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Branch Brook Park Roller Rink, located in Newark, NJ, is one of the few remaining urban rinks of its kind. This concrete structure is nestled in a public park bordered by public housing and a highway. Upon first glance, the exterior resembles a fallout shelter; however, the streamers and lights of the interior are reminiscent of 1970s roller discos. This 55 minute documentary depicts a space cherished by skaters and a city struggling to move beyond its past and forge a new narrative amidst contemporary social issues.

Two main characters emerge: Bonesaw, a tough talking, tattooed member of the Garden State Roller Derby Team; and Gralen, a deeply spiritual Gospel Night skater. On the surface these two characters are different, both ideologically and in their social and racial backgrounds. The film, however, reveals a shared past of violence and drug abuse from which the rink provides a much needed refuge. In telling the story of a roller rink, the film touches on "urban renewal" in Newark, resistance and the 1967 uprising, contemporary downtown gentrification, segregation and inequalities, and the ways people play. The Rink is a tribute to the dwindling affordable spaces of diversion in American cities, places where citizens can congregate, create community, and enjoy life.

   

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