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A chance to roller dance: Surrey DJ Alibaba spins new VanCity Soul Skate nights at PNE

‘It’s just a chance to roller dance, or roller boogie, as we used to call it back in the day,’ Al Lamons says
DJ Alibaba (aka Al Lamons) with business partner Vera JM Friesen at the Vancity Soul Skate event at the PNE’s Rollerland building on Nov. 20, 2022. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

DJ Alibaba (aka Al Lamons) is rolling again with VanCity Soul Skate nights at the PNE’s Rollerland building.

Lamons plays party-starting soul, R&B, funk, reggae and other music at the new adults-only event, Sundays from 7 to 10 p.m.

The Nov. 20 launch event was sold-out, maxed at 250 capacity.

“And we had a whole lot of turn-aways,” Lamons raved. “My phone, my inboxes, Instagram, they all blew up with people trying to get in. But come out another night, because we’re here every Sunday.”

Lamons, a longtime Surrey resident and part-time actor best known for his DJing skills, brought his roller-boogie moves north to Canada from his hometown of Vallejo, in California’s Bay Area, in the mid-1980s.

Later, he became a leader in the VanCity hip-hop scene and DJ’d at the groundbreaking The Beat 94.5 radio station.


At Rollerland, he wants people to roller-dance at Sunday events “centering around the BIPOC community and welcoming skaters of every race,” as noted on Ticketleader’s website, where tickets are sold for $15 each. Liquor can be purchased at a bar.

“It’s just a chance to roller dance, or roller boogie, as we used to call it back in the day,” Lamons explained. “As Funkadelic sang, we are one nation under a groove, and I love it, man.”

Under Rolla Skate Club management, the PNE’s 20,000-square-foot Rollerland building was given a rebirth last December. The rink is located a few steps south of the Pacific Coliseum.

• READ MORE: Rolla Skate Club wheels into PNE building with help of Surrey event planner.

The new VanCity Soul Skate nights will keep Lamons busy on yet another night of the week, with other DJ gigs Thursdays at Ladner’s Landing pub, Fridays at Richmond’s Flying Beaver, Saturdays at Milltown bar, and Monday Night Football at Langley’s Oak & Thorne.

“I’m all over the map,” Lamons said with a laugh.

He has some relatively famous feet, too.

“In the opening scenes of Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 (Rodrick Rules), that’s me roller skating during the opening credits,” he said in 2017. “All you can see are my skates moving around.” He also plays a skate guard in the 2011 comedy movie.

Lamons said COVID-19 was “the best thing to happen to roller skating, because people went outside, got their earbuds on and started roller dancing outside. Now we’re seeing it come inside again, right here at Rollerland.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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