I Am the Street Dream!

October 11, 2014

gino_jason dill

In classically rambling and semi-coherent fashion Jason Dill seems to have confirmed the messageboard-melting news that Gino Iannucci, that much-beloved train station tour guide, 360 shove-it bringer-backer and Chocolate graybeard, dipped from his tourmates of nearly two decades in favour of the ankle- and belt-bearing set at Fucking Awesome, sending several seismic waves across sectors of the internet that continue to draw valuable kilowatts from loose-fit denim, Youtube renderings of VHS video and also RZA productions. To interested observers, the transaction resembled Tumblr acquiring AOL, or perhaps Bronze Hardwares absorbing Prodigy*.

Among moneyed old-guard deck men, dark talk is afoot of Jason Dill’s potential next power move, after scooping Dylan Rieder from the smearily dissolving chambers of AWS and seeming to have taken in a number of additional former teammates with an eye toward soon launching his own Chocolate-esque sister company that may or may not be named for that violent and longtime side hustle of Gino Iannucci and graphical subject for one of his first Chocolate boards, ice hockey. Speculation has mounted, as it is wont to do, around just how much of a kick in the pants this may be for the Crailtap camp and/or a late-career left turn for Gino Iannucci, who recently booked his most productive 14 months ever but nonetheless still is hard to imagine as more than a spirit-guide, sipping Starbucks and grinning and shaking his head from a nearby bench as Dill and AVE’s floral-printed progeny publicly urinate and shoot their mouths off at the spot.

Beyond a collegial relationship at 101 two decades ago** this may not all be so weird, however, when one considers Gino Iannucci through the prism of the Guns’N’Roses music, the birdie tattoo, and various engagements involving bleached hair and vests. You can imagine a trick sprinkled here and there into Bill Strobek Vimeo uploads, which may be a positive thing for a dude whose past video entries occasionally have exhibited signs of too much baking soda in the pot, and an endorsement of GZA’s “weak rhymes/mad long” advice to youngsters.

Whereas acquiring Dylan Rieder went some ways towards reconstituting the Dill/AVE axis as it had arisen in Dayton, signing Gino Iannucci may alter Fucking Awesome’s outwards profile and raise thorny queries. Can Fucking Awesome credibly still claim underdog status, or is this an organic progression of the current wave of small companies flexing their developing fiscal muscles to acquire name-brand pros from established rivals? To what extent is this an endorsement of Jason Dill’s fractured and frizzy vision versus a no-confidence vote in the anti-heroic stylings of Crailtap in recent years? Or is it strictly a dollar thing? Perhaps most crucially does this move set the famous 1990s Doomsday Clock closer to or further away from midnight?

*The rapper and or the web portal
**Which continued to persist into 2012, as pictured above.

Where Are All the Vanity Board Team Owners?

September 30, 2014

scrooge_mcduck

Loudly, the “Lego Movie” demonstrated how this earthy life is built upon deception and a series of injurious failures, with the slim chance of revolutionizing society or overthrowing a malevolent dictator baked in to stave off utter hopelessness. So it may also be in the boardgoods galaxy, where increasingly it would seem that proprietorship of a deck company is tantamount to some sort of Sisyphean trek in holey vulc-soles, or several pelvic fractures, or maybe just an unfulfilling relationship.

Alien Workshop owners Chris Carter and Mike Hill’s grab for the brass life-ring of corporate ownership devolved into a game of M&A hot potato that may have soured them on the business for life, Jake Johnson said in an interview the other day: “I don’t think these guys wanna do it anymore. I think that they’re pretty pissed off.” Smoothie king Andrew Reynolds, in a separate interview, described running Baker and its affiliates more like a labor of love: “I own some skateboard companies and there’s not that much money in it. I see the truth.” Pontus Alv, owner/operator of by all accounts one of the more successful board companies at the moment, sounds fatigued as he oscillates between evaluating Chinese factories and trying to hold down a pro career: “It’s a shit load of work plus trying to be a team manager, going on a tour, promoting the brand, trying to skate…. I try to work with other people but a lot of times I just end up doing it myself because I can and they don’t have the same vision as me.”

