PVH – DNA = AWS/DE?

May 30, 2014

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Pacific Vector Holdings Inc. Provides Default Status Report and Corporate Update

CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA–(Marketwired – May 30, 2014) – Pacific Vector Holdings Inc. (TSX VENTURE:PVH) (the “Company”) is providing this corporate update and the bi-weekly Default Status Report in accordance with National Policy 12-203 – Cease Trade Orders for Continuous Defaults (“NP 12-203″). On May 1, 2014 the Company disclosed in the default notice (the “Default Notice”) that, for reasons disclosed in the Default Notice, there would be a delay in the filing of its annual financial statements, accompanying Management Discussion and Analysis and related CEO and CFO certifications of annual filings for the financial year ended January 7, 2014 (collectively, the “Required Filings”).

As a result of this delay in filing the Required Filings, a management cease trade order was granted to the Company. The MCTO restricts all trading on the securities of the Company, whether direct or indirect, by the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Financial Officer of the Company until such time as the Required Filings have been filed by the Company. The MCTO does not affect the ability of all other shareholders who are insiders of the Corporation to trade their securities.

Below is the update on the status of the financing and a corporate update.

As announced on May 23, 2014, the Company was unable to obtain an immediate bridge of three hundred thousand dollars which would have allowed for the payment of current obligations. As a result, a first secured lender whose one million dollar loan was due April 17, 2014, has filed a notice of default. In addition, another secured lender, owed four hundred thousand dollars which matured on April 21, 2014 and an unsecured lender, owed one million dollars which matured on October 31, 2013 have filed notices of default. The Company is diligently working to cure the defaults.

As a result of the Company’s financial circumstances, its stock price has reacted negatively and its ability to complete the conversion of US$6,959,987 in debt to equity and its ability to raise additional equity or debt has been greatly inhibited.

The Company has continued to advance the sale of the assets of Reno Wilson Inc. (Gatorz Eyewear) to a third party for gross proceeds of approximately $1.2M which is subject to fluctuations based on the value of the inventory and accounts receivable. The purchaser has completed the first draft of the legal agreements but the documents and structure will need to change as a result of the notice of default from the secured lender.

On May 28(th) , the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary PVH DNA Inc. entered into a rescission agreement (the “Agreement”) with DNA LLC, which is the company that owns the Alien Workshop, Habitat and Reflex skateboard brands.

The Agreement rescinds PVH DNA’s 51% interest in DNA LLC and cancels the license that PVH DNA had to sell those brands.

Under the Agreement, the Company has 6 months to sell its current inventory of Alien Workshop, Habitat and Reflex skateboard branded products. In exchange Dyrdek Enterprises, the second largest shareholder which owned 46.5% of DNA LLC, has agreed to take over stewardship of DNA LLC and pay the final payroll for the PVH DNA employees.

The Company also closed its only retail location in New Mexico bringing the total number of retail locations closed since March to 19. The Company continues to have 15 retail locations in operation.

About Pacific Vector

Pacific Vector is a premier action sports retail and consumer brands company.

Boil the Ocean Blog Website’s Ramble About Alien Workshop Closing Down

May 25, 2014

“Everyone is just totally winging it, all the time,” the Guardian smirkingly intoned this week, from Barack Obama on down, dudes are doing what they can in the moment to get by and talk the talk, if not necessarily walk the walk. “This realisation is alarming at first, but it’s ultimately deeply reassuring,” blogmeister Oliver Burkeman commentates as he posits the power-brokers of the world staggering from crisis to crisis and trying not to let us see them sweat.

Approaching a 20-stair handrail — never mind the gaggle of screaming girls marauding downtown Los Angeles* — Rob Dyrdek can’t buy himself a few seconds with which to make second guesses, by snugging down his beanie or flipping open his cellular telephone. He trusts his gut, charges it and rolls on to the next obstacle. In the skateboarding business Rob Dyrdek has gained renown as a master tactician and virile negotiator. To wit, eight months ago:

“The DNA Brands are in great hands,” said Rob Dyrdek who will continue as minority owner and team rider of DNA LLC. “Chad Foreman and Pacific Vector, together with the three founders, Chris Carter, Mike Hill and Joe Castrucci, have created the perfect partnership to grow and develop the DNA brands. With their combined expertise, talent, and drive, the possibilities are limitless.”

