The argument of the broken window pane is the most valuable argument in modern politics. – Emmiline (Goulden) Pankhurst 1858-1928
During this year’s Golden Bowl in Oakland, California, I recalled Pankhurst’s famous quote while photographing the roller derby bouts at the Bay Area Derby warehouse. Many of my pictures have broken windows in the background. Other pictures have the Golden Rules poster in the background.
I first noticed the broken window panes two years earlier during the 2015 “United Nations of Derby,” when I took some of my favorite roller derby pictures in front of broken window panes. I like the pictures even more, because I photographed Eva Menace one of my favorite players. Whether we realize it, the roller derby community are descendents of the suffragettes.… Read the rest
This is the first season that Bay Area Derby has skated at the Palace of Fine Arts. BAD changed their teams, uniforms, and regular season home. The Palace of Fine Arts was originally built for the 1915 World’s Fair. It is one of the few remaining structures; it is definitely the most recognizable.
I have been photographing roller derby since 2011. Sometimes I wonder if I have been doing this too long, but I felt younger next to some of the structures at the Palace of Fine Arts.
My fourteen year old daughter attended the first bout between San Francisco and Berkeley. When she first started watching derby, she liked the vendors. Now she is looking for the opportunity to join a team.… Read the rest
I have also photographed an event inside the 16th Street Station. On November 7, 2015, I photographed a fundraiser when Mayor Libby Schaaf celebrated her 50th birthday at the historic site.
This year’s season opener was historic because of the new venue, but the result was also unusual. San Francisco ShEvil Dead defeated the Oakland Outlaws 186-114. The ShEvil Dead victory equaled their win total from the three previous years.
The new venue seemed appropriate for roller derby. Old and new had found a place to interact and coexist. Nothing felt out of place.
When I watch derby on a foam surface, I forget that the sport is full of full contact.… Read the rest
“If the Good Lord had intended us to walk, he wouldn’t have invented roller skates.” (from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)
On Saturday, two teams skated in circles and one team would be able to hold a trophy at the end of the bout.
Last year the Berkeley Resistance won. This year they won again.
Rocket Dog Rescue also attended the Bay Area Derby Championships. Rocket Dog Rescue attended two years ago. This leads other related questions. If God had wanted us to be alone, would he or she have created dogs? (Or if God had wanted dogs to be alone, would humans have been created?)
So, walk this way and view the two galleries from #BADchamps2016. I recommend that you play a Gene Wilder movie in the background.
I almost did not photograph last weekend’s Bay Area Derby Pride double header. I would have missed something special.
My derby photographs were not special, although I took a few decent action pictures somehow. There are two slideshows below the next two photographs.
In the second bout, Richmond Wrecking Belles defeated the San Francisco ShEvil Dead.
In the first bout, the Berkeley Resistance lost to the Oakland Outlaws.
A former skater coached the winning Oakland team, and an injured skater coached the other winning team.
Two contestants won the rainbow whip cream eating contest.
The bearded man was one of the winners. I have pictures to prove it.
After the first bout, the skaters gathered while a referee was honored. Then the rest of us were honored to be in the presence of something special.
I am a roller derby photographer and my 2016 season started last Saturday. I usually photograph at The Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, California where light imitates art … or art imitates cupcakes. I forget.
Bay Area Derby created two “united teams” to compete against Sacramento’s Sacred City Derby Girls and the Santa Cruz Derby Girls. My son was unsure which team to support, so he chose his team the same way he chose his cupcake. (He chose the blue one.)
Before the evening bouts, I took my children to the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park. We would have watched the junior derby “Golden Goblet” earlier in the day, but my son played his first baseball game Saturday and my daughter danced earlier that morning.
My kids enjoy derby as much for the community and competition as the cupcakes and cookies.… Read the rest
Last week I met sports journalist Justine Gubar. She wrote the book “Fanaticus, Mischief and Madness in the Modern Sports Fan.” The book is about crazy fans. Last night I watched the Major League Baseball playoffs. Toronto fans threw beer cans and other debris onto to the field after being upset with an umpire’s call (but mostly the fans hit other fans, including kids). Toronto eventually won, otherwise the fans might have thrown kids. Last weekend, I photographed the Bay Area Derby Girl roller derby league championships. Some fans cheered. Some drank beer. Some fans brought their kids (or some kids brought their parents), but nothing unusual happened… except that The Berkeley Resistance won their first league title.
