Love & Bruises: L.A. Derby Dolls @ The Doll Factory, 2/16/08

Puncherello and Gori Spelling jam

5.55pm. Ring! Mmmyellow? No, escort service, I already told you I’ll be canceling that order for the two middle-aged, slightly chunky Malaysian sisters this evening. Yes, I realize that’s my Valentine’s Day weekend tradition, but this year I have kick-ass social plans instead. Wait, what’s so goddamned funny? Forget it, I’ve got to run. Click.

6.05pm. Well, Gentlemen’s Delight may not believe me, but Losanjealous readers know well that DF does indeed have plans for V-day weekend: an extra-special invite to the L.A. Derby Dolls bout between the Sirens and the Tough Cookies. Untold excitement awaits, and who knows, perhaps I can convince a lovely derby girl to be my bloody valentine!

6.43pm. As I stride through glorious Historic Filipinotown, I perform a mental check to assure that every sartorial and hygienic detail is in order. Powder-blue tuxedo? Check. Curly locks aqua-netted into the increasingly, if bafflingly, popular white-guy afro? Check. Binaca breath spray? Check. Additional Binaca breath spray? Check. Still more Binaca? Check and mate. I’m ready for action!

6.58pm. Upon entering the Factory, I spot a gaggle of derby girls awaiting the start of the bout. There is no time like the present. A few squirts of Binaca, and I make my move. “Hello, ladies. Perhaps one or several of you would like to make out with DF this fine evening? … Or perhaps I could buy you a Zima at the VIP bar? … Or maybe you’d simply like to engage in low-level, non-confrontational flirtatious banter that would showcase my wit while also affording you a chance to gaze longingly at me? Or … um … Ladies?”

Thirty-seven seconds later. This romantic foray appears to have gone awry. While I originally thought the derby girls turned away from me and began talking amongst themselves to see which one would get first dibs on DF, it appears they were just … turning away from me and talking amongst themselves. I’m oh for one, but the night is still young!

Kung Pow Tina & Iron Maiven await the whistle
7.03pm. I slink over to the VIP lounge and order a tall cold beer (no Zima on tap, I discover to my massive disappointment) to assuage my bruised ego. I distract myself from the foregoing romantic setback by contemplating the forthcoming derby contest. The Sirens brim with confidence after their well-earned 2007 championship and have the talent for a repeat. But the undefeated (well, 1-0) Tough Cookies just seem to want it so bad, clamoring for attention with an adorable politicized “Tough Cookies ‘08” campaign, and they looked resolute in defeating the Fight Crew in last month’s kick-off bout. Truly, epic drama lies in store.

7.46pm. The forty-seven refs on hand whistle the first jam, and the Sirens start out by billy-clubbing the crap out of the Cookies. Star jammer Mila Minute shows no off-season rust. Though not particularly tall, she has the longest strides I’ve ever seen, gliding around the track like a combination of Flash Gordon and Plastic Man, and even racking up six points in a single jam. Kung Pow Tina, the Scottie Pippen to Mila’s Michael Jordan, matches her point for point, and by quarter’s end the Sirens are up by a hefty 22-10 margin. Police brutality!

8.03pm. Celebrity sighting! Drew Barrymore is in the hiz! Did you know Drew Barrymore was in the Steven Spielberg movie E.T.? I do not kid: she played the spaceship pilot who lands the horrible alien craft on earth and sets the stage for E.T.’s bloodthirsty rampage through 80s-era suburbia. Truly, that was a bone-chilling film. I make a mental note that if I get a chance I will ask D.B. what it was like to work with E.T. (I hear he was a total dick, but when you have that kind of raw, Brando-esque sexual magnetism, all is forgiven.)

Mila Minute and Drew Barrymore

8.38pm. The Sirens conclude the second quarter by snuffing out a brief Cookies rally and re-establishing a 13-point lead. The game appears to be fairly settled, but DF’s romantic aspirations sadly are not. Now that my ego has rebounded a tad, I make my way over to Hot Dog on a Stick for a consolation snack. Perhaps setting my amorous sights on a derby girl was just too ambitious. And then I notice the comely lass handing me the corn dog, and realize—here’s my chance. “Excuse me, miss, I couldn’t help noticing your lovely multi-colored vertically-striped headwear. Perhaps you’d like to make out with DF? Or maybe I could buy you a corn dog—with no phallic connotations, I just figured since you work here you must love corn dogs, or…”

Forty-three seconds later. I originally thought the HDOAS girl was ignoring me and serving other customers merely to play hard-to-get with DF, but now it appears she’s merely serving other customers. Alas. I ruefully dunk my corn dog in the requisite ketchup/mustard amalgam and return to the bleachers to await the rest of the game.

Corn dogs!

9.04pm. The second half begins, but the game appears out of reach, and my mind wanders to contemplate my foundering V-day strategy. I thought everyone loved a dude in a fancy suit. In my experience, wearing a snazzy outfit means people will give you just about anything you want. “Sir, sorry to knock on your door at 3am, but I was hoping I could shoot up in your bathroom and then take a dump on your living room floor.” “Hey, nice suit—come on in and make yourself at home!”

