Things Becoming Other ThingsI like any month that encourages the breakdown of the status quo, where men can be women, and women can be tartier women. It's a month for big changes. There's a general pagan feeling in the air -- the great harvest, seasons slipping into something warmer and it seems to infect all of us, beyond just picking out eye shadow.
Look for example at the Richmond Derby Demons, one of the city's two roller-derby leagues (along with the River City Rollergirls, who are themselves having a bout Oct. 21 at Skateland rivercityrollergirls.org).
Traditionally the territory of women who enjoy tattoos, friction burns and puns, there's been a bit of a glass ceiling for dudes. No longer. The Derby Demons have begun admitting fellas in response to a growing nationwide desire to see men get knocked down in new ways.
"You're seeing more of 'em sprouting up recently," says Olivia Lloyd, alias Eva Las Vegas, captain for the league's women's team, the Belle Island Brawlers (and a freelance copy editor for Style). Lloyd says the league, with close to 20 members, wants to bring in 14 men, but needs at least 8-10 for the season. There are six brave souls signed up so far, including the former league ref, "Scary Busey."
The men's and women's teams will have separate matches with other East Coast leagues, but there will be co-ed matches. Which will be interesting, because the Demons also are reintroducing the old-school rules, which promote leg whips and emphasize cutthroat competition.
"It's a little more aggressive," Lloyd says. "It's more fun for the audience to watch." Not content just to shatter knees and gender barriers, the Demons also are raising money to build a banked track, sort of the Holy Grail of roller derby, allowing the combatants to go faster and generally push that aggression Lloyd talks about.
"It's just the final piece of bringing old-school roller derby back," she says. Before the season ends (it runs February-October), they'll be having one more event to get some track money in the bank. They're hosting the Demons Ball, a masquerade party with DJs and fire spinning at Plant Zero Friday, Oct. 26, at 9 p.m. richmondderbydemons.com.
Straight From Grandpa's Guilty DreamsThere's a real retro spirit running around these days. Look to 422 Studio, for example, which takes ladies from right now and makes them look like those vintage pin-ups common to the noses of World War II bombers and the men's room at Dot's Back Inn. It's the fifth child of Ginger Curry-Richmond (reread that name a few times, because it's really glorious two spices and civic pride), a photographer who shot weddings back in Minneapolis and moved here, where she "just did the mom thing for the last several years" until starting a business taking pictures of ladies in old-timey poses and outfits.
In addition to raising her four children, Curry-Richmond plans monthly shoots for interested women to the tune of $125. This month there's a Halloween theme with two different sets: lingerie in a pumpkin patch or classic Hollywood monster (Bride of Frankenstein, say, or a mummy. "It's a pretty mummy," she adds). If you have a favorite hot rod you want to sprawl on, Curry-Richmond will do private sessions for $150 and up.
The resulting photos, softened by filters, look like paintings that your grandfather would call smut and keep in his toolshed girls in animal prints, girls in military lingerie, girls on giant dice. You'd be surprised at how many girls like to talk on the phone while lying on the floor, wearing stockings.
Curry-Richmond says she's photographed women age 19 to 60. While the photos are provocative, she says, there's no bondage and "all of your bits have to be covered."
"You get to be somebody you're not for a day," she says. Somebody who likes garters and big dice. Visit www.myspace.com/422studio.
Red Bull Gives You ExposureOften known as "the drink from those ridiculous commercials" or "that stuff you mix with vodka," Red Bull is also, apparently, a promoter of the arts. The "Red Bull Art of Can" exhibit has been featuring the work of artists in galleries and collections nationwide for the past two years. Well, works that are constructed of Red Bull cans.
For an upcoming exhibit at Philadelphia's F.U.E.L. Collection Oct. 20-Nov. 2, a piece by Richmond artist Yanna Ramaekers was selected. From 625 cans (enough to explode a whale's heart), Ramaekers constructed "Victory," a winged female figure.
It's impressive and elegant and much less obnoxious than those commercials. Her work is joined by that of 56 other artists, pieces including Red Bull rats in a cage, a hanging glass ball of Bull and an aluminum porcupine with what looks like the face of George W. Bush. Ramaekers' work is up against those others for the top three prizes God help her if it's a lifetime supply of Red Bull. Visit www.redbullartofcan.com.