Big Easy Roller Girls

The Big Easy Roller Girls, Viva Zaputa!

Hot girls on skates!  Short shorts!  Beer!  Loud music!  Fights!  If ever a city was tailor-made for Roller Derby, it was New Orleans.   Starting this fall, the Big Easy Roller Girls will be punching one another in the face to the tune of all your favorite local heavies.  Cold, cheap beer and fast-paced action promise to make Roller Derby a hit when the Girls begin their matches.  Unlike the Roller Derby you grew up with, this is the real deal; none of it is scripted and there are no bogus Walls of Death or Jungle Pits.  All players are required to have life insurance.

You remember how you used to always try to lap your friends at the Airline Skate Center?  Imagine if, rather than speeding up, your friends clotheslined you while you attempted to skate by.  That’s Roller Derby in a nutshell.  The head skaters, called jammers, skate ahead of the pack and score points by passing the pack up.  Everyone who is not a jammer is a blocker; their job is to not let the jammer through, by any means necessary.  The fast pace is punctuated by screaming punk-rock over the PA, a booming MC, and bands who play at halftime.

The Big Easy Roller Girls will be hosting a benefit for the budding league at One Eyed Jacks on July 23, featuring Hazard County Girls, arm wrestling, and more violent lady action than Courtney Love and Shannon Doherty stuffed with cocaine on a desert island.  ANTIGRAVITY gave head roller girl ¡Viva Zaputa! a call in Austin, where she was attending a Roller Derby boot camp, learning the finer points of throwing one’s weight around.

MG:  Why bring Roller Derby to New Orleans?
VZ:  I think we need it.  People just need something to do in a positive direction.  Something more fun, a little bit more physical.
MG:  A little more physical?
VZ:  A lot more physical.  And you know, there’s nothing wrong with wearing fishnets and getting together to beat the hell outta each other.
MG:  How successful do you think it will be?
VZ:  I think that it will definitely be a success.  I think it’s definitely what the town needs.  There’s a pretty good music scene in New Orleans, so it should do well.
MG:  Yeah, and the sport itself is so bizarre and kinda off the wall, it should appeal to people here.
VZ:  Right, and it’s been around forever.  It’s been around since the 50s.  It was kind of a legitimate sport there for a while.  It faded out for a while, but it came back in the 70s and 80s, but it was a little more like pro wrestling.  But now it’s back in the original form, with punk rock and cold beer and hot women.
MG:  So the way you guys plan on doing it is more like the original style, with the real violence?
VZ:  Yeah, yeah, definitely.  If you could see me right now, you could count my bruises.  There is nothing fake about it.
MG:  So the life insurance policies that all of the players have to take out isn’t some kind of laughable thing, it’s actually necessary.
VZ:  Well, every girl has to be insured before she skates.  Everyone has to sign waivers.  It’s like anything else:  boxing, football, rugby, anything.  You sign a liability waiver because if you are getting into a contact sport there is the possibility that you will get hurt.  And you will get hurt [at this point, ¡Viva Zaputa! offered a barely audible cackle that despite being barely audible nevertheless made me glad that, as a man, I am ineligible for Roller Derby].  So you need to come prepared for that injury that will eventually happen.
MG:  Where are the matches going to take place?
VZ:  Well, right now it’s still kinda up in the air.  We’re still recruiting, trying to get girls.  We need a speed coach, we need trainers.  It’s gonna be a while.  Right now we’re just trying to get people to get used to being on skates again.  You know, you gotta get ‘em to stand up before you can push ‘em down (laughs).
MG:  What’s the money from the One Eyed Jack’s fundraiser going to go towards?
VZ:  We have to incorporate, make it a limited liability corporation, to cover our asses.  We have to file papers with USRS, United States Roller Sports, and get a blanket liability for the league.  We need to secure time with a rink so that we can practice, you know, have drills and all.  So most of the money is going to legal fees, to get the ball rolling on everything.
MG:  So what can someone going to the benefit expect?
VZ:  Spankings, arm wrestling, kisses, and live music and cold drinks.
MG:  Which bands are playing?
VZ:  I know the Hazard County Girls are expected to headline.
MG:  Bands are going to play during the matches, right?
VZ:  There will be a band playing at halftime and after the matches.  During the matches, there’s gonna be music, punk rock and all that, but you need an mc, a commentator, and the refs need to be able to hear what they’re calling.
MG:  Who do you think is the perfect roller derby band?
VZ:  I’d have to say Suplecs.  But there’s really no such thing as a perfect roller derby band; as long as it’s loud and aggressive and people get into it.  They’re gonna rile ’em up and we’re gonna keep ‘em riled.  You don’t want any sleeper bands in there.  You don’t want anyone taking naps and have to wake them up when it’s time for the game.
MG:  So I guess we won‘t be hearing any Coldplay.  Why is roller derby a woman’s only sport?
VZ:  In 2001, girls who were hangin’ out in punk clubs formed the group Bad Girls, Good Women, which became the Texas Roller Girls here in Austin.  That eventually split in 2003 into two different groups, one who uses a flat track and one who uses a banked track [the sides slope up in the corners].  We’ll be going for a flat track.  But anyway, it started in 2001 with girls wanting to do something besides hanging out in the bar with their musician boyfriends.  They wanted to get in trouble in a more positive way.  So that happened and it got pretty big, and now it’s kind of a national epidemic.
MG:  Well, we look forward to you guys starting the league up over here.
VZ:  Yeah, actually, we’re hoping to have some girls come over for an exhibition bout.  Cos it’s gonna take a while before we’re ready.  We don’t wanna break each other up without knowing how.  Of course, we have a lot of training to do.  But hopefully some of the Texas Roller Girls will be coming up in October, so people  can get a taste of what real roller derby is all about.

Ladies of discriminating taste who wish to join the Big Easy Roller Girls should email vivazaputa@bigeasyrollergirls.com, visit http://www.bigeasyrollergirls.com, or call Crescent Wench at 504.813.2421.

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