Saving America’s Roller Skating Rinks
The big day is finally here! Today, I have my special interview with Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown – the directors for the new HBO roller skating documentary called United Skates.
On today’s episode, Dyana, Tina and I talk about:
- The United Skates Documentary. We dig into the film and talk about the 6 years it took to create the film, all of the cities that the directors traveled to while making the film and all of the different skate styles they saw.
- As non-skaters themselves, we discuss how they came about the idea of creating this documentary.
- And, we talk about what we all can do to try to help stave off the closure of rinks in the United States.
- And much more.
Plus, Special Bonus Episode for Club Members
Roller Skate Dad Club members already have access to a special episode where Dyana, Tina and I discuss some additional details about the film. This was additional footage that occurred after the main interview was over. It’s about 12 minutes.
In this special bonus content, we talk about what it was like directing and producing their first feature-level film. Plus, they share the worries and concerns they had during the film’s first preview with the audience they cared about most – skaters. Finally, we discussed some additional thoughts about saving roller skating for the future.
Not a Roller Skate Dad Club member? Sign up is free and easy. Just sign up in the popup or on the right hand menu on any page on this site to join. Once you confirm your email address, you will be emailed a password to access the episode.
As a Club member, you also get easy & early access into my monthly contests where I give away free skating gear. Plus, you get behind the scenes access to the show. All for free.
Watch Party Tonight!
If you are reading this on or around Monday, February 18th, 2019, we are going to have a special watch party tonight and you can join in the fun!
To join the watch party, watch the United Skates Documentary tonight on HBO at 8 pm EST. Take a photo of your group while watching it and post it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and use the hashtag #unitedskatesdoc. Also, be sure to @rollerskatedad so I get notified of your post, too!
I’ll be taking photos and posting them tonight while I’m watching, so join in the fun! We get so few roller skating movies, and even fewer documentaries, so lets get out there and support Dyana, Tina and United Skates!
Watch the Trailer
For more information about the documentary, please be sure to check out the United Skates Documentary website.
- United Skates Documentary Homepage
- Race, Riots & Roller Coasters – Dr. Victoria Wolcott
- Tina mentioned this book during the interview.
Episode 10 Transcript
Jeff: 00:03 Hey everybody. Welcome to the Roller Skate Dad podcast. This is episode number 10. Let’s get started.
Announcer: 00:16 Welcome to the Roller Skate Dad Podcast. The show that covers everything and anything in the wonderful world of roller skating. Now here’s your host though. The Roller Skate Dad himself, Jeff Stone.
Jeff: 00:37 All right. Hey every body. Welcome to the Roller Skate Dad podcast. I want to thank you guys so much for being here today. I have a very special set of guests. I have Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown from the new HBO roller skating documentary called United Skates and I’m really excited to bring you today’s interview. Dyana and Tina have been working for over six years to build the United Skates documentary. And we don’t get a lot of films or documentaries about roller skating, so when a new one comes out, it’s a pretty big deal.
Jeff: 01:13 In today’s interview I talked to Tina and Dyana all about the documentary. They give us a rundown of what the show is all about and we also cover all the cities that they traveled to as well as talking about rink closures across the United States and what we can do to actually try to turn that ship around. So it’s definitely an interesting listen and I think you’ll enjoy it.
Jeff: 01:37 Be sure to hang tight at the end of the episode and listen all the way through. I have a special bonus for you at the end. As well as information for you on the United Skates Documentary Watch party that we’re going to be doing this evening if you’re listening to this in real time. So that’s at the end of the show, so be sure to listen all the way through. All right, I think that’s enough of an intro. Let’s get started.
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Jeff: 02:00 All right. Today I have Dyana and Tina who are the directors and producers of a new documentary that’s coming out on HBO called United Skates. Welcome, Tina. Dyana.
Tina: 02:13 Thank you Jeff.
Dyana: 02:15 Hi.
Jeff: 02:16 Awesome. Well for those of us who haven’t actually seen the show yet, can you give us a brief summary of the film?
Dyana: 02:25 Sure. Do you want me to do it Tina?
Tina: 02:29 Yeah, you can go for this one.
Dyana: 02:30 Ok. Basically, this film is about African American roller skate culture. Something that Tina and I knew nothing about when we started this journey. But, basically it’s using this incredibly celebratory world that has its own music styles, skate styles, vibrancy, history, to kind of take a deeper dive and look into some of the more challenging issues of race that are going on in our country today and have been going on in the past.
Jeff: 03:08 That’s awesome. Great. And how many years did you guys work on the film?
