Archive for June, 2012

Slim, French and Dynomite

June 20, 2012

As a sorta postscript to the last couple rambles, formerly Cliched professional JJ Rousseau offers one spin on a post-honeymoon occupation, setting in as lensman for a day at the foundation with recent summertime ambassador Lucas Puig. He seems to be vying with Mark Suciu for lines of the year, will anybody in the Crailtap production get in their way? Section bears ties with another former pro, Alphonso Rawls, who reveals that the three-stripe idea has been done not once but twice before. That frontside 180 to fakie manual, I can’t stand it..

As A Service To Readers We Are Not Employing Any ‘Kid’-Themed Puns In The Subject Line For This Post About Jason Adams Confronting Some Weighty Grown-Up Issues, Even Though We Could Have Without Thinking About It Real Hard

June 18, 2012

There are hard truths in this world that prove themselves out over the course of time: kids grow up, things fall apart, sponsored tweens will land the 900 on a skatecamp vert ramp and graduate to a lucrative soft drink endorsement deal. Perennial kid Jason Adams underscores that first one recently in a sprawling, sometimes dark interview with Paradigm Magazine, in which he paints the rather bleak picture of confronting adult responsibilities as a kind of misfit toy set adrift from the island of misfit toys, partly thanks to the global economic collapse and also some general frustration with the cliquish nature of the skate biz.

He also, towards the end, gets around to challenging one of the most-flogged cliches to grace a TWS Pro Spotlight (or equivalent) — that old chestnut, “skateboarding saved my life.” There’s some hardscrabble substance black-hole stories where you’re inclined to take this as literally true, but there’s far more instances where you read a line like that and wonder well, would Skater X really have wound up in a burial plot had that Variflex not come into his life at just the right time, or would he instead have found a BMX bike, Magic the Gathering, a book on ventriloquism, gone off to pursue a liberal arts education at a public state university, gradually left off skating after moving off to land an entry-level job and secure a domestic lifestyle, etc.

In this interview, Jason Adams puts a pessimistic spin on the old phrase, wondering whether that lifelong muse, creative outlet and source of personal fulfillment may have left him with a body full of aches and a limited means with which to support his family, as the industry looks to cull pro ranks and veterans are expected to continue jumping through various hoops.

There are times I would have said skateboarding, or punk rock saved my life. To be honest, now I wonder if it saved my life, or ruined my life. It’s an inspiring thing and I think people make it out to be bigger than it was, but it’s no different than good art or good writing. If you think of it as a social clique, I would never jive with it, just like I didn’t jive with a lot of skaters all of the time. You can look at it two ways. It can be this beautiful inspiring thing that gives you hope. Or these things can be distractions, and that’s the negative way to look at it. I’m going back to life is shit … We need distractions. Is it a distraction, or a beautiful inspiring thing? To me it’s an inspiring thing, and it’s different to every person; it could be like their religion. It’s our religion basically and we can take it as seriously, or as lightly as we want to. It’s really dramatic to say it’s saving your life, or it could save your life. There’s a lot in that statement.

Jason Adams doesn’t come off as bitter in this interview, more circumspect and defiant and maybe tired. He talks about approaching life on his own terms and some consequences once you come out the other side a grown-up with heavy responsibilities. Another old skate-interview cliche he doesn’t challenge though is the one about the soul-crushing office job being just maybe slightly better than being boiled alive in hot lead, in spite of any fiscal antidotes to money problems, etc.

I remember being a kid watching my dad go to work and thinking, no fucking way dude, he’s a miserable man, I can tell. I’ll never be my father, I’ll never do that, I can’t do it.’ Sometimes I question whether it’s hurt me to go so against it. Maybe I should have just sucked it up. I’ll admit at my weak moments I do think that, but that’s just because I’ll be stressed. I’ll look at my kids and think they deserve better, but what does a bigger house mean? Everyone has weak moments; it’s whether you give into them.

Whenever I read the “rather die than work in an office” I used to think it was a bit rich for a pro skater to say, since they enjoy the talent to have the option, whereas the rest of us don’t have that luxury. It carries a little more weight when Jason Adams reiterates the point in this interview, though, since the way he describes it now his choices are more limited and his need to put food on the table a lot more real. His comments regarding disillusionment with the functions of the industry makes you wonder, though. Is working a white-collar job really the living hell it is sometimes described as? What are the most viable paths for transitioning out of the pro ranks as the autumn years approach? Should Jason Adams’ boards on Elephant also bear the nickname “the Adult”? Is this whole topic ‘too heavy for Transworld’?

Summertime Mixtape #5: Lucas Puig “Bon Appetit”

June 8, 2012

As the Mediterranean breezes, expansive vineyards and reported peccadilloes of Dominique Strauss-Kahn suggest, France can be an easygoing place, illustrated herein by the major-production video debut of the nation’s favorite four-wheeled son in Cliche’s “Bon Appetit,” set to a freewheeling Zappa jangler. Back when this came out–not that long ago really, but seems like a while ago–people began drawing comparisons between young Puig and Mouse-era Mariano, and while these comparisons haven’t borne out over time given both dudes’ eventual embrace of tricky ledge combos, they did wind up endorsing the same kind of shoes, so the possibility remains that some of those original comparison-drawers were psychic. I was and remain ‘psyched’ regarding a lot of the relatively simple but well-chosen moves in this part, namely the kickflip backside shifty, the fakie frontside flip off the wedge, those backside noseblunt variations on the little banked ledge, the spin on the switch 360 flip over the channel and the smattering of dork tricks in the middle. Lucas Puig tapdances across sculpture gardens and sunny public spaces, plus there’s a JB Gillett feature, without which no summer can really be complete. In closing, we hope you have enjoyed this rare run of several posts across consecutive days, or at least the video clips.

