Live-Tweet Hell on Wheels With Us
The astonishing true story of the birth of Roller Derby
By Richard Whittaker,
1:00PM, Mon. Jul. 13, 2020
It's been a couple of weeks since we've done our livetweet of an Austin movie, so we're back this Tuesday with a vengeance with an all-time homegrown best, an intersection of everything DIY that makes Austin so great: Bob Ray's blood-and-guts tale of the birth of modern Roller Derby, Hell on Wheels.
Want to talk Austin grit? How's about the story of how a group of women, most of who had never played a competitive physical actvity outside of high school, came together to spark a sporting revolution? How a filmmaker happened to be at the second ever organizational meeting with his camera and caught the footage that would become the first frames of a documentary that covered the rise, almost-fall, and even greater rise of the fastest-growing sport of the last 20 years? Oh, and how's about a soundtrack by ... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead? All of this is in a host of familiar (including some now lost) landmarks like the old Austin Music Hall and Playland Skate Center.
As the Chronicle's former Roller Derby correspondent, I was trackside for the sport's explosion, and can testify to what an astounding scene this truly is, and how accurately Ray captures the sweat, tears, broken bones, spilled Lone Stars, and astonishing commitment and camaraderie that made Roller Derby into what it is.
Hell on Wheels