A fresh blanket of snow, neighborhoods bathed in glowing light, packed malls and surly street-corner Santas, a tendency toward heavy drinking and stress-induced fits of road rage…yep, the holidays are here. For many people throughout the world, this evokes images of family, faith, tradition, and ridiculous amounts of consumption. But for a decent chunk of the population -- and for many of us Madisonians -- this time of year means something entirely different: It's time to get subversive.
And what better way to celebrate an alternative holiday season than with a little roller derby?
This Saturday night, Madison's favorite ladies on wheels hit the track, kicking off this festive time of year -- and their fourth season -- with the second annual Holiday Expo Bout (a.k.a. the HO Bout).
The Mad Rollin' Dolls have returned home from a busy summer of high-stakes interleague action (facing teams from Texas, Tucson, Chicago and Denver), and they're ready to play. Stocked with a new batch of skaters, and with a few old grudges still burning holes in their fishnets, the Dolls are raring to get back to the competition. But first, they're going to have a little fun.
As strange as it may sound, the HO Bout isn't your run-of-the-mill roller derby. Skaters from all four home squads will keep the grudges at bay just a little while longer, adopt new holiday-inspired nom de plumes, and join forces as the Candy Canes and Ice Queens. The festively bedecked teams (think tutus and "Sexy Santa" garb) will face off for three 20-minute periods of fierce, icy, holiday-spirited battle -- just like a trip to see the family, really, without all the passive-aggressive remarks.
Amazing Disgrace (known for the night as "Jack Up Yer Box,"), who will be skating and serving as co-captain for the Ice Queens, explained how the HO Bout differs from the regular-season fare: "It's bigger, it's brighter, and there might be live animals," she said. And, in keeping with the holiday spirit, she quipped: "And Candy Canes are suckers."
Longtime MRD fans will get their jollies as announcers Bob Noxious and Baam Baam step out from behind their trusty microphones to co-captain the teams. At halftime, Madison's beloved Cherry Pop Burlesque will be checking their list to see who's been naughty and who's been nice.
And because the Dolls like to give more than re-gifted holiday sweaters, a portion of the night's proceeds will go to WORT.
Oh, and did I mention that there would be a Mall Rabbi?
To join in this Festivus for the rest of us, head to the Mad Rollin' Dolls website to purchase tickets for you and your friends.
Melissa Faliveno skates as Harlot Bronte with the Mad Rollin' Dolls and works as an editor and freelance writer in her spare time.