Yep, we said roller derby. It's kind of like Betty Page meets Joan Jett... on skates. If this conjures up images of scantily clad women on wheels kicking the crap out of each other, you're right. But this is not your grandma's roller derby.
With names like Lusty Crush, Miranda Wrights and Patty Passafist, A-Town's new roller derby league, The Albany All Stars are reclaiming the roller derby for themselves. They're one of about 150 leagues across the country doing the same thing. All Star's spokes-skater The Beirut Bombshell says the roller derby we remember was created by men and run by men as a way to kind of exploit women as tough Barbie Dolls. Today's leagues are run by women who love the sport and the spectacle. "It's not a stodgy feminist thing", she says. "We just want to kick some ass."
These "ass kicking" women are NOT Barbie Dolls. They come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. They're lawyers, teachers, writers and engineers. In street clothes, you probably couldn't pick them out at an office Christmas party. What they have in common, The Bombshell says, is a love of the punk rock and alternative culture. "Lots of us have tattoos. I'm also a drummer in a band. Roller derby appeals to people who like sports, but aren't into traditional team sports. It's 100 percent athletics, though. There's nothing scripted. The show comes from the sport."
What will you see at an All Star's match? Aggression. "We all try to be tougher than we are, " says The Bombshell. "It's a release. There's always a serious risk of injury."
So, come for the sport -- stay for the chance of a crash. The women of the Albany All Stars will lace up their skates on Saturday night for their first official bout when The Department of Public Hurts meets The Skateomasochists at Albany's Washington Avenue Armory. Oh, and there will be bands in between periods.
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