At the center of the film are Patricia and Jamal, a couple who wrestle with unemployment, love and commitment, striving to keep their heads above water. Patricia, a 42 year old mother of three and grandmother of one, who calls herself a “glam mother,” loses her job as an assistant manager at a clothing store. Patricia struggles with depression, but her relationship with her loving partner, Jamal, and her love of roller skating, helps her to maintain her dignity and optimism. Together, Patricia and Jamal lead a skate crew called the Woodrydrz, a group of skaters distinguished by their positive spirit and good will, hosting skate parties and canned food and toy drives during the holidays.
Pete, 42 year-old owner of Sk8 Fanatics, a custom skate shop and skate crew, has been a roller skater since the age of two. He works 14 hours a day, 7 days a week designing, building, repairing the custom skates that define the unique look of the LA skate scene. Pete is considered the “Skate Uncle” to many young skaters who look up to him, and his shop, Sk8 Fanatics, is in many ways the heart of the local skating community, functioning like the community barber shop. Pete, who was deeply impacted by a recent loss in his family, also sells t-shirts with “Skate Therapy” imprinted on them. According to Pete, “Skate Therapy” is the motto for his community, insisting that skating “is more than just moving in circles.”
Blair, a 25 year-old single mom, postal employee and former track star, uses the rink as a creative space. On the rink floor, Blair is known for her ability to keep up with the male skaters, performing high intensity acrobatic slides, flips, and turns, as well as physically challenging dance moves in the center of the rink. Blair and her crew of talented close friends, known as Elite 8, stand out on the skate floor and win most of the competitions. Blair works 6-7 days per week sorting mail at a post office in Hollywood, and lives with her five year old son and her parents. She has a quiet, focused strength, avoids distracting social dramas, and uses roller skating to get in a meditative space she calls “the zone,” as she did with running.
Aaron, an 83 year old show biz ventriloquist legend, retired sheriff, and life time roller skater, maintains an archive of black roller skating history in his home. Aaron, who grew up roller skating in Dayton, Ohio in a time when many schools and roller rinks were still segregated, has since travelled the world many times over, performing with his dummies opening for soul music acts such as Ray Charles and Gladys Knight and the Pips. Aaron also worked for decades as a sheriff in South Los Angeles, where his side kick dummies, Freddy, and Officer McGruff, entertained younger audiences with public service slogans such as “Say nope to dope and ugh to drugs.” While Aaron is no longer spinning circles in the center as he did in his youth, his distinctive moves on the floor are being adopted by a young generation of skaters who hail Ohio as the birthplace of the funk music and skate moves that have so influenced the LA skate culture. In the face of a more youthful skating culture, Aaron reminds younger skaters that the footwork of today has a long history.
Bob, the 80 year-old owner of Fountain Valley Skate Center, is a Brooklyn born, Irish-Italian, Fox News loving, competitive art-skating teacher. He has skated and taught skating all his life and is saddened by the diminishing popularity of his favorite sport but believes it is inevitable because the sport and the rinks are not run like a business (unlike other competitive sports such as Basketball). According to Bob, there were 65 rinks in greater Los Angeles in the 1970s, and now there are only five. His love for skating and his need to save his business pushes him to expand his community and in turn, himself.
A 29 year old determined and ambitious DJ, Chaz, known as DJ Lady P, is the politically conscious voice of the skate community, known for her positive messages on social media urging self acceptance and unity. Although Chaz struggles with a childhood injury that makes it difficult for her to skate, she has found her niche DJ'ing at Skate Express, a roller rink in Chino, CA, where her Sunday night R&B sessions attract large crowds of young people. She struggles to keep the skating community alive and relevant for new generations of skaters.