In The Press
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Recent Press Appearances:
In these cynical times, it has become a dismal commonplace to derogate Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark-created holiday in which folks are forced to display artificial affection to no-longer-loved ones. Well, DF for one, LOVES V.D., and has always celebrated it with near-frenetic fervor. Witnesseth:
DF’s earliest relevant memory was a compulsory grade-school v-day card exchange. Oh, it was exciting! So much so that I lost all bladder control, wetting myself copiously and getting sent home from school. My grammar-school chums still call me “Cap’n Pee.” Actually, so do my parents.
It was a roller derby battle of endurance at the Doll Factory, as our own LA Ri-ettes and the all-star Team Legit were knotted at 73-73 after exchanging leads for the first three quarters of the bout on Saturday night. Team Legit had plenty of gas still left in the tank though, to easily rack up some points in the final stanza and coast to a 125-96 victory.
"Tenacious! Stop rolling!"
"Slam the jammer! Slam the jammer!"
Listening to Killo Kitty, coach of the Junior Derby Dolls, doing her job at a Saturday practice, you can understand why her young charges think this is so much more fun than traditional girls' sports. First, you get to choose your alter ego: Bamber, Rattle Skate, Cleobrattra, Lindsay LoSlam, Hanna Wanna Slam Ya are just a few of the monikers. But 15-year-old Natasha Boyd, aka Jackie the Ripper, summed it all up: "I love that you can be completely yourself and your teammates will always be there for you," she said. "It's so graceful. There is poetry in motion out there."
"Howl" comes to mind.
And while you may not think this is a sport you can explain to your mother, several of the young girls on skates at the Doll Factory on Temple Street have moms who skate in the grown-up league. Others found their way here because it just seemed like fun. "I offered my niece this or Magic Mountain for her 10th birthday," said Edwin Lopez, "and she chose this."
Two words: roller derby. L.A. doesn't have an NFL team — yet. Till then, Angelenos have something almost as bruising, a banked-track, all-female roller derby league known as the L.A. Derby Dolls. Once, sometimes twice a month, about 2,000 people turn out at the rink on West Temple Street (near Alvarado Street) to watch these tough puppies in unstaged athletic competitions.
What happened to all the shtick? Beginning in 2001, the sport's organizers contend, roller derby abandoned most of its canned-ham stunts in exchange for actual athletic competition in which one woman, known as the jammer, tries to whipsaw-fly-bounce-jounce-cuss her way through the opposing team, gaining a point for every player she passes. It is a decidedly unglamorous but endearing sport that packs the plywood bleachers with folks in search of something different on a Saturday night. The "bouts" are broken into four 15-minute quarters.
Before the game, there are craft booths to browse and a live band to enjoy. At halftime, more music, pizza and Tecate beer. This is minimalist sports, a crazy roadhouse atmosphere with mostly 25- to 35-year-olds, but many spectators twice as old. It's sort of the anti-L.A. scene, the polar opposite of blingy Staples.
"There's not one type of people here," says fan Joel Mandelkorn, who likes to bring out-of-town guests. "It's one of those things that, once you know about it, you're always telling people." Consider yourself told.
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