You can view more photos of Berkeley’s first league celebration and 161-143 victory over Oakland at the gallery here.
I would do anything for love (but I won’t do that) – Meat Loaf (1993)
Links to photo galleries included at the end
I almost did not attend the 2015 D1 WFTDA International Roller Derby Tournament in Tucson, Arizona last weekend. Even though I love roller derby, I was scared. At the beginning of September I visited my neurologist after listening to another Oliver Sacks interview. I suspected that I had prosopagnosia (face blindness). I thought that I was losing my mind and I was afraid to spend three days in the desert meeting (and re-meeting) people, but I couldn’t let my fear stop me.
I remember people. I just do not remember their faces. I remember Joy Collision when she skated at the 2012 Western Division Regional Tournament. (she is pictured above greeting friends). I remember that her number (747) is the same as a jet. I know that Joy Division became New Order after the lead singer committed suicide and I know that Joy looks like the person who sells avocados at my local farmer’s market (though I am probably wrong about this last one). … Read the rest
This post might turn out like my dinner tonight. I grilled a cheese sandwich with turkey, garden tomatoes and avocado. The sprouted bread fell apart, the crust became hard and the inside became mushy and cheesy. It tasted good, but I would not serve it to friends. While I rushed my dinner, I have spent several days trying to write this blog post.
I have yet to digest my emotions from last Saturday.
Before I attended Saturday’s bout between the Santa Cruz Derby Girls Bombshells and the Bay Area Derby Girls Team Gold, I planned a simple post that included galleries from two previous bouts. I would discuss the community based organizations that the roller derby teams supported at recent events and I would mention how my children love attending roller derby too.
Then I met Bryan Stow.
I am a Dodger fan. I have loved the Dodgers since I was a little kid and moved to Fresno from the San Fernando Valley.… Read the rest
The Bay Area Derby Girls opened the 2015 regular season on International Pi Day. Berkeley won the first bout against San Francisco (photo gallery here), and Oakland defeated Richmond in the second bout. (photos here.) Four people competed in a pie eating contest, which the audience won. The derby and sunset were grand, as was the marching band. I searched for circles.
Pi Day is a real thing. In case you forgot the formula for measuring the area of a circle or cylinder, you can find it on the page International Pi Day page. I learned the origin of the joke that “Pies aren’t square; they are round.” I also learned that there was a such a thing as a Pi joke.
I am too literal to laugh at math jokes. I tried to photograph the first several numbers of Pi, but I couldn’t find the necessary skaters after #31.… Read the rest
October 11, 2014
Santa Cruz, California
Last weekend I photographed the Santa Cruz Bombshells’ final bout of the season. Santa Cruz hosted the New York Bad Apples at the Kaiser Permanente Arena. Because the bout was held in October, there was a costume theme. Because this was roller derby, a costume theme seemed a little redundant… until I participated.
Almost every roller derby skater and official adopt a persona and name. I have a derby name, (it’s P Giddy), but I have not really lived up to it. I wondered if a costume theme would negate personas. Would some people dress as normal people? What is a normal person? Am I a normal person? Instead, it was double fun.
The previous weekend, I bought an old train conductor’s hat in downtown Oakland and decided that I would wear a vest I bought twenty years ago. I also bought an antique lighter that I can use for business cards, but I do not really use business cards.… Read the rest
Last Saturday, the B.A.D. Girls held their 2014 women’s flat track roller derby regular season championship. Roller derby has become a popular sport throughout the world. B.A.D. is one of the top leagues in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, or WFTDA. The WFTDA lists leagues on their website.
I am an official photographer for the Bay Area Derby Girls. I really do not know why I don’t smile more often. After bouts, I post photos to my photo site (www.AflatTrackMind.com and to my little facebook site). I write blog posts here. I am going to write less this time and just post links and photos.
Derby fans are wonderful. They really care. The best derby fan is probably an eleven year old girl. She is just off to the right of this picture. You can find her in the photo gallery if you click the picture or go here.… Read the rest
So, today is the 10 year anniversary of the day my father committed suicide. I was going to write a very dramatic blog post about how tragedy has visited my life too often and my life was unfair, but a funny thing happened on the way to this ten year anniversary. I started to see my life differently.
