How to Survive Your First Midnight Showing at MKE's Oriental Theater

Attending a midnight screening at the historic Oriental Theater is a Milwaukeean right of passage. Not only is the theater literally the definition of majestic AF, it's also Milwaukee's only operating movie palace. That's right, movie palace. Although it might not look like much from the outside, the inside of this beautiful theater is sure to impress with it's stained-glass chandeliers, giant porcelain lions, hand-drawn murals and six jumbo-sized Buddhas. The historic Oriental Theater is truly something to be seen.  


Now, back to the midnight showings. The Oriental screens cult classic films such as the Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Room. However, this isn't your run of the mill movie-going experience, in fact, Rocky Horror has an entire crew of actors(in full-kinky attire) performing the film in real time as each scene plays out on a giant screen in the background. But the thing that makes these events extra special is how interactive they are. First time attendees are likely to face confusion more than once as people in the crowd begin counting aloud, dancing in the aisles, laughing maniacally and throwing plastic spoons in the air. You may want to do some research ahead of time as each movie has a set of cues to accompany certain words, characters and locations, or you can just wing it and keep up with the crowd.  


In case you missed it, the Room is infamously known as being "the worst movie ever made." That being said, it's not a bad idea to booze-up before hitting the big screen. Hop over to Von Trier, the East Side's lovely German Tavern for a liter of beer and a soft pretzel or two to get you fueled-up for your late night adventure. Another great bar for pre-gaming is Milwaukee's Landmark Lanes. Located directly beneath the Oriental Theater, Landmark is another East Side classic. Throw some darts, play some pool, bowl a round or just kick back and relax. Fair warning though, Landmark can be a black hole for cell phone reception so be sure your plans are well in the works before descending underground.  

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is screened once a month every month. Check the Oriental's website or Facebook page for dates and ticket updates. Don't forget to wear your best Rocky-inspired look as there's a costume contest with prizes at the beginning of the show!