Archive for October, 2009

Public Service Announcement

October 31, 2009

JR-4th
“This ain’t my first rodeo”

“Umm, you know, umm, a lot of people told me I couldn’t do this. They told me I shouldn’t do this. Like uhh, the fuckin internet went crazy over this shit. Like people I didn’t even know would take time out of their day, every day, on the daily, to hit me, try to bash me down, try to umm, crush my dream. Tell me what I’m capable of. Like I mean this one guy actually, he uh, hit me ten times in one sittin. And uh, he was telling me, on Twitter, on Twitter so he sent me ten full paragraphs, he used all his letters each time, all 150. He was telling me how I was wrong for retirin, how um, how it was such a waste of talent, how I shouldn’t retire, and telling me how the guy at Wal-Mart wouldn’t give me a job. He wouldn’t give me a job cuz I could do good switch varial flips. I mean, I don’t even like that trick. I mean granted I can do them great, but, that’s besides the point. So heh heh, I mean, did you guys actually think I would listen? I mean not you, but but when I say you, did you guys actually think I would listen, as in whoever… anyone who would try to tell me that… I mean, do you know where I came from? Do you know where I came from to do this shit?”

Jereme Rogers’ new mixtape, out today

Addendum: Does Memphis Bleek know he’s involved with this project?

The Brrrprint

October 29, 2009


Cold war

Just the actual construction of this Minnesota-made berg block is post-worthy, but then the so-icey boys are kickflip frontside blunting the thing and whatnot. Fuck. They should’ve probably saved this for one of TWS’s “Skate and Create” things, but you know how they get into the season up there. Actually this post can serve double-duty as a request for Police Informer or Chrome Ball or Vert’s Dead to go on a scavenger hunt for a pic that popped up in the “Somethin’ Else”/equivalent sometime in the early (very early) 90s, featuring a dude performing an ollie on a board outfitted with ice-skate blades. Anybody else remember this one? I wonder if you’d have to skate such a thing with cleats.

The High Hard One

October 27, 2009

antwuan_head

For this edition of our semi-monthly Antwuan Dixon face tattoo update, we ask: when might we expect to see some teeth-filing? Or perhaps some horn implants

The Breakfast Club

October 26, 2009

Iowa_Polka
Also, this

Here at non-communist BTO we are strident believers in the power and authority of free markets. Tony Hawk for instance popularized the McSqueeb hair-cut and named a trick after Madonna, in between raising awareness of international arms trafficking via the movie “Gleaming the Cube” – therefore he gained power and many dollars. The question upon our minds this week is what recognition from a newly created Skateboarding Hall of Fame could possibly offer the Birdman that he does not already have, aside from a hazy notion of name recognition among future skateboarders with the inclination to read press releases, but we all know this to be untrue because Tony Hawk is in it for the money, the money and the cars, cars and the clothes, as clearly stated on his upcoming solo album.

But the skateboard hall of fame is the latest brainchild of the International Association of Skateboard Companies, that conglomeration of businessmen and unemployed werewolfs who devised the international “Go Skateboarding Day” and helps get kids in Arkansas arrested. As to their rationale, we’ll let IASC executive director John Bernards tell the tale:

“Taking the opportunity to acknowledge and honor the individuals who have so greatly influenced and shaped the industry allows us to look forward to the future of skateboarding without ever forgetting our roots and everything it took to get where we are today – each and every shenanigan, triumph and challenge.”

So choke on it, On Video magazine. No, but from a purely internet entertainment value perspective there are a number of funnier ways they could have approached this, for instance, judging on the criteria of “most jailed” or “most times caught on fire” or most money in the bank by the time NSS/Power/Air Speed stopped cutting checks. But instead there is only this vague notion of “influencing and shaping,” which plainly sounds like a bra ad, while spanning some unspecified time frame, similar to a series of bra catalogues. Ought not Steve Cab be in there somewhere between the Tonys Alva and Hawk? If we’re going to hook up Bruce Logan, why not the legions of additional talented freestylers and slalomers who nobly gave their dignity and lives so we could enjoy this family restaurant? Er, Rodney Mullen? What about all those guys who invented skateboarding by nailing rollerskate wheels to two-by-fours, who I keep meeting slumped atop stools in various bars? What are they, chopped liver?

