Ginger Coyote Does
"The Time Warp" with
Punk Globe: Hi Mishell, It has been such a
long time. Let's do the "Time Warp" and talk about
your early days with Double Feature? I
remember interviewing a few of the members for my First
Year Anniversary in 1978... Lets start off with how
you became involved?
Michelle Erickson: We
got turned onto RH
through a young couple that we met thru a class Denise and I had taken,
Becky Hesla (yes, it was the Tim of the Timmie Hesla Big Band fame).
They took us
to see it at the old UC Theatre in the mid-70's and it was already
scene then with the costumes and the props. I just remember it being
fun I'd ever had and I think the idea of a performing group was planted
very first night. At that point in time we had integrated old school
like Johnny Pierce, Linda Duran and Cathy
Gonzale, basically anyone who
willingness to drive or wear a garter belt.
Punk Globe: You are also had a twin sister Denise that
was also in "Double Feature." Were you both excited to be involved with
the movie or did one of you have to push the other to do
Denise and I never had any problems getting along that
were performance based. Being a twin is a complicated relationship and
relationship has definitely had it's ups and downs but not really
competitive in that way. I think we've always known and respected each
other's super powers!
Punk Globe: Can you tell the readers
what Double Feature's involvement with "The Rocky
Horror Picture Show" was?
Mishell Erickson: The
nucleus of our performing group (probably about 10 people at that
point) had been showing up at
the UC Theatre for weeks, trying to fight for space onstage to showcase
skills in front of the screen, when we heard that The Strand Theatre in
also hosting a midnight show. Naturally, we felt we had the best group
decided to see what the scene was like over there. They crowd went
crazy, we met other folks there that wanted us to team up and the
management hired us soon after.
Punk Globe: You were a dead ringer for the character
played by Little Nell, and your sister Denise did a great
version of Magenta.. Before joining Double Feature had you
noticed the resemblance?
Nope, never. Just thought we looked
like each other.
Punk Globe: At the time you and Denise were
living in Rodeo am I right? It seems that went to a punk rock show at a
theatre and saw you there. Is that theatre
Gawd, yes. We moved to Rodeo in 1976, and those
were the worst days of my life. In those days it was a completely
community and they didn't take to strangers well at all. I guess they
as "city slicker" types, even though we were just coming in from
Richmond! I suppose the theatre you're mentioning was the Rio? It did
some shows at one point in time. Did we meet there? It was a beautiful
and yes it's still there. For awhile it was taken over by the
but now I think there are shows there again.
Globe: How many of the
people in the troupe had you know or did you just
meet at the midnight showing of "Rocky"?
I think we met Bob and Tammy Foltz that
night at the Strand but we met Marni at UC, I believe.
Punk Globe: Two other dead ringer characters was
Richard O' Brien's (who wrote the play) character
of "The Butler" and Tim Curry's " Frank N. Furter " and most surprising
they were both played by Women.
Mishell Erickson: I
know, isn't it cool? We also had Sue Quinn, who played Doctor Scott in
wheelchair. Gender bending before it became politicized! Cool,
Punk Globe: You were a trailblazer for what you
did, Mishell. You started just a few years after
the movie began.. There are now groups world wide that have
formed their version of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show"... You
should be proud.
Mishell Erickson: Oh,
it was big time fun.
But it was a different world then. RH was all a part of so many
gay, punk, rock. I think the year we were in the Gay Day parade was the
year Harvey Milk was (or maybe I'm experiencing a "Zelig" moment!).
A couple years ago, I saw part of RH on network TV (edited, of course).
sweet and innocent next to "Gossip Girl"!
Punk Globe: Any "I can't believe" moments from back
Mishell Erickson: I
was a virgin the entire I was in Double Feature!
Punk Globe: How about "What was I drinking"
Nope, those came much later!
Punk Globe: I know my band White Trash Debutantes were
perform for the "Rocky Con" at The Roosevelt Hotel
in Hollywood. We performed the opening night in the same room where the
Oscars were held. Patricia Quinn who played
"Magenta " in the Movie was there, and I did not
recognize her at all.. She was in the same jumpsuit the
entire time of the con.. I asked why she did not dress as
Magenta for at least one of the nights.. She shrugged it off
and went to the bar.. She was on a bender the entire time.. Have you
ever gone to any of the Anniversary shows?
Mishell Erickson: No.
I think we must've been involved
with RH most of my teens. When I closed the door I was ready to open a
Punk Globe: Let's go back
in time... Like bands, you had turmoil in your troupe and one group was
at The Electric and the other troupe at The Strand.. Do
you care to talk about the break up?