9.13pm. But then my mind snaps back to attention as the game momentum swings as suddenly as a train-wreck Hollywood starlet’s un-Lithiumed moods. Rather than protecting their lead playing a cagey, conservative second half, the Sirens have been performing with wide-open abandon, racking up more and more points. But the Tough Cookies’ rangy jammers, led by Anne Hackaway and Gori Spelling, have more than matched them, chipping away slowly but steadily at the halftime deficit.

9.23pm. DF was once in a bar that had this machine you could blow into to measure your blood-alcohol level. The device was supposed to be for safety, so exiting patrons could make sure they’re OK to drive, but by the end of the evening everyone was raucously competing to see who could produce the highest blood-alcohol reading. Roxy Cotton’s ejection at the end of the third quarter reminds DF of these scenarios. Getting kicked out for foul accumulation seems like it should lead to ignominious shame, yet Roxy celebrates like she just won a daytime Emmy, and the crowd responds in kind with raucous applause.

9.30pm. Until the fourth quarter, this game has been solid and entertaining, but not particularly memorable. It’s been the Sandra Bullock movie of roller derby, if you will. In a flash, it turns as gripping as the Mexican-shootout scene at the end of Reservoir Dogs. First, Kung Pow Tina is ejected for reasons that will forever remain opaque to DF. The Tough Cookies step up the blocking, with Krissy Krash laying particularly vicious hits on the Sirens’ jammers. All of a sudden, mirabile dictu, the Cookies trail by a mere three points. Baby, we got a stew going!

Sirens and Cookies jockey for position

9.37pm. DF’s award for violentest hit of the night easily goes to P.I.T.A., who whips the crowd into a frenzy of bloodlust with a block on Iron Maiven so dramatic it sends the Tough Cookies captain careening over the guardrail and into the audience. P.I.T.A. vamps with all the subtlety of a WWF wrestler as she takes a well deserved victory lap, but Iron Maiven (who, astonishingly, re-takes the track apparently unharmed) may have the last laugh—her jam brought her team within a point of the lead.

9.47pm. The final moments of the game pass in a blur of unbelievable drama: Mila Minute is mysteriously ejected, leaving the Sirens without any of their top three jammers; the Cookies pull even at 39; countless time outs are called to totally screw up the dramatic tension; and with the score still tied with mere minutes to go, Laura Palm-her and Anne Hackaway pull off consecutive three-point jams as the clock expires. The mood in the stands is one of utter disbelief. You’ve heard of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, or water into wine, or raising Lazarus from the dead? Those events seemed predictable and pedestrian compared to what we’ve witnessed at the Doll Factory tonight. And yet the scoreboard, like dead men, tells no tales: the Cookies have erased a massive deficit and pulled off a 45-39 victory.

10.01pm. Standing ovations are offered for both victorious Cookies and valiant-in-defeat Sirens. The crowd filters out, abuzz with excitement as the TC’s anthem of choice (Neil Diamond’s “America”) plays in the background. I was at the Kirk Gibson World Series home run game, but this—okay, that game was much better, but this was still one good goddamned sporting contest by any standard. Could it be that the Cookies have laid claim to insurmountable, Obama-esque momentum? Their performance in the primary season has been impressive, but the general election still awaits.

10.11pm. And speaking of awaiting, what about DF’s romantic aspirations, you’re doubtlessly wondering. Well, all’s well that ends with DF sauntering out of the Doll Factory to see—hey-O!—a becoming homeless lady wandering down Temple pushing a shopping cart full of many, many cats. Certainly, the third time must be the charm. “Excuse me, madam, but perhaps you’d like to make out with DF, or share a fine bottle of ‘Hobo’s Choice’ malt liquor, or even take a scenic walk to the methadone clinic—”

Ninety-three seconds later. As my final object of attention wheels her feline-encumbered shopping cart into the chill February night, it becomes clear that she is not—for god knows what reason—smelling what DF is cooking. By this time, the streets of Hi-Fi are bereft of all but a few friendly winos, and I accept my fate and retreat to my car.

Tough Cookies celebrate unlikely victory

10.17pm. Palliative bottle of Zima firmly in hand, DF looks back on the evening and takes account. Amorous advances: 3. Successful responses: 0. Abject rejections: 3. Verdict: best Valentine’s Day ever!!! I may have racked up a horse collar on the female front, but watching a kickass roller derby match can’t be beat—even by an evening in the company of two superannuated Southeast Asian hookers. True, the sting of rejection is no treat, but I can’t stay mad at the Dolls. Despite all, I still love those bitches.

Photos and credits:

1. Puncherello and Gori Spelling jam (3dSean)

2. Kung Pow Tina and Iron Maiven await the whistle (Rinkrat)

3. Drew Barrymore and Mila Minute schmooze (Doria Anselmo)

4. Corn dogz (Rinkrat)

5. Roxy Cotton, Haught Wheels, and Lucy Ball-breaker jockey for position (Rinkrat)

6. Tough Cookies celebrate victory (Rinkrat)

All photos (C) 2008 by their respective authors. All rights reserved.

» Pain in the Rain: LA Derby Dolls ‘08 Kickoff Bout @ The Doll Factory, 1/26/08
» Blood & Fishnets: L.A. Derby Doll Championship Bout @ The Doll Factory, 12/8/07
» Bitches on Wheels: L.A. Derby Dolls @ The Doll Factory, 11/17/07