Monday, November 10, 2008
Not sure what to do on a Thursday night because you're switching from the weekday special hotel to the weekend special hotel and casino? Las Vegas offers a form of entertainment that is now becoming a cult experience. This isn't your skate at the beach, or the roller rink partners dance you may have had in high school. This is down dirty, slap backing, high speed, and downright demonic displays of powerful women wearing tight, high skirts, and wheels of steel. The Sin City Roller Girls are the powerhouse of all women sports in the Southern Nevada Area.
It's not like a comedy event. But it's very amusing. It's not like a circus, but you will find women who can fly. If you think you remember an episode of Laverne and Shirley which had Pinky Tuscadero rounding a small track, or you find a flash back to Rollerball during your visit- you have some inkling of what to expect from the festivities involved in the life of the Sin City Roller Girls.
The members come from all walks, (rolls), of life, including my friend Celestia Ward Sundini, who is a mom to pre-teen kids, a newlywed, and a full time artist. With a history as a copy editor and caricature artist, the creativity blossoms as she dons her new persona- SheBacca. The naming of the players takes on as much skill as the movements around the rink. Some team members include Bruce Killis, Athena Barbital, Pearly Gates, and Seemore Butts. They use make-up to play on their character developments, and some are so well known, (Ivana Spankin, for instance), that they're legends in the Roller Derby World.
The derby phenomenon seems to have popped up around the time when Reality TV shows were lulled away by karaoke singers, and sports that used to be about playing a game, such as basketball that has been transformed into multimedia events, with pre-shows and rock video shoots mid games. Over the last ten years, the resurgence of the sport has grown strong in Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, and of course, Las Vegas. It makes for a night of entertainment and an unforgettable night of "WHAT IS GOING ON?"
Any woman willing to brave the try-outs and pass through must pay for an insurance policy, her gear, and help develop an original fear inspiring name. The events occur several times per month, with practices happening at least once a week. Practice can be as severe as a regular bout. The idea that the little petite flowers in sports - rhythmic gymnastics, or volleyball- can make regular events on ESPN is a nice one. Pretty is always fun to watch. But, seeing ten women slamming in and out of each other in a full on war between wheels, floor, speed, and a crowd screaming for more is FAR better in person, and would be a terrific night out for anyone visiting the land of neon lights and Elvis impersonators.
The Sin City Roller Girls hosted the New York Dolls at a recent event. The crowd was awestruck by the power of the women, and the magic of the music. The event was FREE to the public, as many of them are. You could spend upwards of $150 for really lousy seats at an arena to see some team from the B leagues, or you can spend less than $10 to checkout some of the greatest sportsmen in the country. Check out the practices between the scheduled bouts, and you will understand why this sport has fast become one of the most popular events in the last few years. The calendar is on their website, and I hope to see you there!
Celestia started to watch those same rehearsals. Her large frame was an impetus and catalyst to take an audition with the team. Within weeks, she was a working skater, learning all of the lingo and discovering her strengths were as great with her body as she was creative using her mind. It's now part of who she is, and when you meet her, tell her you appreciate the work she's done. It will make her day.