From SF Weekly

In the ’70’s, all that you needed to have a good time was long hair, wide-collared floral prints, and a fistful of cocaine. Since those days, the Man has monetized fun through Dave & Busters and Shrek sequels.

But there’s a place where the dream is still alive–where, on a Friday night in February, you can find the heroes of the roller disco and their stepchildren jiving in the same ring. In a tucked away pocket of the Outer Mission, a couple hundred revelers gathered to groove like Rick James was a performer and not a punchline.

I arrived wearing ’70’s attire judiciously chosen by my roommate, who routinely dresses and behaves as though Dick Nixon was still president. Kevin spruced up his usual getup with flare pants with a pair of funky Napoleon Dynamite nerd shine blockers. Our female friends wore high socks, short shorts, and tanks. Needless to say, we walked in like we owned the place.

Henry’s Roller Disco Mix

But if there’s one thing San Francisco loves, it’s a good costume; we were up against some fierce competition. An enthusiastic ringleader costumed in white draped tunics and fabrics around tattooed divas wearing tiaras and cigarettes in their ears. A rat pack of young women arrived sporting white, furry raver boots, as if a rabbit had been skinned and splayed across their legs.

From SF Weekly

But the standout of the night was surely Disco Santa, a white-haired Saint of Dance with a blue kimono (or was it a bed-robe?) jungle-themed boxer shorts, and a Santa hat. He appeared to have come alone, but that did not stop him from making friends with several girls half his age. We all knew that he was harmless, because I think we were certain he was the very spirit of roller disco.

The rink was no larger or more ornate than a church gym. On top of that, the hosts kept two bars and few revelers were shy about mixing their drink with exercise. The result was a parabolic correlation between time of night and number of people falling on their faces.

James Brown, Lady Gaga, and that obnoxious “…to the left, to the left,” song that I refuse to look up added to the peril. Dancing on roller skates is one of those things that you either got when you were five and never forgot, or will never learn. These roller dancers were so good that they made the rest of us look stupid–at least if it had been 1978 and we were competing for the homecoming queen.

From SF Weekly

The final danger in the night came from trains. There is nothing sweeter in life than grabbing the waist of a stranger dressed like Cher and seeing where that takes you.

Leading a roller skate train is a role freighted with responsibility.With a whole crew at your back, you better be damn sure that when Disco Santa spills his beer before White Tunic Man can whisk by with a mop for a dance-cleanup–that when that spill materializes in front of you, you do not follow my example and splay across the hardwood like the cuckolded villain at the end of Roller Prom.

For Fans of: High school dance movies, costumed old men and under-dressed art students

Details: Indifest Roller Disco, Cellspace, $5 w/ costume, $10 w/out

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