Diana Prevenslik, Rockabilly and Roller Derby Star, Is the Kessler's New Marketing Manager

Diana Prevenslik, Rockabilly and Roller Derby Star, Is the Kessler's New Marketing Manager
Michael Ownes Photography

Diana Prevenslik has plenty of experience with Dallas culture. She was a member of rockabilly outfit Sawed Off Sick and also a skater -- a good skater, at that. In the world of Texas roller derby, she was "Panther City Princess" under the Dallas Derby Devils. Prevenslik also spent time serving in the National Guard, doing play-by-play announcing at derby bouts and becoming a big Dallas music fan.

Now, she's the Kessler Theater's new secret weapon, handling PR and marketing affairs. Sounds like a fun gig.

You're a pretty busy lady, therefore I was surprised to see you sign on at The Kessler. Fill us in.

I was doing freelance event coordination, which led to a connection with Edwin Cabaniss at The Kessler Theater. I started out consulting and was brought onto the team full-time in June. As far as a venue, it is a bigger scale that I had worked with previously, but we have an awesome team that keeps things flowing smoothly: Jeff Liles, Melissa Hennings, Paul Quigg and many others. I "wear a lot of hats" depending on the day and the current project, so keeping the administrative side, the marketing, and other tasks flowing can be a challenge -- but that is just what keeps it interesting!

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The Kessler is a great spot for seeing locals open for legends, yes?

Seeing locals open for legends is very cool -- like watching Madison King open up for Wanda Jackson and Whiskey Folk with Billy Joe Shaver.

What's been your favorite of that scenario so far?

The most memorable for me so far was watching Rhett Miller, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell from backstage at The Majestic -- just an amazing experience.

You've been balancing all the cool stuff you do with National Guard service for many years now. How do you pull it off?

I've been in the Texas Army National Guard for four years now. I joined a bit later in life than most and while it is a challenge, it's also rewarding. I'm proud to serve my state and my country. It is interesting how many people don't understand what the National Guard is, or react surprised or almost uncomfortable when they hear I'm in the military.

Do they?

Hey, I live a pretty normal life when I'm not drilling or at training -- I just have to make sure I stay within military regulations with my appearance: only "natural" hair colors, etc. It can be tough balancing it all -- in addition to my one weekend a month and two weeks a year obligation, I've left for extended military training a couple of times now.

And that's not all you're juggling, is it?

On the civilian side, I teach college part-time in addition to my full-time job with The Kessler. Somehow, I still find time to see shows and have a social life. It's a good thing that I like being busy. I guess I pull it off by loving all that I do for a variety of reasons!   What brought about the end of roller derby, as a skater, for you?

I skated as Panther City Princess with the Dallas Derby Devils for four years, and continued involvement as an announcer for a few years after. When I joined, DDD was the only league in the metroplex, and I skated in the first public bouts. It was truly incredible to watch the league and the sport grow during the time I was involved. At the time that I quit skating, I was starting graduate school, looking at a career change and considering joining the military. I loved skating for the Dallas Derby Devils, but there are only so many hours in the day. For those who don't know -- playing roller derby is a huge time commitment. Being involved with roller derby gave me some of my closest friends, and gave me the opportunity to be in my band, Sawed Off Sick, which I also loved ... and miss. That band broke up in 2012.

Were you a "music kid"? Were your folks "music parents"?

My folks were always listening to music; my dad was a drummer up in Virginia in the '60s and '70s. He still has his silver metal flake Ludwig kit. I took dance, piano and singing lessons as a kid, so I was around music. As a teen, I started hanging out at a little Mid Cities coffee shop called Café Bliss and started meeting more folks who introduced me to more "subcultural" music.

Who was your first Dallas artist you saw live?

For my 15th birthday, my dad took me to see The Toadies at Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth. Brutal Juice and Civ opened. I was hooked on live music from that point on. Once I could drive, I was going to all-ages shows at Galaxy Club, Orbit Room and other random little now-defunct punk spots what seems like almost every weekend. Proudly, I also took both of my younger siblings to their first concerts and have done my best to share local music with my family. Now, sometimes I'm the one taking my dad to shows -- he's seen several bands with me and used to come watch my band often.

Favorite local artists? Best live local shows you've seen?

I'm terrible at "favorites" lists. They actually make me nervous. HA! I really liked The Staggers. They've broken up. Some members are in in Dog Company now. Bad Machine, who recently reunited, The Von Ehrics, Here Holy Spain, Convoy and the Cattlemen, The Me-Thinks, Missile, Maleveller, Boys Named Sue ... and I know I'm forgetting some that I'd love to mention. Local artists I've been recently impressed by: Rude King, Sam Lao, Ad.D+ and Radioactivity.

See also: -The 100 Best Texas Songs: The Complete List -The Ten Most Badass Band Names in DFW -The Best Bands in DFW: 2012 Edition -Photo Essay: The Tattoos of Dallas' Nightlife Scene

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