that I was, I followed along. My sister even convinced the principle at Palm Desert Middle School to let her teach the "Time Warp" to all of my classmates during P.E. class one day. It was a great success! I'm sure todays parents would not allow such a thing to occur knowing the premise of the film, but this was in the early 80's, and how happy I am that I grew up back then.
I quickly became a fan of the film, learning every song on the sound track, singing and dancing with zeal every time I'd hear it, and with my sister in the house, it was alot. The Rocky Horror Picture Show debuted in 1975. The creation came from Richard O'Brien and starred Tim Curry, Susan Sarrandon and Barry Boswick among the other talented cast. It has been hailed the longest running film musical ever.
I recently saw something on Facebook that caught my attention. It was a small replica of my favorite character from the movie, Frank N. Furter, the Dr. Frankenstein-ish oversexed maniac scientist, who was played by the pliable Tim Curry. Somebody had started a Sweet Transvestite page with the little figurine as their mascot. I had to find out who was behind this hilarious and creative idea.
Shari Lipman is a long time Palm Springs resident with over 30 years of desert living, and is the energy behind the Sweet Transvestite page. She has been into the Rocky Horror Picture Show since the first time she saw it on the big screen in 1977. Lipman quickly became a huge fan of Tim Curry seeing him in concerts, plays and movies, and has even met him on two occasions. She actually saw the who dunnit mystery film "Clue" (Tim Curry played the butler) in the movie theatre that showed all three endings ( movie trivia). She has also attended the famous late night showings of Rocky Horror in Hollywood when fans dress up as film characters, dance through the aisles and act out scenes during the movie. Oddly enough, Lipman did not dress up as Frank N. Furter (as I would have), she went as the crazed firey headed maid, Magenta.
Throughout the years Lipman has come to collect a variety of memoriblia of Rocky Horror, that includes the little Frank N. Furter doll shown on her page. However Lipman is quick to point out that the doll nor the page are about promoting nor referring to the Frank N. Furter character, or Tim Curry...it is just the Sweet Transvestite, a title to the popular song in the cult classic film. "It's all in fun", Lipman said.
Lipman started taking photos of the doll over a year ago when she was off work for the summer. She took him around with her to different places around Palm Springs and snapped shots of him along the way. With an array of photos, she decided to start a Facebook page for him and from that the Sweet Transvestite was brought into the spotlight.
When I asked Lipman what her response from the public has been when she takes him out and about in Palm Springs she says that people are generally pleased, and raised eyebrows are at a minimum. Her friends encourage her requesting she bring the little doll on outings reminding her to, "Don't forget the Sweet Transvestite"!
Her goal is to promote the city of Palm Springs in which she loves through a creative and humorous way. It's sort of like seeing the traveling gnome...but its a small transvestite in lingerie, fish nets and high heels instead. Something I'm sure that little gnome wouldn't have the nerve to wear.
You can see the Sweet Transvestite in a collage of different locations throughout the desert on the Facebook page. He has had fun at the Hood in Palm Desert, the Palm Springs Art Museum, Sunnylands and even last years Pride Parade which I'm sure he will be at again this year. Maybe he could have his own miniature float...how cute would that be?
Lipman looks forward to sharing the Sweets Transvestites adventures with others through her Facebook page, encompassing two things she loves, the Rocky Horror Picture Shows Sweet Transvestite and Palm Springs.
As a huge fan of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and now the Sweet Transvestite Facebook page, I look forward to seeing him around town and will ..."shutter with antica......pation", until his next adventure.
Visit and "Like" the Sweet Transvestite at www.facebook.com/STfromPS