Print Edition: June 6, 2012
After the initial shock and bewildered joy resided, my next thought upon learning of the relatively new all-girl EastVan PillowFight Club was “Well, how does it work?” So, that’s what I set out to learn. Along the way I met club founder Melanie Porodo, who fights under the alias Melitia, and EVPFC commissioner Steve Watts.
After a brief glance at the club’s official rule book, and a perusal of the various YouTube videos of the EVPFC in action, I gathered that the pillowfights have a lot in common with more recognized fighting styles, like boxing or wrestling. There are three two-minute rounds in which two pillowfighters earn points through take-downs and knock-outs, as distributed by the EVPFC judges. Fighters also earn points for pulling off creative “signature” moves, striking combos, dodges, and through theatrics that get the crowd going. Of course, points can also be taken away for illegal moves, such as pinning an opponent, or attempting moves without the use of a pillow.
When they’re not beating each other up with sleeping equipment, the pillowfighting club also likes to help those in need. Recently the group was featured in a 24 hours article, for the bike wash fundraiser they did to raise money for the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter. “We’re in that thicket everyday and we think it’s important, on a ground level, to collectively do things that can make a difference,” Porodo told the Vancouver daily.
Delving deeper into the mechanics of the club itself, I was fortunate enough to speak with Porodo about the origins of the group, how it works, and what’s in the future for the sport:
Where did the idea come from? How did it get started?
Melanie Porodo: EastVan Pillowfight Club got started in Steve and Mel’s art studio in Gastown. It began partly as a way to engage the public and partly out of a desire to put our rage and frustration to good use. It began with four pillowfighters and a jujitsu master. We made the rules up as we went along.
How do the take-downs work? How is the score kept?
Take downs work by hooking your opponent with your pillow behind the knees and tripping them to the ground. Scores are based on a 10-point judging system, similar to that of boxing. In each fight there are three two-minute rounds. Each round is judged on the 10-point system.
Is there any plan to expand outside of East Van, either in terms of a different team/league or in terms of travelling out to other locations to play?
Other leagues to fight from other towns would be a dream come true! We are going to keep doing what we are doing and if that happened we would be delighted to partake. We are able to travel and do shows with the crew that we currently have.
How does someone interested get involved as a player?
We are always looking for new fighters. If interested you can contact the club and we will get you in. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How does one find out about upcoming events?
Our next event is on June 16. For tickets contact the club by email. All the info is also on our Facebook page.
How much are tickets to get in?
How do you respond to criticism that this sport is taking advantage of stereotypes of women?
Umm, the “pajama party pillow fight” reference? Well, we put that stereotype on its arse. We do not pillowfight in lingerie, and we are proud of our femininity. We don’t feel the need to act unintelligent and sexy in order to get attention like our “raunch culture” female counterparts. It’s fun to play with the irony I suppose. Our fights are aggressive. I personally have received countless bruises, a black eye, and many matburns in the ring.
Is there anything else we might like to know?
All the fighters have developed an alter-ego for themselves. Mine is Melitia. Others are Medikated, Hunter Down, Angella Kill, Serbian Scrambler, and Blondie Bedlam. We also have trading cards and theme songs. Hope to see you at our show on June 16.