$12 General Admission
Venice Beach, CA in the 1980s was vibrant and colorful; crowds would flock to see roller skaters glide across the hot pavement. But it wasn’t always fresh moves, sweet tunes, and harmony in Disco Alley (the strip of asphalt where the skaters would come to show off), as seen in Kate Hickey’s documentary debut Roller Dreams. The film reveals a history of LA that is both a vivid cultural snapshot and an examination of continuing systemic segregation and gentrification.
Hickey introduces the “big family” of (mainly) African-American roller-dancers who succeeded in creating a unique and joyful performing space in the ’80s. Gathering people of all races and social backgrounds, with singular break-dancing moves and wildly charismatic personalities, she interviews many of the original crew while assembling incredible archival footage of the time. The creative euphoria and inclusive utopia abruptly ended in the ’90s due to curfew and amplified sound enforcement, along with the city deciding to remove the pavement once and for all… permanently destroying the roller skating scene and giving way to a new gentrified and “safe” neighborhood. Giving historical context to what was happening in the country at this time, Roller Dreams explores the uncomfortable truths that ultimately ended the community.
“Contrasting vivid cultural snapshots with damning social commentary, Roller Dreams takes its place in the growing pantheon of documentaries which aim to expose the American Dream.” – Nikki Baughan, Screen Daily
“Roller Dreams delivers ecstatic jolts of adrenaline while retelling the never-ending story of America’s war on the poor.” – Adrian Mack, Georgia Straight