Roller Wars

bulldog by mikey mcnulty_t3222010: The year of the roller skate. First there was Down & Derby at Rain, then Boot Scootin’ Boogie at Revolver. Now Roller Boogie at Crown Nightclub. But is it really a new phenomenon for Vegas?

“The history of Roller Boogie started many years back,” says Vegas nightlife veteran DJ Frankie, aka Frankie Anobile. “It was originally called Soul Skates. Myself and R.O.B. were doing [skate parties] as far [back] as 1982, although that was for teens,” he says.

“Later in the ‘90s, we did a collaboration with a promotional company called Ride where we also brought it to a roller rink in the city and we had alcohol, beer and wine,” says Anobile. “We were doing it on a weekly basis for two years,” adds R.O.B.

“Then myself and Hollywood did once called ‘Frankie Goes to Hollywood’ birthday bash right here on Flamingo West — it is now an ice rink, but it was a roller rink then,” says Anobile. “All the people that were just coming up in the industry that ended up making it now were there,” says Hollywood.

DJs Frankie, R.O.B. and Hollywood have revived their variation on a theme every Sunday night, complete with guest performances from legends such as the Sugar Hill Gang on June 27 and Soul Sonic Force on July 4.

Much like attendees that hadn’t been on quad skates since elementary-school skate parties, the first Roller Boogie at Crown on June 20 got off to a slow start. Though some attendees opted to chill and nurse their bottles of vodka at tables surrounding the circular rink, slowly but surely more and more clubbers laced up and scooted out to the floor. With the quintessential disco ball shining, skaters — some in retro wear — did laps around the elevated DJ booth in the center.

“I know that because there are a couple of events that are going around in the city — that are good events — but Crown was the perfect location for any nightclub that I’ve seen ever to be a roller-skating rink,” says Hollywood.

“If you look at this venue, the circular dance floor with the DJ now popping right out of the center and everybody skates and we’re going to do reverse skate and couple’s skate; it’s a completely throw back to the old days,” says Anobile.

The size of Crown’s rink did allow for more freedom and less leg cramps when banking left, or right in the case of reverse skate. “This is the kind of thing that makes me wish I had a girlfriend to skate around with,” commented a friend. But a skateboarding dog cheered us up.

The star of the evening, even more so than Rob Base’s performance, may have been Tyson the skateboarding bulldog. Attendees flocked to the rink to watch him skate back and forth, happily drooling. We’re thinking this dog needs its own VIP table and pimped-out dog bowl.

“You know what, there’s some young comics out there who think that their lines are original, but if they go back to George Burns and all those guys — and I’m not saying I’m 118; I’m only 108 — but we’ve been here so long that it’s really hard to do something before us, and that’s the truth,” says Anobile. “Sure, that means you’re older, but that also means you’re experienced. So to say that we stole an idea is crazy. You’ve got to check your history first.” He adds, “If you don’t believe what I’m saying, just go on my Facebook, look at the pictures from the last one we did in 2004.”

No matter who started what roller party when or where, this is for sure: I think it’s time to invest in my own pair of skates and just go to all the events periodically. The brown rental skates with orange wheels just aren’t my style.

Originally published in Las Vegas Weekly.

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