When is a Transworld video not another Transworld video? Why is a raven like a writing desk? Who framed Radric Davis? Should censored Waka Flocka songs be allowed in skateboard videos? Or allowed whatsoever? If this blog website had snappy answers to any of the above it would be a more worthwhile endeavor for all, but like the increasingly malleable nature of the annual TWS video-offering itself, the only true answer may lie in an enigmatic vortex.
Does Mike Anderson embody the Transworld vid in 2011? Multi-platform media company Bonnier Corp may like to think so. Fashionably bearded and blessed by forefathers like the Gonz as well as this-gen figureheads such as Van Wastell, Mike Anderson is doing the right tricks and with panache. His switch 360 flip has meat on the bones and he can face down speed wobbles on hills and waterslides but what got me going more so than footage I’ve seen of this dude in the past is the almost disdainful nonchalance upon doing whatever trick. Thinking here ride-aways from the kickflip 50-50 stall and the frontside flip 50-50 on that humper-doodle. And maybe also the gap to switch backside 50-50, one of the better tricks in the whole video. To zero out the equation we can nod to the quiet gnarliness of the switch frontside 50-50 on the skinny bar, one of those I didn’t really notice the first couple times through.
Almost 30 videotapes/DVDs/mp4 files into the Transworld dynasty the makers tend to dig themselves into stylistic ruts but at this point they’ve got enough well-worn components to flex here and there. Witness the return of the intro montage for this one, with Toy bros trading shots at the same spot, some Leo Romero and a sorta puzzling-looking trick in a line by Josh Kalis. Judicious slow-mo applied to Dylan Rieder’s latest bench-clearing impossible that is as mind-bending as any of his other recent ones. Theotis Beasley and Nestor Judkins make their turns as rookie professionals and in the interest of a Beasley-esque focus on the positive it’s worth noting the thing of beauty that is the handrail kickflip backside tailslide in his part rather than moaning further regarding the uncalled-for censorship of an innocent Waka Flocka.
Was stoked to see Shane O’Neill’s ender-tribute to the Muska’s legendary kinker grind, many a summer Transworld vid ago, but to capture the hazed-out hands-in-the-air spirit of the Muska you really have to skip ahead to Wes Kremer’s fairly brilliant showing here, one of those examples of a dude who can put together a pretty complete skate video part without seeming to sweat it all that much. Shreds transition (pop-shove it noseslide), knows retro (kickflip tailgrab should have been in the section), gets gnarly (kink rail backside 50-50), can slow-float moves like the frontside shove-it over the bench, like how Kareem Campbell used to. By the time he wraps up the hydrant ollie line it’s consistent carnage until the end and if this early-90s get-live hip-hop closing part song thing becomes a trend, at least Wes Kremer is getting in on it while it’s still cresting.
Previously the late-model TWS vids have been compared to recent entries in the AC/DC catalog, with some comfort factor in knowing what you’re going to get, but this year I got to recalling that cliche about Chinese buffets and how you get stuffed only to be hungry again a few hours later — and how I’d be hard pressed to remember the last time “Hallelujiah” occupied the DVD tray, Tyler Bledsoe backside tailslides and all. Most new TWS vids at least initially seem to improve on the previous one but maybe in the era of daily webclips and internet-only parts the full-length production is bound to have a shorter shelf life especially if it’s a once-yearly affair? With the producers this time around seeming to make more of the fact that each summer’s TWS vid is filmed in “only one year” will they eventually shift the calendar to film for 18 months, or two years, to fully mobilize the hype machine for maximum sales powers? Would the Muska stand for his hardcore lyrics and/or lifestyle to be censored in a DVD? Didn’t say any of these questions would be answered, btw.