Boards have yet to devolve into unfashionable utilities. The hierarchy of professional image and personal branding dictates that deck sponsors provide meaningful direction that appears to matter to the moneyed international footwear conglomerates that riders require to pay various mortgages and car notes and things. Nike, Jamie Thomas says, helped shepherd Trevor Colden from Mystery to the swish-heavy pastures of Skate Mental, and conspiracy theory-minded observers will note that EU comer-upper Karsten Kleppan did a similar two-step from Lakai and Element in recent months.

So are board company owners doing it wrong? The argument has been made that owning professional sports teams should not be a profit-seeking venture, but rather a long-term luxury investment similar to a yacht or bankrolling a Ron Artest CD. Rather than paper dollar bill wads, rewards arrive in the form of grand intangibles and assorted life hammers such as the prestige that comes with fielding a championship team or sweatily mounting a Grammys stage to collect hard-won trophies for hit Ron Artest singles. Sports team owners enjoy earthly delights like fostering relevant cultural memes, cheering as your employees innovate new ways to involve animals in celebrations, and build in the lab with the Pandas’ Friend formerly known as Metta World Peace from time to time.

Former World Industries Chief Financial Officer Scott Drouillard, in a recent interview with Jenkem, described blindly speculating on Florida swampland as preferable to working for a skateboard company, and the rationale for selling out over a decade ago:

All of us had invested all of our wealth in this company, and there were three big factors. One, the overall economy and stock market was at a historic high, going off the scale. Two was our industry… Our industry was blowing up! And knowing it goes in cycles, about 10 year cycles, we knew we were really at the explosive peak of it. Lastly, is how we were managing the company. We were hitting home runs like 3 out of 4 times, and you can’t be expected to continue hitting home runs like that forever.

Viewed through such a lens, does this portray decades-deep boardsportsmen such as Tod Swank, Ed Templeton, Mike Carroll and Rick Howard as grinning sadomasochists? Does Steve Rocco, reclining on some Malibu beach, kick himself for not finagling a stake in the Big Brother-spawned Jackass franchise? Would there be more rap careers if board companies were backed by deep-pocketed benefactors? Would there be worse ones? Are Pat Pasquale and Nick Trapasso employing some Billy Beane-esque algorithm in building the Life Extention team, or only their video soundtracks?

Ryan Gallant’s Clipper Ledge Transworld Cover Is A Victory For Us All Dudes

September 25, 2014

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Will landing a magazine cover matter more when mass-marketed US publications dwindle to just one or two print editions? Will they matter less? Kickflip backside noseblunt sliding San Francisco’s Clipper ledge easily qualifies among the gnarlier tricks this year, the past few years, and as a somewhat out-of-nowhere late-career peak for Ryan Gallant, if only because he’s been plying this trade about 15 years now and is not in the ostensible final weeks of filming a supposed Plan B video supposedly.

Ryan Gallant, his sponsors and Transworld itself all have clear reasons to rejoice this month. Below we shall examine several other obvious and less-obvious beneficiaries of Ryan Gallant’s trick, which is one for the history books:

East coasters laid heads to pillows after seeing this magazine cover knowing that another page in a West Coast spot’s history was writ upon by a New Englander’s briny fist.

Aging professionals are reminded that, as Jamie Thomas demonstrated in last year’s “Cold War,” exercise and proper diet have gone a long way toward extending the pro lifespan from the early-20s retirement age of a quarter-century ago, and benchmarkable feats are well within grasp provided you posess mastery of backside noseblunts and other similarly forceful tricks such as backside 180 switch frontside crooked grinds, as Ryan Gallant has proven able.

Goofy footers now can sit back in a leisurely manner as the onus shifts to regular footed pros and certain other would-be players to attempt a switch version, or do it frontside.

Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons and Dragons, will benefit because Ryan Gallant’s trick will encourage people to reach for hidden strengths within themselves, a living tribute to Gary Gygax.

Windmill propellers may find to go for another spin or two, modeling their movements on Ryan Gallant’s board and generating clean and renewable energy for residential houses and however many wafflemakers they contain.

Street League contestants will watch for opportunities to climb in the rankings in the form of tiny, tiny teardrops gathering in Nyjah Huston’s eyes, as he imagines other famous hubbas that he may one day kickflip backside noseblunt.

