By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
By Joe Eskenazi
By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
More than that, for the first time in their lives, they say, they've found a place they belong, a kind of sorority of punks, loners, and outcasts. And because the term "outlaw biker babe" has never really existed before, they want the world to know what it means to them. That's one reason for their calendar. As the new version says, "We hope our calendar conveys that biker chicks are not toothless, backseat Bettys, but ambitious, glam-yet-hardcore, dedicated-to-our-machines kinda girls."
GOTH GIRL (December)
Goth Girl (aka Jessica Evans) is between customers at Shine 'Em Up shoeshine parlor in the swanky One Market high-rise. Goth Girl has run the shoeshine parlor for five years, and the walls of the small storefront have been decorated with classic film memorabilia and pictures of the Devil Dolls.
Goth Girl hires only biker babes to work in her shine parlor, and on Wednesdays both Goth and fellow Devil Doll Calamity (Erin Eppstein) are on duty, terrorizing the yuppie clientele (or what Goth Girl calls the "khaki-and-blue-shirts").
As Calamity begins working on a customer's shoes, she calmly tells him, "I'm on work furlough, a program to get women out of prison and back into the work force. Jessica was bringing shining into the prisons, and I chose shining instead of license plates."
"God, I should just start robbing banks again, working for a living is too hard," Goth Girl pipes in.
A customer with a V-neck sweater looks disturbed. "Are you stressed?" Goth Girl asks, as she applies shoe conditioner to his loafers. "Well, do you like Guinness? We have Guinness Stout in the back, so come back down if you're ever stressed. We won't tell your boss. We've got Altoids."
Today, they've also decided to set up a remote-controlled fart machine near the door so they can embarrass their customers as they come in. When an unsuspecting khaki-and-blue-shirt walks through the door, the machine goes off, and Goth Girl and Calamity collapse with laughter.
Wiping the tears from her eyes, Goth looks up at the clock and realizes it's almost 11:30 a.m. She immediately runs behind a partition to change from her baggy black T-shirt and leggings into a silver miniskirt and blouse. She lets her hair down, and begins digging in a wooden cabinet for some piano sheet music. She produces a book of Grieg.
As a classically trained pianist, Goth has a regular two-hour lunch gig in the building's grand lobby, and takes a break from shining to play the piano with shoe polish-stained hands. On some nights, she also plays jazz at the chic Shanghai 1930 restaurant. She says that besides speeding on the open road on her motorcycle, playing the piano is the closest thing to flying.
But shining shoes and playing piano are mostly just day jobs. Her passion lies with riding motorcycles, and she is the intense and energetic motivator behind the Devil Dolls. As co-president, she runs the club's burgeoning merchandising enterprises out of her SOMA loft and doubles as a pseudo-publicist, responding to each of the 10 to 30 e-mails the club receives daily.
Goth Girl could shine shoes or play the piano in any city, but she has lived in San Francisco for five years now -- the longest she's ever stayed in one place. She stays because the Devil Dolls have become her anchor to this city and, in effect, brought the end to her loner ways.
Because her family moved nine times before high school, Goth Girl says, she never lived in one place long enough to learn how to keep friends. Though she always managed to find herself on the back of some guy's bike growing up (she landed her first ride on the back of an outlaw biker's Hog at age 16 by flipping him off), she never stuck with any of them for long.
"I would just bolt because people weren't that interesting to me," she says. "This is the first time I've ever had to work on relationships. And I've never hung out with chicks before. It's cool, having to mature."
IN THE BIKER WORLD, the word "outlaw" has a specific meaning, although one that is hard to define. It refers to a nebulous and instinctive code of honor that the Hell's Angels describe by saying, "If I had to explain it to you, you probably wouldn't get it."
The Hell's Angels of the late '60s defined the term "outlaw biker," but it's a lifestyle the Dolls can never approximate, and one that even many Hell's Angels no longer engage in.
In the '60s, the Angels were young punks, thugs, and con men. Some of the club's members dealt drugs, were linked to murders and other crimes, and beat up rival club members with impunity. But they also developed a kind of outlaw brotherhood that proved attractive to so many young misfits -- a brotherhood that demanded certain rules of behavior from its members.
"It's living by a code of conduct that others misconstrue as criminal, though that element can be there," says Calamity, who dates a member of the Hell's Angels. "It means no informants, you don't call the cops, you handle things on your own. You don't lie or cheat or steal from your friends. It's a gentleman's code of honor. It's an alliance, an honor, a loyalty, an attitude."