Tina: 03:13 Yeah, we were working on the film, well now we’re in our sixth year, so it took us five years to make the film. And we’ve been touring with the film to film festivals and now about to premiere on HBO. So, that’s been another year of just touring with the film. So it’s six years in total. And, there’s still more work to come.
Dyana: 03:32 None of it paid. All from the goodness of our heart.
Jeff: 03:39 Wow. So what’s that journey been like?
Tina: 03:42 It’s been insane. I mean, this is Dyana and my first feature film. So we have learned a lot along the way what to do, what not to do. And also having to learn about this skate community. Which took us about a year of traveling around the country and interviewing lots of different people from different cities to find out the different skate styles from each city and different music that they skate to, skate crews and the national skate. Weekends they have parties. And so, you know, we delved into other skate worlds as well. We filmed with jam skaters skaters and then we also filmed with some derby skaters as well and, and Central Park skaters. So ultimately we had about 500 hours of footage we had to whittle down to this 90 minute film. So it was definitely a long, laborious process that we had some crazy adventures that I’m thankfully, it was the two of us that side by side, were able to do it together.
Jeff: 04:45 Wow. 500 hours. That’s a lot.
Dyana: 04:48 Yes. We could make a three more films after this, but we’re not going to.
Tina: 04:54 Yes, we’re not going to. Disclaimer, no, sorry people.
Jeff: 05:01 So you’re basically saying enjoy this one ’cause there won’t be, there won’t be a sequel.
Dyana: 05:06 We are very interested in looking at ways that this film can help. I mean our, our goal is that through the watching of this film that those who are non skaters will also fall in love with the world of skating. And for those that are skaters that there will be a sense of, “Yeah, I already knew this. This goodness, this amazing that happens in these rinks. And um, you know, hopefully we can stop some of these rinks from closing and maybe, um, breathe some life back into the walls of these roller rinks. So, um, you know, we certainly are going to stay involved with the skate community for a long time to come and we hope that there will be, you know, future movement that comes out of the, the documentary. It’s just that the previous footage we’ve shot, we’re not going to make more films out of that is all we mean.
Jeff: 06:03 That makes sense. Yeah. So you guys were talking about how you traveled to a lot of different cities and how the skating was actually different in each of those cities that you went to. What uh, I guess I’m curious to know like how many cities did you guys actually travel for making the film and can you speak a little bit more about what those different styles were like for you to experience?
Tina: 06:26 I think it was about 20 cities, wasn’t it Dyana? I can’t remember.
Dyana: 06:32 Yeah, I don’t know if we ever counted, but we could list you a whole bunch. Let’s count.
Tina: 06:40 New York. Richmond in Virginia. Chicago. Detroit. Louisville, Kentucky. Columbus, Ohio. Atlanta. Alabama. We went to Huntsville, Alabama. Baltimore. LA. San Francisco. Sacramento.
Dyana: 07:05 Philadelphia, New Jersey, St. Louis. Uh, what are we at?
Tina: 07:18 Cairo, Illinois. Um, what are we at now? Seattle. We shot in Seattle. We saw a lot of places.
Jeff: 07:32 You guys saw the whole country.
Tina: 07:33 We did. Hence the title, United Skates.
Dyana: 07:37 Indianapolis. And you know, also we wanted to go to more. And the truth is, is there’s more styles and they’re more cultures that we couldn’t include because there are so many. Um, and we also had a very limited budget, so we often went where we could get to on one trip with a car. And we’d hit a bunch of places and come back. And so, um, you know, a lot of the, the middle, like they’re like, we never got to go to Houston and Dallas and that for example, was something that was hard for us because there are some fantastic skaters and skate styles coming out of there as well and the list goes on.
Jeff: 08:21 That’s awesome. What was the biggest differentiation that you saw between the different skating styles between all those cities?
Tina: 08:30 Well, I mean they’re quite different like Chicago is the JB style based out of James Brown music, which they listened to and sample. And they do these crazy like 360 jumps in the air and then land in the splits. And, um, you know, in comparison to Philly, which is fast backwards is their style and they skate really fast. You know, they skate backwards really, really fast and they do it in trains sometimes. And then you have New York/New Jersey who do trains and trios. Um, and then LA, they have their custom skates so they have these little tiny wheels and they put them on like sneakers or boots or Stacy Adams shoes. And then that’s, that’s what they skate on. And so they’re really slippery wheels and they slide and they do those moves. So it’s really interesting to see them at one skating rink and skating they’re different styles, which they do at these national parties and they clear the floor and they have a roll call or a style call the DJ will actually call out, you know, either the JB skaters or Detroit Open House. And those skaters will take the floor and show off their moves for a couple of minutes.
