Archive for July, 2010

Does Liking The Plan B Am Clip More Because Of The Music Make This Blog Even More Shallow Than It Already Is?

July 20, 2010

If Boil the ocean had its druthers, which would probably be unwise for any number of reasons, companies that fail the Darwinian test would be relegated forevermore to the land of copers, Rip Grip and Vision berets. I may not have been as big a Menace fan as the Police Informer or as into 101 as was Bobshirt, but those companies and others* hold a dear place in my heart that trembles now and then when somebody floats the idea of a resurrection. Touring the old material via a DVD box set or run of graphics is one thing, sullying the legacy by repurposing something pivotal to a specific era for a new time/place/branding opp is another altogether dudes.

You could make some interesting arguments as to why Plan B might constitute an exception, like how it was kinda mercenary in the first place when it came to the team-building, the squad maybe not as tight-knit or the graphics being hit or miss over the years. At this point though the second generation has been around nearly as long as the first, and kinda like the Simpsons, the golden years are so far removed as to make it sort of pointless to complain anymore. Mixed feelings aside though, credit ought to be handed over to any company that can make a legitimate claim to fielding its generation’s uber-team, as squishy a concept as that may be, and more for managing to hang onto most of them for longer than a couple years. The aftermath can be harsh, see also Es shoes, Powell Peralta, and, ah, the first Plan B.

All this being an especially longwinded and meandering run-up to a brief discourse on the new lil amateur-focused clip Plan B put out last week, highlighting the considerable talents of Scott Decenzo and Felipe Gustavo, neither of whom were born when Plan B started coming together, I bet. But upon a couple semi-distracted watches I’m prepared to deem this thing the most Plan B-est video that D&C have turned out in the post-Y2K. The Bad Religion and Del have something (a lot) to do with this, and I think I’m ok with that, if you are.

There’s other stuff, like the random movie sample and some nicely indignant kick-out footage, but the Plan B hallmark also is there in the appropriately ridiculous level of skating. Scott Decenzo, one half of the Canadien flying Decenzo brothers, has been tagged with the “good but boring” brush and some of these clips (like the frontside noseslide pinwheels) suggest he’s reading his press with a curled lip and furrowed brow. There’s pretty serious and/or wacked out stuff in here like the elusive switch frontside hurricane and the frontside boardslide to hurricane grind, which seems like a super risky trick and turned out way better on video than I thought it would.

Felipe Gustavo, who gains additional 1990s points for pushing nice flatground frontside flips and keeping alive the cocked-hat style**, shifts the intensity to the wax-laden ledges and confirms that nollie frontside noseslide 270 shove-its are among the prerequisites for getting paid by Danny Way these days. This section I think is a good argument for why the current approach to videos, like taking three years to film a five/six-minute section, can be the wrong one–five minutes of this little dude’s ledge magicks would’ve been pretty numbing, but the two and a half minutes allotted here is just right and judiciously saves up the truly zany stuff for a grand slam breakfast of a finish that may or may not include a hardflip backside noseblunt in a line. That nollie flip backside noseblunt was another one that worked out a lot better on film than I would’ve thought.

*Not so much Seek, though
**Also DJ Drama

Mike V Takes The Biggest Risk Of His Career By Launching A Company With A Three-Word Name

July 13, 2010

Mike Vallely is nothing if not a man of law. You support him, he supports you. You show up at one of his one-man middle America prefab skatepark demos, you get to see at least one brawny mute grab. You drunkenly wrest a hockey pole from the fingers of his daughter, and you may endure a televised pummeling that could ultimately cost Mike Vallely a coveted hockey blogging gig but not the dignity of his family.

So it is then that Mike V, as he is known, once again cashes in his deck sponsorship chips to go it alone again with the third (fourth? [shit, fifth?]) hardgoods concern, after several years of diligent brand building under the Element/Billabong parasol. He extends his latest business venture into risky territory though by choosing not a mononymous nym like “Transit” or “Vallely” or even “TV” but instead taking a gamble with the powerful yet weighty name brand “By The Sword.”

It makes sense because the tri-nommed brand hints at the powerful violence with which Vallely has long been associated. Yet also it suggests he is coming to terms with his own mortality, perhaps after shearing his locks, similar to the biblical story of Samson or Britney Spears. Vallely represents a figure of controversies and contradictions, but he remains emboldened by his do-it-yourself approach, signaled with his hiring of Jason Filipow to do the artwork for the skateboards.

But even bearing a personal brand as established and cultivated as Vallely’s, it’s hard to overstate the danger of employing more than one word in the name of your company. The ditches are littered with the delaminated corpses of those who tried and failed: Sixty-Forty, City Stars, Tree Fort, Channel One, Gordon & Smith, Santa Monica Airlines. Zoo York and Alien Workshop got bought. Birdhouse Projects moved to the singular burbs, Powell dropped the Peralta and World Industries has all but collapsed under its own weight. Even the venerable Black Label was flirting with the singular “Label” for a while, when the subprime mortgage crisis was peaking.

Can Vallely buck the trend? This is a question that must be and will be answered with time and the developing battle for market share he faces against JR’s Rand Paul-influenced venture, which has the benefit of a one-word name and a music career that may not be as long-lived as Vallely’s, but has certainly captured more blog attention, a priceless commodity in the 24-hour blog buzz cycle. He also is challenging this site in the realm of search engine optimization, a tall order against mounted men bearing halberds.


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