As a largely uninformed third party, it is incumbent upon this blog to predict that these type of annoying and largely pointless questions will dog the SHOF (or SHOE if you like) as long as it persists, which is of course part of the whole idea. Kind of like when VH1 counts down the top 400 celebrity somethings, killing valuable airtime but also sewing the seeds of discourse across office water-coolers and internet chat-venues the world over. Is BTO blindly and blunderingly playing into the IASC’s hand just with this misguided post? Perhaps, which is why I will slyly continue to refer to it as SHOE.

Back to the cultural significance. I submit to you, is the average peanut-leaguer more aware of Mickey Mantle because of multiple references on syndicated Seinfeld re-runs, or because he’s enshrined in some privately operated shrine in Cooperstown NY, home of shrines? Is there more to this SHOE beyond self-aggrandizement and some type of vague promotion of the “sport”? Is skate-boarding history, such as it is, the sort of thing that’s learned in museums and on CNN.com’s offbeat sports page, or on the streets? (I.E., not learned at all.)

Trophies and contest purses aside there is (was?) an aspect of all this shit that’s more about shooting spitballs at the homecoming kings and star quarterbacks than hoarding achievements and gala dinners. I’m sure the SHOE will raise all manner of money for new skateparks and promotions etc, and all involved are sweet bros with only the bro-est of intentions, but ought not the arbitrator of influence and, er, “shaping” be whether or not kid kickflip at the park recognizes a name, or knows how a certain trick came about? The limitations of physics aside, wasn’t one of the main attractions the lack of vicious rules and by-laws, along with the trappings and ceremony of the institutionalized sports? Can we expect to see a SHOE spot among the career aims of Ryan Sheckler, Greg Lutzka and Chaz Ortiz? And is Bo Turner lurking out back with violent designs on the winners’ lunch money?

The Peace Which Passeth All Understanding

October 25, 2009


Burpin’ and gurpin’

Those who are products of the 1980s will recall “Transformers the Movie” as an emotional tour de force that involved entire planets being consumed by the pesky Unicron, with tears shed at Optimus Prime’s death but somehow no bullshit teenage romance, and a Weird Al song also. The film taught many truths about this human life (imparted by giant warlike robots no less) but the one that really hit me was when Soundwave, Starscream and the Constructicons had gathered after some time apart and were trying to chop it up over a few energon cubes like it was the old days… but their stilted conversation and uncomfortable silences said it all: times had changed and the Decepticons, like all of us, were holding too tightly to something that had long since transformed. Or maybe it was the world that had transformed around them? Or maybe Unicron ate everything. My memory is not what it used to be but I believe the movie won a thousand Oscars.

Now, I don’t know enough about Flip or the various personalities involved to try and cast Ewan Bowman or Jeremy Fox or Geoff Rowley as the hometown-bound friend who can’t, won’t, let go of the past. Maybe it’s none of them, but more so than the labored claymation and boring little kids and brow-furrowing musical choices this is what sort of ends up sinking the “Extremely Sorry” vid for me, the fact that it walks and talks like “Sorry 3” when pivotal dudes have moved on and the planet has gotten a half-decade older. Respect is due the three musketeers and their one-for-allness after so many years, and both Glifberg and Penny do deliver to a far greater extent than they’re generally getting credit for out there in internetland, but we’re left with a bloated production that’s generally treading the same water as five years ago, except with more skippable parts, a heavier weight to bear and yeah, that music.*

(We would like to here make a semi-major detour and get into Luan de Oliveira’s section for a minute, which is actually kind of hot and offers one of the few reasons for optimism re: this next generation of multinational young Flippurs, alongside Nordberg. His switch frontside heelflip means business and if he can keep away from those humdrum switch boardslide to TKTKTK ledge combos he will do well – fast skating, decently built lines and an eye for tricks that are hard and look cool, for instance the very first ledge jam.)