Jeff: 09:44 That’s awesome. That’s really great. Yeah, I like the really slippery wheels, too. Cause that’s what lets you slide on the floor and everything.
Dyana: 09:53 Have you ever skated with fiberglass wheels?
Jeff: 09:55 I have not ever skated with fiberglass wheels. No.
Dyana: 09:59 You’ll have to come out to LA and give it a try.
Jeff: 10:02 That sounds like fun. I may take you up on that. That’s just another excuse to come out to California. Um, I’m curious to know, are you guys skaters? Did you use to be roller skaters? You know, how did you come up with this idea of, you know, making a film about roller skating?
Dyana: 10:22 Oh goodness. No, Tina and I, we are constantly the first to say that we are the least likely people to have made this film because we don’t roller skate and we’re not African American. And what business did we even have making this film? Really?
Tina: 10:41 And, Dyana is from Hawaii and I’m from Australia. So, we’re not even from mainland America.
Dyana: 10:51 But to be honest, sometimes stories find you and you have to be open to listening to a community that’s reaching out to you, a community that wants you to learn about and tell their story and that is giving you their trust and you know, diving in headfirst, which is, which is really what we did. Well, in the beginning we kind of actually treaded lightly and said, we don’t think we’re the right filmmakers to make this. And that this world is absolutely beautiful. Tina and I were shooting a different film in New York City, kind of looking at the end of the era of what used to be New York and how there are no more roller rinks there and no more bowling alleys. And you know kind of the idea of what Manhattan and New York used to be is very quickly disappearing. So, in the process of filming the Central Park roller skaters, we met two younger skaters who asked what we were doing, and when we told them, they went, “Skating is not dying, it’s gone underground. And if you want to see really amazing skating, you should follow us to a national skate party,” which is what Tina had been talking about earlier. So we didn’t know what they were talking about. But we followed them on an overnight bus from New York down to Richmond, Virginia. And we walk into a roller rink around midnight and we basically were introduced to this world and our minds were blown. They did a roll call. They called out all the regions of the different parts of the country and everyone was killing it on the skate floor. And Tina and I were just in complete shock. We were mesmerized. It’s gorgeous. What, what they’re doing. And, and, you know, we, it, it really walked into something we had no idea about. And, and we made a lot of friends. Everyone we met was from somewhere else. No one was really from Richmond, Virginia. We met people from all the cities we listed earlier who had traveled to be there together and then go back home. And they started sharing that part of that is because all of their local rinks are closing and they don’t have easy access to skate like they used to and like their parents did and their parents did because many of them come from generations of skating. And so in order to hold onto their culture and preserve what they do, they’re traveling further and further to stay united. And, that really touched Tina and I in a big way. And we realized that, you know, this very beautiful world we had just stepped into is is really on the brink of disappearing. And if it isn’t recorded now, it may never get recorded. And so, that was kind of the beginnings of how we, we, became a part of the community. And we’re very proud to say that we didn’t make this film alone. We made it with the skaters every step of the way. We handed our cameras to them to get some of the best shots that we got of skating because you have to be speeding along with them. And we would set the camera and work with them to get the great shots. Then every, every city that we traveled to, a skater from that city picked us up, took us to their home, housed us, fed us and brought us to their rink. And, so, we never walked into a roller rink without the welcome of the skaters from where we were taking us in and explaining “this is what we do and this is what our style is and these are some of the greats from our community that you should talk to about how it began and where it is now. And these are some of the younger ones that are just like upping the level.” And, we just were sponges and we absorbed it all. And then you know, that’s how we ended up with 500 hours of footage that we had to whittle down into our film.
Tina: 14:39 But I have to say Jeff, that Dyana, I did get a pair of skates and we have skated and even filmed on skates. We would have skaters push us at very high speed as we just concentrated on filming. And you know, no one died but there were a lot of broken body parts, camera parts. But we got the shots.
Jeff: 15:02 I was going to ask if you broke any cameras along the way.
Tina: 15:07 We did!
Jeff: 15:08 Well that’s, that’s an amazing story. It honestly doesn’t really surprise me that so many skaters would just open up their world and their homes to you. It seems like every skating rink I’ve ever traveled to, everybody’s just super friendly and just excited to have people that are interested and care about what they’re doing.
Tina: 15:29 Yeah, I think that first night that Dyana was describing when we walked into the rink – it was a national skate party for the first time. The love that we felt in that room, that was just this overwhelming feeling that, you know, I can still feel that today. And I think for us that was really important to have audiences get a taste of that in our film. And you know, we’ve had a lot of people comment that they really do feel that. And that was just overwhelming for us at that time. We just hadn’t been in a space at midnight with thousands of people and, and it, it just felt so safe and, and everyone was hugging and smiling and we couldn’t wipe the smiles off of our faces. And every time we walk in the rink, the smile comes back. And we would just stand there mesmerized on the sideline looking at the skaters. And to this day we still do that.
