Aug 102010
 

Ladies and gentlemen. Skaters and refs. Fans of all ages! The results are in. We here at Live!Derby!Girls! sorted through a multitude of fabulous entries and have narrowed it down to four fabulous tales of derby power. We will publish a finalist a day, starting today, until all the world has beheld the splendor of our dear sport. Meet the girls:

FIRST PLACE:

Zarathrustya

Red Stick Roller Derby

“How Roller Derby Ruined my Life, Saved my Soul, and Gave me Great Pecs”

SECOND PLACE:

Bev Eerie

City of Fists Rollergirls

“Why I Love Roller Derby”

THIRD PLACE:

9lb Hammer

Burn City Rollers

“Frightening Giants”

And to kick off the festivities, I am proud to present you with the last but not least finalist:

HONORABLE MENTION:

Rettig to Rumble

the Oly Rollers

“Power of Quads”

Check out the winning essays all this week on LDG!

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Jun 042010
 

In the derby community, we’re pretty much all familiar with the success of Shawna Cross’s Derby Girl, which was recently made into the popular film, Whip It, directed by none other than the totally fabulous Drew Barrymore. Whip It’s commercial success was modest, but it did help increase the visibility of our sport, and resulted in a fresh wave of recruits – my own league, Red Stick Roller Derby, has doubled in size since the movie, and most of these new derby girls started skating with us right after it came out.

There seems now to be a quiet trend towards publishing books about roller derby. These include books about the sport itself, aimed towards the derby fan or the derby-curious, including Down and Derby: The Insider’s Guide to Roller Derby, by Alex Cohen and Jennifer Barbee, Rollergirl: Totally True Tales from the Track, by Melissa “Melicious” Joulwan, Roller Derby: The History and All-Girl Revival of the Greatest Sport on Wheels, by Catherine Mabe and Ivanna S. Pankin, and others. This is most awesome, and I’m excited about this newest indication that the world is taking serious notice of us.

Figure A. Oh, marketing.

But even more thrillingly, roller derby is now the stuff of more published fiction. I was in Barnes and Noble the other day (we’re short on independent bookstores here in the Rouge, don’t judge me), wandering through the “Literature” section (y’know, the area with the books in it) to see what might catch my eye. And there I found Going in Circles, by Pamela Ribon. On the cover, a lady skater. It took me a moment to accept what I’d found. A book about derby, just sitting there in a major retail branch, in the most mainstream of locations, that I hadn’t heard about through some underground derby channel? Could it be? It was even TURNED OUT, its cover rather than its spine displayed to entice the casual browser like myself. (I will say that said cover is confusing – see figure A. You can see why I needed to pick the thing up to confirm its connection to derby.) I’ve yet to read the book, but it looks decent, and, more importantly, it suggests that derby fiction might be gaining a little foothold as a trendy publishing niche. And while, as an aspiring author, I’d like to think that it’s the best books, regardless of topic, that get published and reach the well-exposed shelves of retail giants, I’m clued in enough to know that publishing is a business, and, like any business, it is susceptible to trends and gimmicks.

So, I’m about to start this insanely expensive degree, and I’m thinking maybe I should cash in on this trend. Why not? I could write about what I love, and give further exposure to the sport, and have a refreshing little side project to work on when the emotionally heady memoir I plan to write at school is proving too taxing for me. Thing is, I don’t often write fiction, so I have to have an angle that will be sure to spark my imagination, while filling a gap in the existing derby literature.

you get the picture.

Yesterday my beloved trAC/DC and I were talking about these derby books, and in about eight seconds we came up with the angle: sex! What seems to be missing, glaringly missing, from derby lit is derby erotica. Imagine: skates and sweat and queer sex (and, sure, some straight sex), all done with a bit more literary flair than your average bodice-ripper. A little something for the derby community and for the rest of the world. Brilliant, I think. And we’ll keep each other motivated and on-task, so we’ll actually get these things written. And we’ll get to read and laugh at our ridiculously overblown sex scenes over glasses of bourbon. The idea is to make this a series about two best friends who skate, and their romantic adventures on and off the track. Sort of like a derby version of Sweet Valley High.

I wrote about 2,000 potential words of my potential book today and am having a great time, even though it got a little hard to concentrate because I started somewhere, let’s say, in the middle of things. As I continue, I welcome your suggestions: what would you like to see in a work of derby erotica? What sorts of fantasies have you had involving mouthguards? Got any adventures you would like us to memorialize (anonymously) in print? Email me so we can keep the comments section of LDG fairly clean. My address is TrickyLaRougeATredstickrollerderbyDOTcom (protecting myself from spam-bots here). We’re also taking suggestions on names for the eventual series.

Until next time, happy practices – and post-practice evenings – to all!

Photo Credits: amazon.com, activistgrrl

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Apr 092010
 

Written in 2007 by LADD derby girl Shauna Cross AKA Maggie Mayhem, Derby Girl is the story of a teenage girl who discovers her passion and talent for derby. Just in case you live under a rock this is the book that the movie “Whip It!” was based on.

