Welcome to the Pillow Fight League, which has been drawing growing crowds in Toronto since it formed early last year, and is now set to export its campy fun to New York City.
The league is the brainchild of 38-year-old Stacey Case, a T-shirt printer and musician who came up with the idea that people would pay to see young women in costumes beat the tar out of each other with pillows -- and that women would volunteer to whap each other in front of a crowd. . . .
However, they're quick to point out it's not really just about young women in revealing costumes tussling in front of a largely male audience. Well, maybe it is a bit.
Rather like professional wrestling but with scantily clad women as the fighters, the bouts are presented as if they were real contests, and the performers adopt amusing stage personae:
But it's the fighters that make the show, and they come in all shapes and sizes, with names like Sarah Bellum, the smart one, and Boozy Suzie, who enters the ring with a beer that referee Patterson confiscates with a stern wave of his finger.
Lynn Somnia staggers to the ring in a hospital gown with electrodes dangling, apparently released from her sleep-deprivation chamber.
Top contenders include Betty Clock'er -- by day a financial editor and by night a cushion-swinging housewife who brings a plate of cookies to ringside -- and Polly Esther, billed as the waitress from hell ("And somebody's gonna get served!," The Mouth bellows as she struts toward the ring).
While the personas are all good fun, the action in the ring is real, and as Case is quick to point out, unscripted.
The rules are simple: women only, no lewd behavior, and moves such as leg drops or submission holds are allowed as long as a pillow is used. After that, it's up to the combatants. . . .
This past weekend, Polly didn't disappoint, torquing her long arms to deliver punishing pillow blows to Betty Clock'er in a fight to decide who will travel to New York this week to face PFL title holder Champain, an event Case is hoping will give an adrenaline shot to the league's profile.
Of course, the real money, and the promoters' real goal, is in TV:
The bigger picture involves a TV deal. Case says he has already turned down bids that didn't offer the mix of attention to the action and characters that he says makes the league more of a draw to the arts community than the mud-wrestling crowd.
It won't be long, I'm sure.
From Karnick on Culture.