Stevie Williams could be rubbing his hands together in glee at the prospect of collecting this clip for the pending Gold Goons production, said to feature the cast of the Nintendo game Goons and Goblins and several heavy ingots of gold ore.

Rave ’til Dawn

September 7, 2014

pitchblackthingy

Similar to David Carr and Dee Snider, Baker Boys man Andrew Reynolds’ unlikely journey over the past decade saw him emerge from the den of substance-saturated iniquity to ultimately assume the mantle of thoughtful elder statesman. In an intriguing interview with Jenkem the other day, Reynolds’ comments suggest some connection between tunnel-visioned fucked-upness and the fog of war that can descend when grappling with a trick or line, two pursuits that for some may serve as means to basically the same end:

Some skaters have told me that when they try really difficult and scary tricks they black out in between tries. Has that ever happened to you before?
Definitely, it’s something that I’ve talked to Jim Greco about. The blackout is what you’re searching for constantly from trying a trick. Even when I was really young I noticed it because I would skate a lot of contests and stuff in Florida and people afterwards would say like, “Oh that was cool they were playing Zeppelin,” or whatever and I would just be like, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” For me it was just silence the whole time I skated. With Tampa Pro and stuff, it’s just total focus and silence. If I’m able to tell what song was playing at a contest or demo afterward, that’s how I know I didn’t really want to be there.

Besides not hearing the music, is there actually any blackout throughout the run or trick?
I mean, you know what you’re doing… I think it’s the reason people pay money to learn how to meditate and do yoga to quiet their mind, you know? It’s like the most extreme form of that. I think that’s why when skaters don’t skate for a couple weeks are like, “Ahh, I gotta get out and do something!” because you’re so used to that feeling and escape your whole life. You need it.

Does Wes Kremer, a made man several times over at this point who seems never to particularly stress or struggle over what for others would present nigh-impossible feats, exist in a semi-permanent such zone? You wonder, observing his incredible ‘Crusty by Nature’ part and his generally footloose and fancy-free persona, whether some coitus-interruptus moment mid-trick left him in a sort of suspended haze, in a fashion such as the hypnotist heart attack that sent Peter Gibbons meandering toward middle management material in a matter of days. Neither the switch bigspin kickflip, the nollie flip backside into the burly bank, nor probably the best handrail darkslide captured to date on film particularly seems to faze Wes Kremer. The brief but hair-raising wobble out of the switch k-grind during the run through Tom Penny’s schoolhall basically sums it up.

Reynolds speaks of industry tutelage at the knee of one Tony Hawk, that demo god and video-game impresario, but it is worth pondering whether Wes Kremer developed his own focusing methods under a very different school. A self-professed Osiris disciple during “the Storm” heyday, Wes Kremer tells Thrasher of a potentially formative experience in which he beheld the rituals of another lord of So-Cal school hallways, Josh Kasper*:

Did you ever run the D3s?
Oh, absolutely. For sure. Marius moved into the same housing complex as Tony Magnusson, one
of the main dudes at Osiris. Once he moved over there and started kicking it with T-Mag and shit, getting shoes—after that we were hyped on Osiris. And it was pretty much an SD company, so we’d always see the dudes around. I remember seeing T-Bone, Smolik, Kasper. Holy shit, dude, I skated with Kasper one time back in the day. It was insane. We roll up to this triple set, right. I had no idea he was going on the session. I’m looking at it and all of a sudden I see this convertible BMW pull up. I’m like, “Who’s that?” And he pulls right up to the spot, right next to the stairs—bumpin’ this Eminem track. I wish I could say it was that 8 Mile song, but it was some other inspirational one. He gets his board out and he’s like, “Hey, hey, nice to meet you. I’m Josh.” And then out of nowhere—he didn’t even fuckin’ ollie the thing—he starts hucking front threes. He sticks it, dude. Literally sticks a frontside 270 and slams. And after the Eminem song ended, one of the songs from The Storm came on. Like, the craziest, most-techno song in the video. It’s just blasting out of the convertible while Kasper is getting served up, like, literally every try. Unfortunately, at the end of the day he didn’t get it. But I came back with an amazing Kasper encounter.

