Archive for August, 2009

Rushing Elephants

August 31, 2009

pink_elephants
The psychedelic Walt Disney reference so nice we used it… again

There was, and probably still is, a certain breed of skateboarder that works second-shift assembly line jobs, uses their deck to clean weed as often as skating it, and gets evicted from cheap apartments. They’re not the best dudes skating the spot, but maybe they buy liquor for the best dudes, and you could say these types remain a crucial part of the skating DNA as far as flying the high school dropout/”fuck an office job” flag. I’m pretty sure this demographic still exists – I hope it does – and would like to think of future “buy a vowel” T-Eddy contender Ben Skrzypek as a sort of standard-bearer, because he totally looks the part. I’m pretty into this guy’s section in “God Save the Label,” because he skates different from most of the others and somehow ups the sleaze factor, no small feat in a Black Label vid, whilst generally skating much faster than you’d expect with a dude who looks like his off-board time is spent dealing bammer weed out of a single-wide trailer and flipping a butterfly knife around. There is validity to the Rob Welsh comparison on some of these ride-aways (like the fakie flip b/s nosegrind) and it’s always nice to see a dude on the make who’s not caught up in the outfit wars. We are partial to the switch frontside heelflip over the rail of course, the backside flip over the hydrant, and the cracked ender that looks like it took some balls to ride out.

Whereas Skrzyp6qrxpek rarely shifts from his black tee motif, Adam Alfaro continues the rich history of in-the-public-eye pros aligning themselves (read: dressing up as) members of their favorite band. On its face this practice may be considered uncreative and/or laughable, but I sort of thought Alfaro had something going with his desert-dweller GY!BE deal. So in some ways it seems like he’s lightened up for his part in this video: colorful socks and some loopy spots with a comparatively bouncy song and those effortless kickflips. The carve-around ditch kicker thing looks like a snowboard spot, and pretty fun.

But if you’re short on spots, or buy into Chet Childress’s sob story about a bad recession ruining his scheme to frontside grind the Taj Mahal, you could do worse than film a one-spot video part at the ever-mutating Burnside, and the harebrained hillbilly is probably among the better-suited types to pull such a thing off. He’s claiming Portland as a hometown of sorts now, and while he could possibly claim Canada after pushing a Wu-Tang sample for his song, the Label benefits from the thematic push forward I think. And the part’s good, full of trademark Chetisms such as the bluntslide pop-out, the 5-0 revert, as well as an eyebrow-raising switch drop-in and some weird disaster sorta stuff. It is also mostly free of ebonics, for those of you who A. watched the NBTT skits and B. reacted negatively. Personally I rank Chet Childress among the better skate video actors, up there with Tony Ferguson, Keenan Milton and Lance Mountain, but it’s all about the script innit?

Veni Diddy Vici

August 30, 2009

VDV2
Render unto John Lucero…

Haven’t heard a great deal of buzz over the new Black Label video, which debuted a few weeks back, something that could be chalked up to people being busy tearing up obsolete Berrics brackets, downloading any of the other 40 videos that came out this summer, or still watching “Debacle” which is high in this blog’s personal running for top five vids of the year (maybe). Whatever the case it’s kind of a shame because the venerable Black Label spirit is very much intact through this new production, despite dumping half the team and making some questionable additions over the last couple years. Not that it means much, but when they put out that preview clip a few months ago, I didn’t know who half the dudes were, and this is coming from somebody who recently went out of their way to read a Slap board topic listing all their flow kids.

Scraggly speedster Vince Del Valle I had heard of, and mainly associated with that one Adidas ad where he’s doing a backside tailslide shove-it on a ledge above a set of stairs – it made a more interesting ad than usual because they’d gone with the still shot instead of the sequence, well-timed with the shove-it halfway to his feet, which probably incited a few arguments amongst the current crop of driveway kickflippers as to what trick it was supposed to be really. When Vince Del Valle popped up as the first elephant on parade in “God Save the Label” I was hoping to see how it turned out, since that maneuver wasn’t in his “Diagonal” clip… alas, not. But there’s plenty of chicken-fried flavor to this part, which includes tricks over pieces of trash and a proper 90′s-style switch` hardflip into a ditch – on a related topic VDV also packs one of the more classical 360 flips in a world gone mad with Brian Boitano flare-foot*. Also nice: the underpass escalator backside lipslide, pictured above, the tailslide to regular on a rail, cruise control on the multicolored bank and the horns chiming in for the helicopter ender.