If life is unfair, I have the advantage, at least for today.
Since I met Brad Paisley two weeks ago, Robin Williams committed suicide. Williams was 63, the same age that my father was when he committed suicide. On August 14, 2014, Paul McCartney played the last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Tonight I danced with a kind woman from the Havin’ Fun Bunch. I returned from photographing roller derby just in time to hear the song, “When I’m 64.” The Havin’ Fun Bunch had a Disney themed party this year.… Read the rest
I first published this blog post on Saturday July 19, 2014, one week after the Bay Area Derby Girls regular season double header at The Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, California. The bouts decided which teams will skate for the regular season title on August 23, 2014. You can see the entire photo gallery here.
I chose photos that highlighted the work of the officials. I liked the idea of my post, but my words bored me. I wanted to say something better to honor the contributions of derby officials. I do not know if my edits will improve the article, but at least I can think about how I can express myself better for the next time.
At derby bouts, I wish I could follow myself around and take my picture. Nearly everyone who participates has a derby name and persona. I am P Giddy. P Giddy is a great name, but I struggle putting on my persona.… Read the rest
Ten Days. That’s how long it takes for me to recover from photographing roller derby on Father’s Day weekend. (I don’t know how long it takes for the skaters.)
When the schedule for the 2014 Golden Bowl roller derby tournament was released, I was excited. Four top WFTDA teams would compete at a Bay Area venue that provides great photo opportunities. I would celebrate the end of the school year by photographing the Windy City Rollers, the Hollywood Scarlets, the San Diego SoCal team, and the local Golden Girls. I forgot about Father’s Day.
Each year, I forget that Father’s Day is going to be difficult. I love being a father more than anything. Father’s Day and derby are not a conflict. I love bringing my kids to derby, and they love going. Father’s Day is just a difficult day for me to remember that I love being a father, because my father and I had a difficult relationship. … Read the rest
Today, April 29, is my childhood friend Steve’s birthday. We met in second grade. Today is also Uma Thurman’s birthday. If you read my post about Bout 1, you realized that I quoted Mia Wallace, Uma Thurman’s Pulp Fiction character. I am not sure if I am old or if I have a good memory. Pulp Fiction was in theaters in 1994.
(Keep reading for the complete bout 2 slideshow, which is at the end of the post.)
In 1992, I remember that my friend Steve could celebrate his birthday on the same day that a court acquitted Los Angeles police officers charged with crimes against Rodney King. (If you remember the tape, please forgive my sloppy explanation.) After the results were announced, there was a riot. Sometimes I hear people use the term riot when they really mean “altercation.” By the way, when I see the woman with white makeup, Demanda Riot, I consider her an athlete.… Read the rest
The B.ay A.rea D.erby G.irls held their second Double Header of the 2014 home season in San Francisco at The Armory on Saturday, April 26, 2014. I posted a few photos on my Facebook page already, but the images look better on my derby photography website. I almost always upload galleries at www.AFlatTrackMind.com after a bout. There is a gallery for bout 1. You just need to keep reading.
This was my first time shooting at The Armory. (This was my first time inside the building ever.) For part of the evening, I almost lived up to my really cool derby name. (P Giddy) I smiled a little more often than usual.
I met new people who can teach me how to smile even better. I saw familiar friendly faces too. You can probably see familiar faces in the gallery. You need to keep looking.
There was also a cool half-time show.… Read the rest
On Saturday March 1, I attended two season openers. One was a campaign and the other was a sporting event. There is probably a cheap joke here, but neither event felt cheap.
In the morning, I attended Libby Schaaf’s “Libby for Mayor Oakland Campaign Kickoff.” (I took a few hundred pictures; here is the edited photo gallery.) In the evening, I photographed the Bay Area Derby Girls Season Opener. The events felt similar. There was music. There were people from different ages and backgrounds. Young people held signs. Older people cheered. Everyone seemed committed. Positive.
As someone who pretends to be a journalist, I do not officially endorse anyone, but I support many people and causes. I support Libby. Before she was elected to City Council, she supported my kids and neighbors. I support people who help my kids and neighbors.
