Across this great nation Strawberry Deathcakes and Necronancys are lacing up to duke it out on roller derby rinks. While I've always appreciated the pleasantly perverse combination of dolled-up costuming and bloodsports, I hadn't actually made it inside a roller derby bout. On Saturday, that changed as I walked into Dad's Broadway Skateland for Dallas' Assassination City Roller Derby's latest lesson in 8-wheel hell-raising, and I gotta say: Derby did not disappoint. In addition to being wildly entertained, I wound up learning a few things.
Everybody Loves Derby, Even Cops
When announcer Hanky Panky, who's been calling bouts since the 1970s, asked for a first-timer show of hands, only about a quarter of the crowd responded. That meant everyone else -- from the the Mr. and Mrs. Rogers-looking couple to the gaggles of high schoolers packing the seats -- were repeat enthusiasts. Rounding out the eclectic target demographic were two of Dallas' finest, charged with keeping the peace throughout the evening. They seemed to enjoy the task.
Warm-Up Includes: Beating the Shit Out of Your Teammates About 20 minutes before the bout begins, everyone launches into warm-ups. It begins innocently enough, with teammates laughing and talking, maybe a little faux roughhousing. But as the clock ticks down to game time, warm-up morphs from social skating into a violent game of red rover. Playful pushes become shoulder slams and more than a few girls get taken down.
Gold or Camo Hot Pants Are a Must No, not for spectators. Seemingly all derby participants, regardless of team color, wore gold or camo hot pants. Some paired their body-hugging shorts with fishnets or bronzed tights. Even bolder participants wore hot pants that could easily be classified as conservative thongs.
Halftime = Burlesque Show Young children were asked to leave, but the burlesque show was only as risqué as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders routine. The Ruby Revue began their show with an innuendo-filled opening song and dance, followed by a performance by Confetti Eddie. After being tightly strapped into a straitjacket, Eddie danced around to MJ's 'Another One Bites the Dust,' freeing himself by the end of the song. The closing act included a colorful rendition of Sugarhill Gang's 'Apache' ('Tonto Jump on It') with Indian-dressed girls and break dancing.
Roller Derby is awesome By now this should be self-evident. However, if you're still on the fence, here's a few more reasons to love it: It's BYOB. There's a DJ. You have to be 18 or older to sit in the front row which translates to guaranteed ass-kicking, and possible bloodshed.
The next match is Saturday July 27th.