A roller derby match is like a NASCAR race—it’s only good when something bad happens. At the debut exhibition match of the Gotham Girls Roller Derby League Friday night at Skate Key Arena in the Bronx, during the first few rounds enough bad stuff happened to keep the large crowd entertained. Well, that, and how the players’ short skirts revealed their colorful underpants.
But toward the end, after performances by rockers the SEX SLAVES and BLACK MOUSTACHE, something really bad happened on the rink. A real live chick fight broke out over a disputed call. By this point, the BROOKLYN BOMBSHELLS‘ lead over the MANHATTAN MAYHEM had slimmed to just one point. Then, Bombshell LIL’ RED TERROR took a hit during the last “jam.” As DIRTY MARTINI, who was one of the “jeerleaders,” put it, “When she cracked her skull on the floor, you could hear it better than the PA system. I think she got the first black eye of the season.”
I had been rooting for the Mayhem, mainly because they had better game names (SYBIL DISOBEDIENCE, ROXY BALBOA) and ’cause their uniforms—orange jump-dresses that made them all look like they’d just escaped prison—were more badass. Alas, the Bombshells beat them in a squeaker.
The crowd included the whole of the Lower East Side and Williamsburg’s most heavily tattooed masses. So on the subway it was easy to spot who was heading to the game. (Hint: all the white people.) Since most of us were roller derby virgins, we needed some schooling. LADY ACE sat rink-side—”in harm’s way,” as the announcers gravely described it—near the cheerleaders, several of whom were her fellow burlesque girls (including LIL’ BROOKLYN and Exotic World’s LAURA HERBERT) and tried to figure out the rules. Basically, we concluded that if someone gets knocked down, points are scored. Apparently, though, roller derby devils are multi-talented—they don’t just have a talent for beating other chicks up. One of the Bombshells, IRON MAIDENFORM, posed for Playboy, and Mayhem member MARGARET THRASHER is in the upcoming Neil LaBute play Fat Pig.
The game was just a warm-up for the year-old league’s first season, due to start this spring. The Mayhem and the Bombshells are the only teams in the city, but there are an estimated 25 leagues in the country.
During intermission, a fan approached the Mayhem captain, RIPPIN KITTIN, in the ladies’ room. There was discussion of her red velvet underpants, and the fan asked if she could touch them, so Rippin Kittin politely offered her booty to the girl, who squealed with glee at the privilege. Since I had Kittin cornered, I figured the bathroom would be a good setting to conduct an on-the-spot interview, and found out the 29-year-old (real name: LIZ WAYTKUS) had trained for 25 years to be a professional skater. I asked her if she enjoyed beating chicks up. “Yeah, it’s fun!” And she still thinks so, even though during last week’s practice she knocked her jaw out of alignment. Call me a pussy, but I’ll leave the fun to her.
And what does her mom think of her nice daughter taking part in this violent game? “She loves it. I kept complaining that my ass was hanging out of my skirt, and she said, ‘Isn’t that what it’s all about?’ ”
Last week was all about venturing above 14th Street, not once but twice; 138th Street wound up sucking what little oxygen is left out of our little brains, but on Thursday, a visit to Ikon (née Exit), on West 56th, for the absolutely stellar SUPERPITCHER and ADA show had already sucked away our dignity and money. I’d forgotten about the wonderful world of strip-searching at big clubs, and heard more than a few male friends grumble, “They grabbed my balls!” then later enjoyed the benefit of paying $10 for a Dixie cup of vodka tonic. How we all suffer for some good micro house or minimal techno or whatever it is the kids are calling it these days. It might be more fun to get beat up by a bunch of hot chicks after all.