Thursday, October 21, 2010

Barroom Hero: Dumptruck comes to town

Of all the personalities I've had the pleasure to spend time with this year, Denver's roller derby's own Dumptruck has swiftly become one of my favorite people. In my posts about 2010's Eastern Regionals, I covered the joys of calling games with him. However, there is another side to the roller derby announcer that I did not comment on. Mr. Truck is a man who brings his celebratory nature to everything he does. On the mike, at the gas station, or an exorcism, the man is Dumptruck at every moment. Simply put: he is the gravelly-voiced avatar of the god Dionysis.

On Monday afternoon, I was editing a film review when I received a few text messages from Baby Fighterfly about Dumptruck's impending arrival at Logan airport. Each of her texts were ideas about possible activities all of us could Providence. I was unsure if I wanted to leave the house. Should I accept the invitation, I'd have to drive to Salem, pick up Dumptruck, and then make the trek to Providence. The full travel time would be four hours. A sensible man, one who hadn't grown up in a rural community, would have scoffed. Still, my life has been built around road trips like this. What to do? It took a call from an unknown phone number to assist me in my decision.


Dumptruck on the phone is a shiatsu massage for your eardrums. Within moments, I had committed to come pick him up and made my way to Salem, MA. In the City of the Witch, I met the ladies and gentlemen with whom he works on music festivals, had a pint, and watched him eat the worst cod sandwich Salem pubs have to offer.

The initial plan was to meet Baby at the infamous Club Hell. Club Hell is a bar whose clientele ranges from amazing drag queens to homophobic metalheads, depending on the night. A call to Reverend Al Mighty made us change our plans to meet up at the Hot Club for karaoke. This was a welcome change as I didn't want to pay thirteen dollars to shout over a band which sounds like Gary Busey screaming over feedback.

We arrived at the club to the cheers of our friends. The population of the venue was friendly. So friendly that I had wondered if MDMA had been dropped in everyone's glasses. Then I realized something: when you get three announcers into a situation where gregariousness and a lack of embarrassment is necessary to get on the mike and perform, we'll easily take over.

Reverend Al's "Georgia" was the most surprising song of the night. The gentleman can sing. However, my joy was only heightened by capturing footage of the exception to the rule that rapping at karaoke is a painful thing to witness:

"Work it out." (his asides in the video make it worth it...wear headphones)

By the end of the night, we were on the first name basis with the DJ, the regulars, and the bar staff. When it came time to go home, Dumptruck and I made our way back to Massachusetts. Our Odyssey home hit a snag when noticed there were no open bathrooms to be found on the way North. Gritting my teeth, I made the decision to stop at my house first for a pit stop before bringing Dumpy back to Salem.

It's here where having Dreadnought for a wife is an advantage. Everyone keeps a ledger of their partner's deeds. Mericfully, my wife pays more attention to the "win" column over the stupid things I've done. We entered the house quietly, only to have Goblin wake up and instantly want to play with the raspy-voiced Sasquatch I brought home. While he was waiting his turn for the bathroom, Dumptruck heard Dread saying the loving words "I will kill you all." Deciding to show his appreciation for her strained hospitality, he chatted with her sparingly in the dark of our bedroom.

Photoshop recreation of Dread's view of the evening. In truth, he was wearing glasses and a coat.

Once back in the car, Dumptruck fielded texts from my amused, but annoyed missus, and negotiated my sentence for such a trespass into driving her to work that morning. Under normal circumstances, the average man coming home late at night with his very buzzed friend could be grounds for weeks of sleeping on a couch. However, thanks to Dumptruck (roller derby's own Cat in the Hat) I was instead asked for stories from the previous evening. Like me, Dread loves this ridiculous man with a passion we reserve for our closest relations. Next time he comes to town, however, we're crashing in the city we land in, even if we have to spoon on a love seat. Lightning does not strike twice and Dread's way too strong to tempt fate.