People at derby support me and my kids.… Read the rest
When I review my photos at the end of each year, I am always surprised. How did I get so lucky? Yesterday I recalled meeting track legend Tommie Smith. Today I am overwhelmed that I photograph women’s flat track roller derby for the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls.
The league has four regular season teams and one traveling all-star team. The Golden Girls, the BAD Girls all-star team, are ranked second by the WFTDA, as of November 30, 2013. BAD finished 3rd at last month’s WFTDA Championships.
I photographed most of the BAD Girl local bouts. I also traveled to Santa Cruz when the Santa Cruz Derby Girls opened their new downtown facility. My wife and children came with me. Our friends from Monterey met us at the arena with their two children.
Many of my favorite photos included children. While being a father might preclude me from traveling every weekend to a derby tournament, it does not interfere with being a derby photographer.… Read the rest
Saturday night I photographed the 2013 Bay Area Derby Girls Roller Derby Championships. I am almost a regular.
I will probably always feel awkward referring to a grown woman as a “girl,” but derby is a place where awkwardness is normal.
I might never live up to my derby photographer name either. I may never grow into P Giddy the way that Ellen Page’s character grew into her character, but she was a real derby girl.
I am just a photographer… with A Flat Track Mind.
See more galleries at the link or click on a picture above to launch a gallery.
BF / PGiddy
A Bay Area teacher friend drove to Brooks Institute this week for The Teachers’ Workshop. When I worked for Brooks, veteran high school photography teachers often shared stories about Brooks’ summer workshops in Santa Barbara. Teachers enjoyed meeting other high school teachers and the Brooks instructors. A few teachers recalled sailing with the founder Ernie Brooks off the Santa Barbara coast. Across the country, teachers would ask about the summer Brooks workshop and our instructors. Teachers thanked me for the work of David Litschel one of the founders of the Photo Imaging Education Association.
By the time I worked for Brooks, high school teachers had less contact with Brooks faculty and more contact with people like me. While I benefited, I knew that high school teachers would understand more about Brooks if the high school educators visited the campus and met our instructors, so I argued that the college reinstate the summer teacher workshop.… Read the rest
I went to photograph women’s flat track roller derby … and an animal adoption fair broke out. The four regular season teams of the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls skated in a doubleheader and, though I can’t be sure of the final score, I think the all-volunteer non-profit Rocket Dog Rescue won. (To See more photos from the doubleheader, go to this link)
I visited the Rocket Dog Rescue booth several times during the night and each time I felt better. I also noticed when I was reviewing my photos that I took the long way around the track so that I would walk by their booth. After a few minutes shooting derby, I missed the dogs (not so much the cats, but they were cute too). Each time I visited the booth, at least one derby fan was playing with the animals. Often, there was a line.
I tried not to get too close, but not because I was afraid of getting physically hurt.… Read the rest
During half-time, Oakland’s Mayor Jean Quan proclaimed May 11, 2013 as “Bay Area Derby Girls Day” for the entire city. I have known Mayor Quan since she served on the school board (and later as my City Council Member). I have always been impressed with her visibility at community events. At derby, I was impressed by her ability to adapt. She pronounced the San Francisco ShEvil Dead’s name correctly. She asked questions and talked about her mother attending derby.
Mayor Quan also got close to the floor and photographed action. I think she is ready for her own derby photography persona. (She can probably have mine since I am not really using it.) After the bout, she spoke to reporters and fans.… Read the rest
Last weekend, I took my new derby persona, P Giddy, on the road to Santa Cruz. I also took my family. We live about 2 hours from Santa Cruz, and my persona did not adjust until I walked into the new Kaiser Permanente without the kids … and Joan Jett’s Bad Reputation played. If P Giddy had a patron saint, it would be Joan Jett, though the Wilson sisters influenced his style guide.
Women’s Flat Track Derby is many things to many people, but derby is more Afternoon D-Lightning than Starland Vocal Band. At it’s core, derby is Rock and Roll… and I love rock and roll. To prepare my children for their first bout, I showed my kids the I Love Rock N Roll video by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The video starts with Bad Reputation, so the kids learn TWO JOAN JETT SONGS.
My son, who turns 7 this May, might love Joan Jett more than I do.… Read the rest