Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ECDX = the best way to recharge your derby batteries

Pelvis here!

The East Coast Derby Extravaganza (ECDX), formerly known as ECE, was a blast. Before I go into the details of this super-fine weekend, I want to answer a question that I have fielded from numerous people. "Why did they change the name?" I believe the change was necessitated because when said aloud, it confused fans hoping to see the resurrection of one of gangsta rap's illustrious pioneers:

Straight outta Feasterville.

The trip to Pennsylvania sucked. Each mile on the Jersey turnpike was increasingly frustrating until the only words I could utter to an equally impatient Dreadnought were curse words and oaths of blood vengeance against the miserable suckers that caused an accident that delayed us by TWO HOURS. The two of us made it to the Red Roof Inn in time to check in and then race to the Sports Center to see the first two games of the weekend. 

The sportsplex was fantastic. Though it's only three roller hockey rinks in one building, there is ample room for the massive crowd of skaters, officials, announcers, and fans of derby with room to spare. Something was amiss that I could not identify until I realized that this was the first roller hockey rink I had been to in six months that did not reek of bodily waste. I applaud Philly for that. 

I also give them an insane amount of credit for a setup that allowed for video, announcer tables by the track, and other magical facets. If I could join forces with them for a year, we'd create a bout production team so perfect that we would ascend to heaven at the end of the season.

Pictured here: A rare, clothed Al Mighty
We ended the night going back to the hotel, where the Garden State ladies were drinking and roughhousing on the motel's lawn like modern-day Bacchante. Assuring them their revelry would be no disruption to our rest, Dread and I retired. Garden State did not. They partied through the night, kindly waking me up with their shrieks of horror at the dawn's first rays hit the horizon.

An artist's depiction of my wakeup call, courtesy of Garden State.

Calling games was a blast. New England Roller Derby was in full effect. Though each of the teams fought mightily, many of them lost when paired up against teams of fantastic might. Not one of them should be ashamed, because many of these losses were slight. With all the bouts, both challenge and tournament alike, it was hard to keep everything in perspective. Thankfully, there was a pool to take the edge off.

Being able to swim with Dread, the ladies of Boston, Johnny Deep, the Prince of Pain, and Monsieur Chum Chum de Week was a gas. Being among hundreds of derby women and men made it even better. Poolside was a catalog of skin art and sexy butts. It's rare I comment like that, as I like to keep it classy. I may be married, but I'm not dead or blind. High Fives for all that sexiness.

After swimming, I got to call yet more games, hang out with people from around the nation, and roast the Reverend Al Mighty who had long abandoned the concept of clothing for roller derby greatness. 

Seriously, google him. Check him out. I'll wait. See him? That is the dude we were roasting. A dear friend and wonderful snuggler, but it was pretty easy to eff with him. Though his rebuttal was impeccable.

The weekend roared through Sunday and into the late Pennsylvania night. The last bout was my favorite. Boston took on Rose City. The latter being the subject of my favorite documentary of ALL TIME (Oh crap, I forgot to mention on here... my article was posted). The Massacre played well, and it was hard not to cheer from the mike. Both teams are master tacticians, able to change their styles to neutralize their opponents' strengths. Unfortunately, Rose City were able to adapt faster and won in the second period. But it was far from a blowout. 

After a brief stop at the hotel, I left Dread to go to the after party. This is where the widow-hood switched hands. Content to sleep next to her before our long trip home, she urged me to go out and have fun. "You'll regret it if you don't," she said. And she was right. While we are lucky to be so supportive of one another, we do need our space on these weekends. So, Rockerboy and I headed to Philly's Bowl-a-rama where I chilled with my fellow announcers, danced with Providence and Rose City ladies, and mingled in the way only Pelvis can. Which means I got away with speaking my mind without becoming an uber-douche or talking shit.

The ride home was a terrific cooldown, as we ate seafood by the Connecticut shore. A traffic jam inspired us to take a detour that added an hour to our journey, but it was worth it. The lush greenery. docks  and homes of Essex Island were gorgeous. But there was one sight that will stick with me for months to come:

This woman is weird.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Life on the compound

As I've mentioned before, I am pursuing my M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Bennington College.  Many of you reading this blog have been, I believe, entertained by my nonfiction accounts of derby widowhood. Well, I hope in the very near future to have a few of my works of fiction published and available to you either via the internet or in books (that you can buy over the internet).