*A part that should get some kind of recognition solely for using what sounds like four different songs in less than three minutes

One Shoelace Belt to in the Darkness Bind Them

September 1, 2014

stitches

All around us, the towers of logic are a-tumble, similar to Jenga blocks erroneously positioned nearby to a Fred Gall wallride. Behold, the vagabond winos at Cliche now peddle decks in distribution partnership with handrail headbangers Zero under Dwindle, the house that Flameboy built. Longboard makers run financial roughshod over storied and battle-hardened deck dynasties; three months on from Alien Workshop’s abrupt mothballing, major magazines have yet to offer any account, official or otherwise. In midtown professional skaters lustily embrace their corporate paymasters, as Paul Rodriguez and other Street Leageuers press Nasdaq’s ceremonial market-opening button and Chris Cole affirms to the WSJ that skateboarding is the “perfect” method for the Olympic to expand its viewership and rope in new advertising dollars.

In recent weeks another would-be bastion of reasoning crumbled following DGK’s release of its “Blood Money” promo. Largely obscured by Marquise Henry’s massive switch backside noseblunt, half-cab pointer grind revert and AVE ender, Dane Vaughn’s last trick and facial hair making a bid for the year’s sleaziest, as well as Boo Johnson’s handgliding hardflips and impeccable frontside tailslides*, was the subliminal yet clearly articulated message that skinny camo pants no longer can be used as any litmus test for judgment, fashion- or otherwise, upending a longstanding assumption that stood unchallenged as recently as Trevor Colden’s Skate Mental part. DGKs from Marquise Henry to Jackson Curtin (several times recognized historically as the industry’s best-dressed) can been seen within more form-fitting camoflage, jettisoning the traditional woodland patterning, cargo pockets and bagginess that imbued the noble BDU with its sense of timelessness**.

Are we so lost? Like Rick Howard video parts and Red Dragon brawlings, increasingly, skate-centric fashion innovations seem to be fading into the haze of history, sometimes dropped amid adoption by more general populaces, sometimes because they ultimately became understood to look wacky. Patterned berets sold by Vision came to identify counterculture warriors in 1980s cinema, whereas lacesavers went the way of the vert ramp in the early 1990s just in time for kickflips to usher in ollie patches, Shoe Goo and a slightly different way of shredding shoelaces. Airwalk, Vans and Etnies could not wrap their heads around low-top sneakers quickly enough to save a generation of “Questionable” era hightops from stickers and shears, the latter of which also chopped short pant cuffs in the goofy boy period, influencing several ravers.

Following a bizarre interlude when shopping at the Gap was cool, skateboarders helped lift cargo pants to their later Abercrombie staple status before Muska developed a unique method for bunching up his pants at calf level, in which he was joined on both coasts by the likes of Sean Sheffey and Fred Gall. Warner Ave members later attempted to resuscitate spray-painted shoes and reclaim the vert shirt from bodybuilders, but despite the ongoing success enjoyed by the weed leaf sock, such strokes of inspiration in recent years mostly wandered toward more pedestrian pastures, the brown cords/white tee ensemble serving as a notable such milemarker.

Consider the shoelace belt, and whether it represents the longest-lived such accessory. Popularized around the 2002 release of Flip’s “Sorry” as a more lightweight and streamlined alternative to spiked belts for the stretch black denim set, the shoelace belt enjoyed broad embrace across the tech/gnar spectrum, at times seeming to mutate into a product category of their own. Mall retailer Zumiez currently offers three pages’ worth of shoelace belt items and belt-optimized branding options are available in multi-coloured sets from the hat firm Neff. Despite adherence to colourful editions among the likes of Sebo Walker and Shep Dawg Stephen Lawyer there appear signs that the shoelace belt’s profile may decline as more-traditional leather variants reclaim lost market share and diminishing lace hole populations leave larger-waisted consumers bereft of fittable out-of-the-shoebox options.