Not sure if it was the best-best, but for sure the most interesting part in this Flip video is Shane Cross, he of the headbands and Hawaiian shirts, whose posthumous part gets some heavy stylizing and ghostly effects that harken back to Arto Saari’s Penny dream sequence in the first Flip video – another one of those Bones Brigade type of moments. It might be reaching to interpret the edit here as an indication of where they hoped Shane Cross might’ve taken things eventually, but the tricks are intense – the side view of the nosegrind makes all the difference and the execution generally is top notch. To me the effects didn’t detract from the skating so much as broaden the universe of the sort of things we might be able to see when putting in a new DVD, quite a bit different than a lot of what’s come before and heavy skating to boot. The biggest bummer is that Shane Cross has gone, and the Flip dudes did right by him with this part, but it’s too bad they didn’t save a few more of the genius pills for the rest of the video.

*The editors of Boil the ocean will ride for the Pink Panther song, however

Sleeping Through the Afternoon

October 24, 2009

Rip-Van-Winkle
Tick-tock

Ayy, don’t think of it as a lull in posting, but instead rather a meta-type comment on laziness and sloth, or more specifically the type of calculated and semi-responsible laziness apparently practiced by Mark Appleyard over the last half-decade as we continue to parse the new Flip video. Appleyard’s part was good and all – indeed pretty great at points, yah – but kind of like when you first learned about Dr. Dre’s history with Eazy E and Jerry Heller, the thing took on a whole new depth after I checked out Appleyard’s Thrasher interview (Geoff Rowley cover).

I heard a rumor that you finished your part years ago.
Yes I did. The bulk of it I fininshed in 2004, right after the SOTY, when I was really on fire.

You’re like the kid that finishes his homework before class is even over.
Yeah, get ‘er done. Finish it on up.

So this hasn’t been a big push for you these last few months.
Not really. I don’t really work well under pressure. I try, but as far as going out and kickflip boardsliding down El Toro, that’s not really my style. I don’t really want to risk anything or get hurt ’cause I like to skate a lot. I want to be able to skate on a daily basis and not to anything that’s too stressful.

What trick are you most pleased with in the video?
Maybe the tre flip noseslide I did down Wilshire — five years ago.

Reading between the lines (on the page and in the vid) you can roughly guess that Appleyard has spent the past five years more or less perpetually smoked out, becoming a devout follower of Jah and occasionally buying expensive Rolex timepieces or filming a trick. There’s no jarring fresh-to-hesh stuff going on but you could kind of place some of the footage by the bagginess of any given pair of pants. Beyond an acknowledged addiction to the nollie backside bigspin he remains super good, a solid case for the frontside noseslide to fakie and other tricks that others sometimes would do better to leave alone, like the switch 180 manual/5-0 (the one down the Standford hubba ledge was pretty bonkers). Notable also: the nollie bigspin b/s tailslide and the kickflip b/s tailslide shove-it on the just-liberated Hubba Hideout, and taken on its own, slipping the nollie backside noseblunt in the first third of the part hints at a far more interesting video that could’ve been, at least editing-wise.

There’s less nuance to former Appleyard roomie Rodrigo TX’s section, but of course way more tech-trick fireworks, with a lot of stuff that looks like it could’ve been shoehorned into his “Menikmati” section (5-0 180 out on the hubba, or anytime he wears shorts). The tall backside tail’s awesome, along with the picnic table Pupecki and the Mariano bench trick, and that one line sort of made me wish more dudes skated in camo pants still. Most of those Barcelona bench moves are totally out of hand and in terms of raw unbridled skills TX probably still ranks alongside your Chris Coles, Marc Johnsons and Eric Kostons, but I’m not sure if the dude has a real classic video part in him.

Lance Mountain and Bob Burnquist Are the Runaway Jury

October 20, 2009

lance_flip
In a theater near you

Back in, uh, 1998, vertical pioneer Tony Hawk and snowboard movie-man Jamie Mosberg unveiled “The End,” a statement of purpose that laid the groundwork for Tony Hawk’s rise to sport celebrity, solidified years of cartoon graphic deck sales and set the bar impossibly for future incarnations of the Birdhouse team. As you can imagine it was a pivotal moment for the culture and Tony Hawk mentioned at one point or another that one of the highest pieces of praises he received was somebody telling him “The End” was like one of the old Bones Brigade videos, which you can definitely see, and which is certainly no left-handed compliment despite the cheese factor spread over pretty much everything in the 80s.

