Cinco de Mayhem: LA Derby Dolls @ The Doll Factory, 5/31/08
6.01pm, Saturday, May 31, Losanjealous, CA Ole, dear readers, and happy cinco de mayo! For those of you not as fluent in espanol as DF, “Ole” is a Spanish word meaning “hello”, and “cinco de mayo” is a popular and fun holiday some helpful friends recently told DF about. The holiday is celebrated south of the border, and it is called “cinco de mayo” to celebrate the founding of the Mexican capital city of Tijuana in 1923 by the famed conquistador Cinco Cabrones. It is always celebrated on the last day of May, which is perfecto (perfect) for DF, because that happily coincides with tonite’s big roller derby grudge match between the Tough Cookies and the Sirens down at the Doll Factory in historical Hi-Fi.
6.10pm Last minute primping. Must get Cinco de Mayo outfit just right. Let’s see: the colorful serape (cape) and enormous fake bigote (moustache) look totally hot. But the piece de resistance, as my reliable sources have told me, comes from tradition: in order to honor the great Cinco himself, it is customary to wear the largest sombrero possible. Fortunately, DF won a very enormous sombrero as a prize when he recently won the title of “Sir Drinks-a-Lot” one fateful Taco Tuesday at a West Covina El Torito. I’m ready to roll.
7.25pm Upon arriving at the Doll Factory, DF is disappointed to learn that other derby attendees don’t have his sense of festive holiday spirit. There is nary a cinco de mayo celebrant in sight, it appears, unless one includes that Vegas showgirl wandering all about. Ah well. Losanjealous readers know well that DF can pull off the fiesta (party) all by himself. I traverse the security gauntlet and ascend to the media skybox, where slack-jawed stares, slow shakes of the head, and occasional catcalls from haters (e.g., “Stop blocking my view with that goddamned sombrero before I stick it up your ass!”) attest to the cultural ignorance that surrounds me. Truly, it is a challenge to be a cosmopolite in a sea of philistines.
7.31pm DF’s thoughts turn to roller derby, and to the significance of tonight’s game. Formally, little rides on the outcome. Regardless of who wins or loses, the Sirens and Tough Cookies are near-certain to be playing for the 2008 LADD championship later this year. This bout, then, is to be savored not for the game itself, but the game within the game, and perhaps also for the game within that game. The two sides will size each other up with the Championship Bout in mind, and seek to gain momentum that will carry them into the summer hiatus. It’s all a moot point to DF, of course, who is really just here for the ultra-violence. Enough yakking. Let’s start this mofo.
7.40pm Ah, the delicate dance of showgirlship and competition that is the pre-game skate-out. The Sirens open to a delightful Charlie’s Angels theme, and it is very adorable and amusing. But then the Cookies come out with a more pointed performance, dressed in funeral veils to mourn the demise of the Sirens’ LADD domination. As a bit of pre-game theater, it is delicious and very entertaining. It also tweaks the Sirens, who look more than a little irritated as the Cookies throw mourning garb and roses at their feet. But DF cannot help but wonder if this move wasn’t a bit premature for a non-decisive game; perhaps it will do more to motivate than demoralize the Sirens.
7.49pm The bout starts and immediately Sirens pummel the Tough Cookies with their patented one-two punch. Mila Minute opens with a three-point uppercut. Kung Pow Tina follows with a four-point jab to the breadbasket. Then Mila and Kung Pow score a devastating right-left combination, four points each, and halfway through the first quarter, the Sirens have the Cookies bloodied and on the ropes, boasting a fourteen-nothing lead. Looks like a quick knockout is in the cards.
8.14pm Not so fast: Midway through the first quarter, Anne Hackaway breaks the Cookies’ scoring hex with a three-point jam and the rest of the Cookie jammers follow suit, chipping away at the Sirens’ lead. The TC blockers tighten up their game, too. Markie D. Sod frustrates the Siren blockers with her veteran wiles, while Krissy Krash delivers her patented crowd-pleasing cross-body blocks. Halfway through the second quarter, Krissy’s whip propels Gori Spelling to a three-point jam, and all of a sudden the tables have turned: Cookies lead Sirens 21-14, and stretch their lead to 29-16 by the end of the half. La donna, as one of my fave Spanish proverbs runs, e mobile.
8.39pm It’s half time, amigos (friends), and DF is off to bring a little Cinco de Mayo cheer—and knowledge—to the benighted LADD crowd. The plan is to approach fans, proffer one of the tiny bottles of Cuervo that I have strapped bandolier-style over my serape, and toast the greatness of Cinco de Mayo.
