I wasn't able to review Down and Derby: The Insider's Guide to Roller Derby this week, due to an epic bout (ha!?) of August pneumonia. It's basically a how-to-get-involved-with-derby book, full of enthusiasm for the sport's past and present, written with the express interest of recruiting guys and gals. A bit rah-rah in spots, Down and Derby is pretty interesting and chock-full of history, rules, facts, and tidbits about derby. There's advice about how to pick your roller girl name (pro trip: check the master roster, because I'm sorry but Miss Ann Thrope has been done before). There's a derby filmography. There's profiles about derby's bad girls from the '50s, like Ann Calvello, who was known to sport wild rainbow hairdos and crazy makeup. She went on to skate for 60-plus years, in one form of derby or another. Down and Derby's also got tons of advice about how to participate in your local league, whether that means strapping on the skates or learning to ref. The authors, LA Derby Dolls Jennifer Barbee and Alex Cohen, are nothing if not passionate about their sport, which makes for a pretty decent read, but I suspect that tonight's reading will be even more fun than the book, as the ladies get an opportunity to run off at the mouth about the whos and whats of kicking some roller ass.
Down and Derby: The Insider's Guide to Roller Derby
by Jennifer "Kasey Bomber" Barbee and Alex "Axles of Evil" Cohen
Reading at Powell's City of Books, tonight, 7:30 pm, free