At karaoke, Dumptruck said on the microphone that only roller derby would make it possible to be in Denver in the morning, Salem in the evening, and drinking in Providence that night. But it's also roller derby that allows us to meet people for whom we would drop anything just to spend time with one another.
Be somebody.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day Three: The aVOXalypse or Pelvis becomes Dumptruck of the Shire

Voice rested, I started to sound like my old bony self again. Just before dawn, paranoid the Reverend Al would beat me into the bathroom, I ran into the shower rather than risk two hours of staring at a sleeping Hayley Contagious and Dreadnought. Once clean and dressed, the Reverend Al asked if I wanted breakfast, "for real this time." The fact that the previous day's egg sandwich disturbed my innards worse than all the free drinks I received on our first night, I felt I owed it to myself to have a breakfast that would redeem my faith in the culinary hole that is White Plains.

The ladies refrained from coming with us to the Lower Lobby's restaurant. When we arrived, there were only four other people at the buffet. Considering it was 7:00AM on a Sunday, I shouldn't have been too surprised. Even with only four customers, Reverend Al and I enjoyed the fruits of fame after we got our food.

Not pictured: Reverend Al performing overhead tricep extensions with the fruit table.

Noticing that that the Macho Man and Metrosexual Wolverine had entered the room a woman yelled, "Oh my God, it's you two!"

Ready to thank her already, Reverend Al started to open his mouth until she finished her thought.

"The guys from the elevator!"

Well, hell. We're lords of a moving room, that's cool. We gave her a polite wave, had a sentimental and meaningful discussion with each other, and went up to get the ladies for day three.

If there's one thing that people who have traveled road with me know rue is that I am a morning person. A crazed, ready to go, morning person. So when we arrived at the venue, I was pumped and prepared to go all out.

My love of morning sunshine ruined my Black Metal Career.

As we waited to start, some DJ was wise to this morning energy. Once Depeche Mode came over the PA, I just needed to dance. Yes, mornings make me the drunk blonde girl at every eighties night. While keeping to the downbeat of "Just Can't Get Enough, " I was joined in my revelry with fellow morning warrior, HYMEN HEAVEN. It was a vindication of my spirit and a nod to the Bennington dance parties I have with my fellow grad students.

Now ready to rumble, I called the DC vs Steel City game with Paige Layout, Rockerboy, and KD Caustic. This made is the fifth time I've called a DC game this season.  As our old buddy Mayhem skates on their league, it fills my heart with blood to feel invested in their futures. That investment came at a price. At the end of the game, I became mini-Dumptruck.

My voice was all right if I kept quiet. A whisper? I became Reverend Al. Talking in a manner where people could hear me? Dumptruck. With this newfound vocal range, I had no choice but to record the three of us for a contest that will be featured on the latest Power Jammers podcast. Here's a sample of the game (for the love of Zeus, use your headphones).

The afternoon was filled with some fine-ass derby, and when it came to the bout that had me on pins and needles, I had the pleasure of calling it with Justice Feelgood Marshall. A word on Justice: the dude's brain should be studied by sports scientists and military strategists. Almost nothing gets past him, not even MC Hammer and Skid Row jokes. It was effortless to call the game alongside a man who knows what he's talking about. When the dust settled, Charm City was victorious. Still, it was cool to know my family was watching and had great things to say about Lil Paine and the Massacre. What my parents didn't understand was why I had them tune into a game where the Reverend Al was calling for DNN.
It's DNN Appreciation Day!

The Championship game saw me take the third seat next to Hymen Heaven and Rockerboy. By this time, I was full-on Joan Rivers on HGH. A couple of times, I could have sworn Rocker was giving me the eye that says, "Are you F%^&* with me?" I was not. Third mike was colder than the reception we received by the spray-tanned natives, so speaking quietly was not an option. Rockerboy, who had worked so damn hard the entire weekend went on autopilot. But I will tell you this, you would never know. He's amazing. So too is Hymen Heaven, who is so sharp that you could shave with her wit.

The victorious ladies of Eastern Regionals. Not pictured: Dread teasing me about my voice.

Once the games were over, the celebration began. However, the party was over for me. Voice broken and tired beyond comprehension, I piled Hayley, Dread, and the Reverend into the car and we made our way home. Looking back on my time in White Plains, I am humbled and honored to have been a part of the announcing team, and roller derby in general. Now rested and back to normal, I look at the past weekend with love in my heart for Suburbia and all people who worship the quad skate.

Thank you, Suburbia. We love you.