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August 14, 2011

A Fan’s Visit to RollerCon – Part 3

I hit another quick seminar on “Legal Music – Justify All Music Legally” where Showtime explained copyright issues around music and how to avoid problems (and expensive legal bills) with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC the performing rights organizations in the US. Showtime brought brochures and even had sample contracts with fee schedules for people to take with them. Great session addressing an often overlooked topic in roller derby bout production.

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Riedell Pajama Party

Thursday night the festivities continued with the Riedell Pajama Party. I didn’t stay very long since I had to switch hotels and also get some sleep, especially since Friday night was going to be very late due to the Black N Blue Ball. Sleep is definitely one of those things in short supply at RollerCon. The Pajama Party was nice, lots of prizes and giveaways by Riedell.

Sniperella laying down the law

Friday I went to a few seminars, the most interesting was definitely Sniperella’s “Intellectual Property For Non-Lwayers” where she covered all the basics and answered a gazillion questions. Again the room was packed, there seems to be a lot of demand for business-related legal knowledge. Sniperella structured her presentation very well, the whole session was very impressive.

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Jerry and Frank reminiscing, April explaining some details

In the afternoon was the definitive highlight of all the seminars: Kasey Bomber’s “Derby History 101”. There was even an extra bonus in the form of April Ritzenthaler (one of the original She-E-Os), Jerry Seltzer (Leo Seltzer’s son, Leo was the inventor of roller derby) and Frank Macedo (one of the main skaters in Jerry’s league). Kasey kicked it off with a brief history of roller derby and how it came into life, then as she continued into the modern era of reborn roller derby she invited April up to the microphone and together they continued talking about many of the interesting details of modern roller derby. Why are the bouts called bouts? Why are they 2 minutes long instead of 1 minute in prior roller derby incarnations? And so on. The audience had lots of questions and this session alone was worth the trip to RollerCon. In the last few minutes Quadzilla came in, he used to skate in RollerJam.

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Jerry, Kasey, Frank, April group photo, Quadzilla and Jerry after the session

And the Friday was the party highlight of RollerCon, the Black N Blue Ball. Well, “Ball” implies something different from the actual festivity, it was more a giant Black N Blue Pool Party. Still good, but less fun if you are in a suit or fancy black and blue dress outside in Vegas, in the summer, in 105 degrees and are miserable. We went to the party all dressed up and after about 40 minutes made our way back inside, passing exhausted and overheated partiers that were trying to cool down just like us. We went to the Queen Victoria pub, had some cool drinks and after a while felt ready to go back outside.

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At that time a bit of a storm was starting to hit Vegas, strong winds tangled blue wigs with fake long blue eye lashes and some of the fancier costumes were battered by the gusts. Many parties jumped into the pool to cool down, well that wasn’t an option for me with the camera, bummer. Below are more photos but for some truly amazing pictures check out Jim Cottingham’s RollerCon pictures.

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Lots of fun but yeah, hopefully future Black N Blue Balls are indoor and more ball-like or are called Black N Blue Pool Parties so we can dress accordingly :)

August 02, 2011

A Fan’s Visit to RollerCon – Part 2

Thursday morning a small group interested in video production and bout casting reconvened and continued to discuss various technical topics. Hurt Reynolds showed his setup which he was using to broadcast from one of the training tracks.

liquor Liquor Possi sharing her marketing experience

I also visited a seminar about marketing “Get More Butts at Your Bouts” by Liquor Possi who was super organized, had lots of great information and even provided hand-outs. The room was filled to capacity and then some and from all the interest and the variety of questions it looks like general Roller Derby marketing is one of the key areas that leagues are interested in. Liquor Possi talked about the various marketing techniques that her league uses: from flyers and print to radio, TV and billboard ads. Most interesting was her blurb about challenges with her name which she sometimes has to shorten to just “Possi” depending on the target audience. I was reminded of that when I later saw an attendee with the derby name “Fistfucker” on her back, don’t think I’ll be seeing her on a billboard or local TV programming anytime soon.

vagine The Vagine Regime mascot, wonderful

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There were also tons of bouts to watch from Robots vs. Zombies to Vagine Regime vs. Caulk Suckers and of course Team Australia vs. Team USA. These were all very lopsided slaughters but the losing teams never gave up and fought all the way to the end. The level of athletic ability varied but in general the skaters were very good. Some of the co-ed bouts were amazing and filled with jumps, spins and other advanced stuff. The mascots at the Vagine Regime vs. Caulk Suckers bout were a riot and the audience had a blast.

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Nice whip by Team USA

The Team Australia vs. Team USA bout was an audience favorite, tough very lopsided the Aussies never gave up on cheering for their team and kudos for enjoying a good-natured beating.

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Great hits and blocks in the Team Australia vs. Team USA bout