To hone my craft beyond its natural starting point, I went to Emerson. Peter Shippy, Alden Jones, Karen Lindsey, Pam Painter and Joe Hurka were among the notable people who kicked my fiction into high gear. Being a nontraditional student, when it came to graduate I knew there was no point in stopping at a Bachelors. I needed to go whole hog. If this education I am getting is ultimately for selfish purposes, then surely I needed to go to a place that matched my desire for enlightenment.

Hence, Bennington College. Here I am in front of our student center:

Reckon the end is nigh. (Photo by Art Lee)

While I love the immediacy of calling a bout, or cheering on Dread from the sidelines (something I don't get to do at all this season), writing has always been my first, greatest passion. Making a thousand people laugh while teaching them about the sport is wonderful. Writing about people surrounding the ladies on the track, however, that's been special. And what better place to write about derby than the forested hills of Southern Vermont?

Where every trip to workshop is a scene from Fellowship of the Ring 
(the walking ones, not the long talks in Elvish about being king
or kissing Liv Tyler's big bumhole lips)

The sheer amount of talent I interact with on a daily basis is staggering. These are my regional and national level skaters. And I'm not just talking about the faculty. 

There's also a tree filled with Mardi Gras beads. (Art Lee Photo)

Seriously, there is a tree near a place we call the End of The World that has Mardi Gras beads hanging from most of its branches. I picked myself a necklace to get over the jitters of my coming workshop. It's for the story that I mentioned in May's blog entry, "Open Skate." While eating today, I made this note:


For fear of going too far astray from the main thrust of this blog, I'll depart on the note that the past two days have been damn awesome, but I'm looking forward to coming home and moving Dread's skate bag out of the way so I can give her a big kiss and find out about how her bout against the Wicked Pissahs went. 

As you were, suckas.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Greetings from the tree-house.

It's day seven of unpacking in the Dread and Pelvis tree-house. As you can tell by the photograph I am not living in a tree, but an apartment that boasts a living room with three walls of windows and a ladder to my writing lair is certainly tree-house enough for this former chimpanzee. The wonder of the apartment is only lessened by the large mob of cardboard boxes of books and clothes. Many of which have only started to have been unpacked as we needed to find room for skating equipment and tutus first. Though the facts may be disputed, the following discussion took place.

As we began to unpack our clothes and put them into the closets, Dread was unsure that we would have enough room for our clothes in just two closets and one of the IKEA sectionals that had stood at the foot of our bed in the old apartment. 

"Given the benefit of two bedroom closets," I said, "I think we only need one of the sectional things, as we can put coats and winter clothes upstairs."

"Yes," she replied, "but I am pretty sure that we won't have enough room as both closets are almost filled."

She was correct. The closet was filled with dresses, lady-sized t-shirts, and a hell of a lot of shoes. Most my clothes were still in boxes. 

"Well, I guess I can put my stuff in the sectional." I said. Then I looked into the shelves. 

Crap in a hat.

 Of the four wire drawers, two are filled with tutus and derbywear. One is filled with bras and undies (but half of each are mine, so I should relax on that) and the other with socks...but not ones I wear. Don't get the wrong idea, Dread's by no means selfish. She unpacked in order of what she needs right away. And before toothbrushes, dishes, or food, we needed the derby clothes out for she still needed to attend practice in order to bout in two weeks. Still, a dude needs his living space, no?

Afraid of being lost in a sea of sports bras and stinky knee pads, there was but one option for me. 
Take the Living Room Back by force.
The thought of reassembling my old LARP crew to maintain claims to prime apartment real estate, while thrilling, quickly passed. Instead, I took to the heavens and scaled a ladder into my own, happy hidey hole.

The loft had been awarded to me prior to move in, with Dread to take the attic as a studio space, and place for derby-related items. In a day, I was able to unload a few things and make a decent office...


Once set up, I had to focus on writing the last of my packet to send to my professor, Tom. Meanwhile, Dread did this:

This posed photo represents how quickly she made that damn attic look way awesome.

 We are rapidly unpacking, and I hope to have most of this done before I leave for Bennington. Thankfully, we now have enough room in the small hallway to keep Dread's stinky derby bag out of my way. 

Oh, for Fu---