Would extinction of the shoelace as a belt mark another step toward relinquishing any claim skating still may hold over casual-wear style leadership? Have bike messengers and dockworkers already usurped this position? Is it ‘just a shoelace brah’ or so much more brah? Does there exist photo evidence of so-called “lace heads” lining up outside shops days before a sneaker release only to discard the shoes in favor of looping limited-release laces through expensive denim beltloops? Were these the original target consumers for Jake Brown and Peter Smolik’s ‘lifetyle company’ LACED?

*to regular, naturally
**Josh Kalis of course seems to remain a traditionalist, and Bobby Worrest

Turn Up Deep Web

August 7, 2014

Several years ago, Emerica shoes marked the end of a bold and promiscuous era by releasing “Stay Gold,” billed within urethane-wise punditrydom as “tha last video ever.” Girl and Chocolate under their own advances a short while later launched “Pretty Sweet,” also the last video ever, and Plan B toward the end of 2K14 widely is expected to place a MegaRampTM-shaped capstone on the video era upon completing “Tru, B” which not only is understood to be the last video ever but furthermore to potentially never come out at all, just to make the point.

Where does this leave our independent video maker? If you are named Ty Evans you actually are a Filmmaker and shall be contracted to a burgeoning action sports production house for the use of proprietary Filmmaking UAVs and certain other automated devices that aren’t yet all legal under county-specific statutes penned by wizened barneys. For the remainder, do they continue to absorb the financial hardships, bristly market risk and hours spent lying in gutters, occasionally sprinkled with sustaining dollops of funding from shoe conglomerates or free boards from their bro’s warehouses?

There are relatively few big-name companies attached as backers to “Statics 4 & 5,” Josh Stewart’s sprawling ode to nocturnal nooks and crannies of the five boroughs, and the steadily clattering insomniac tunnels that stitch them together. At this point Josh Stewart’s sunk the better part of two decades into filming skating and making videos, he’s complained about the tough time making a living at it even before the internet obliterated both the hardcopy format and the longform video, and more recently talked about how he gets money videoing more-pedestrian shit, probably with additional perks such as sensible hours and fewer threats from wayward autos and cops.

Is this Josh Stewart’s last Static vid? Maybe or maybe not, but between the Henry Edwards and Jeremy Elkins and Peter Sidlauskases of this current plane of existence it seems the curse of the independent video filmer will continue to cloud and arouse youngsters’ minds, whether or not board and shoe makers deign to continue sinking years’ worth of marketing budget lucre into full-length DVDs or high quality Blu Ray products for HD TVs. Josh Stewart, as elder a statesman in all this as Dan Wolfe or Fred Mortagne at this point, suggested this may not be such a bad thing, in spite of any ensuing financial hardships, or perhaps because of them:

One of the rad things about the skate video as an art form is that most of the people doing good work in the indie video scene aren’t motivated by financial gain. And it makes it more pure as an art form when it has to be done on the side of making a living.

The “Static 5″ opening sequence, with its tribal chanting, drums and dudes silently walking through tunnels, gives you a sense of how Josh Stewart may view shit and moustachioed literary analytic types might be inclined to draw some “Last of the Mohicans” analogy.* In a time when social media-abetted personal branding has incented standalone video parts and projects catering to specific dudes’ approaches to skating, the 4th and 5th “Statics” are one of the more cohesive and well put together full-lengths in quite a while. The Slap board commentary cycle may have reduced Josh Stewart’s aesthetic to “cellar doors” around the time of the third installment but there’s still few who can argue better for it, and with the exception of the Bronze vid, to which it really is unfair to compare any video, there is no better soundtrack this year, occasionally ripped straight from the trains and platforms.

With the volume of cellar doors transferred to and bars hopped (Aaron Herrington grabs the no-comply title straight from the jump) it was wise if indulgent to bisect this project into a pair of “Photosynthesis”-optimized runtimes, even though there’s satisfactory variety when it comes to this type of skating. Aaron Herrington goes bio down three banks, Yonnie Cruz is awarded most ambidextrous,
Brian Clarke displays a rarely seen frontside noseslide shove it and
Brendan Carroll behaves similarly with a nollie manual. There are cameos by some of Japan’s street alchemists whose style really has no father but could plausibly claim the “Static 2″ Traffic/Puleo parts as an irritable uncle. Dustin Eggeling turns in the obligatory fakie frontside noseslide shove it and thereby soothes certain 1990s ghosts, Jimmy Lannon continues to embody one of the better examples of how less oftentimes is more and
Jake Johnson does his mountain ride, with the skate sounds dialed down and guitars turnt similar to an Alien video. Jimmy Mastrocolo, Daniel Kim and Keith Denley should do parts in next video Josh Stewart does, if there is one.

