Thunder Road, Etta James, Judi and me


Jerry Seltzer:

The good news: Frank Deford’s classic 5 Strides on the Banked Track is coming out as an ebook on March 25, and this was the night he and Willie, and Roger Ebert, The Smothers Brothers, and my “friends” roasted me……too damn many memories to keep track of.

Originally posted on RollerDerbyJesus.com:

Thunder Road is a teenage drug and alcohol center in Oakland that is so much more.  It includes family counseling activities and training for life.

My friend, Joel Selvin, rock critic for the San Francisco Chronicle went to the center to help establish a music department and ended up being a huge supporter.  He put together an annual “Roast and Jam” at San Francisco’s oldest nightclub and invited local celebrities to be “roasted” and local musicians, who probably had similar problems as the kids, to perform.  He was able to have Van Morrison, Sammy Hagar, Huey Lewis, the Doobies, and on and on show up.  And Herbie Herbert, manager of Journey, became a mainstay of the roasters.

Bill Graham, Joel, Sammy Hagar and others were roasted, and I think Joel ran out of victims and asked me to be skewered.  I was an easy target because my computerized ticketing company…

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From Roller Derby to Rollercon


transcontinental-roller-derby-opening-night-august-13-1935.jpg (1024×731).

Above is the image of the very first Roller Derby, August 13, 1935.

And last week was the fifth Rollercon I attended.

Photo: Rollercon Black & Blue Ball

It seems light years since the first event; but what both have in common is the intensity to compete.

I hate to disappoint many of you, but if you think Rollercon is a 5 day party you have no concept of why people are there.

It is amazing that athletes who are doing what they love take time from their work or lives – often at great hardship – to attend the most intensive boot camp, training school, games (some skate 3 or 4 a day!), to better play the game that brings all 5000 of them together.

Photo: Admin Silence of the Jams and Demanda Riot at Rollercon!

Those who attend sure enjoy themselves in the other activities (including the great parties and hugging of the Commissioner), but they are there to skate, learn to skate better, and enhance their skills.

The games are amazing; almost all full-bore; fully engaged as the game was intended, and getting off the track exhausted and exhilarated.  Old rivalries fought at the highest level (RMRG vs Denver Dolls, for example).  And often where you least expected:  The over 40 game was a barn burner; coed, full speed (damn Pitchit is fast), blocking and engaging over and over (Hot Wheels is not just a glamour puss, but one hell of an athlete), and really played with the skill that age game bring.  And the USARS game was an eye opener to many; closer to the original rules…..and fast, fast, fast.

At the USARS championship last year I asked Sassy of Oly if everyone could play USARS….she said they could, but many wouldn’t because it is too hard and requires great conditioning.  And MADE and OSDA skate virtually the original rules (all 4 pages….for those who haven’t seen them, take three minutes to watch a demo on you tube, Roller Derby Rules 1970)

And yet I saw WFTDA matches where the skaters were there to play, and there was no purposeful disengagement, even on (ugh) powerjams, and the fans loved it.

Just shorten the jams by at least 30 seconds, allow the pivot to do what I created the position to do (jam after a jammer breaks from the other team) and penalize the player and not the helmet, and see what a difference it would make.

I really didn’t believe there were at least 1000 of you I hadn’t met, but I did break my own hugging record in just the first two days; I got to become Donna “thehotflash” first Derby wife and she my third – although she became quite jealous after the ceremony and stood between me and all others.

Photo: Soooo cute...!!! The happy couple about to take their vows at the 2013 RollerCon Derby Wedding, Donna with Jerry Seltzer

Photo

And I did dance off, pants off, and wore my 26-year-old safari jacket to the fabulous Riedell party (one of the many great sponsors who really support Rollercon) and not only did I get great photos at the Black and Blue soiree, but some great lady gave me a standing lap dance that I will remember for quite a while.

I attended as many things as I could, and Bob Noxious and I hosted a packed house seminar on marketing and building attendance…..there is so much more you can do that is free with Brown Paper Tickets and I think we demonstrated that to our group, many of whom used BPT.  I think Bob got a video of the two hours, but will know later.

And I want to welcome Tony Muse and the Roller Derby Skate Company to Rollercon.  These skates were originally the only ones designed for Roller Derby years back, and he figured it was time to re-emerge with a wonderful new product.  Check them out.  They have been producing Roller, In-Line, Ice, skateboards and other products for years and have a great reputation.  And guess who was the first salesman Sales Manager George Sloniger hired way back when?   You betcha.

And I have to thank the amazing Doug Martin, who hosted me in the Roll Models booth.  He is a great guy, and his sublimated uniforms bring a professionalism to the sport that I think it needs for those who really want it to become what it should be.

