Sunday, June 01, 2008

Roller Derby

Yes! Went last night for the first time, helpfully enabled by my online friend John Goodrich ( to see the lovely and talented ladies of the Hudson Valley Horrors (

I have to say, in all honesty, this was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Why? Because everything about it was so incongruous, out of place in cynical, high-tech, homogenized America. Here were 28 women, who were consistently referred to as "girls" throughout the evening, who know how to rollerskate incredibly well (a skill that was already pretty unusual when I was in high school), with a pretty wide age range (I'd say late teens to mid 40s), dressed up in scandalous outfits, with suggestive names (Lolita Le Bruise, Mary Tyler Morphine, Erin Go Braless, etc.), but who are totally serious and focused when they're doing their sport (no faking or hamming it up, which was more what I expected), all of it taking place in a roller rink (another rare institution) that looked like it was built in 1948 and never had anything fixed or painted since, in front of a crowd that might have reached 500 by the end of the evening, with an even wider age range (newborns to 80 year olds). I mean, where can you see such a thing?

When I see some odd subculture like this making a go of it and finding an audience, I am always encouraged that there is hope for our bland, tasteless, Disneyfied world, where we all consume the same Sony/Disney/Viacom infotainment, we all eat the same McFood, and we all dream of the day where, if we work really hard, we might be able to afford a McMansion and think and believe exactly as everyone else does. Something like roller derby really is a celebration of individuality, difference, and originality, whatever you think of its aesthetics.

UPDATE: And a comment from the lovely and brutal Nuf Ced, and I have friended all the players on MySpace!


Blogger Little Old One said...

Amen brother, I have a friend that does roller derby, she is *teh awesome*. Really enjoying Dying to live as well ;). Thanks.


4:13 PM  
Blogger Nuf Ced said...

Thanks for coming out to support the team. Glad you enjoyed the bout. I really enjoyed this write up about what current roller derby is all about! Hope you'll make it another of our bouts.
Nuf Ced
Hudson Valley Horror Roller Derby Girl

4:44 PM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

Scott - glad you're liking it!

Nuf Ced - you know it, girl, but you ladies will have to work hard to win my heart from the lovely and dangerous Slaughter Lily! That girl was as hardcore as she was beautiful!

5:10 PM  
Blogger Rxy Ramalotte said...

Thanks for coming!!!
any chance I can be a character in one of your books?!?!
and by the way, Slaughter Lily went down. ;)

<3 Rxy #666

11:59 PM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

Roxy - I had heard from "real" authors that everyone asks them to be characters in their novels, but it only just started happening with me, but now everyone wants to! You'll be in the queue now!

12:33 AM  
Blogger John Goodrich said...

Some people may lose their taste for being characters in novels once you tell them what you write, doc.

8:40 AM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

John - that's what I assumed, but once people learn that the only available part is "victim of zombie attack" they usually get even more excited and want their character to be dispatched in some particularly gruesome way.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never been to one of these events, but I researched it a bit after your mentioned it the first time at TODP... my life will NOT be complete until I check this out!!

10:32 AM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

You owe it to yourself, Lincoln. And I'm glad to help get out the good news of zombies and roller derby!

10:49 AM  

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