The best made part in this entry though may be Jahmal Williams, who Josh Stewart pairs with an aging subway dance squadron led by a dude who claims to be over 45 and literally toiling underground, “keeping the art alive” on behalf of tourists and passing worker bees. Jahmal Williams still has it, boosting up traffic barriers and igniting one of the better filmed rick flips recently and issuing a memorable “one more” plea in pursuit of nighttime breakdancing glory and possibly the promise of parachute pants riches yet to come. If these are really the last ones of Josh Stewart’s “Static” series, they do it justice and make a case for the dude mastering his craft, copies can and should be purchased from Theories of Atlantis.

*Not this blogosite though, never that

Dukes of September

July 27, 2014

numbers

For those who dwelled and acted upon the era of the mighty dinosaur or throughout the Western European colonial push, the millennia pass and pile up with the unyielding weight of bargeloads freighted with rotting warhorses, their corpses bloated by rot and festooned with arrows of the legions that overran their slain riders. ‘Timeless’ often is unholstered as a descriptor for tricks or styles enduring across years, pants-fittings and upper padding materials; alternatively the adjective applies to semi-straddler Claude Van Damme’s century-hopping lawman and this Marky Numbers pic from the recent Omar Salazar TSM, in that the move featured and its boisterous presentation might’ve full-bled across some mid-1980s Thrasher or Transworld photo feature and anywhere in-betwixt.

Long Pork

July 23, 2014

crankshaft

Teenage angst is the eternally renewable fuel source upon which the skateboard industry may be said to rise and fall. As a power to be harnessed it can be as tender and benevolent as a caressing summer breeze, or as tormentous and destructive as the most esoterically named tropical swirly. Deck designers for decades have sought to sate teens’ hunger for scary skulls, subversive violence, conspiracy oddments and more recently easily recognizable Plan B logos; while Wet Willy and Flameboy once earned lucrative dollar bills from soccer-mom purses, such gateway graphics hooked several generations’ worth of minimum-wage paycheck earners who later would seek out socks emblazoned with weed leafs and several varieties of T-shirts that explain the veritable black holes of society from which the wearer, now more affluent and bejeweled, once had emerged.

With the notable exceptions of Rocco-sanctioned Wu-Tang album cover riffs, one-off series bowing to the continued influence of professional firepole navigators or the fleshy urethane peddled by the double entendring Hubba Wheels, lust is perhaps among the least-celebrated cardinal sin when set up against the various drill fights, junk-food odes, thirst for bling, militant anti-jealousy campaigns, and strategic piling-out plans, yet there may be plausible arguments that it or one of its derivatives underlies every ledge crooked and nearly all 360s flipped.

Does it reflect lingering prepubescent discomfits or fear of some phantom parent peering over our collective shoulder that Hook-Ups couldn’t make the post-millennial transition, that Stance magazine’s Maxim-aping spreads went unsubscribed to, that Big Brother bizarrely became more family-friendly under the watchful eye of Larry Flint? Are there alternative explanations for the general collar-tugging and furrowed brows prompted by the adult situations featured within Dylan Rieder’s wingtip commercial for Huf this month, which left some viewers breathless and others vaguely panicked, like being caught late at night surveying the more risque precincts of their parents’ vinyl collections?

Dylan Rieder makes a certain subset of his potential customer base self-conscious and frustrated, and rightly so. He has the luxury of turning in Street League runs that come off more like a half-demo, half-commentary on the point-stacking repertoires of Chaz Ortiz and Nyjah Huston; as transcribed within this spring’s immediate classic “Cherry,” his 360 flips, switch kickflips and backside smith grinds are worthy for consideration as works of art. Perhaps seeking inspiration within dog-eared months of Supreme’s early aughts calendars, Dylan Rieder with his shoe commercial seems to have redirected the rhetorical query to his railside admirer in “Cherry” toward the viewing populace at large, with one of the era’s great switch backside kickflips floated in place of a question mark.

