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Fluffed-up fight club packs a punch

SARAH ROWLAND, 24 HOURS
Members of the East Van Pillow Fight Club including (left to right) Daniel Larsson a.k.a. Lady Batarang, Katie Grzebinski a.k.a. MediKated, Amy Stack Mazzone a.k.a. Miss Treats, Leah Moynahan a.k.a. The Butcher's Daughter, Ana Krunic a.k.a. Serbian Scrambler, Shylo Pruyn a.k.a. Tinker Hell, Cali Robinson a.k.a. Blondie Bedlam, and Melanie Porodo a.k.a. Melitia. (CARMINE MARINELLI, 24 HOURS)

Members of the East Van Pillow Fight Club including (left to right) Daniel Larsson a.k.a. Lady Batarang, Katie Grzebinski a.k.a. MediKated, Amy Stack Mazzone a.k.a. Miss Treats, Leah Moynahan a.k.a. The Butcher's Daughter, Ana Krunic a.k.a. Serbian Scrambler, Shylo Pruyn a.k.a. Tinker Hell, Cali Robinson a.k.a. Blondie Bedlam, and Melanie Porodo a.k.a. Melitia. (CARMINE MARINELLI, 24 HOURS)

The fantasy slumber party cliché of pillow fighting as lingerie-clad girls frolicking on a white four-poster bed amid a sea of feathers is gone.

It's been replaced by a real life version, thanks to the East Van Pillow Fight Club.

These cushion-packing crusaders are part of a new underground movement that's redefining pillow fighting as an empowering (not to mention hilarious) way for women to get in the ring and entertain the heck out of spectators.

It started in March, shortly after Melanie Porodo signed a lease on a 3,000-sq.-ft. studio space in Gastown.

"We were trying to think of unique ways to put on shows to help pay the rent and then I was like, 'We could pillow fight' and then we just started," said Porodo, in the Astoria basement where she and other club members held an exhibition last Sunday.

The pillow fight club debuted April 7, on international pillow fight day. Since then, attendance has rapidly grown.

Each fight consists of three, two-minute rounds, which are evaluated by a rotating panel of celebrity judges. The event is a theatrical spectacle, but the fighting is real.

"I've got a black eye and we've got an injured fighter who can't fight this time," said Porodo, referring to Angela Kill. "She was actually the champion three times in a row, but last time she dislocated her knee and had to forfeit and that's why I'm the champion now."

While all throw downs are legit, ramping up one's stage performance can help a player's overall score.

"Like, you can be getting your ass kicked," said Porodo, whose fighting character, Melitia, is a militant feminist. "But you can still gain points by staying in character and putting on all the theatrics that go with your character."

Fighter MediKated, for example, came out in a straitjacket. With crazed eyes, she handed out little candied pills. Melitia, marching out to defend her fight cup, had Duct tape across her mouth, which was ripped off in some sort of anti-oppression demonstration. Her opponent, Blondie Bedlam, sported an ammo belt of novelty dynamite and lit one stick after another and handed them out.

So what's the No. 1 rule of the pillow fight club? You do not stuff your pillow (but for the record, you can talk about it all you want).

The next pillow fight, sponsored by St. Regis Bar and Grill, is Sept. 22 at The Astoria Hotel. For more information, go to facebook.com/EastVanPillowFightClub.


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