Summertime Mixtape #4: Kenny Hughes “Third Eye View”

June 8, 2012

“Work” is the low-hanging fruit of the Gangstarr catalogue for the purposes of video part soundtracks, or if you like, the unawares and poorly defended coastal town rich with grains and tradable goods to be pillaged. If “Work” came out in the Youtube age there would be a half-dozen edits soundtracked to it within a fortnight. It takes a more discerning mind to have predicted the tectonic shifts of industry trends and ‘outboard hype’ such that Kenny Hughes doing a melon grab above the coping on a mini ramp for an Emerica ad, my own personal first recollection of skating, would potentially be a realistic ad to see run in the current environment ad cycle some 15 years later. Kenny Hughes is here skating in sweated up T-shirts, 360 flipping across schoolyards and putting the pressure to crooked grinds generally. And, that nollie f/s heelflip. Kenny Hughes for better or for worse was an Element careerist, and you may be tempted to call the company’s bottom around the time of his exit. Does he get more respect or less for riding for Element as long as he did? I would argue, more.

Summertime Mixtape #3: Adrian Lopez “Misled Youth”

June 6, 2012

This video hit like the proverbial ton of bricks when it came out and the lineup’s still heavy 13 years later — Jamie Thomas, Ellington, Mumford, Greco and Adrian Lopez, who in particular was kicking new holes through reality at the time. Nobody was taking backside tailslides to the levels he pushed in this section, as far as both scale and distance (that gap to ledge here) and at the time putting that trick onto a rail at all was worth talking about. Zero’s trademark quick-cut editing is in full effect here but even if the clips weren’t trimmed to the bone I feel like this part wouldn’t be as visceral if it were padded out to four minutes or more. Because of injuries or side-project clothing lines or lofty standards or whatever Adrian Lopez exited the stage some time ago — seemed like he might have had some kind of reverse-Samson thing going on where his powers diminished once he dropped the Bic — but you look at a guy like Gilbert Crockett and think about frontside shove-its and backside 50-50s and it makes sense that the same dude put on both him and Adrian Lopez.

Summertime Mixtape #2: Cairo Foster “Real to Reel”

June 6, 2012

Cairo Foster was a great ambassador for Real because he did such a good job straddling the technical stuff that burned the Bay into the map in the early/mid-90s and the heavier, trick-centric movement brought on during the hammer area, but he never came off as too worked up about either one. Around the time this video came out I remember seeing Cairo Foster skate a sweaty July demo in a warehouse with the garage doors all pulled up, where he was the sole dude to hit up the big handrail from the awkward side and backside tailslid it to boot, an impressively off-kilter trick that squares with the way he gets this part moving with that ollie over the block to backside noseblunt. This section’s less cinematic than Cairo Foster’s big breakout role in TWS’s ‘the Reason’ but probably a better representation of what he was about at the time, scanning some well loved SF spots, the early years of his long-running love affair with the nollie hardflip and a beaut of a switch backside flip over the library channel. Recall watching this video often from a folding chair in a sparsely furnished apartment that also featured a mattress on the floor and clothes arranged into piles; on another day I maybe would’ve picked Nate Jones’ section in this same release.

Live At The BBQ (f. Vincent Alvarez)

June 5, 2012

Nuff respect to solstices and the relative positioning of the star Sol from the North and South poles, but the true starting gun for summer can be benchmarked to Memorial Day weekend in the US, an occasion dripping with waterskis and barbecued pork that gives way to a solid three months of potential sessions, slams and progression (and if you live in the south or midwest, heatstroke). Some while back this web space dumped on the fall season as a harbinger of cold temps and muscle amnesia, so in the interest of fair play we’ll take the next several days to offer up some odes to summer via the original form of poetry, the skate video part.

This fantastic Vincent Alvarez section was being buzzed up a few months back but so far as i can tell just hit the WWW in the last week or so. It’s well timed with a late-August schoolyard kinda haze that could’ve been transposed from “Video Days” or maybe applied with that washed-out filter they used for the Slave video. Across the various switch frontside pop-shove its, jazzy horns, bluntslides, bank to bench, baggy chinos and what appears to be Guy Mariano’s old traffic guardrail, the point has been made elsewhere that this section is likely to be more classically chocolatey than Vincent Alvarez’ probably slower-mo’d turn in the upcoming Crailtap feature production. Most of this thing seems to have been recorded in and around LA County and these lesser-loved little chunks of town, where VA jumps driveways and zips through ditches, give off whiffs of heated asphalt and diesel fuel. Still not a fan of switch boardslides to 270 out on ledges but this dude is coming up real nicely and that backside 180 up to abrupt fakie frontside flip down should get some kind of award that would ideally be presented by Daewon Song.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 99 other followers