Imagine a karate warrior, a motorcycle racer in full leathers, and a six-foot-six gorilla, all on roller skates. Now imagine that they’re mixed in with men in tuxedos, women in floor-length silk ball gowns, and girls in tutus — all on skates, under disco lights. Now add to that luchador masks, viking helmets, and a whole roller derby team in crash pads and eyeblack.
What I’m trying to convey here is that my fortieth birthday party turned out better than I could have hoped!
Kate looked smashing in my grandfather’s fox-hunting scarlet:
The newly-reopened Caln Roller Rink, before it filled up with skaters in formal gowns, tuxedos, and costumes:
Randy volunteered to set up a photo booth, and boy, am I ever glad he did. You can click on any of the thumbnails below to see some of the pictures he took. Look for the enormous Claymore sword he brought, which I’m pretty sure is high on the list of “things you really shouldn’t bring to a roller rink”:
The best part of the party, for me, was seeing West Chester Twitter friends meeting Guerilla Drive-In members and local bloggers, and everyone meeting family members and friends. I know perfectly well that many of my friends are creative, intelligent free spirits, but OH MAN, when they walk through the door in a cape and deerstalker hat, PLUS a snake-headed walking stick, PLUS a meerschaum pipe and magnifying glass, completely nailing the Sherlock? It restores my faith in… something, I’m not sure exactly what. But it’s something important, and having it re-affirmed so completely, by watching women fly past fearlessly in gowns and tiaras on rental skates, well, it’s just pretty damn wonderful.
Speaking of fearless, members of the nascent Chesco Roller Derby team came out, with their helmets, kneepads, and sequined shorts:
The team is in “fresh meat” stage, and are working on their skating skills. Once the team members pass their skill tests [PDF link], the team will be cleared to start having matches. The first one might be some time in March! Ever since stumbling on the Roller Derby Nationals in 2009, I’ve been hoping for a local team. In front are local West Chester Twitter-ers @kimdec and @jennruss, who just got their gear yesterday, and are 110% psyched about the sport (they’re at practice right now as I’m writing this.)
The evening ended (for us) at Doghouse Burgers in Downingtown, where we were serenaded by Terri Moss, playing Paris cafe standards and “Happy Birthday” on the accordion. Is there any more stylish way to end a party? I don’t think so.
Thanks so much for coming out, everybody! I had a wonderful time, and would like to think that I’ve continued the tradition of my Chester County ancestors, who used to hold fancy-dress galas on Lincoln Highway, stopping any cars that might come through so they could come join the festivities. With this group, any party is wonderful. I’ve already got some ideas for the next one…