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Baby Doll Brawl – From Bach to Iggy Pop June 28, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Entertainment.
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“Girls, fishnets, track slapping, heart stopping ACTION!  Could there be anything more American?  Red, white and bruise!”  How’s that for a promo? That’s how I came to be standing in one very long line on a hot Saturday afternoon in East Hollywood outside The Doll Factory.  Just the night before, we’d driven to Claremont to hear my niece play Bach on cello in a picture perfect setting.  What a difference a day makes.

“We’re roller derby virgins,” the woman ahead of me announced.  She had a husband in tow and a couple of kids.  No visible tattoos.  Not at all what I’d expected.  “Me too,” I volunteered. “Do you think this means we’re going to be sacrificed to a volcano?” From the rumbling coming from inside The Doll Factory, this seemed a distinct possibility, as the DJ had the bass cranked up.
This was my friend Kelli’s (aka Kocoa Krunch) skating debut with The Baby Dolls, the up and comers in the L.A. Derby Dolls.  I’d been hearing Kelli talk about roller derby for almost a year.  At 39, she’s a little long in the tooth to be an up and comer, but she’s also got long legs that stretch to Cleveland, her hometown.  An actress (and sometimes substitute teacher), Kelli may be the only person I know who can pull off wearing silver lame hot pants.

The Doll Factory is an airy warehouse.  Instead of a mirrored disco ball, there’s a mirrored roller skate suspended over the banked track.  For $10 you get standing room only tickets and a trip to the porta-potties outside. We’d sprung for the $20 VIP tickets so we could sit on bleachers and use the VIP bathroom.  (It’s VIP because there’s only ONE toilet.)

Inside it was loud – like being  trapped inside a pinball machine.  There was a Vendor Village where you could buy everything from pizza to organic enchiladas (Hey, it’s L.A.!) and the Beer Garden where you could swill Tecate while watching the action on a big screen. During the Skate Out, when the players warm up, they really crank up the music.  But it set the mood which was fun and raucous.  And somewhere in the middle of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life, my stuffed up ear from my summer cold blew out.  Suddenly, life was good  – and much LOUDER.

Roller Derby is an American sport (the only other being basketball), so we were asked to stand while Jes-sicka Rav-edge sang the national anthem (and did a bang up job).  Two periods.  Lots of action.  Kelli had a very vocal contingent and her husband, Kap’n Krunch, got a shout out.  She spent some time in the penalty box, but since I’m a newbie, I figured that was because she looked too good in those hot pants.  But I have lots to learn. Kelli’s team, the Meteorfights, came from behind to beat the Scars and Stripes then took a victory lap around the track.

A sampling of the skater’s names:  Marina del Rage, Queen Elizadeath II, Wanda B. Onya, and May Q. Holla on the Meteorfights and Tilda Whirl, Eat-It Piaf, Got MILF?, and Helen Surly Frown on the Scars and Stripes.  Everybody has a name, including the referees (e.g. Charlie Frown), who in their black and white striped shirts, were referred to as “zebras.”  The official photographer wore a shirt emblazened with “Stalkerazzi.” I think the only person on the track who didn’t have a name was the EMT.  He needs to get crackin’ before the bones do.

Since everyone I know seems to have The Cold, I thought I’d put up the cure (not to be confused with The Cure).