Dyana: 16:20 And you spend half the time just hugging people that you now know because they become your family. “Oh my gosh, I haven’t seen you.” And you know, there’s just so much joy in that space. One of the things that we noticed right away is that nobody locks their lockers on these nights, either. They just put their things inside or on the top or under benches and nothing’s ever stolen. You’d be stealing from your family if you did. And, and that, that’s something that is pretty rare, I think in this world today, and something we need more of. And so we, we did our best to reflect that outward in the film that we made.
Jeff: 17:03 You know, that’s an awesome point. And I think this is exactly the reason why two people like you from the outside actually did need to be the film makers to make a film like this because something like that, you know, leaving your stuff out at the skating rink and just leaving it on the side or leaving it on top of lockers. I’ve done that since I was a kid. I, I just, I never even thought twice about it. It was like, yeah, of course nobody’s going to steal your stuff sitting over there. But to an outsider looking at that, you vividly pointed out like, that’s, that’s odd. We wouldn’t do that in any other setting.
Dyana: 17:35 Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Jeff: 17:39 So, well, that’s interesting. So I know that this film was also talking a lot about the African American subculture within roller skating and about some of the segregation that even goes on. I know that, uh, today as well as in the past, they would dub these special nights as like adult nights. I even remember back in the eighties and early nineties that some rinks actually called them soul nights and, and would actually have djs come in from like, uh, you know, hip hop and R&B radio stations. So I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about that. You know, what did you guys actually find when you started to dig deeper into this subculture and learn more about, you know, what this particular demographic of people were going through?
Tina: 18:25 Jeff, that’s a whole other podcast. We went deep. We actually very early on in this process, we connected with Dr Victoria Wolcott. She’s a professor of history in Buffalo University and she’d actually spent 10 years researching and writing a book called Race, Riots and Roller Coasters. And within that she spoke about, looking at the civil rights era and looking at what happened during that period. And she said that during that civil rights era, the three hottest places, public places to desegregate were swimming pools, amusement parks and roller rinks. And so she had an incredible amount of information that she had researched over the 10 years from the Library of Congress and in places all around the country. And so we are able to sort of have her come on as an advisor very early on. And, you know, we learned all about the segregation from back in the civil rights era and how they, you know, once this desegregation happened, a lot of the rink owners, you know, they saw what was happening with the swimming pools and the swimming pools were shutting down because white flight was happening and you know, the white patrons didn’t want to swim in the same pool as the black patrons.
Tina: 19:48 And the same thing was happening at the amusement parks and all of these places were shutting down. And so roller rink owners realized this. And so they used these tactics to stop the black customers from coming in. They would hire thugs to trip them when they were skating or they would give them the wrong size skates. They would say their size wasn’t available. And then when the black customers would sort of fight back and say, “That’s not fair”. The white owners would say, “well, you know, see when you have black customers then violence happens.” It tends to this. And so that, that was happening back then. And from that, basically these two different nights happened. And so without calling it black night and white night, they came up with other names like you were saying, soul nights. Back in the day there was even Sepia nights, or there was gospel night. And it’s just evolved over time to eventually become known as adult night.
Dyana: 20:47 And white nights became known as things like top 40 night and disco night and family night. And, so they started using, you know, coded language cause they were no longer allowed by law to call them white nights and black nights anymore. But they, in some ways for the rink survival, they realized that they had to keep them. Sadly, keep the nights separate. But, you know, something that the black community has shared with us numerous times is that people are very quick to say segregation equals bad. Just that simple. But actually it’s a lot more complicated than that. And that the irony is that by keeping the nights separated, on these black nights, the community was free to be themselves, to play the music they wanted, to create the rules that were their own, to create the moves that were their own and they weren’t being imposed upon to skate upright, skate in a circle, skate to organ music, all the things that were happening on the white night at that time. And so because of that freedom, ironically is how all of this music and all of these skates styles and all of this culture was allowed to flourish and become what it is today.
Jeff: 22:07 Wow. That’s really amazing. And also you were mentioning the music. Um, I know I was doing a little bit of research before we met and I didn’t realize just how many rap and R&B and hip hop groups kind of got their start in roller skating rinks. Did you guys kind of research that as you were doing some of this film making, too?