And Lara (Hot Wheels) is such a great representative of Crazy skates, and you will see an interview she did with me on my facebook page…..I had to learn to speak Australian to do it.

http://youtu.be/GRAOzBWbsqA

I could go on and on, but can only give credit to Ivanna and Trish and Salsa Picante and the dozens of others who keep this thing going.  It really is the best thing in Derby today!  And the amazing crew including Sten and Michelle from Brown Paper tickets who sorted out the logistic nightmare of ticketing this event.  and what great tee shirts they gave away!

And I want to thank all of you who gave me even more shirts to add to my collection…..I will try to wear them all.

I will be at the BPT, Roller Derby, American Red Cross Blood Drives over the next few weeks….what a wonderful project!

But by God I will be back in Vegas next week, with Derby wife #4, and those who didn’t come and take advantage of at least some of the plus 400 events there were part of it, please do next year…I really want to meet you all!

Don’t be terrified of Rollercon, be happy; you are entering Derby Nirvana


It starts Wednesday.  the most well-organized chaos imaginable.

When you see Ivanna and Trish and the few who seem like many who have put this Kraken of an event together, bow, nod your head, whatever, to show your appreciation.  There has never been anything like it.

Bitch about some things if you want, but what if you were in charge?  And things that caused delays or anguish in previous years have been dealt with:  entrance to classes simplified, help everywhere.  And how would you plan to house and schedule over 400 different activities for 5000 people flocking in from all over the Derby world?

Pardon me for thanking Sten Iverson and his great crew from Brown Paper Tickets (plug) for processing the ticketing, the badges and all.  Stop by the BPT booth and he might even have something for you, and of course you will probably see Bob Noxious and the Commissioner.

The energy is amazing.  You come here with a purpose.  You don’t see slackers.  You see those who want to make the game become what the promise holds;  those who want to skate better, NSO better, announce better, whatever.  Unfortunately, I can’t get better because I am at my peak (Oh really…..what the hell do you do?)

And meanwhile all of you continue to serve good causes; the raffle, the donation boxes for Scarlicious, and what ever is out there for your worldwide community, you support.  And I hope we can expand the American Red Cross-Brown Paper Tickets-Roller Derby blood drives across America.  It starts this Saturday at Resurrection Roller Derby in Rohnert Park and  6 other days are scheduled in August, more to come in September in Northern California.

I look around and can’t tell if you are from Christchurch, Des Moines, Bogota…..there seems to be an amazing relationship that unifies a world of skaters.  Please take advantage of this binding over the 5 days handed to you by this event.

Below is one of 10 amazing Lucy D shirts by Gamegear.  Sublimated, design lasts forever (remember, I do tend to exaggerate).  wonderful non-odor bearing material.

Photo: it truly is better...at the very least less long term painful to get knocked down than knocked up...get to meet Jerry Seltzer, check out the Game Gear/ Seltzer Brand/ Roll Models lineup and get a sweet high performance shirt with sublimated printing to last as long as your shirt

My calendar? greeting as many of you as I can; being with Judi and the others in the Roll Model, Gamegear, Seltzer brand booth in the main hail; sometimes at the BPT booth; hanging with Baon Wolman (www.baronwolman.com), one of the great photographers who just happened to wander to our arena from the Haight/Ashbury crowd and capture classic photos of Derby; bringing Frankie Macedo and Judi to Karaoke; putting on what is left of my safari gear (Judi and I did the Kenya thing 25 years ago) for the fabulous Riedell party; stopping by the Roller Derby Skate Company booth, which my uncle and father started over 60 years ago;  and checking out all the great vendors and booths, including Blood and Thunder magazine who is right next to us (I do a column for Robin).

By the way, Baron is bring 4 sets of different photos…..he will sell and sign them.  (you will realize what a bargain you are getting when you go to his site and see what he gets for individual photos.)

Photo: And here is Number Two.

taking a new Derby wife, the amazing Donna “thehotflash” Kay, and then taking my pants off and dancing; hanging with my derby-over-40 homies  at the Victoria Pub on Friday evening; heading up the marketing (how to increase attendance) seminar with the powerful Bob Noxious Saturday at noon, #114; hugging Val, my first Derby wife; and catching all  and seminars and fun that I can and joining the continuous pool party.  Searching out at least two blondes:  The amazing Crazy Skates lady from OZ:  Lara Irons!   And my long time Bont friend and donor of the most amazing jacket:  Debbie Rice.  And obviously every other blonde, brunette and redhead out there (just kidding, Judi).

Please come and hug me, talk to me, take a photo, buy a book!  And I will update via twitter (@jeryseltzer), facebook (Jerry Seltzer), and of course here on WordPress (www.rollerderbyjesus.com), and writing my impressions for the UK’s Lead Jammer magazine. And I will be checking my new LG mobile device……..modern media isn’t going to overwhelm me.

To quote the great Ernie Banks:  can’t we just play a double header?

