When most Americans hear the words “roller derby” today, they think of the kitschy sport once popular on weekend television during the seventies and eighties. Originally an endurance competition where skaters traveled the equivalent of a trip between Los Angeles and New York, derby gradually evolved into a violent contact sport often involving fake fighting.
But after nearly dying out in the nineties, derby has been making a comeback. From a mere handful of leagues in the United States just a few years ago, there are now more than 20,000 skaters in more than 500 leagues around the world, with hundreds of thousands of die-hard fans.
KPCC's All Things Considered Host Alex "Axles of Evil" Cohen and co-author Jennifer "Kasey Bomber" Barbee joined KPCC's Crawford Family Forum as they read from their new book "Down and Derby: The Insider's Guide to Roller Derby." "Down and Derby" is a brassy celebration of every aspect of the sport, from its origins in the late 1800s, to the rules of a modern bout, to the science of picking an alias, to the many ways you can get involved off skates.
Special guests included the LA Derby Dolls and the Angel City Derby Girls.
For more information about the book, please visit the Down and Derby website
COVER - Jay Vollmar Alex - Photo by Rich Dean Jennifer - Photo by Meghan Quinn