Category Archives: Guest Blogger

Film Whips It Good

This is our third guest blog from Revolution, although now she’s better known as K-Y La Jelly. (Check out 1 and 2)

whip_it_cast

Whip It was not only a directorial debut for Drew Barrymore, it was a debut of women’s roller derby resurgence that began merely at the turn of this millennium.  Hollywood’s spotlighting of lesser known athletics has led to their subsequent national and international growth before.  Documentary Planet B-boy attributes the international exposure to breakdancing simply after 1983 Flashdance’s introductory clip of kids dancing in the streets.  About’s skateboard guide, Steve Cave, lists the 1989 release of Gleaming the Cube, a movie that first featured Tony Hawk among other future professionals, as a major event that boosted skateboarding popularity.  Has the passion of Barrymore’s pet project impacted roller derby in the same way?

Despite the novelty of roller derby in Hollywood, Whip It’s financial and artistic grade achieved a big fat mediocre.  Box Office Mojo ranks Whip It #6 behind Zombieland (#1) and Toy Story I & II (#2) according to gross profits made that opening weekend.  Kyle Buchanan gives a more historical perspective on the film’s monetary losses in “A Dispiriting List of Girl-Targeted Movies that Opened Better than Whip It” on movieline.com.  To summarize, the list includes several movies that star Hillary Duff and Lindsay Lohan, and dramatize the following topics:  boyfriends, princesses/drama queens, animals (horses and mermaids), and gymnastics (not to belittle the athleticism of this sport).  Film critics from New York TimesWashington Post and USA Today grant Whip It one thumb up for an eccentric cast and one thumb down for a predictable plot.

A quick read through roller derby team websites and blogs, however, show a very different story.  Ivanna S. Pankin, founder of Las Vegas’ Neanderdolls and owner of the online derby store Sin City Skates, states that even if the movie had sucked it is a free marketing tool that educates people about the sport’s existence.  For the past year she has prepped her business to respond to sales booms after the film’s release.  Sojourney Beaver, Las Vegas’ general league manager and new recruits coach, says that for every person who asks, “There’s derby in Las Vegas?” another person asks “What’s roller derby?”  After Whip It’s release, Beaver found 22 more women at the next beginner’s practice, about four times the normal 1-5 newbies who show up at the start of the season.  Although most of these new recruits denied the film had anything to do with their choice to start derby, a few admitted they had no clue a derby team existed in Las Vegas until they saw flyers posted at theaters.  Similarly, LV member Bootsi Call quotes 380 tickets sold at the following bout compared with the average 100-200 fans.
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The Female Quota Goes Underground

Guest blogger Revolution returns…

The Female Quota Goes Underground

Riot grrl. Riot grrrrrrrrrrrl. It has a roar to it.

My family grew up on Amy Grant, Michael Jackson, and MC Hammer – in that order of priority. We thought Ms. Grant was bad-ass for ousting the Christians to go into Rock ‘n Roll. Baby, baby, anyone?

Last week Minneapolis leading riot grrls Kitten Forever, with vocalist/song-writer Liz Elton, bassist Laura Larson, drummer Corrie Harrigan, and keytarist Deanna Steege (also of Unicorn Basement), stopped in Chicago while on their CD-release tour of the Midwest.

The band showed up in Harrigan’s gold mini-van, the kind seen in commercials for its exceptional safety rating. I had arrived early to their venue, confused by the closed flower shop with mats of paper taped over the windows. Across the street, a group of Latino men and a family on their stoop next door had been watching me spin circles on my bike. Really, really cool circles in my silver helmet.

Pilsen is a South side Chicago neighborhood composed mostly of former immigrants from Central and South America, their American-born children and grandchildren, and new immigrants. Usually in neighborhoods such as these, where rent is cheap and residents allow neighbors with rougher lifestyles, young artists buy space to host underground shows. ‘There must be a side door somewhere,’ the bands explained to me. We searched beyond the shop’s locked entrance when a skinny, shirtless guy walked out of one. He sort of smiled as he pushed out to the sidewalk to light his cigarette. He looked around for somewhere to rest his eyes. Continue reading

The Female Quota

Say hello to Revolution, our first guest poster!  She hails from Chicago; went on an American Southwest bike tour last winter; supports women in science, hip-hop, and other historically male arenas; retains an uncanny amount of science trivia; is all about sustainability and Green industry; loves gin and bon jovi; and, according to Which SATC Character Are You?, she’s Miranda.  Read on!…

Not only did I discover my favorite magazine (Venuszine) but Makkada B. Selah’s article, “The Battle of the MCs,” in the Summer 2008 issue touched on a problem that has deeply affected my life since moving to Chicago 5 months ago.

When moving to a new city the first thing I do to seek out friends is join a bicycle club.  It’s a fast way to meet my favorite people, the mostly awkward morons who bike with you to bars, pull ridiculous stunts, and love to party.  Mostly.  This last move, however, has given me a different perspective on friend finding and female camaraderie in particular.  Continue reading