Yes, I wish my memory was better. We were getting paid a small
stipend from the Strand, which went into a bank account for the group.
don't know that I ever saw a pay check but
occasionally I'd get a little chunk of change to pay for sequins and
false eyelashes! At one point, Lois Dolan (who was managing us) cleared
bank account and I don't remember the particulars of it. Maybe she and
Kathi (her daughter, who played Janet) needed to make the rent. But the
on after that.
Punk Globe: I do remember probably the most
memorable performance of the entire run. It was seeing
Attorney Gloria Harrison performing as
"Frank N. Furter," and later playing The Wicked Witch
from The Wizard Of Oz" at The York Theatre. Did you ever
Gawd, no! LMAO! What a weird time
Globe: Eventually both
factions stopped performing
and both theatres stopped running "Rocky?" Was it
due to the squabbling or did interest just drop in
After about two-three years of doing it, I think many of
the main characters were interested in pursuing other
things. We had been very tight knit, a little family. The theft was a
disappointment and a death of something special for all of us. But I
starting beauty school and couldn't maintain the crazy hours any more.
Punk Globe: I know at the time I had a hard time really
appreciating the movie.. But I did meet Julie
Stein and Danielle Bardazzi through Bob Foltz. They joined the staff
of Punk Globe.
Did you know Danielle and Julie?
Mishell Erickson: Oh
yes. In fact, all the photos are courtesy of
Julie (thank you so much!). I remember Danielle giving me a ride to the
one night on her motorcycle from Marni's place over on Bush Street..Can
imagine all those sequins sparkling?
Punk Globe: Danielle is a sweetheart. She is married and
living in Berkeley. She has the cutest sons.. No one is in touch with
Julie that I know..
Are you in touch with any of the people from the cast besides your
Mishell Erickson: No,
just got back in touch with Marni, though (as you
know). It's one of my life's regrets that I'm so poor at staying in
touch with people. I do tend to hide out a bit, I guess. And I get
by whatever I'm into.
Punk Globe: After Double Feature dissolved. What did
Went to beauty school and have worked successfully in that industry
since 1981. But I've done all kinds of artsy modelling for fashion and
shows, for artists and photographers as well as played bass (badly),
poetry (and restaurant reviews) that's been published and had a spoken
show. As well as the usual bad romance drama.
Punk Globe: The year is 2009. Tell us what
Mishell Erickson is doing now... This is your
Mishell Erickson: Oh
lordy! Still writing and working in the salon three days
a week. I lead a simple life: been clean and sober for the past 20
meditate and take good care of myself. Right now I'm single and live
pug Kiki in North Berkeley. I have collected tattoo work from Vyvynn
Marie Wadman and Scott Sylvia on various quadrants of my anatomy. It
Punk Globe: Besides the passing of Proposition HATE
were you happy with the Election this
Fairly happy, although I worry about backlash when Obama
can't magically fix what's going on in the first six weeks of office!
Punk Globe: Sarah Palin or Tina Fey?
Tina Fey, of course!
Punk Globe: What are some of your favorite bands?
Well, I love all the old stuff: X, the Clash,
Blondie! I like a lot of world music: crazy about bhangra! But I love
the Young Gods, Tom Waits, Nick Cave; the stuff that still gets me the
if I play it at work!
Punk Globe: Yeah Mishell! You gotta fuck with the
mainstream folk .. at least a bit! Do you
watch reality shows on TV?
Only "America's Most Wanted"!
Punk Globe: Any vices?
Well, I do enjoy the occasional cigarette. Of course, in Berkeley
you're welcome to
light up a joint anywhere in town but god forbid you want to smoke
And I love John Fluevog shoes...
Punk Globe: How about causes you
I've been a supporter of the SF Aids Foundation for years and ran
the Dublin Marathon (in gorgeous Ireland) in 2005 to help raise funds.
Punk Globe: Have you seen the movie
"Milk?" It shows what San Francisco was like in the
late 70's.... My pal Danny Nicoleta worked for
Harvey Milk at Castro Camera.. His character was in
the movie... But I was sad to not have seen
Donuts, Pearl ( Male Janis Joplin impersonator), Margo
St. James, Cosmic Lady, Lois Dolan or Jackie Starr
in the movie.
Mishell Erickson: No,
I haven't seen
"Milk" yet. There's something heady that happens to me when I
think about those times, so I haven't gone there much until lately. But
remember fondly my first glimpse of men in leather...like I said, those
were such different times. And of course, I was just a teen ager. But
and the Castro felt like home to me too. Remember Oilcan Harry's,
Little's and Dance Your Ass Off? For that matter, remember poppers?? I
didn't go to college but I feel like I had a superior education thru
people, places and things I got to experience at that time.
Punk Globe: Any plans for 2009?
I'd like to travel again and I'd like to
meet someone exciting!
Punk Globe: I would like to thank you for taking the
time to answer these
questions and can you give the readers words of wisdom?
"Don't dream it, be it"! What else? Kisses!