I’ve written before about my fascination with Roller Disco but it seems I’m born a generation too late: Empire, the Brooklyn skating rink and birthplace of Roller Disco has closed. Well it actually closed two years ago, but time doesn’t heal this wound.
Luckily, Kelly Shimoda was there to capture the Empire’s last Saturday night. And it had all the elements of Xanadu, including romance, dancing, perhaps a few tumbles. No flying Greek muses were reported.
Shimoda’s crisp images are rich in colour, and capture a celebratory tone with only the slightest hint of melancholy. In one we see a couple’s last moment of intimacy under the disco ball; another shows a group of friends having their final roller dance-off. And despite man’s very poor decision to deem acceptable the use of public toilets while wearing rollerskates, even the always-filthy bathroom is glamourised and made to seem a place where we’d like to return.