Monday, January 22, 2007

A Dubious "First" for Canada

It's the PFL and it's taken New York by storm. PFL stands for Pillow Fight League, an idea hatched in Toronto.

It's a big enough sensation to make the major US papers. Here is how the Washington Post sees it:

"Will people pay to watch Canadian women clobber each other with pillows?

"The answer: Duh. Demand for the $20 tickets was so high that a second night at Galapagos was added and quickly sold out. But anyone who comes for a giggly face-off between two chicks in undies -- the age-old slumber party fantasy -- is in for an unhappy shock. "Real women. Real fights" is the league's motto, and this is no joke. When the fight starts, nearly anything goes -- leg drops, arm bars, chokeholds and punching -- as long as a pillow is the point of contact. Just don't gouge, scratch or pull hair, and no fair hiding bricks or any foreign objects in the pillowcase.

"You win by pinning an opponent's shoulders, as in a standard wrestling match, or pummeling her so hard she quits, or if the referee stops the action. If there's no winner at the end of the one-round, five-minute fight, three judges choose a victor, based on style, stamina and aggressiveness."

"Nothing is fake or scripted, though in the tradition of professional wrestling, each fighter takes a nom de guerre and a persona. Lady Die enters the ring dressed in elegant equestrian gear, though she undercuts the aura of English hauteur by flipping the bird with both hands as she struts to her corner. Eiffel Power is dressed in a shirt with those horizontal stripes that will forever connote Frenchness. Lynn Somnia enters screaming, ostensibly driven insane from a lack of sleep and wearing a white hospital gown."

"Fight like a girl!" howls the ref -- the phrase that launches every bout -- and it begins.

"Forget technique. None of the fighters seems to have any, aside from the basic windup and swing and the occasional leg sweep to dump an opponent on the mat. The action is frantic and grueling. The fighters seem exhausted after a minute. Wild swings outnumber square hits. Much of the action happens on the ground, where the fighters pitch and roll, occasionally using their pillows to try to choke each other, which doesn't really work. There's nothing sexy about it, and with a 20-ish, mostly male crowd calling out such bons mots as "Hit her low!" the event often has the atmosphere of a "Jerry Springer" melee."

The Post reports that the Pillow Fight League was the brainchild of Stacey P. Case who just stumbled onto the idea while driving through Austria in 2004 with his band, Tijuana Bibles.

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