Others unearth darker tones to these primal urges. Bronze Hardware Company already demonstrated globally that it owns computers capable of making the best video clips. Yet in Bronze’s latest offering, affectionately titled “Enrons,” Joseph Delgado’s latest Flushing ledge ticklers, an alternate take on the subway gap ollie and an obvious contender for video part of the year from hardflip lifter Jordan Trahan come spiced with smouldering gazes from hair-tossing and moistened vixens, simulated and/or animated mature acts as well as high definition video camera footage. It is obviously an exclusive video, yet Bronze also pays tribute to the wages of death and dismemberment explored in onetime movies made by clothing maker XYZ several decades ago.

Is the latest Bronze video file truly actually an elaborate metaphor the exhibitionism rampant in today’s extreme sporting industry, and the self-inflicted gunshot clip near the end a Ouija-like premonition of Pacific Vector Holdings’ game-over bankruptcy filing that was then yet to come? Is it solely a matter of days and/or weeks before Alex Olson ups the fleshy ante with clips of unclothed, poorly lit men festooning Bianca Chandon web promos? Would this be biting Pontus Alv’s post-Cliche time in the wilderness? Was Nelly right? Will the inevitable skate video parental rating system top out with 56K, and will Ian Reid ultimately mount a legal challenge that rises to the Supreme Court?

Castiatic Tackle

July 12, 2014

TWSs

Big Punisher the rap singer famously weighed 700 pounds at the time of his untimely passing several centuries ago. This achievement, unequaled by rappers of his time or since then, made true the statement that this onetime government-named Christopher Rios had more heart than would-be rivals in the game because it later was revealed that his heart was three times the size of a normal human’s, a Grinch-like feat that alongside his body of work enshrined eternally Big Punisher’s non-player status.

Would Transworld Skateboarding have enjoyed similar canonization had the Tracker-birthed publication evaporated at the height of its Sears-catalogue engorgement? The future of the past unoccurred is but a shadow out of time and a colour out of space. However, a confluence of worldwide economic tightenings, growths within internet page browsing, and the collective lines of ethernet speed snorted by Youtube uploaders, hard/softgood manufacturers and Pro Spotlight-eligible pros themselves seems over the past decade to have exacted a fleshy toll upon the World’s Number One Skateboard Magazine*.

TWS has hovered slightly above the 100-page mark in recent months, roughly same for The Skateboard Mag. Days when colourful and pro-endorsed hair gels and the dairy industry trade group balled for position alongside Baker boards and decades-old urethane concerns seem to have faded, with some choosing instead to pursue unique clicks and views on Quartersnacks.com and the Slap message-boards, while a new vanguard of more-virtual board outfits slings merchandise straight off white-labeled web blog platforms. It is a departure from the heady days of 2003, when TWS’ 20th anniversary issue boasted four different covers enveloping 408 pages; ads for Seek, Artafact, Germ and Fuze; two separate spreads featuring Toan Nguyen and one with Anthony Pappalardo backside tailsliding a hubba.

In recent weeks, Palace made several ripples for having an ad in TWS at all — which when you think about it is an uneasy look, re: one of the better-selling (and better-conceived) board companies of the day sort of deigning to show up at the party. Elsewhere, magazine ads taken out by Supreme and Fucking Awesome similarly have been seen as a novelty. While the remaining big three mags experiment with placing print content online in various forms, recent jumps from print to digital for Skateboarder and Slap ominously withered on the vine.

Worse, print publications increasingly appear locked in a slow-burning battle against a posse of nimbler websites able to post clickbaitable content willy-nilly without regard for print deadlines, touring schedules and the lassoing of press-ready adverts. In a broadening competition for the thumb-scrolling consumer of skate-related text blocs, this corner of the pasture has earned some coups: Jamie Thomas last month confirmed to Jenkem Mag recent rumors that Zero and Fallen would move to Dwindle, about a week after the site put up a thoughtful interview with recently-out photog Sam Maguire and a few months after they got Paul Rodriguez to run down the model for his board company. EXPN.com some months back interviewed Ty Evans on his post-Crailtap plans and earlier this month got Chris Cole on the record about quitting Zero (though without bothering to call him on press-release linguistic exercises or his statements to the contrary a few months ago).

