The Cynical Optimist – 12/10/09


So I know this isn’t exactly the kind of typical thing we’d run in the column, but rather than do a review of ”Whip it”! (which we already have), I decided to do something different. I enjoyed the film so much I was inspired to write a something a little more personal. I fell in love with the girls, with the lifestyle, and this is kind of my ode to the derby girl…

It’s 8:37 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. There is a knock at the door, a playful rap I’ve been expecting for roughly seven minutes now. I answer the door and Sheena dashes past me with a brilliant white smile. On her feet, a whirl of black and electric pink, and she skates through the foyer and into the kitchen.

She unstraps the hot pink helmet and tosses it on the coat rack. I ask her about practice, and she tells me it was “bitchin’.” She hops up on the kitchen counter and I help her with her skates. We kiss as I unlace the pink shoelaces and slide them off her feet. I look into her eyes. She believes there’s no such thing as too much black eyeliner, and it never hurts to add an extra application of LashBlast. I sit the skates in the foyer as she runs past me into the bedroom.

It’s 8:45 p.m. Eastern Standard time. I open the cracked bedroom door and catch a glimpse of her changing. The tattoos that cover her arms represent a collection of pretty things; stars and half moons; autumn-colored leaves falling from a twisted old tree; the Muppet Babies.

She takes the piercings out of her ears and places them on the dresser. Next she carefully removes the skull-shaped stud in her nose, and finally the neon green ring in her right eyebrow. As she undresses, my eyes concentrate on the black-and-blue bruises that decorate her thighs like merit badges. She calls them her “war medals,” and she displays them proudly – constantly inviting friends to view a case of rink rash or her latest scar.

She wears boy-cut underwear, striped like candy canes. With her back to me, she removes her top and the sports bra under it. At this moment, she looks over her shoulder and catches me stealing a glimpse. She laughs, slightly blushing, and tells me to come in.

It is 8:52 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. She turns around and runs her black-tipped fingers through dark purple hair. She smiles and presses her body against mine before pushing away and walking to the mirror. She grabs my old Ramones t-shirt and throws it over her head.

She walks past, making a motion with her finger to follow. She steps out into the living room, bruises peeking out from under the bottom of my tee. She drops the needle on a piece of a vinyl she recently acquired from a local flea market. She pulls me close and kisses my lips, then my cheek, making her way to my ear lobe. She bites it gently and growls playfully.

In the background, the raucous blast of punk rock swells and engulfs us. Three chords played in steady succession, the sound of sticks breaking against drums. She jumps up and down, doing a punk rock version of the twist and shout. I take her by the hands, still stamped from a night at The Warehouse last week, and we dance across the carpet.

It is 9:03 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and I am in love with a roller derby goddess. Sheena is a punk rocker, a fistful of mayhem in a pretty package with green-and-white striped knee socks that hypnotize me. She’s a badass bitch with venom in her veins and acid on her tongue, but she loves me with all of her heart – the only part of her that isn’t bruised.

Trick R’ Treat

Bonfires burning bright / Pumpkin faces in the night / Candy apples and razor blades / Little dead are soon in graves / I remember Halloween. – “Halloween” by The Misfits

In writer/director Michael Dougherty’s film, ”Trick ‘r Treat”, Werewolves, Zombies and Demons of every variety are on the loose. They’ve all descended on the normally sleepy town of Warren Valley, Ohio where Halloween and all of the holiday’s strange traditions are taken very seriously.

Halloween is about respecting the dead. It’s the one night the dead and all matters of the macabre roam free and pay us a visit. The traditions: carving jack-o-lanterns , putting on costumes, handing out treats – they were started to protect us but nowadays, few people observe the customs and even less respect them.

In the vein of George A. Romero’s ”Creepshow”, ”Trick ‘r Treat” is a collection of short stories woven seamlessly: a suburban couple learns the dangers of blowing out a Jack-o-Lantern before midnight; four women cross paths with a costumed stalker at the town parade; a group of pranksters goes too far and discovers the horrifying truth behind an urban legend; and a cantankerous old hermit is visited by a most peculiar trick-or-treater.

”Trick ‘r Treat” is an instant cult classic that ghouls and goblins will watch every Halloween. It is a new tradition to be respected and upheld by the holiday’s most die-hard followers. Dougherty’s writing and direction is brilliant, and the film’s pacing and editing is suspenseful and clever. This is the essential Halloween film. The atmosphere and authenticity of the world Dougherty has created is timeless and downright fun.