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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Real Life Superhero Files: Rock N. Roll

Posted By on Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 12:50 PM

click to enlarge The lady superhero:  Rock N. Roll (on the left, obviously)
  • The lady superhero: Rock N. Roll (on the left, obviously)

In this week's cover story, we presented The Ray, a Target employee from

Antioch who was arrested in the General Strike march in Oakland last

month while acting as a Real Life Superhero. The Ray is far from the

only civilian-turned-comic book hero fighting crime or helping the needy

around the Bay Area.

There are more. Many more.

Here's Rock N. Roll, one of the few ladies among a sea of male superheroes, and a founder of the California Initiative.

Handle: Rock N. Roll, a combination of being a rock guitarist and a motorcyclist.

Superhero turf: Oakland, San Francisco.

Superhero cred: Former bouncer at the End-Up, rock guitarist, teaches women's self defense.

Superhero exploits:
Rock and the superhero group she co-founded this summer, the California Initiative, pick up used needles off Mission streets, coordinate toy drives, homeless hand-outs, and patrols of high-crime areas in civilian clothes.

Secret weapon: Humor. "One of the things we can do is try to defuse the situation in a funny way. It's almost like being a parent. like, 'Hey guys, are we going to have to separate you?'"

On why Occupy Oakland's tent city needed superhero security help more than

click to enlarge californiainitiative.jpg
OccupySF: OccupySF

was "so calm, they even had meditation circles. Whereas in Oakland, we

all have friends who stayed for a few nights in Occupy and they said,

'You should have seen what happened.' There are a lot of homeless people

who do wander through, for the most part they're friendly ... but then

there's the other ones who haven't had their meds."

On why she and her teammates won't intervene between Occupy and police:

"It wouldn't be in line with us remaining neutral, because you'd

instantly be on the side of Occupy. None of us have a police record. I

can say that with confidence. And even if for a good cause, none of us

want to lose our job or be on probation."

On why the California Initiative doesn't wear costumes for security

work, except for bulletproof vests: "A bunch of people in weird masks

tend to look like you're trying to remain anonymous, and not for the

right reasons."

On why she wears costumes for charity work: "There could be someone

doing good work for 15 years in a soup kitchen, but nobody will join the

cause. You put a mask on that guy, all of a sudden everyone is like,

'Hey, what are you doing?' As soon as you put on something thtat reminds

someone of their childhood comfort -- childhood comic books -- they are

all interested."

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Rock N. Roll was a Desert Storm vet. SF Weekly regrets the error. 

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Lauren Smiley


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