*We’re blogging at you, Josiah Gatlyn

Jimmy Carlin Wins Battle At the Berrics On His Day Off

August 27, 2009

dolphins
RIP John Hughes

Sometimes it seems SoCal wundergoon Jimmy Carlin is living out this unholy skateboard version of “Ferris Bueler’s Day Off.” As in, this sort of weird, spastic dorky dude busts various moves, gets the girl, the fancy car, triumphs over adversity and gets away with everything even though he probably shouldn’t. Or maybe he should? His personal brand tends to be rather in-your-face and proactive, but it seems to be working for him, and it wouldn’t be a huge stretch to walk outside and see him lipsyncing “Dream Police” aboard a festive parade float. He’s having a good time, like the Tiltmoders, and also like the Tiltmoders, enjoys the luxury of being stupid crazy fruity good without looking like he’s trying much at all. Which brings us to today’s feature, the “Flippity Flop Pit Stop,” which includes a handful of flatground maneuvers that I personally have conceived of only in my most fevered nightmares. On the plus side, he assigns them funny names.

You gotta wonder what the dude is gonna do for his next video part. Tim O’Connor has faced similar dilemmas. Is it all business with the party saved for the credit roll? Mix it up and hope for the best? Or perhaps… lifestyle hammers? Like it matters; the Jimmy Carlin experience is to trip on a gold ingot and fall into a pile of beautiful women who just ordered pizza. We Cameron Fryes of the world can only watch via VX3000.*

*Or whatever Panasonic camera they use for the HD

Tiltmode’s “Bonus Round”: A False Ballad of Hateful Courage

August 24, 2009

rojo_runs
In “Bonus Round,” the faster you run, the faster fate seems to find you.

There is a kind of base truth at the center of “Bonus Round,” a red-eyed tale of warring factions, deceit and wholesale sexual potency, but the viewer has to work for it. Spanning eight continents and untold centuries, the story opens with Nestor Judkins (“Nestor Juarez”), a wet-behind-the-ears anteater dawdling on his first day of anteater school. Waylaid by a hangjaquer with a horizon’s worth of quiet storms in his eyes (Jerry Hsu, “Tim’s Boat”), Judkins is thrust into the center of an interstate intrigue that sees him matching wits against Tommy Lasorda, the famed weight analyst with a new idea that involves anteaters. The dice roll. Hsu is valiant here as Lasorda’s confidant and sometimes lover (spoiler alert) but makes plenty of room for Nestor’s nollie frontside flips – he lets it all hang out in a way that shows he really spent a lot of time with anteaters getting ready for the role.

Meanwhile, back in the 1650s, Louie Barletta (“Oglethorpe”) prepares for a surprise. It is the morning of his 21st birthday, and while doing his normal morning race to the top of Volcano Mountain (“Volcano Mtn”) he uncovers details of a hidden plot against the Egyptian Pharaohs Bank. Barletta gets mileage from his bowl cut and whimsical ways as he pals around Europe with an increasingly volatile band of political perverts (Jon Ngyuen, Jon Choi in TVOTR grandma spectacles, Screaming Lord Halba) who have the kinds of problems regular people dream about. Tiltmode affiliate Julian Quevado logs some nice switch ledge time alongside the sometimes-bearded Jesse Erickson, whose footage is dearly missed from the “Black Cat” days. Barletta soon finds himself in a pickle but is delivered by a bumbling sheepherd (Tam T. Taylor, “A Jason Adams Xmas Joint”) with a secret so awesome it cannot be kept.

At various points the ensemble cast stretches to include Cairo Foster and Paul Sharpe, Siamese twins who run an advertising agency in the big city and moonlight as private detectives; Foster’s appearance here in many ways rivals his shit in “Fully Flared” and the gifted Sharpe continues to sport a moustache in a lot of tender situations. Enjoi newcomer Zack Wallins will turn heads this award season as an abusive pimp, but his acting here as a mute clergyman who claims to have ghostwritten the Ten Anteater Commandments will turn heads in movie theaters – toward the screen.

Ultimately though the storyline wends its way toward two men – Jose Rojo and Led Zeppelin’s Caswell Twilly, here in his acting debut – who hold the keys to an eternal anteater mystery, along with a blue Maserati that everyone just calls Bo. They play off one another jarringly well in the final scenes, with Rojo’s established big-and-tall grace countering Twilly’s greasy-haired spaz power, and the occasional pearls of wisdom dispensed by Bo (college roommates with Snoopy FYI) keep you guessing who the real killer may be. Until it is revealed to be Steve Cab (also a spoiler). Likely to be the movie of the season and eventually earn a position in our hearts and video shelves alongside “Rum Tum Tugger’s Jealous Bounty” and “Forrest Gump,” add “Bonus Round” to your must-watch list and beware the wiles of wealthy anteaters, known as the largest oceangoing mammal.

Rated R for love handles, intense animal adventure scenes and adult situations. Jesse Erickson is nude for the entire film.