Limitless by design, even. Yet, there are financial tiger traps and jackal-like lenders lurking within this Jungle Book where Rob Dyrdek, who we imagine here in a loincloth as the fictional young boy character of Rowgli, passes his days skipping from deal to deal, handshake to endorsement. But there are cold nights in which them shadows transform that throng of hormonal tweens into a pack of bloodthirsty bondholders, nipping at the heels of precocious and carefree business ventures.

23 May 2014 20:50 EDT Press Release: Pacific Vector Holdings Inc. Provides Corporate Update

CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA–(Marketwired – May 23, 2014) – Pacific Vector Holdings Inc. (TSX VENTURE:PVH) (the “Company”) is providing this corporate update.

As announced on May 15, 2014, the Company required an immediate bridge of three hundred thousand dollars which would have allowed for the payment of current obligations. The Company was unable to obtain the required bridge and as a result, a first secured lender whose one million dollar loan was due April 17, 2014, has filed a notice of default. In addition, another secured lender, owed four hundred thousand dollars which matured on April 21, 2014 and an unsecured lender, owed one million dollars which matured on October 31, 2013 have filed notices of default. The Company is diligently working to cure the defaults in the next five days.

About Pacific Vector
Pacific Vector is an action sports retail and consumer brands company.**

AWSmoth

Earlier this year, in a candid bro-to-bro moment that involved defining a douchebag and ruminating on the import of being checked for prostate cancer so as to flourish and enjoy the various triumphs of Gulf War military commander Norman Schwartzkopf, Rob Dyrdek revealed what it is like to slam on the 20-stair M&A handrail.

“I grew up, the skateboard company I turned pro for, was from Dayton, Ohio. And 20 years after they started they sold to Burton Snowboards… and they were having a lot of trouble, and I went out and bought that thing. Because I was like the kid from Ohio, 20 years later, comes around and buys the company. And I got slapped across the face in reality of emotionally purchasing a company and being faced with a hornet’s nest on the inside of trying to turn it around and involve people that have been doing something for 20 years. It’s a brutal lesson I have learned this year that I will never face again.” (19:30)

Josh Kalis, who rode for AWS 12 years and seems to care about those dudes as deeply as anybody even after quitting a couple years ago, told Jenkem this year that he believed Dyrdek did the right thing selling DNA to Pacific Vector, despite doing so under some duress:

“Well to tell you the honest truth, Rob really seriously tried to keep that shit the way it needed to be. He gave the power to those pros, and was like, let’s make this right. Dyrdek was going broke keeping Alien Workshop afloat, that’s what people don’t know. As far as the impression I have, he was paying for every single thing out of his own pocket, to where, he was spending more money on Alien then he was bringing in from everything else and it was breaking him. He had to do something. That dude lost millions of dollars trying to keep it going. And he did that for the dudes, for the original owners, he did it for the current pros, he did it for all of us. It was just too much. Now, half of it is owned by this new company, which is being head up by Chad who helped build Blackbox with Jamie Thomas. So I look at it as it’s in good hands.”

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Among the difficult things to understand about the apparent collapse of AWS is how a top-tier company with a globally recognized name and graphics and lore, years of consistent promotion by a certified TV star, regular video output, potentate pros, and decades-long ties to retailers and wholesalers and suppliers, can’t make it work. At a time when relatively small companies like Palace and Polar (spiritually indebted to the Sovereign Sect) are balling for position on shop racks, when Jereme Rogers and Brian Wenning and James Kelch and Alex Olson and seemingly anybody else with a couple dimes to rub together can up and start glossy or gritty board concerns that don’t immediately evaporate, when companies as far removed from their respective heydays as Santa Cruz, World Industries and Blind can persist, why not a company as storied and comparatively still-vital as Alien Workshop?

“It was just getting harder,” DNA’s self-identifying “business guy” Chris Carter remarked upon an IASC panel three years ago when outlining his reasons behind selling to snowgoods maker Burton in 2008. The global economic slowdown had something to do with it, he said; Europe was “tough” and DNA had missed its window to sink American dollars into a European distribution of its own back in the early ’00s when the company was flush. “The deck company used to be the marquee brand,” Carter said, name-checking to seven-ply titans of years gone by such as Vision, Sims and Powell. Some time ago shoes assumed that spot and “deck brands are getting pushed further and further down.”

Chris Carter mentions several times decks’ commoditization, as AWS and Habitat competed for wall space and parental plastic against an expanding range of shop boards, blank boards and smaller rivals with slimmer payrolls and less overhead. Josh Kalis in the Jenkem interview figured monthly board sales of his own models fell from 6,000 decks per month in the Year 2000 to 1,000 by 2004. Archival records indicate that during this period Josh Kalis was not imprisoned for crimes against humanity, did not vie for the title of “world’s worst person” and clubbed no baby seals.