Transworld the other day did land Habitat treehugger-in-chief Joe Castrucci on the company’s future with a heartwarming video to boot, though Jenkem the same day posted an interview with rider-wrangler Brennan Conroy that featured a shade more industry laundry aired.

The websites do not offer products for sale to coax revenue from lucrative zones such as airport bookstores and the remaining Barnes & Nobles. But they seemingly hold an advantage in being able to regularly crank out buzz/worthy list items. They’re also able to occasionally capitalize on the print mags’ own content, such as Nyjah Huston’s comments regarding girls and skating, which subsequently were walked back. They can freely post up more-lengthy items that don’t readily lend themselves to photo-powered features, like Muckmouth’s endlessly entertaining and entertainingly endless ‘Back in the Spotlight’ series and Jenkem’s Big Brother-worthy interview with ‘Tyler’ the skated-in sock enthusiast, or the more meditative feature on Tony DaSilva’s post-Foundation pursuits.

TWS and TSM and Thrasher could move similarly and sometimes do; witness Transworld’s own recent scoop, catching up with a fresh-out messageboard darling Jereme Rogers. You’d imagine though that they’re more constrained with the machinations of producing an actual physical product every four weeks, the expenses that go alongside supporting staff photographers, designers, writers and ad-sales officials. It has rightly been said that print magazines’ role these days includes some gatekeeping, and that a photo or interview in a magazine means more and lingers longer in the collective consciousness, and they have maintained as the de-facto locales for hosting and posting serious ‘internet’ video parts. But one worries how long this persists when the every-four-years generational shift skews more and more toward informing itself via mobile phones and whatever vaporous, cloud-infused technology may lurk just over these brave and binary horizons, for instance a floating monocle that allows the wearer to surf a web and look at his or her phone through the other/opposite eye.

Thrasher remains relatively fat and seems kind of insulated to all of this, having harnessed its SOTY award as a magnet for exclusive campaigner video parts, shifting KOTR toward a WWW serial and generally tethering its fortunes to the same winds of extreme whimsy that have lifted the boats and market shares of Anti-Hero, Independent, Spitfire and Vans over the past half-decade. For better or worse, how many TWS or TSM logo shirts do you see on dudes outside the page that bears the subscriber postcards?

What does the ‘culture’ if it can still so be called lose without mags of record, available to impressionable groms as they wander their junior-high libraries and kill time while their moms peruse supermarkets? As the multinational footwear vacuums of Nike, Adidas and Converse briskly hoover up teamriders, should we similarly consider the vision of a future centered upon one or two print mags and a host of bootstrap-pulling, internet-based contenders? How have the dwindling number of skate magazine pages affected the photographer ranks, and will an honest living be makeable should the pendulum of publication shift squarely to the internet? How much do the board/shoe/etc companies themselves, nudging their teamriders toward cultivating flighty Instagram followings, bear responsibility for shifting eyeballs away from the printed page?

*Billed more recently as ‘Skateboarding’s Finest’

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 2 #4 – Willy Santos ‘The End’

June 28, 2014

Hair-salon proprietor Willy Santos in his hot-shoe am days was regarded as the prototypical new-school tech kid, and his opening part in Birdhouse’s $1 million 16/35MM extravaganza ‘The End’ kept him in good standing as it pertained to the miniature picnic table set, cracking nollie pop-shove its and switch heelflips over that small can with some finesse, plus the rarely seen half-cab noseblunt back to fakie. Looking again at some of the tricks here though like the switch boardslide pop out, which may obligate the ‘could stand up today’ trope, as well as the kinked lipslides and boardslides, conjures flashes of clips to come from card-carrying gnar dogs such as Vincent Alvarez, Geoff Rowley and Dustin Dollin. The gently sun-faded footage here can be weirdly relaxing, probably because like the rest of ‘The End’ it’s backed by those clumsily dubbed-in sound effects that lull in a fashion similar to elevator music or a distant helicopter.


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