The Derby Dolls, who will bring it at the Baby Doll Brawl roller derby this Saturday night, flaunt tough-cookie handles like Raggedy Annarchy and Markie D. Sod, ripped fishnets, Technicolor tattoos and a thirst-that-won't-be-slaked for mad theatrics. And when the derby night arrives, the Dolls eagerly strap on the skates, chomp down on mouth guards and roll with a vengeance (maybe even a re-vengeance).
But it isn't all about glaring down opponents or the artfully placed hip-swipe with the Dolls. Roller derby, which has been around for over 75 years, is a true athlete's sport. There's drama and puffery -- and man do the crowds lap it up like kittens at a bowl of cream -- but when the jammer, or team member who racks up the score, is weaving through the throng of blockers, you really have to doff your hat to the athletic prowess on display.
That prowess, plus the party-fied, shout-it-up vibe, is why a lot of the fans love the sport. We left the last roller derby we attended with a bright neon purple mouth -- thanks to some sort of sugar-sweet ice thing we sucked down too fast --and a desire to hit the rink -- hard -- and mix it up --- good -- with the ragtag band of tough-as-ruby-red-nails ladies. We were also fairly hoarse, from getting all yell-y for a solid hour, and we weren't even as yell-y as most of the spectators. Guess we were working that purple drink.
Did we mention the Dolls skate on a banked oval track? This is exceedingly important to die-hard followers of the sport. Every time our most devoted roller derby fan friend tells us about an upcoming bout, he reminds us "you know the track is banked." He's done this several times, without fail, and we do indeed know the track is banked. Derby buffs rightly equate a banked track with more action and excitement, and we will raise our neon purple drink to that any day.
Derby Dolls: Baby Doll Brawl
Saturday, October 25, 6PM
The Dollhouse, 1910 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles