Walking into the shopping mall with the big pink cherry blossom on the corner of Alameda and 3rd at 8pm on Saturday night, it didn't seem possible that somewhere past the fake stone columns, broken escalators, and closed sushi restaurants the L.A. Derby Dolls were whipping around a track, knocking each other to the ground in the name of fun and sport. But the dayglo signs reading “Derby,” with helpful arrows, assured me and my friend Alexis that we were in the right place. Once we got to the top, the tuff tattooed boys and Betties on wheels announced that while we might be in Tokyo Town, we were on the Dolls' turf now.

Saturday's bout was a showdown between the Fight Crew and the Tough Cookies, whose logo is a girl scout emblem crossed with switchblades. Short skirts that fly up to reveal lacy panties and bruised butt cheeks are part of the appeal, and from our trackside vantage point in the press area, I saw it all. Panties aside, I also began to finally understand how the game works: points are scored by the jammer, who must lap all the members of the other team, and then gets a point for each one she passes the second time. Talk about the fast and the furious! Falling flat on your ass and tumbling down the track is par for the course; at one point Markie D. Sod, glammed out with stacked cleavage and blue eyeshadow, barreled straight into the railing, pulled herself around in a full somersault, landed on her back, and skated away without breaking a sweat. I think we were more scared than she was. Tough cookie indeed.

Yeah, the cute girls are irresistible, but it took a shemale to bring me and Alexis to our knees. Karis, that skinny hipped hula hooping enchantress, was the half-time entertainment, and we howled like wolves as s/he stripped down to a sparkly g-string (he is, in fact, still a he). Frankly, I was more floored by his post-performance outfit: tight boy scout shirt, high-waisted plaid pants, and high-heeled boots. The lust I felt was a little confusing, I have to admit, but I liked it.

By the end of the night, Alexis was ready to sign up for roller derby, and not just so she could impress Karis. I fully backed the idea, “but you need a derby name,” I pointed out. She paused, blinked her eyelashes, and responded, “Alexa Cution.” And there you have it. Look for this tough cookie on the track real soon.

photo by Wendell Llopis

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