Dyana: 22:27 Oh yes. tell So, the way that the film is structured is actually so jam packed that for a lot of our editing process, people told us we were putting a mini-series into a single film. But we did it. And, basically, you know, we have several main characters who you get to become close with and fall in love with and feel their struggles and their joy. And in between that we have these kind of breakaway sections where we go into some meaningful piece of history or importance about roller skating. Whether it’s learning about more specifically the regions and the styles or learning about what we had just talked about in some of the kind of early segregation. And we also have a section about early hip hop and rap artists. And in that section, what we kind of dive into is how, when hiphop and rap artists were first kind of hitting the scene, the larger America didn’t see their music as appropriate or even as real music.
Dyana: 23:39 And so they didn’t allow them to perform in any kinds of true venues. And so the only places that they could perform with, a large enough space to hold, you know, 2000-3000 people were roller rinks. And so all of these early legends got their start actually doing roller rink tours. And they would go from rink to rink across the country, predominantly on these black nights to perform for these large crowds. And, so we do have in the film interviews with Salt and Peppa talking about this, Naughty by Nature. We have footage with LL Cool J and Queen Latifa. There are so, so many of them that have these stories and so, yes, we do touch upon that in the film as well.
Tina: 24:31 Yeah. And then Dr. Dre, actually one of his first Dj gigs was as skate DJ at a rink in Compton in LA.
Jeff: 24:43 Yeah! Dr. Dre. Me and Dr Dre have something in common. I used to be a skate DJ, too.
Dyana: 24:50 The rink is so much more then just allowing people to skate, you know, they’re, they’re these incubators really for music and creativity in general. And so we really try to show that aspect of roller rinks in the film.
Jeff: 25:07 You guys said that you had 500 hours of overall footage. There has to be something that you had to cut out of the film that you wish you had put in. If you had an extra hour let’s say in the film and you could’ve put in two or three other topics, what would they have been?
Tina: 25:25 Oh my goodness. I think one of the things was definitely more of the skate styles and you know, we had previously edited were you went deep into each. The couple of skate styles that we feature, it went deep into them and the music, but we had to cut that down. And, there was just so many skates styles that we wanted to include that we couldn’t even go into.
Dyana: 25:47 That kills me every time I watch the film. You know, Atlanta for example, is a city that is just thriving right now when it comes to the African American roller skate scene. And we didn’t know how to fit that into a 90 minute film because everywhere else in the country, rinks are struggling, rinks are closing. This culture is not being understood. However, in Atlanta it’s the complete opposite. There’s a rink every night of the week that you can go to and find a packed house full of this culture and community. And because it didn’t fit into the narrative, it really needed its own moment to be explained and we just couldn’t fit it in. So Atlanta, which is ironically one of the largest cities in the country for skating, it doesn’t even have, I mean it’s in there, we acknowledge it, but it just doesn’t have the time that it deserves. And so that also kills me. And Saint Louis and there’s just too many cities. Hence why we need a 10 part series to come out of this.
Tina: 26:53 Yeah. And we also wanted to go deeper into the national skate parties and what happens. You know, we touch on it, but it’s a whole weekend where these skaters travel from all over the country and some from international destinations as well, like Europe and Japan. And they basically take over a couple of the hotels and then they take over the rink from midnight to 6:00 AM and skate their hearts out. And then they have meet and greets and cookouts and all these events during the day until they skate again at night from midnight until 6:00 AM. So it’s a no sleep weekend. It’s insane, but it’s so much fun and there is so much that happens outside of the rink and we couldn’t even acknowledge that.
Dyana: 27:32 It’s not even in the film.
Tina: 27:37 And there’s lots of characters that we filmed with over the years, that, you know, their storylines had to get cut completely. Different tangents we went on with the edit. But this ultimately, the 90 minutes that we have, is the strongest film that we could make with our budget and time. And, we think, you know, it’s won a couple of awards so we think it’s resonating with audiences out there.
Jeff: 28:13 It’s won a whole lot of awards. I was looking at the home page, and I was like, “Wow! This is awesome.” I was super excited for you guys. This skating culture is, I mean you’re, you’re talking about one piece of the skating culture. There’s all these different genres of skating and yeah, I think it totally could be a series. Maybe. Maybe this will do so well that they’ll let you guys turn it into a series.
Dyana: 28:26 Knock on wood.
Tina: 28:26 Yeah, working on it, Jeff.
Tina: 28:29 We do recognize the other skate styles, as I mentioned earlier, you know, we did film with some jam skaters. We went to summer jam in North Carolina back in I think 2015 and we did interview some derby skaters as well as Michelle who started Moxie Skates. So, you know, we, we definitely tried to speak to other skaters from different, different styles, but ultimately as we said that the 90 minutes that we have are jam packed just with the African American skate community and, um, we had to cut a lot of that out. We just hope that skaters in general see this as something they can take ownership of. And you know, ultimately what we want to do with the film and what the film explains is we’re trying to save rinks. And we’re trying to save them, stop them from shutting down. And so, if we can do that, that benefits everybody.
