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L.A. Derby Dolls struggle to find a new location – again

The former Derby Dolls rink in El Sereno

By BARRY LANK

EL SERENO – Puns about “rolling along” may be getting a little old now that L.A.’s female roller derby league has to change event locations for the second time in three years.

The L.A. Derby Dolls have announced on their Go Fund Me page that it won’t be financially viable to remain  in El Sereno and are now looking for a new place to play.

The league only just moved to its current Dollosseum – a former warehouse on Alhambra Avenue – in 2015 after it original home in Echo Park was demolished to make way for a large apartment complex.

They held their matches in El Sereno for only about 18 months before city officials decided not to issue event permits. The decision was made after city departments had clamped down on special event permits shortly after Oakland’s deadly Ghost Ship fire, which killed 36 people in a former warehouse that was being used as an unpermitted performance space and artist studios.

The Derby Dolls originally started their Go Fund Me campaign shortly to bring the El Sereno location up to code. But in late August, after being informed that they would need at least $250,000 more to complete the necessary construction, the league voted to look for a more viable home, according to the Go Fund Me page. The El Sereno building is now up for lease.

A statement on the fundraising page said::

“While we are all deeply disappointed by this reality, the Board and the co-op voted in the best interest of the league and in doing so, have allowed us to take steps to find a location that is financially sustainable for years to come (and ideally already has proper permits in place). The most important thing is that we find a way to continue providing opportunities for women and girls to play this awesome and incredibly unique and empowering sport. We are beyond dedicated to this mission.”

No word yet on where the next roller derby space might be located. The Eastsider has contacted the Derby Dolls for more details.

In addition to hosting pro league games, the organization also runs a Junior Derby Dolls program for young women from ages of seven to 17.

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