Jon, Tim and Amy at Glendale's Moonlight Rollerway. (05/17/2008)
The event dubbed the Moonlight Rollerway Jubilee was a roller skating show spectacular featuring: A Charles Phoenix retro slide show celebrating the history of roller skating; a live Hammond organ performance by roller rink organist Dominic Cangilosi; A live skating show featuring a cast of more than 60 costumed skating performers; and an after show all-skate party. And did I mention free ice-cream and punch?
The Moonlight Rollerway's rules and dress code. (05/17/2008)
The event was held at the Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale. Even though I hadn't been there before, walking up to the door instantly brought back memories of elementary school birthday parties at the Golden Skate in San Ramon where I grew up. My little sister Anna, age 8, still attends birthday parties there (here's a blog post about my first time taking her there).
The world's greatest roller rink organist, Dominic Cangelosi. (05/17/2008)
We arrived a few minutes before the show, quickly grabbing our seats for the slide show. While we waited for the slides to start, we were treated to the musical stylings of Dominic Cangilosi, a roller-rink organist who has held that profession since the late 1940s (apparently he's the only organist to be inducted into the Roller Skating Hall of Fame).
Charles Phoenix whizzes by in his gold lamé suit. (05/17/2008)
It was the perfect appetizer for the roller-skating themed slide show. Like previous Charles Phoenix slide shows, this one was educational and hilarious at the same time. I was particularly fascinated by a photo of a now-demolished skating rink in Santa Ana called Skate Ranch. According to Phoenix, it was Southern California's most stylized rink, looking like a big red barn (it has been said they even had live chickens wandering the grounds).
A skating champion and her seaman. (05/17/2008)
The highlight of the slide show were photos from a 1940 wedding where the entire wedding party including all 18 bridesmaids and groomsmen was on roller skates (the bride and groom had met at a skating rink). Imagine our surprise when Phoenix told us that the bride in the photo was in the audience! Gramma Cookie Gantz, as she's now known, stood up and waved to the wildly-applauding audience. What a great moment.
Grandma Cookie Gantz and Charles Phoenix. (05/17/2008)
After a break for sugary snack bar treats, the show continued with amazing performances by the Moonlight Rollerway's reigning United States champion skating performers, Team In Sinc, and other skating stars. For the next hour plus, we were dazzled as the performers took us through every major decade of skating's golden era, from the 1940s to the 1970s.
James and Charles Phoenix. (05/17/2008)
The performances, especially those by the older teenage troup, were stunning. They were not only well choreographed, but also fully costumed. No shortcuts for these guys. I tried to get some photos of the event, but they didn't come out so hot. But I did manage to get a few good video clips.
Disco Inferno on Skates. (05/17/2008)
The evening culminated with the all-skate party. Tim and Amy were the definite stars of the night, making several rounds around the rink. Meanwhile, Jon and I each made it around once. But it was enough to satisfy our skating fix for the near future.
So as Charles Phoenix would say, here's to roller skating and YOU!