Jeff: 29:26 So let’s talk about that a little more. You know, you guys have been doing this now for five years, six, sorry six years.
Dyana: 29:34 It took us 5 to make. We can say that.
Jeff: 29:38 And you guys have been taking the film all over the place? I mean I see all the different cities that you’ve been in to to show the film. I guess I’m curious to know from, from your guys’ vantage point and all the different people that you’ve come into contact with, how do we do that? How do we save these rinks? What’s causing them to close if there’s this much popularity just within one little subculture? And how do we reverse that trend?
Dyana: 30:02 Well, we get into that a bit in the film as well. And there’s a lot more, that could again be another podcast. But I think you know that the one through line that took Tina and I quite a while to figure out, because we were in all of these different cities and we were hearing the stories from all the skaters, also the rink owners of what was going on. And in many times, you know, there’s a lot of moving parts and a lot of variables. And we were trying to figure out what’s the kernel that is similar, whether you’re in a rural part of the country, in urban part of the country and anywhere in between. And what we did realize is that there is a through line and the through line is zoning. And what I mean by that is that every community used to be, have a space that was zoned as a community space for people to congregate, to be together.
Dyana: 31:01 And that is zoning that roller rinks fall under the category. However, there is no policy that says that a community has to have a space that’s zoned for a community anymore. And so what’s happening is each time a rink is closed it’s rezoned for a commercial space or for condos. And once it’s been rezoned, you can’t get it back. It’s almost impossible. And so what’s happening is, you know, so much of our country revolves around money. And there’s not a lot of value put on things for a community because they don’t make money. They’re a different type of value that is being lost in our country. And so if you look at the same building and say, well, I can make a ton more money if I turn it into a Walmart or a Home Depot because I can sell a bunch of product, I can fit more people in there. And also every product that’s sold, there’s a sales tax on it that goes back to the city. Whereas roller rinks don’t have sales tax, they don’t generate the same type of revenue. If you’re only looking at it from a financial standpoint, it’s a no brainer. Every rink should be closed and turned into a shopping center. But, you know, there’s other values. And that’s what we try and show is that what will our country be if it’s just the same 10 big box stores everywhere you go. And we’ve lost everything that is the soul of these cities and towns that we’re in. You know, I actually drove cross country to move from New York to Los Angeles during the end of the making of the film. And so, we decided to map the drive that I did to hit abandoned roller rinks because there’s a scene in the film where we do try and show a lot of these rinks that have closed down and they’re hard to find because almost all the rinks that have closed are just shopping centers now.
Dyana: 33:17 And so we did. We were able to find enough of them that are still sitting there empty and abandoned to be able to film some of that and record some of that in the film. But, you know, it’s really striking to drive across this country and see how many cities look exactly the same unless you really start to dig deeper to find, you know, these community spaces. So, so long answer to say, I think that what needs to happen is people need to realize that we need to fight to keep community spaces zoned for communities and not give that zoning up. And, it’s something that will be harder to get rinks back that have closed, but it’s something that we can at least do for all the rinks that are left right now with, you know, if we’re armed with that knowledge, we can save the ones that we still have.
Tina: 34:15 Yeah. And just talk about like tangible things that people can do. It’s from, you know, if there’s a development happening or there’s a council meeting about a space which was community and a developer looks like it’s going to come in and take over that space, then you know, there needs to be people at that meeting to voice their concerns. So if no one turns up to say, “Hey, we need to keep it as a community center.” Then it’s, it’s gone. You know also exercising your right to vote and ensuring that the people that you’re voting in support community centers as well and support that as part of their policy. And, so these are a couple of the things and obviously, you know, supporting your rinks as well. And understanding that it is a different difficult landscape for them to be in.
Tina: 35:00 And so, you know, one of our characters has a rink (or had a rink in the film) and only charged people $5 to come in. And yet still there were people that were complaining about that or not supporting. And so I think we just have to understand that as business owners as well, that they need to support themselves, their staff, their families. So what we’re trying to do is work with one of the rink owners and one of our main characters and create a not for profit model for a rink and see if we can use that as a pilot program. And if that is successful, then hopefully roll that out to other rinks across the country so that the burden of paying the taxes and everything like that isn’t on the rink owner in the end.