I’ve passed this book on the shelves of my local bookstore more times then I can count, always wanting to pick it up, but it was not until I saw “Whip It!” that I was intrigued enough to give it a read. I’m pretty picky reader and a book has GOT TO hold my interest from the get go or else it will get chucked into the pile of books I never intend to finish.

Shauna Cross does a great job of setting up the story of Bliss Cavendar, a cool loner-esque girl stuck in the social trenches of high school, as well as being subjected to her mother’s obsession with beauty pageants and to top it off living in Bodeen, a small town in Texas. The thing I liked right away was that I felt like I could relate to Bliss – I think Shauna did a great job of capturing the quintessential derby girl persona.

There are definitely a couple of standout moments in the book that only a true derby girl like Shauna Cross would know how to capture accurately:

* Bliss’ immediate love for the game and fascination with the skaters. I totally remember the first time I ever saw “new” derby it was like a big light tuned on inside me – that’s what I’m supposed to be doing!

* The team connection – finding your team and connecting with them on and off the track. Going from being stranded in a social dessert, Bliss really blossoms as a talented derby girl amongst the too cute Hurl Scouts.

I loved all the different derby personas the Shauna used throughout the story. From the Hurl Scouts enduring coach Blade, to Dinah Might, the mean girl you love to hate. Of course you gotta the love Hurl Scouts team captain, Malice in Wonderland, who takes Bliss in after she leaves home due to a nasty squabble with her parents. Now that’s what I call team support! I would do it for any of my ladies.

One of my favorite non-derby moments in the book is when Bliss hip checks her high school nemesis, Corbi into a locker. The scene that follows in the guidance councilor’s office is pretty priceless. I know there have been times in my “real” life when I have had similar urges.

I was really feeling the underlying story of Bliss breaking away from her parents, notably her mom Brooke. I thought Shauna did a great job of realistically depicting the relationship between a 16-year-old girl and her mother. The dad character, Earl definitely deserves an honorable mention . . . I’m not going to tell you what happens, it would giveaway the ending ;)

Overall Derby Girl is a fun read – being only 234 pages, the story moves along at a nice pace. I would totally read this book again and recommend it as a necessary addition to anyone’s derby library.

If you want to pick up your copy of Derby Girl check out Amazon, or of course you can visit your local book shop, they can usually order it for you if they don’t have it in stock.

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Dear Meat,

 Posted by at 10:00 am  4 Responses »
Apr 092010
 

Hi. My name is Rock Bottom, and you want to play roller derby.

Maybe you’re a washed up athlete craving an adoring fan base. Maybe you’re a hot chick looking to stay in shape while showing off your shape, or a momma in need of alter ego time away from husband and kids.

I’d like to say I was once all of these things. It would flow really well and make me seem super relatable and cool, but mainly I was the washed up, lonely athlete looking for the adoring fan base and hodgepodge of loyal teammates. Now I’m a rookie who’s just starting to get a feel for the sport, the culture, the unapologetic feminism.

Hi. This is my terribly unflattering official head shot. I was skinny.

I played a year of college basketball for Tulane University in my hometown of New Orleans, making me the fourth generation in my family to play for the university. You don’t care. I mean, I cared for a while, but then I sucked. I didn’t play, and we lost a lot. I hadn’t a spare moment to nap (and I love naps) or  to take a walk with the ducks of beautiful Audubon Park (and I love ducks). So, after a single, pathetic season of Division I basketball, the supposed Caana of aspiring athletic souls, I quit.

And then, oxygen. Chirping birds. Sunshine. Free time. Free time!

Because roller girls have to be contradictory, I joined a sorority for a bit before finding my derby love. But, after a single, average year of sorority life, the supposed Studio 54 of underage socialites, I quit.

And then, lack of purpose. Boredom. New stretch marks. Stretch marks!

When does my story get happy? When I casually emailed Violet Reaction of Red Stick Roller Derby, dragged a friend with me to Leo’s Rollerland, and found myself a new challenge.

New friends to make. A new skill to learn. A new purpose.

Now, I skate. I throw my arms in the air because I just don’t care, and the crowd feels me. I jump over hos who fall on the ground and warm up to my humble rap songs. I’m happy.

Sometimes, I notice my friends looking at each other when I tell stories about Rock Bottom and her friends. They smirk at Caitlin’s evolving wardrobe. It kills me a little to not have them back me in whatever makes me happy, but I get it. New shit is scary, and so is change; but the two can also be violently invigorating. So, whatever, I’m happy.

You, too, can be happy. Already happy? Then get ready for happier. Because roller derby is for you. It’s for any human with a vagina, two legs, a dash of swagger, and a willingness to accept incongruous folks.

It’s time you bought your skates, my friend. Find a cul-de-sac and skate it like pre-Babe Ruthless in Whip-It. Your old friends probably won’t get it, but your new friends will.

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