Ain't no party like a roller derby party, 'cause a roller derby party don't stop! Well, actually, it does stop, following two action-packed 30-minute periods that are filled with hot skating ladies jamming and blocking and occasionally shoving bitches the hell out of the way. The Wonder Twins had rink-side seating to the second bout of the 2009 Detroit Derby Girls season during which the Detroit Pistoffs took on the Devil's Night Dames.
D'Anne: Having never been to a roller derby bout before in my life, I had no idea what to expect when we got to the Masonic Temple.
Laura: Well, I started off this evening pretty much an expert having seen that Whip It movie that was filmed in Detroit and having actually been to a roller derby match once in North Carolina.
D'Anne: My knowledge of roller derby is limited to seeing it briefly on television when we were kids, and seeing one of the girls get knocked out of the ring, over a railing and into the crowd. So I was a little alarmed to find that we would be sitting on the floor right next to the track.
Laura: It didn't help that taped to the floor, near where we sat, was a sign that read: "Rink side (suicide) seating: Caution: you may end up with a Roller Girl in your lap. No one under 18 allowed without a parent or guardian."
D'Anne: We were hoping to have the whole "Roller Girl in your lap" experience…but no luck.
Laura: The people just a few feet away from us, however, did get the experience. A girl came flying off the track and knocked those people down like bowling pins.
D'Anne: This bout was between the Detroit Pistoffs and the Devil's Night Dames. Apparently the Pistoffs have pretty consistently beaten the Dames, so this was definitely a topdog-underdog matchup. Or upset, really, since the Dames won.
Laura: I had wanted to go see a Detroit Derby Girls match ever since I moved back to Detroit. I had a feeling it would be pretty awesome, but everything about this is just beyond awesome.
D'Anne: The uniforms alone were entertaining. I've never been to a sporting event where refs dressed like it was Halloween. One of the refs was decked out as the NBC peacock, with tighty whities over his spandex shorts. Another rolled around as the Jolly Green Giant. Then there was the big dude dressed as Wendy, who basically looked like the drag queen nightmares are made of.
Laura: But even better than the refs are the derby girls themselves. While each team has a uniform, players take their own liberties with it, such as adding fishnet stockings or hot pants or low-cut tattoo-showing tank tops.
D'Anne: Which is probably why we, as press, had to sign a form agreeing not to publish photos of "accidental nudity."
Laura: While we didn't see any accidental nudity, we did see plenty of rough and tumble moments, including some "jammer on jammer action" when the two jammers got tangled and fell on each other. You're not going to hear an announcer say stuff like that at a Lions game!
D'Anne: You're also not going to see Satori Circus do the halftime show at a Lions game.
Laura: Which, really, may be the only thing that makes Lions fans lucky people these days.
D'Anne: Maybe some folks are really into this guy as a performance artist but I just don't get it. I guess I have problems with a grown man pretending to be a baby.
Laura: And singing obnoxious songs at the top of his lungs?
D'Anne: I think maybe Satori Circus would be popular in France, though. You know, sorta like Jerry Lewis.
Laura: I bet you're right. But you know what else rules about Derby Girls? They all have really awesome monikers. Some of my favorites were from the Pistoffs: #758 is Anne T. Orthidox. And Cookie Rumble, who was number 33 and 1/3, which I like because I'm a nerd for records.
D'Anne: I am partial to the Dames — #2.8 Rachel McChaseHer, because she was awesome, and Yo-Yo, #17, because she's my neighbor.
Laura: You didn't even notice her until I said, "Look, that's your neighbor. I bought Morrissey records from her garage sale once."
D'Anne: I'm totally going to start stalking her now since I know where she lives.
Laura: Well, she was a pretty awesome jammer, so there's no doubt she'd be able to outpace your stalking.
D'Anne: Yeah. Plus she could totally kick my ass. Actually, any of the Detroit Derby Girls could kick my ass.
Laura: Although all of the Derby Girls were fantastic, the jammers are the obvious stars since they're the ones that score points.
D'Anne: Jammers are akin to the people who try to crash through the line during a game of Red Rover. Jammers have to make it through the pack of blocker ladies and every time they do they get points.
Laura: You're doing a great job of explaining the game.
Laura: I was being sarcastic. But it's OK, even if someone doesn't really know the rules, it's pretty easy to catch on while you watch a bout.
D'Anne: There were a lot of little kids there. That was awesome. It's a very family-friendly event. But with a punk rock sensibility.
Laura: It's celebrity-friendly too. Ed Helms from The Office was there!
D'Anne: That was very exciting. I would have loved to meet him, but he was mobbed as soon as the announcer outted him.
Laura: I just had an idea. I think the City of Pontiac should just give the Silverdome to the Detroit Derby Girls. They could even throw in the entire city as an afterthought.
D'Anne: Seriously. I bet they could fill that place with fans.
Laura: Anybody in Detroit who is looking for a hometown team to support — especially those who are mourning the loss of our WNBA team — need look no further than the Detroit Derby Girls.
D'Anne: Wait! We don't have a WNBA team anymore?
Laura: Nope. The Shock moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
D'Anne: I guess it's not a good indicator for them that I didn't even notice they were gone.
Laura: To be fair, we both kind of lose lesbian points for not caring about the WNBA.
D'Anne: Yes. It's an empty place on the lesbo sash — but I'd rather have a Detroit Derby Girls patch anyway.
D'Anne and Laura are music critics for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]
The next Detroit Derby Girls bout, featuring the Pistol Whippers vs. Detroit Pistoffs, is Saturday, Jan. 9. For more info, go to www.detroitderbygirls.com.