View more photos in the "Roller Skating Pirates" slideshow.
On the second Monday of every month, World on Wheels, a seemingly ordinary Mid-City roller rink, transforms into one of the most eclectic parties in town. At Wumpskate, a play on EBM/industrial artist :wumpscut:, retro roller disco decor and faded, brown rental skates mixes with industrial, electro and darker indie rock. At the all-ages party, teenagers in Invader Zim sweatshirts skate alongside club kids in pouf skirts and punk rock families.
Promotor Xian Vox, who also runs Malediction Society, has been earning a reputation as LA's Queen of the Theme Parties over the past few years. Tonight's event was subtitled Pirate Skate, which is, according to the DJ/promoter, one of the most popular themes at her events. We've had our eye on Xian's parties for a while specifically because of her knack for encouraging scores of people dress up in the midst of an era of casual clubbing. Even at tonight's roller disco, something you might assume would be less conducive to costumes than a regular nightclub, more than half of the attendees were decked out in some form of pirate gear.
Part of Xian's success in this regard could be credited to her roots in the goth scene, after all goths always have never been averse to dressing for the occasion. But, more importantly, her parties work because she joins in the fun. Her DJ sets are always carefully crafted around the event's theme, combining club hits with songs tailored for the event. Earlier in the evening at Wumpskate, she pulled out Abney Park's track "Airship Pirate" from her bag of tricks and everyone from the pirate Lolitas to Blackbeard look-a-likes to the kids in regular clothing hit the rink. During the midnight costume contest, the skating continued as Xian played a special set of yarr jams, prompting those on the sidelines to sing along with "Yo Ho ( A Pirate's Life for Me)."
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Even without the themes, Wumpskate is a special night on the town. It's perhaps the only skate night in Los Angeles, and maybe even beyond, where you can roll along to music from Ladytron, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Boyz Noize and Covenant. The crowd is incredibly friendly and, as a bonus, Doomie's Tacos takes over World on Wheels' kitchen to cook up the wide variety of tacos (including vegan ones) that have become well known within the club scene. Next month will be the party's sixth anniversary and, frankly, we can see why it's lasted so long.