If you’ve attended a women’s roller derby bout in the sport’s post-modern incarnation, you’ve seen it, maybe even smelled it: the love, the pure addiction that drives tens of thousands of women around the globe to don fishnets and pseudonyms for the privilege of kicking each others asses.
Narrated by Whip It star and actress/musician Juliette Lewis, who also appears on-camera, the Derby, Baby! story spans the most turbulent and exciting time for the sport in decades, featuring interviews with promoter Jerry “The Commissioner” Seltzer, whose father Leo Seltzer invented roller derby in the 1930s; and Chuck Morris, President of AEG Live Rocky Mountains and one of the most ardent promoters of modern roller derby. The film looks at the many incarnations of the sport since its invention 77 years ago, and explores the WWF-like legacy and over-played television coverage of the past that threatens the sport’s image even today. Also featured are the new “rock stars” of roller derby, whose charisma and athleticism may be the key to pushing the sport over the “tipping point.” Super-fans, critics, sponsors, prominent sports writers, authors and sociologists weigh in on the phenomenon that is roller derby, and the sport’s organic — and possibly short-lived — growth as a unique athletic expression of women’s empowerment.
When: March 4 at 7 pm
Where: Blues City Cafe Bandbox, Beale Street
Cost: $10 at the door
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Film Website: Derby Baby
Hometown Heroes: Memphis Roller Derby