One Woman’s Thoughts On Tilt Mode “Bonus Round”

August 23, 2009

woman_tv

“He makes a lot of dramatic faces when he lands”
“They have the weirdest songs on this video”
“Is he the midget from MTV?”
“When guys have big beards like that, do you have to shampoo them? It’s like having a bunch of pubic hairs on your face”
“He was eating Cheez-Its!”
“Is this video about guys skateboarding, or guys screwing around”
“This guy falls down a lot”
“That skateboard didn’t have any wheels? What?”
“What was that–it looked like he was puking some minty color?”
“Which one was that, wearing the Gucci shirt”
“Oh, they knocked over his drink, he looked like a homeless Santa Claus”
“What were all those things on his butt, gross”
“Are there synchronized skateboarding teams out there?”
“Well this guy is really hamming it up”
“Are you quoting me?”

Brick Squad

August 21, 2009

The power of Steve Durante’s switch frontside heelflip compels you to go skating this weekend. Via this Slap “Foto” feature

We’ll Make It Better, the Second Time Around

August 20, 2009

f_nickintroanim
Where were you on this one, Eli Reed

Unless Gator, Ryan Sheckler, JR Blastoff, Chad Fernandez, Kurtis Colamonico, Adam McNatt, Shaun White, Tyrone Olson, Josh Kasper, Greg Lutzka, Andy Mac and Mike Vallely all climbed into an ocean liner that plowed over some baby whales then smashed into an iceberg, caught fire and was devoured by the horrible kraken, then Nick Merlino is not the most hated dude in skateboarding. Although it is kind of a clever marketing campaign for Foundation, the company that blinked first and this week signed up New Jersey’s favorite switch spinnin’ Baker reject. Foundation and Nick Merlino: Making skateboarding annoying again? Make it work, people…

It’s an interesting tack for Foundation though. Comeback stories are nothing new over the past few years, but really it’s only if you’re an old dude that people liked in the first place*. Flaring out at the beginning of your career is way tougher to rebound from, even in a world as steeped in nostalgia as the skate-sphere. This is the hard road faced by young Justin Case and also those millions of American Idol contestants who will one day show those nasty judges once and for all that they are true superstars. Like, are people still checking for Billy Waldman?

Of course Nick Merlino’s issues were more political in nature. For those of you not caught up on your messageboard drama, a few years back his gap/rail prowess earned him flow positioning for Baker and Krew companies along with a ticket to Australia, where depending on whom you ask, he flagrantly one-upped Bryan Herman, got in a fistfight with Braydon Szafranski, infested the country with bullfrogs and got along quite nicely with Antwuan Dixon, thank you. Whatever the case he returned to the U.S. in despair, promptly injured himself, dealt some cards in Atlantic City and honed his self-deprecation skills.

Ponder, if you will – was his crime being a too-talented young idiot? And how else does one learn not to be?
What the Fuck is your problem?
A.D.D. is my biggest problem. I just can’t wait to land my shit, I’m too goddamn impatient and I want to get it over with.

Anyway. Adding Merlino, whose time away found him switch heelflipping big shit and not winning many more friends, puts Foundation in this interesting spot where they’re giving dudes second chances and letting them sort of correct earlier missteps. Whether or not Corey “NAACP” Duffel is a changed man is a judgment that this blog will hand off to the big messageboard in the sky, but after Foundation got behind him, people/the industry haven’t exactly ignored him. Also consider Mike Ruscyzk and Matt Allen: Tod Swank has been down to stick with dudes other companies definitely would’ve bounced long before they stepped off the world’s biggest skateboard.

Between Baker and Bummer High, Foundation’s ranks have grown kind of thin lately, but the pro refuse pile may still hold some gems if they want to keep going down this road. It’s been a while since the F had a tech dude, and Brian Wenning is still a free agent, right? Bastien Salabanzi could probably be extracted from his Jart deal, or what about Anthony Mosely, is he still doing those one-man demo camps? Perhaps Danny Gonzales could un-retire one more time… for the bros.

*Here again we reference the McGill pic

Block Movement

August 19, 2009

wheeliebiggest
Recalling a time when world records were giggled at

Element’s newest towheaded amateur Nick Garcia doesn’t exactly stand out from the current generation of ditch-skating ATV types, but there’s a couple things worth checking in this welcome-to-the-team video: namely the opening manual, the half-cab frontside nosegrind and the backside 180 magic-feet maneuver that takes a few rewinds to fully sink in. As far as that manual goes, at a quarter of the video’s runtime it’s probably one for the record books, up there with Hufnagel’s SF city block in “Roll Forever” and Vallely in that one older video I’m having trouble remembering right now. In terms of sheer distance, though, I think the one at the end of “Come Together” still takes the cake, right?

