Believe it or not, roller derby — burly girlies in short shorts, kneepads and helmets demolishing one another in a skating race — has regained popularity in America.
In fact, the craze that launched B-movie madness in the ’70s has developed its very own counterculture in towns like Austin, Tex., and Phoenix, Ariz. These days, the game has evolved into a crazy concoction of punk rock meets a young Raquel Welch on skates, and it’s pretty sweet.
In Austin, teams like the Cherry Bombs — doughy Bettie Page look-alikes — and the All Scar Army — snarling camo-clad hardbodies — take each other on in sometimes hilarious, often brutal head-to-head and elbow-to-elbow competitions. The matches are real, even if it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek. And the players, many of whom look as though they could just as easily be found on the pages of the punk rock erotica site suicidegirls.com, are totally committed to winning. Broken ankles, contusions and black eyes are proof of that.
It only makes sense that Detroit would have to jump on this bandwagon. If there’s one thing there’s no shortage of in this town, it’s tough broads and punk rock. Enter Detroit Roller Derby.
“There’s an element of humor to it, yeah, I mean of course, but we’re serious about the game,” co-organizer Matthew Pomeroy says.
Still in the planning phases, the league is scoping out sites. They practice at local roller rinks, and so far have developed a first-string stable of players. Recruitment parties will start in the spring.
“Ultimately, we’d like to build our own rink,” Pomeroy says. And thanks to folks like androgynous rockers the Ruiners, and pals Nuke and the Living Dead, this may happen sooner than expected. This weekend, the generous punk bands are playing the first benefit concert to help raise moolah for the fledgling organization.
There’s no guarantee, of course, but something tells me if you’re into badass women and good, clean, semi-violent fun, this might be the place for you. Support team sports in Detroit — or you just might get an elbow to the thorax.
At 9 p.m. at the 2500 Club, 2506 Park Ave., Detroit; www.detroitrollerderby.com. Eve Doster is the listings editor of Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]