In my last blog, I waxed woefully about a shortage of roles for women in the prominent film projects that were recently shot or will be shot in Virginia (the big budget Hollywood pics that the Film Office works so diligently to attract). Unfortunately, this historical trend, nay bias, for male dominated pictures doesn’t seem to be waning.
So for now, in another area of entertainment, let’s look at some gals that have taken matters into their own hands. Literally. If you are unfamiliar with CLAW, Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers and the Derby Dames, you’re missing out on some pretty rowdy performances; equal parts sport and theater.
CLAW was created in 2007, on a whim, by Jennifer Hoyt Tidwell and Jodie Plaisance and has fancied itself into a national phenomenon, having caught on in cities across the country. The participants don the attire and attitudes of their alter egos and engage in the hand-to-hand combat of arm wrestling, while the proceeds go to various charities that benefit women. It is quite the spectacle, and not without risk. Injuries will and do occur. I love the fantasy and camaraderie of it, but the idea of tearing up my right arm, which I actually use a lot, leaves me queasy at the very thought of it. The last match-up was on May 28, 2011 in a tent outside Blue Moon Diner on Main St., in Charlottesville. Take a look at the latest video, presented by local filmmakers Brian Wimer and Billy Hunt. The CLAW extravaganza has become a less frequent event in recent years, so keep your ears open and their website in your favorites list if you want to catch the next display of bravada.
Then there are the Derby Dames. Yup, they bring tried and true, good ole-fashioned, albeit, down and dirty, roller derby to the fore. Somehow the idea of speeding around a track and being knocked to the ground, in essence being able to hurt your whole body, seems less intimidating to me. Then again, I’m a pretty fast skater, and I haven’t signed up…yet. It’s always easier to sit on the sidelines thinking, “Hell, I can do THAT.” It happens in every arena (never more true than in reality television (excuse the non-sequitor, but it so grates me), as “all the world’s a stage”. The Derby Dames are next at home, at Main St. Arena, on June 18th. They’ll face the Star City Rollergirls from Roanoke.
The creativity that courses through these sub-culture communities is a delight to behold. There’s something so freeing in taking on an entirely different persona and what all these ladies prove, is that you don’t have to be an actor to do it, even though several of them are. A toast to all the women out there who not only find their own entertainment, but create it as well! Hats off, indeed.