8.43pm This is not going well. Somehow DF’s attempts at amity (friendliness) are not being well received, and I end up in more verbal altercations than tequila toasts. What the hell did that guy mean, “Four weeks late?” And if that other dude was trying to get my goat, he’s out of luck; I consider “horrible ethnic stereotype” to be a compliment. And that one chick must have been high. Lady, I’m the one in the enormous sombrero–I think I know when Cinco de Mayo is. You know what? These jokers don’t deserve DF’s gestures in the direction of cultural togetherness and edification. I’m keeping all this tequila for myself.
9.07pm DF holes up in the media skybox, sulks under his sombrero, and downs bottle after tiny bottle of Cuervo as the second half begins. A few jams into the third quarter, the Cookies have stretched their lead to fifteen points and it looks like they are going to coast downhill to a fourth straight victory. But then Kung Pow Tina scores a three-point jam that cuts the deficit a bit. More importantly, though, it subtly changes the momentum, whipping the crowd up so much that they start chanting Tina’s name—an individualized act of adoration DF has never seen before in all his many years of covering LADD.
9.19pm William “Bill” Shakespeare once said, “The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.” I have no idea what this means, but I saw a play once and it was awful. However, plays, I’m told, have three acts, and this LADD bout appears to as well. The first two were equally one-sided: first the Sirens dominated the Cookies, then the Cookies took hold of the contest. But the third and decisive act of this bout is as deliciously full of intrigue and surprise as the third acts of such great films as Citizen Kane, Chinatown, and (personal fave) Garfield: The Movie.
9.21pm As the third quarter draws to a close, the Sirens are clearly in the ascendancy. The crowd is primed for a comeback, and each time Kung Pow and Mila Minute rock another multi-point jam, the audience roars so loud it feels like the roof is going to come off the Doll Factory. Even the Sirens’ last-second win in the 2007 Championship didn’t generate this kind of crowd volume. Seriously, LADD fans, use your inside voices. Despite the raucous din, the Cookies respond with a combination of quality jams, including a four-pointer from Gori Spelling, which allows them to maintain a narrow advantage.
9.37pm The Cookies successfully administer this advantage—albeit a much smaller one than before—until late in the fourth quarter. Conservatism appears to be their late-game credo: once each, Laura Palm-her and Anne Hackaway burst out as lead jammer (Hacky after incredibly catching up with and then passing Mila Minute in the open track) but then call off the jam rather than going for more points. The strategy, while not crowd-pleasing, is effective, and earns the Cookies a 42-40 lead with only a couple minutes left to go. Then, in a flash, Mila Minute turns the deficit into a three-point Siren lead in a single jam, and Kung Pow Tina drives the dagger into the Cookies’ hearts with a two-point jam that seals the game. Joyous shouts buffet the rafters. Girl Scouts everywhere weep copious tears of lamentation. Cops city-wide fire weapons skyward in deadly celebration. The Sirens are victorious.
10.02pm After pausing trackside to wish the Sirens feliz cumpleanos (congratulations), a well-tequila’d DF careens out into the cool and historic Filipinotown evening. My attempt to bring a little south of the border flair to the Doll Factory on this beloved holiday did not fare as well as I’d hoped, but one can hardly blame the LADD faithful for being more fixated on a riveting, back-and-forth roller derby contest than Cinco de Mayo. Plus, that’s more tequila for me, so you won’t hear DF complaining. Buenos nachos, ustedes! (Good night, homies!)
Tuesday June 3, 3.47pm, immediately following Losanjealous quality review board hearing. Ahem. Okay, so: after reading the first draft of this piece my editors have asked that I add a clarifying note to explain that this past May 31 was apparently not Cinco de Mayo. They have also apprised me that information about cultural events acquired from drunk Mt. SAC students at the West Covina El Torito may not be particularly reliable, and that in fact it may have been deliberately fraudulent. Ah well: this will give me much-needed practice working on my retraction-writing skills, and if dressing as a total jackass for a holiday that actually happened four weeks ago is the price for attending a roller derby match, then it’s one I’m more than willing to pay. As my Mexican compadres are known to say, Non, je ne regrette rien.
1. Laguna Beyatch catches air
2. Cookies’ mournful skate-out
3. Titty Titty Bang Bang and V. Lee jockey for position
4. Mila Minute races past Laura Palm-her
5. Love for the Cookie Monster
6. Victorious Sirens
Photos #1 and #6 by Rinkrat; photos #2-5 by Stalkerazzi. All photos (c) 2008 by their respective authors. All rights reserved.