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?

One more great bit of excitement for Rollercon


Really exciting news…..my good friend Baron Wolman is coming to Rollercon.

I wrote about him in another post.  Baron was the first chief photographer for Rolling Stone, and his classic photographs from that era grace many galleries and all of the Hard Rock Cafes.

He was on stage at Woodstock, and you may have seen him on PBS recently when he introduced his photo book of that weekend.

If you go to http://www.baronwolman.com, you will see the amazing photographs he has produced; ….he wandered into our arena one day and started taking Derby photos, and they are the basis of the classic book: “From Roller Derby to Rollerjam”……no one else has ever caught the game the way he has.  At the top of his website click on “beyond rock” and you will get the idea.

This is how he captured Joan Weston and Ann Calvello…..(do not copy this photo without his permission!)  look at some of the other photos on his site.

Roller Derby, 1967

He recently published a book on “Groupies” which is absolutely beautiful.  And he created the wonderful fashion magazine of the 70’s “Rags”.

Anyway, he will be hanging with Judi and me (and I imagine looking for some great shots…..I would love him to do the great photo book on Modern Roller Derby people, so look Derby when you see him)

Although the greatest rock photographer, he is so cool.  check him out  at either at the Roll Models booth (#24), or at Brown Paper Tickets booth.  You want to get a photo with the commish and with the Legend.  I charge 19 cents…..I don’t know his fee.

 

This was about Keith and the book, but now Keith is being honored!


My name is on it along with the real author Keith Coppage.  I gave him some stuff and photos but Keith (the OFFICIAL Roller Derby historian) did all the research and writing.  (Oh, the book is Bay Area Roller Derby, part of the America series by Arcadia Publishing which has done a great job on bringing America’s stories to us….check out their site, www.arcadiapublishing.com.  You will probably find a book about your town, county, or state).  Please click on to the link above as his school where he has taught for 25 years is honoring his cultural contribution to the school, the children and the community.

And the book is available at http://www.amazon.com.

Is the book just about the Bay Area?  not really.  Because Bay Area Roller Derby became nation wide in the 60s and 70s when our videotapes appeared on over 120 stations (in the US and Canada), and the original Bay Bombers became America’s team.  Superstar Charlie O’Connell was from New York, “Golden Girl” Joan Weston from LA, and the one and only Ann Calvello, an honest to god San Franciscan.  Tony Roman originally from back east, Francine Cochu from Montreal.  And they were loved and played to sold out Arenas and stadia everywhere.

I had the pleasure of taking Keith to his first modern Derby game at Craneway in Richmond, CA, and he understood the excitement.  Keith had become a fan at 9 years of age when his father took him to a game at the Antioch Fairgrounds, really a terrible place to see your first game….outdoors, the track over dirt.  windy and cool, and not well skated.  But Keith was hooked.  He convinced his family to take him to the Cow Palace and other venues (many miles from where they lived).

I would love to say that Keith ran off and joined the Roller Derby; instead (and this is so sad), he went to Cal Berkeley, became an outstanding English and writing teacher at a high school in Concord California and is the man (see Glee) who brings great Broadway productions on no money to an area that is long on immigrants from all nations.

So how did I meet Keith?  Hal Silen and Peggy Brown and I started BASS  Tickets, the first independent computerized service in the Bay Area in 1974.  When I would wander in the phone room (bad ADD), I would run into someone who was definitely different from our other operators – older, and didn’t look like he needed the job as much as others.

Then strange things started to happen: I would find cryptic messages on my desk:  “on this date in 1965 the first Founder’s Cup (our way of honoring Leo) was played at the Cow Palace.  The Pioneers defeated the Bombers 38  to 31.”  I knew Hal and Peggy weren’t doing it.  Eventually Keith and I started talking.  He had taken the job after school hours to be near the Legend!

Of course we became friends.  I found out that Keith had attended Joan Weston’s training school she had operated after we had shut down the Derby.  He had info on everybody (no, not like TMZ, just good stuff).  And he had writings and photos from over the years, so when Baron Wolman (the first chief photographer for Rolling Stone) and I decided to publish “Roller Derby to Rollerjam” we commissioned Keith to write it.  Baron edited it and added the wonderful photos he had taken at Kezar Pavilion in the sixties and everyone was happy with the results, except Rollerjam had folded shortly after it was published.

So now Keith had to find new material for the new book, and what is in it amazes me…..photos and stories I didn’t know existed, and pictures he took of the BAD girls and others from leagues that were submitted.

August 8th was  the official day of publication, just 5 days away from the 77th anniversary of  the very first game in Chicago (no, I wasn’t there…..damn it, it was my father).  You can now find it at any book store, or at www.arcadiapublishing.com, or at certainly at Green Apple Books to get those rare dedications from Keith and me.  You really want the dual set; the few remaining copies of “Roller Derby to Rollerjam” are available at www.rollerderbycommish.com.

If every league in the world (1299) orders 4 copies, I bet we get on the NY Times best sellers list.