What to do at Rollercon besides skating (which I don’t do)


The first Rollercon I attended was in 2006, and I don’t remember exactly why I went.

I think it was because Loretta “little Iodine” told me about it, and I had met the Windy City Rollers and my first Derby wife Val Capone the year before.

And Judi Flowers sent along 300 pair of her flower slippers that had been featured on Oprah and Sex and the City and we gave them out…..anyone still have them?

Judi and Jerry:

Photo: IMG_7904

Loretta and I were so honored to be introduced and get to say hello to everyone at the big opening dinner (gone the way of the dodo bird).

July 30 to August 4 at the Riviera in Las Vagas will be either my fifth or sixth.  Ivanna and Trish and all the people who put together this amazing event are wonderful…..at least to me it has become the centerpiece of modern Roller Derby, even more than the championships……over 5000 from all over the world (will there be anyone there from the leagues in China, Russia, Korea, South Africa, Egypt, Israel, etc?) because this is Roller Derby Mecca.  The best skating instruction, the best functions, seminars, trade show etc.  It is really Roller Derby University, where it is not as much what you learn, but who you meet, hang with, and make even more bonding relationships.

First league being formed in Russia:  in line skates for now!

Photo: Our traning of 5 June. We usually have around 10 people, there are several who are coming every time, but also we get some new guys every training, what's good. It is sunny in St.Petersburg. and we are enjoying it on the Palace Square (in front of the Hermitage, yep)

I have never been a skater (unless you count my time on the banked track in a match race with a sponsor (I had sense enough to lose) or when I skated with the Singer midgets (their actual name) when they were in Hollywood filming “The Wizard of Oz”…….I hope that doesn’t date me).

But boy, this is my Disneyland, Space Shuttle, Super Bowl all wrapped in one.

And Brown Paper Tickets, the only ticketing company with a full Derby Division with Derby people, has me doing sales and outreach for them.  This not just for profit, fair trade company had me start with them last September.   And if you can imagine the logistics of doing every admission function for Rollercon, you can see what a snap they would be to handle your league (lowest service fee, no cost to you, magnificent customer service….www.brownpapertickets.com).

And what will I be doing?

Well, I have 7500 facebook friends and tens of thousands who follow my blog and twitter, so I get to see many of them this one time of year.  And we take pictures and I sign the various places they want to be signed (yes, it is true, I did).  And I will hang in the Brown Paper Tickets booth with Sten and Michelle and the many others they will bring just to make sure all problems in Las Vegas are handled.

And Judi Flowers and I will be at the Roll Models/gamegear booth in the main hall (#24, at the corner right in front) where Judi will introduce the Derby fashion forward SeltzerBrand/Gamegear designs by Lucy D which are sublimated (what till you find out what that means) and unlike anything else in Derby.  the designs last as long as the fabric, regardless of washings etc.  There will be a limited amount on sale as well as books autographed by the Commissioner and photo ops, etc.

And if you are even thinking about getting team uniforms, please check out Roll Models, unless you don’t want professional looking, long wearing, sublimated designs.

Bob Noxious of Roller Derby fame and Brown Paper tickets and I will be heading a seminar on Saturday at noon in #114.  If you are super-successful in attracting fans or not successful, you will want to be there to be part of the discussion…..there is so much about promotion, marketing, ticketing that is not obvious, and we will get into all of that….and oh yes, I promoted over 3000 Roller Derby games, Willie and Waylon, and much more.

And here is an oddity:  The Roller Derby Skate Company, started by my father and uncle Oscar Seltzer 70 years ago will be making its first appearance at Rollercon, in the west hall where Brown Paper Tickets booth is.  I have no ownership; cousin Ed (a nuclear physicist who attended Cal Tech!) owns it, and has made it one of the most successful roller, ice, skateboard, hockey companies in the world.  I guess he figured it was time to visit his namesake.  I am certain he has gone for a certain niche, and you really should stop by and see the products in the booth.  We required all of our skaters to wear them back in the day.

The voluptuous Val Capone at our Derby Wedding.

Jerry Seltzer

It appears that about 200 members of the vibrant Derby over 40 group will be on hand.  We will have a little gathering on Friday night, and hope you can attend my (third) Derby wedding to the breathtaking Donna “thehotflash” Kay at the top of the Riv and then stay for the pants off/dance off party (I guess that is appropriate on a wedding night).

Oh Donna, (sigh)

Donna 'thehotflash' Kay

And of course Dumptruck officiiated at the Lori and Jerry nuptials.

Photo: After ceremony

If you don’t know about Donna, please check out her facebook page.   Maybe the most amazing woman around.

I can’t remember your derby name and real name (I check the labels in my shirts to make certain they are mine), so just come up and hug me, tell me who you are and let’s take a photo.

Gawd, I love Rollercon.