Jeff: 35:44 That’s awesome. Thank you for providing those extra actions. That’s actually what I was going to ask you next was, you know, what can people in my audience do? Cause I think, I’m sure there’s gonna be people listening to this podcast that have had their rink close. And there’d been rumors for me here in Austin, you know, occasionally over the years where they were saying that our rink might close. And we have a couple of smaller rinks you know, around, but they’re nothing like the original that we have here that’s been here since the 60s, so yeah. Thank you for that.
Tina: 36:16 Yeah. And there’s also, I mean, obviously we’re still trying to, even though we’ll be on HBO, we’re still trying to get the film out into communities where, you know, a lot of people don’t have HBO or don’t have access to that and do community screenings and have rink owners or skaters and people from the council attend to do talks afterwards. And so we’ll be taking a tour through North Carolina and Florida. Yep. At the mid to end of March, but we’re looking at sort of doing more of those throughout the year. And if anyone would like to come see us on those tours, then check out our Facebook and our website, but also if you want to donate to the cause, then you can also find a donate page on our website, which is UnitedSkatesFilm.com.
Dyana: 37:07 And you know, we really, we really need an army to do this. Tina and I are two people and we’re filmmakers. We’re not actually grassroots organizers. And so, you know, what we hope is that those that see the film, those that listen to this podcast and have a love and passion for roller skating and want to keep it alive, that we can mobilize everyone together and we can create an army that is all working together to make this happen. So, we’re very easily accessible. We would love to have someone that’s even just collecting the names of all these people in all these parts of the country that want to do something. And, you know, people that are motivated to have a screening in their home rink and that can contact us and get the bodies there. So there are people that don’t have the time but they have finances and they want to donate so that we can keep this alive. So, you know, you can find UnitedSkatesFilm.com and reach out whether it’s with sweat equity or financial equity or anything in between. We definitely need your help.
Jeff: 38:27 Awesome. Well you guys know that you got at least one person. I’m definitely behind what you guys are doing. I think it’s awesome. So keep it at and if you need help from me, my door’s always open. You know, feel free.
Tina: 38:39 Aw, thanks Jeff.
Dyana: 38:39 Thanks Roller Skate Dad.
Tina: 38:43 Next minute you get a knock on your door, “Hello, we’re here!”
Jeff: 38:48 Hey, I have extra room. We can blow up one of the air beds.
Jeff: 38:56 Well, I just want to thank you guys so much for being here. I know you’re super busy getting ready for the launch on HBO and thanks so much for coming on the show.
Dyana: 39:03 Thank you.
Tina: 39:03 Thank you, Jeff.
Jeff: 39:07 All right, well that sure was fun. I want to thank Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler again for coming on the show. What a great episode. And I’m really excited to see the United Skates documentary on HBO. This episode first Airs here Monday, February 18th. So, if you’re listening to me in real time, the documentary is airing tonight at 8:00 PM eastern. And, I really want to help Dyana and Tina out with their documentary and I know you do, too. So tonight when you’re watching the documentary, if you have HBO, be sure to take a picture of yourself and your crew who are watching the film. Then, upload your photos to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and be sure to use the hashtag #UnitedSkatesDoc, that’s d-o-c. And also add me into it as well. You can use @RollerSkateDad in most of your posts on most of these social media platforms. And I’ll get to see that post as well.
Jeff: 40:05 And I talked to Dyana and Tina about this and I know they’ll be taking a lot of the photos and the tweets and the different posts they see and they’ll be taking those and resharing them across their social media accounts. Let’s do everything we can to help them out. So watch the show tonight and have a good time.
Jeff: 40:24 As I mentioned at the beginning of the show, I do have a special bonus for you. If you like what you heard today and you’d like to get some behind the scenes footage that I have with Dyana and Tina, you should sign up for the Roller Skate Dad Club. In the Roller Skate Dad Club, I have a special 10-12 minute podcast episode that talks more about Dyana and Tina and they’re making of the film. So they talk a little bit more about what it was like to produce and direct their first feature documentary.
Jeff: 40:56 And they also talk about showing the film at the Tribeca Film Festival as well as in front of the audience they cared the most about, which was fellow skaters for the first time. It’s an interesting listen, didn’t fit well in with this episode, so I thought I would make a separate bonus episode just for the Roller Skate Dad club members. So, if you want to check that out, head on over to RollerSkateDad.com and join the skate club.
Jeff: 41:24 If you’re already a Roller Skate Dad club member, check your email. You already have the special access to get this bonus material, just one of the many perks of being club member.
Jeff: 41:34 If you liked what you heard today and you’ve been listening to the podcast for these last 10 episodes, I’d really appreciate a rating and a review wherever you’re listening to this podcast, be it Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you’re listening. A rating and a review really goes a long way in getting this podcast out to more and more skaters, so if you’d like to help me out, please rate and review the podcast wherever you listen and thank you.