There’s not a lot about the “Extremely Sorry” video itself that translates to easy comparisons with the classic Powell Peralta productions – it will take someone far bolder than I to hold up Louie Lopez et al alongside the Guy/Paulo/Rudy contingent – with the obvious exception of Lance Mountain, the Bones Brigade’s Ringo, and Bob Burnquist, sometimes known as the Bob Burnquist of mega-ramp skating.

And what about Bob? He makes for an easy target, what with his dramatic contest tears, recreational base jumps, TV stunts focused on geologic wonders and so on. It would be folly to dismiss shit like that switch feeble grind on the mega-bar or that heelflip frontside 540 spin that’s in the new Thrasher or all those tricks into (i.e. from the deck, into the transition of) the mega-quarter-pipe*. Or the switch backside tailslide, or those tricks at the beginning that remind you how he used to skate for Julien Stranger and those dudes. In some ways Bob Burnquist’s mega-complex is an extension of Tony Hawk’s bullring loop, but different, because it’s hard to shake the feeling that there’s something sort of fundamentally artificial about the whole mega pursuit… the idea of donning body armor (or not, I guess) and zipping to and fro on a golf cart to ride off a ski jump on a longboard. Like an underwater motorcycle race, or skyboarding. Quibbles aside, Bob B does for sure deserve a heaping helping of credit for filming a video part of this stuff, rather than dribbling it out from X-game to Dew Tour in a bid to rack up contest purses, which I guess he could do anyway.

On the other end of the spectrum one finds Lance Mountain and his personal backyard BBQ, throwing back to any number of previous video parts – Bones Brigade and otherwise in what struck me at one point as being a more wholesome version of Chet Childress’ Burnside odyssey in the Black Label vid a couple months back. Watching Lance Mountain crunch around the coping is all types of awesome with that ridiculous smith grind, the even more ridiculous feeble grind, those inverts, incorporation of various swimming implements – the late invert! – tied up with a loose weekendish theme that a 10-year-old kid could relate to, at the same time he’s bugging out off a hippie jump over the deep end ladder. I think I felt 10 years younger watching this part, which makes me wonder how Lance Mountain felt making it (broken bones notwithstanding)

*holy fuck by the way

Invincible Criminal

October 18, 2009

rowley_xtremely
Revel in your pain(!)

There’s a certain quality to Geoff Rowley’s skating, or maybe more accurately to his “being” as a pro-whatever, that is highlighted when the filmer stills his hand from marking that day’s hammer and instead follows along as Rowley pushes once, twice, and diddles about with various flatground tricks like he was getting double points for those shove-its like it was his own personal bonus round. Which it may well be, and of course we’ve only a vague idea how long any particular trick takes him to land, but if you were to pick a scrawny Brit to shoulder the weight of a baggage-heavy production like “Extremely Sorry” you could do worse than a never-say-die type who won’t stop even after he’s won that particular day’s battle.

So you could interpret Rowley’s lead-off position in the Flip video proper in any number of ways: that it’s the second-best part, following on some unwritten rule of video sequencing that came to prominence around the time of “Misled Youth”… that it has a frontside flip late shove-it in it, which is a trick that everyone will be feverishly gossiping about and therefore it’s pointless to put it at the end of the video because everybody is gonna just fast-forward to see it anyhow… or that Rowley looks to meet head-on the challenge of following up the two past Flip videos, some six years since the last one, half the team gone, crazy diamond Shane Cross departed, Boulala jailed, and the mountain-sized expectations of a viewing public eager to write off this new generation of longhaired tween ATVs and the custom-composed rap/rock soundtrack.

