IN HER NEW BOOK, FLIPPER’S ROLLER BOOGIE PALACE (IDEA), LIBERTY ROSS CELEBRATES THE ’70S SKATE CLUB HER DAD IAN “FLIPPER” ROSS CREATED. MORE THAN JUST A PLACE TO SKATE, IT WAS A GATHERING SPOT FOR ACTORS, ARTISTS, MUSICIANS AND REALLY ANYONE WHO CRAVED FREEDOM AND ACCEPTANCE. HERE, SHE EXPLAINS HER INSPIRATION.
What inspired you to dig into your family history and explore Flipper’s? The people that I have met since moving back to L.A. 16 years ago are the inspiration behind the book. When I tell people my dad is Flipper and I grew up in the Roller Boogie Palace, they each have the most incredible reaction—explosive and joyful. It made me want to know more about this place my parents created and why it still resonates today.
What are things you discovered? That all manner of people would mingle under the huge golden domed roof… that was extraordinary for Los Angeles. All ages, all backgrounds. It evoked a sense of freedom—an escape—a place where you could tap into your true self and be who you want to be. Laura Dern was a young teen there; Quentin Tarantino was rumored to be a skate guard; Prince broke the West Coast at Flipper’s on his Dirty Mind tour; Black Flag, Joy Division, the Go-Go’s are just some of the bands who performed there. Nile Rodgers took Madonna and Basquiat there for the first time (he would skate down the hill from Sunset Boulevard where he would stay, right into Flipper’s doors on La Cienega).
Was Flipper’s exclusive? It is because Flipper’s was so diverse that made it so unique and special. It opened people’s eyes to other cultures and opinions, music and fashion. It was the opposite of exclusive: It was a home for everyone, all the misfits of L.A.
Why do you think roller skating is having a comeback? Roller skating sets your mind and body free! It releases endorphins and empowers you. It’s joyful, sexy and fun—exactly what the world needs right now! You can skate alone or in groups. It’s about community and inclusivity. Anyone can do it, any age; you can be good or not so good and have an equally brilliant time.