Jeff: 42:01 If you’d like to get more information about this episode, be sure to check out the show notes. The show notes are a great place to learn more about this episode, to get any information about links that I may have provided during the episode, as well as, see a transcription for the episode. To get to the show notes for this episode, go to RollerSkateDad.com/10.
Jeff: 42:23 All right everybody, I want to thank you guys again so much for being here. I hope you enjoyed that episode. Next week, on episode 11, I have Ginger Matthews on the show. She is the Skate Critic. She goes all around the country and reviews roller skating rinks. She’s been to 383 rinks in the last five years and she actually keeps track of all the roller skating rinks in America.
Jeff: 42:51 Every year, she calls every single one of them and she determines which ones are still opened and which ones are closed. Dyana and Tina actually introduced me to her or let me know about her and they used a lot of her data to actually create the interactive map that you’ll see in the HBO documentary tonight. And it actually shows how many skating rinks we had in America back in the 1980s and what that number looks like today. So, I have her on the podcast next week and we’re going to talk all about roller skating rinks, and she’s got some great stories to tell, so you’ll definitely want to check out that episode.
Jeff: 43:30 All right, everybody, another episode is in the books. So, until the next time, get on out there and skate.
Announcer: 43:39 Thank you for listening to the Roller Skate Dad Podcast at www.rollerskatedad.com. If you liked what you heard today, please be sure to subscribe, rate, and review the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, or wherever you’re listening.
Thanks again for rollin’ by. If you have a question about the podcast or just want to leave me a note, please comment below.
I hope you will join me every week for a new episode of The Roller Skate Dad podcast.
Please subscribe to the podcast on whichever podcasting platform you listen on. And, don’t forget to join the Roller Skate Dad Club. You can do that easily with just your first name and email address from any page on this website.
Did you like what you heard? Do you want to hear more? Check out these additional episodes:
- Episode 1 – Get Out There & Skate
- Episode 2 – The Roller Skate Wheels Episode
- Episode 3 – The Roller Skate Bearings Show
- Episode 4 – Teaching Roller Skating to Others
- Episode 5 – Roller Skating Injuries & Protective Gear
- Episode 6 – Avid Roller Skater Alberto Quinones
- Episode 7 – Rollergirls: The Story of Flat Track Derby
- Episode 8 – The Roller Skate Boots Show
- Episode 9 – Starting a Roller Skating Rink
- Episode 10 – United Skates Documentary with Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler
- Episode 11 – The Skate Critic with Ginger Mathews
- Episode 12 – Milla Juke-a-bitch
- Episode 13 – Ask Dad: Your Roller Skating Questions Answered
- Episode 14 – Ask Dad – Balancing Exercises, Helping a Child Skate & Picking Skates for Stability
- Episode 15 – UK Artistic Roller Skating Performer, Coach & Organizer Dave Nicholls
- Episode 16 – Building Nonprofit Roller Skating Clubs with Dave Nicholls (part 2)
- Episode 17 – Roller Skating Health Benefits
- Episode 18 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 1: The Skater’s Mindset
- Episode 19 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 2: Tips for Picking Out Your First Roller Skates – Part 1 of 2
- Episode 20 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 3: Tips for Picking Out Your First Roller Skates – Part 2 of 2
- Episode 21 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 4: Choosing Your First Roller Skates
- Episode 22 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 5: Picking Out Your Safety Gear
- Episode 23 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 6: Falling Down & Getting Back Up
- Episode 24 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 7: Learn How to Stop on Roller Skates
- Episode 25 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 8: Skate Forwards Without Falling Down
- Episode 26 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 9: Balance, Standing on One Foot & Crossovers
- Episode 27 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 10: Roller Skating Backwards
- Episode 28 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 11: Doing Backwards Crossovers
- Episode 29 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 12: Doing Two Foot Turns
- Episode 30 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 13: Doing One Foot Turns
- Episode 31 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 14: Doing the Bunny Hop
- Episode 32 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 15: Doing a Waltz Jump
- Episode 33 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 16: Doing a Two Foot Spin
- Episode 34 – Getting Started Roller Skating – Part 17: Getting into a Roller Sport
Want to Learn More About Skating?
Want more reviews on roller skates? Check out my Best Roller Skates page for a list of all of the quad roller skates I recommend. I also have pages for roller skates for men, roller skates for women and roller skates for kids where I recommend the best skates on the market today. Or, check out my roller skates for beginners if you are completely new to roller skating.
Or, if rollerblades or inline skates are more your style, then check out my rollerblades for men, rollerblades for women or rollerblades for kids pages. Or, if you are completely new, check out my rollerblades for beginners page.