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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Last Night: Barack Obama Presidential Inauguration Skaters' Ball at FunkyTown Roller Rink

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2009 at 2:18 AM

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(The Godfather of Skating gets down)

Last Night: Barack Obama Presidential Inauguration Skaters' Ball

FunkyTown Roller Rink (also known as the gym at International Studies Academy in Potrero Hill)

January 20, 2009

Better than: Watching CNN on loop.

As the brainchild behind the Midnight Rollers Friday Night Skate and the Golden Gate Park gatherings every Sunday, David Miles, Jr. has been synonymous with rollerskating in San Francisco for 30 years. He's rarely without wheels on his feet, so the idea of celebrating President Obama's inauguration with a skater's ball was completely natural.

Not only did Miles garner a huge crowd spanning an age range of some 60-plus years, many people got into the costumed spirit. There were disco dollies in sequined hot pants, warped facsimiles of Dubya and Hill and a guy that not only looked something like Obama but was honestly one of the best skaters there, dipping through narrow margins in the thick of it with consummate grace.

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The soundtrack was exactly what it should be, with a bouncy playlist that included liberal doses of George Clinton, Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind and Fire and Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force. Nary a tune was out of place, even those (occasionally corny) patriotic ones that slipped into the mix.

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Critic's Notebook

Personal bias: I was a competitive figure skater for seven years.

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Random detail: My white and pink, first-generation rollerblades literally both started to fall apart just a few revolutions into my skate. They still look fly, but they are garbage on wheels.

By the way: Miles also hosts a web TV show and plans to resurrect his annual Black Rock Roller Disco out on the playa at Burning Man later this year; he's already counting down the days (now 209). And they'll probably be doing the "Thriller" dance there, too.

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Tamara Palmer

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