Blast Em

August 17, 2009

saints-sinners0002

Some great street skating photos from the Brockman issue of Thrasher, chronicling the Santa Cruz/Creature “Saints & Sinners” tour, great to the point I had a hard time choosing which one to poorly scan and post up. I’ve been a Sid Melvin fan, but docked him some points when he started wearing fedoras and went all-in on the urban creative movement. However he’s soldiered through a knee injury and this multi-material wallride is too lifted to ignore. Meanwhile the below Mikey Curtis ollie evoked a serious “holy shit” upon turning the page. Some Indianapolis local may well bring it to our attention that this bar is only three feet high or something (in turn revealing Mikey Curtis as a next-gen Pancho Moler) but whatever the case, it’s a pretty big boost. This issue of Thrasher has a lot of other great pics actually – a massive switch b/s tail from Flipper Rodrigo Teixeira, a really awesome Spitfire ad that features a powerful Peter Hewitt gap to backside lipslide, and even a shot of Mike McGill in what appear to be, yes, brown cords.

Oh and in the text department, Windsor James offers some pause-worthy advice for travel comfort:
Man Lean
That’s the buds. Tave, Reyes, or Sierra usually. It’s only on planes or on a long van ride. We steal a pillow from the hotel and get the fucking snugs going. You fold the pillow in half and put it in the middle of the seats on the plane. The pillow expands into a little triangle, and then we’re all fitted up and can go to sleep. Then you do the man lean. It’s like if we were at war or something and you had to stand up and sleep at the same time, that’s how you’d be sleeping. Fucking get the fader lean on. If you had a pillow at the bar, you’d do the same thing. If your homie was fucked up too, you’d be like “just chill–lean real quick with this pillow.”

Anyway, yeah, the Curtis photo:

saints-sinners0001

Walking Blues

August 12, 2009

cardboardshoes
Couldn’t walk a mile off in my air forces (via Fuse Gallery)

Confronted with shoe walls awash in vulcanized soles and increasingly minimalist silhouettes I can’t help but wonder if we’re seeing the skate shoe business, known to some as the last and final bastion of early-00′s profitability for the industry, on the verge of commoditizing itself like what happened with hard-goods. Despite noble efforts from PJ Ladd and TK to goose footwear pricepoints – a bold move in the shadow of a global recession monster – the market seems to dictate that kids basically want $50 Vans, or close approximations thereof, heel bruises and short life spans be damned.

Of course sooner or later tastes will change and tongues will puff up once more, but you have to wonder if technological innovations like the space-age materials currently being pushed by Gravis dude above, or Sole Tech’s shoe lab, or DC’s continued efforts to promote its Super Suede material, are doomed to become the shoe version of carbon fiber decks and air-core wheels. Concaves and dimensions come and go but the skateboard deck hasn’t changed much in the last 18 years, even though the hammer era saw kids of all weight classes snapping boards faster than ever. Who’s to say that the current generation, who don’t remember the armoured tanks we used to push around in, don’t see shoes the same way now?

Now this isn’t my usual sepia-toned spiel about how we all need to go back to the good old days and skate only painted curbs so I don’t feel so horribly insecure. Paying nearly twice as much for shoes that were harder to skate in and only marginally more comfy is a bargain only a fool or a well-paid masochist like TV’s Steve-O would entertain. But I kind of wonder if the shoe companies aren’t painting themselves into a corner here, profit-wise. Meanwhile you’ve got deck conglomerates pushing and shoving to get into the footwear business, and with companies like DC white-labeling the Lynx to shops or whoever, what’s it even mean to be a skate shoe company anymore? It’s like they’re tiptoeing toward blank deck territory, which recently obliterated professional skateboarding forevermore.

But even though there’s so many skate shoe companies now all basically pushing the same product relatively cheaply, nobody really wants anything else right? So how is this different than boards? Most kids don’t give a shit if they snap a board in two weeks versus a month, cuz that’s how boards are. Or, kids don’t care enough to light a sales fire under those Almost disc-decks. The Arto shoe purportedly lasts six weeks longer than a comparable shoe*, but are kids that now buy six pairs of shoes per year going to flock to Gravis so they only have to buy shoes four times per year? People used to a regular turnover maybe don’t want their shoes to last longer, like how you want a fresh board every so often and aren’t trying to ride the same deck for 12 months.

Shit, I don’t run a shoe company, maybe the simple-shoe revolution of the 00′s is all part of their master plan to move more shoes faster. It just seems like it could wind up biting them in the ass, the way all the deck manufacturers are hustling to diversify into clothes and whatnot. Consider: with next to nothing in the way of construction advancement (slicks aside) deck prices have stayed roughly the same for almost 20 years, or at least seriously lagged the inflation rate. (Ye olde inflation calculator puts a $55 board in 1992 at $75 in 2008 dollars.) Skateboard economy, heal thyself…

*however they calculated that one


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