Please Explain: Roller Derby

Friday, September 24, 2010

Today’s Please Explain is all about the sport of roller derby, from its earliest roots to its modern day revival. Alex Cohen (aka Axles of Evil) and Jennifer Barbee, the authors of Down and Derby: The Insider's Guide to Roller Derby, stop by our show today. Alex Cohen is a skater and trainer, and also served as the derby consultant/choreographer for Drew Barrymore’s film "Whip It!"


Jennifer Barbee and Alex Cohen

Comments [13]

j from New York

The 70's documentary Derby was a tragic story about the recourses that working people take when the American Dream fails them. And those Depression-era rollerskating marathons about which the show's guests were waxing nostalgic were actually highly depressing. The participants weren't doing it for fun, they were doing it keep from going hungry, eating the sponsor's complimentary meals and just to make money to survive. Though it's about a dancing marathon instead of rollerskating, the novel and subsequent Sydney Pollack film They Shoot Horses, Don't They? depicts the extreme tragedy of such Depression-era competitions. P.S. Rollerball was a film about Ayn Rand-style individualism prevailing over dangerous, repressive collectivism. Also pretty depressing, as the players literally battled to the death on the banked track, a spectacle for a mindless mass audience thirsting for blood.

Sep. 24 2010 02:19 PM
Cindy from LI

Drew Romance

Sep. 24 2010 02:09 PM
Joni Ramoan from rockland county

Hi Leonard!!
i cant receive the signal here at work at the Soap and Paper Factory, but i have gotten a ton of texts telling me that you are doing a piece on Roller Derby!! Did you know that Suburbia Roller Derby (right here in Westchester County NY) is hosting a weekend extravaganza at the Westchester County Center in White Plains!!! Eastern Regionals!! The top 10 teams....Anybody who is able bodied an loves great competative sports should come and check it out!! All day today, Saturday and Sunday!!! and check it out!!!! oh, and we LOVE PUBLIC RADIO!!!!
have a wonderful weekend. i know i will.
Hip checks and hugs....Joni RaMoan

Sep. 24 2010 02:07 PM
Leta from Brooklyn

This burlesque babe loves roller derby. Here's to hard core chicks!

Sep. 24 2010 01:57 PM

Names for Andy:

Gorey Borowitz
Sand Man

Sep. 24 2010 01:56 PM
Zakk Sabbath

Second the comment on "taking on a job". My wife Dixie Whiskey is running the tournament in White Plains this weekend, in addition to skating for Suburbia in Yonkers, in addition to, oh, being a mother of two. She is awesome, as are all the roller grils. And: Go to the tournament this weekend in White Plains! Plug plug!

Sep. 24 2010 01:55 PM
Autumn Sol from LIC

Leonard Low-Blade

Sep. 24 2010 01:53 PM
Todd from NJ/Pittsburgh

Glad to hear some coverage of derby.

I assume you guys know the WFTDA regionals are this weekend in Westchester, NY?

Sep. 24 2010 01:49 PM
CL from New York

Roller derby???? This tears it for me. No more donations. Junk radio.

Sep. 24 2010 01:49 PM
Maude from NYC

Just wanted to give props to these ladies!! I almost tried out for Derby here in NYC, but quickly learned I was way too big a pussy. Also even bigger props for being able to juggle demanding jobs and demanding practice. you guys are an inspiration

Sep. 24 2010 01:46 PM
Sam Morse from Brooklyn

Oh Man,

I ran into these girls after their book signing last night. They are too hot, and so tough. My question, do normal humans stand a chance in the rink?

Sep. 24 2010 01:44 PM
Troy from Carroll Gardens

Just wondering what the guests thought of the movie Whip It. I liked it...but what do I know...

Sep. 24 2010 01:42 PM
Jaime from NYc from NYc

No mention of the movie Rollerball with James Caan?!?

Sep. 24 2010 01:38 PM

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