Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gut Check

This will interest all my old pals — Viper, I'm talking to you — the NYT has a story today about the man — yes, the man — behind the modern revival of roller derby.

The story seems like it almost strives to be an investigative gotcha piece, like, 'you thought this was about female empowerment? Well, surprise, it was started by a man.'

But if you've ever seen the roller derby documentary Hell on Wheels, you will know that his vision of roller derby is not exactly the one that took off. His vision involved bears on unicycles. And frankly, the version most known in the mainstream — banked track, popularized most recently by A&E's Rollergirls, and used back in derby's former incarnation — is not the version most modern derby skaters play. The most widely played version now is flat-track (see photo above).

But if derby progenitor Dan Policarpo wanted "women with tattoos, Bettie Page haircuts and guts," well, that he definitely got.

(Hat tip to PD!)


polar donkey said...

Bears on unicycles. That is cool.

hellonwheelsmovie said...

Dan is an odd one for sure. You can get more info on Hell on Wheels at

We just put out a 2 disk DVD set in Sept that's available from IndiePix.

-team HELL