There’s some validity to this whole mess – you take your chance going for a trilogy when half the cast checks out after the second reel, and years of anticipatory ads and deadline back-pushing and Grand Canyon base-jumps do not dull usually a video hype cycle. Geoff Rowley the human probably cares as much about all this as he does about those who would gnash their teeth over the thought of him slaying a mountain lion, or his engaging in those aesthetically displeasing truck hang-up tricks (that would include me). “Extremely Sorry” has some of his craziest shit ever, the part will not be remembered as his best, but he is still out there doing things like that wallride 5050 and that into-the-bank ollie and the rather costly rooftop maneuver, and his brand of ultra-gnarly skateboarding has never really beaten you over the head with its ultra-gnarliness. All of which oughtta be respected, whatever comes next – b/s 360 powerslide or one of those puberty-stricken gap kickflippers. Or satanic poetry, or claymation. Or drum’n’bass music.

CJ Tambornino, The Crazy Internet Footage Monster and The Plight of the Amateur Skateboarder In 2009

October 13, 2009

CJ_tambornino
For a second I thought about titling this “Hey Mr Tambornino Man” and now I’m sorta thinking about it again

With getting a signature model shoe now the dividing line between the men and the boys occupying the pro ranks*, and sponsored amateur status splattered across various distributor/factory/direct programs, there are more rungs than ever for today’s hungry young am to traverse on his way toward that gold-plated Honda Civic in the sky. Theoretically I guess it’s possible to still get over on a blazing Tampa run or sheer hype but it seems more and more like dudes need a stack of Youtube-accessible DIY video parts to even get in the door, and you better have another stack to feed the internet footage monster so you can squeak past and claim the princess/treasure/golden Honda. Crazy tricks help but the Tweet-addled public’s attention span has shriveled to miliseconds and they’re gonna forget that triple-set switch frontside heelflip in a matter of weeks, if not days.**

And so, from the land of ice and snow comes CJ Tambornino, ravenous and bearing some brain-scraping new footage at The Skateboard Mag website. Despite being dubbed King of Chicago last weekend Tambornino is of the same Minnesota scene that birthed Davis Torgerson’s nollie frontside hurricane grind and this clip sees the dude looking to up some antes as far as concocting several what-the-fuck combos that I personally have never seen before: switch backside tailslide inward heelflip bigspin out, nollie 360 inward heelflip, switch hardflip frontside crooked grind. And then, switch 360 flipping a triple-set. Sleep, crazy footage monster…

What Tambornino does, or is able to do, with his newfound “Best Week Evar” status remains to be seen but his general topic is trending to the max just now all across this internet, prompting widespread disbelief, miscellaneous style critiques and this amusing anecdote from Slap board user “liver knees”:

I saw this guy skating in Barca back in March, I’d never heard of him then but have since seen a couple of clips on Platinum Seagulls. At MACBA, he was doing this line at the top ledge near enough every go: nollie heel/nollie flip noseslide (whichevery he felt like I guess), nollie 360 inward heel, switch flip tailslide/switch tail flip out (again, whichever he felt like) then switch tre off the ledge. I was dumbfounded, a guy I’d never heard of doing a trick I’d never seen in my life, every try, in the middle of a line. That’s why you shouldn’t go skate in Barca unless you’re comfortable being sucky at skateboarding.

We here at BTO kicked up our feet some time ago, which makes it far easier to sit back and let something like a switch backside tailslide inward heelflip bigspin wash over you. It also makes weekends less stressful, makes peanut butter sandwiches taste better and also helps to avoid internet footage monsters.

*unless we’re counting TV show money I guess
**PS, what happened to that little kid who had that amazing kickflip to b/s wallride over the gap, to a dumpster/electrical box? Anybody?

Gangstarrs

October 12, 2009

bledsoe-howard

Two tricks, that may or may not be related by blood, which popped out at me watching the great Gang of Fourstar tour vid: rumored-to-be-pro-now Tyler Bledsoe’s fully functional ledge combo at 2:30, making the most of a multi-dimensional object in 3D European space. Later, skipper Rick Howard’s backside nosegrind at 11:02, or more specifically, the way he slips the front foot back just so after the pop-out… really I did watch this like ten times. It’s weird, every time one of these Crailtap-backed tour productions comes out (starting back with “Beware of the Flare”) it always hits me how this is probably the best showcase for Rick Howard’s skating these days, though I was a big fan of his section in the Lakai video. I don’t know. Bledsoe’s gap to backside lipslide might have been the best trick in the video. Well, think I’ll watch the foot-flutter again, hold on.


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