L.A. Derby Dolls Press Kit
L.A. Derby Dolls At a Glance:
Founded: September 2003
Co-Founders: Rebecca "Demolicious" Ninburg & Wendy "Thora Zeen" Templeton
Who: 150+ skaters and volunteers
Teams: Fight Crew, Tough Cookies, Sirens, Swarm, Varsity Brawlers
Venue: The Doll Factory, 1910 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Company: Kittyfight Productions, Inc.
Media Contact: Vodka Toxic / English Roughin - firstname.lastname@example.org
Roller Derby Revolution
The L.A. Derby Dolls were formed in 2003 by Rebecca “Demolicious” Ninburg and Wendy “Thora Zeen” Templeton -- two women who shared the unlikely dream of bringing banked track roller derby back to Los Angeles. In the years since, Ninburg and Templeton have worked tirelessly to resurrect an all-but-forgotten American sport, and reconceptualize roller derby for a new generation of fans.
After studying illustration and graduating from New York’s F.I.T., Templeton moved west in 1998 to pursue her career in art. Somewhere, riding cross country in the tangle of her belongings, was the pair of beat-up roller skates that would, years later, become the genesis for a new breed of roller derby in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Ninburg, a graduate of fine art at UCLA, was making a name for herself as a top-level union sculptor for motion picture and commercial art projects. One fateful day, the two then-strangers found themselves working side-by-side. On a lunch break, Templeton pulled her skates from her bag on a whim, and soon learned that she and Ninburg shared more than a common profession.
Throughout the remainder of the job, the two discussed their love of skating and the televised roller derby of their childhoods. In a typical display of ferocious drive and motivation, Ninburg took Templeton’s suggestion of forming a new derby league in Los Angeles to heart and set out to make it a reality. In September 2003, these two artists, now friends and business partners, formed the L.A. Derby Dolls based on their shared ideals of a league that would exist as an outlet for athleticism, aggression and creativity for like-minded fearless and fun-seeking women.
To date, their dedication and limitless enthusiasm has created not merely a league, but a family of over 80 women that grows in attendance, loyalty and talent with each practice.
Have Track, Will Travel
The L.A. Derby Dolls are Los Angeles’ original, all-girl, all-quad skatin’ banked track roller derby league. Soaring on our 100 x 60 foot track, the Dolls are taking competitive women’s sports to thrilling new heights. Banked track roller derby is a full-contact sport played at breathtaking speeds.
Unlike the roller derby of yesteryear, the L.A. Derby Dolls play a game that is raw and unscripted. This is the real deal, and the spectators know it. Every game is a sellout. Our fans' enthusiasm could give the Lakers a run for their money: When a jammer hits the back of the pack, the crowd roars. They holler, they chant, they stomp their feet against the metal bleachers. As Los Angeles Times reporter Scott Gold wrote after a recent derby bout, "It's so loud you can barely hear yourself drink."
In true DIY fashion, the L.A. Derby Dolls' track was designed and built by
our skaters, friends and family. It is the fulfillment of a dream that required a considerable investment of time, money and willpower. The finished product - constructed of wood, steel and masonite, and held together by thousands of nuts and bolts - has become as much a part of our league as any skater.
When it comes to finding a place to practice and play, the Dolls have a knack for taking an unknown, hidden pocket of Los Angeles, and transforming it into an amazing venue for a night of raucous roller derby. Inside a gritty Chinatown warehouse, the Dolls skated our first games. When we outgrew that space, we packed our skate bags and headed south for Little Tokyo. On the top level of a three-storey shopping mall, inside a former bowling alley, we erected The Dollhouse. By the end of our first season, our games sold out days in advance. With only a 900-person capacity, we were forced to turn our fans away at the door. We had grown too big for our little Dollhouse, and it was time to move on.
Our latest home is The Doll Factory, nestled in Historic Filipinotown, adjacent to Silver Lake, Echo Park and Downtown Los Angeles. This one-time ice cream cone factory now serves as L.A. Derby Dolls HQ: a place to practice, play and take care of business. At 50,000 square feet and room enough for 1700 crazed roller derby fans, the Doll Factory is our greatest venue yet. But don't take our word for it. Come check it out while you can...before we have another growth spurt and it's time to hit the road again.
Outside the Doll Factory: The L.A. Derby Dolls at Work in their Community
In addition to being ferocious skaters and phenomenal athletes,
the L.A. Derby Dolls are also concerned citizens. In July 2008,
we teamed up with the City of Los Angeles Commission on the
Status of Women (CSW) to welcome Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
into the Doll Factory for the citywide Mayor's CommUNITY Day
of Service. We offered local area women and girls a day-long,
complimentary Wellness Conference that included workshops on
self-defense, basic tai chi, yoga, "punkrope" lessons, nutrition
workshops and discussions on body image and the portrayal of
women in the media. The Wellness Conference was designed to
promote empowerment of women and young girls and encourage
The L.A. Derby Dolls also recently hosted their first ever junior roller derby camp for girls ages 9-17. The week-long camp emphasized teamwork, physical fitness, fun and empowerment for the roller derby skaters of tomorrow. The camp was such a great success that it prompted the creation of a new Junior
Roller Derby League for our fledgling derby girls.
Inspired by the strong sense of civic pride entrenched in our adopted community, the Dolls have organized two cleanups of Historic Filipinotown, taking to the streets armed with brooms, rakes and shovels. We've also participated in the City's annual Big Sunday community service event, and skated down Skid Row alongside Farmlab, planting trees and distributing oranges to the less fortunate.