One thing we have come to believe over the years is that when you have a kickass wrestling league in your backyard, you support the crap out of that league, even hit the mat for them. And so we jumped into the (conversational) ring with a BLOWW (we’ll get to what it stands for in a second) wrestler-producer who is putting on BLOWWLOWEEN: Kick or Treat this Sunday at the Rockwell in Somerville. As advertised:
We’ve got thrills! We’ve got chills! We’ve got burlesque, cabaret, and the sickest, most brutal wrestling moves in town—all from some of Boston’s best and most queer, feminist, and overall badass performing artists. Come for the suplexes, stay to smash the patriarchy.
Thanks to Sherman for showing us the ropes…
Let’s start with the name switch—with BLOWW now standing for Boston League of Wicked Wrestlers “to be explicitly trans and nonbinary inclusive.” What’s important for people to understand about this? Say, for example, you’re explaining the change to those who may be underground wrestling fans without necessarily thinking about the identities of the athletes.
It’s important to understand that BLOWW is an alternative to the world of typical American pro wrestling. It is a community effort, put on by people that care about each other and are looking for a place to express themselves and get scrappy with one another. We are as much a social group or a family as we are athletes.
Our group consists of nonbinary people, and women of all kinds. There isn’t much of a place for fat femmes, burly babes, marginalized people as the good “guy” in American-style wrestling. So we made one. And we have goofy costumes and a live band, so it’s bound to be a good time. For me, personally, I know that I started presenting in a more gender fluid way, the more I played around with different characters on stage (drag, burlesque, and wrestling). I grew to understand myself better, through how it felt to play those characters. BLOWW is a place where you should feel comfortable growing, and changing, and being your best self (or most extreme character). You don’t have to be girly or drink beers to fit in. You can be whatever gender expression you feel best suplexing people in.
Prior to your crew taking on this venture, were there any other “radical responses to the mainstream world of pro-wrestling” of particular note that inspired this league? That inspired some of its athletes?
We are not a unique phenomenon. Although other theatrical feminist wrestling troupes (G.L.O.R.Y in Austin, League of Lady Wrestlers in Toronto) do exist, we aren’t in touch. It does look like we’d all get along though.
What makes BLOWW unique compared to other leagues around here? Compared to other leagues everywhere?
I truly don’t know of another casual way to enjoy wrestling, unless you are a 10-year-old boy with a trampoline and an older brother. Most other wrestling involves much more commitment than what BLOWW is asking, and takes a larger toll on your body, brain, and free time. BLOWW is opt-in, fun, and will meet you at your business level. We all have side projects outside of BLOWW, such as bands, burlesque, farming, and rap groups. We work in biotech, for Planned Parenthood, and Community Television. For a lot of us, our day jobs are our passion projects, and BLOWW is a way to let off steam at the end of the day with a bunch of other people that are personally upset because Donald Trump is president.
“We always punch up.” We love the metaphor, but does this part of your mission also apply in the actual ring?
We do not tolerate any narratives that caricaturize marginalized groups, or make them the villain. In a lot of wrestling shows, it’s encouraged to yell homophobic slurs, and throw beer at the performers. We are expressly interested in creating the opposite of that culture. We want to create stories in our performances where MAGA people are the ones losing, or fights end in us resolving our differences. Homophobia and ignorance are squashed with actual combat. It’s a thrill.
How about the wrestlers? And the personalities!?! Who should we be amped up to come out and see?
One of my favorite new wrestlers is Shitty Wizard. You should probably be excited for them. I don’t want to say any more than that.
There are also acts, other than the wrestlers. What’s to be expected there? How do they fit into the BLOWW motif?
This is an entirely new format for BLOWW, so you’ll have to see to find out! I invited a lot of burlesque, drag, and circus performers to come play with us, because the Boston scene for these groups has proven time and again to be inclusive of all races, ages, abilities, and body types. The community I have found in these circles breaks the expectations of what beautiful or interesting looks like. All of the performers on stage Sunday perform for their own joy—not the satisfaction and sexualization of the male gaze. That is the main thread that ties us all together. Oh, and we are all a lot of fun and thrive on concentrated bursts of attention.
This is a Halloween show, and a big one for BLOWW. Assuming that wrestlers are already in costume no matter what time of year it is, what will be special about the “Kick or Treat” variety show?
The event is haunted and if we get enough people in the house, we will probably summon a ghost.
BLOWWLOWEEN: Kick or Treat Wrestling Variety Show to be held at the Rockwell Theater, Sunday, October 22nd, 2017 at 9pm