By this point DNA, already bicoastal, considered itself a global deck merchant, as per Chris Carter. Kalis and Dyrdek’s Seek imprint, which seemed directionless early on and destined to rank alongside PJ’s Undapendent records and “Street Dreams” in the slam section of Rob Dyrdek’s business career, nevertheless reflected DNA’s ambitions to build an international team in the early 00’s. Lengthy European stays became de rigueur for top-shelf video parts and retaining occasionally destructive travelers such as Danny Renaud further padded expenses. In Dayton DNA supported a loyal employee base, one-third of which Chris Carter in his talk estimated had been there for a decade or longer by 2008, who deserved things like benefits and retirement plans.

“You can call it selling out, I call it selling in,” Chris Carter said of the Burton deal, which in three years would teach him more about running a company than he’d learned on his own over the prior ten, he said. Burton’s financial posse were a disciplined lot and transfixed by profit margins, forecasting, lending rates and tinkering with distribution networks; under Burlington’s watch, DNA grew for three years straight, according to Chris Carter. Yet even they were unable to tame fallout from the 2008 worldwide credit crunch, and in response to consumers’ diminished thirst for snowboards and coats, Burton trimmed its portfolio in 2012, pulled out of the skate shoe biz and offloaded the DNA unit to millionaire teamrider Rob Dyrdek, who reportedly gushed before the deal was even complete that he intended to own Alien Workshop forever.

alien-workshop-nocturnal-deck-series-1999

Are Dyrdek Enterprise’s accounting darklords as sophisticated as Jake Burton’s? It is difficult for a person to know, but soon Dyrdek, Carter and Hill would venture onto a corporate path far afield from the frugal one Chris Carter charted in 1990, as described to the IASC audience: “We just saved our money. We actually financed it all ourselves …we started the company with $26,000. That was the startup capital. We were equal partners in the business. It was basically self-funded. We didn’t borrow any money. In fact, in the history of the company we never borrowed any money. We never took a bank loan. We never used a line of credit, not one time. We borrowed to buy a building and that was it. It was all self-funded. …We reinvested all the money back into the company.”

Amid the dark nights of soul Rob Dyrdek would later confide to Larry King, he determined to parlay DNA into a larger and more-diverse extreme sporting venture. About 18 months after cementing his DNA purchase, Rob Dyrdek in October 2013 sold it to Pacific Vector Holdings, for most of its lifetime a sunglasses company that in recent years had absorbed several extreme retail stores. Rob Dyrdek’s deal seemed to involve selling DNA for a stake in the enlarged company, for which he appeared to have a broader plan, since earlier that year the company licensed rights to develop “Street League” stores in return for royalty payments.

Pacific Vector aimed to expand given the sunglasses business appears not to have been a profitable one for the better part of a decade. It’s difficult to get the full picture from the financial statements filed by Pacific Vector via Canada’s SEDAR filing system, but they do show net annual losses each year going back from 2012 to 2005, ranging between $199,000 and $1.7 million, while annual sales were between $1.4 million and $2 million***. The jury remains out as far as 2013 results — at the beginning of May Pacific Vector notified investors that these couldn’t be filed on time because the company was still working on getting financing and couldn’t pay auditors to look over the numbers.****

Two weeks later the “Alien = done” topic materialized on the SLAP board; employees and team members were rumored to have been laid off, AWS mothballed, poignant malt-liquor photos posted to instagram accounts. The messageboards have Habitat architect Joe Castrucci retaining some intellectual property associated with the company and potentially replanting company and team beneath a different distributor, while posters rumor that Rob Dyrdek is considering a court battle for control of Alien, or the company potentially sold at auction.

For those with fond memories of skating the boards, rewinding the multicoloured videotapes, squinting for hidden messages in adverts and appreciating the gradual mind-warping at work, the options are not great ones. Alien could go away, perhaps not on its own terms, but with its legacy secure and on a respectable note as far as output, pro-personnel and stature; to some this is the preferred option. A Blueprint-like resuscitation seems a real and depressing possibility, given the nine lives that some shoe and clothing companies seem to have been imbued with in recent years. The moon-shot would be for Rob Dyrdek to again ride to the rescue and restore AWS in what would almost assuredly be some stripped-down fashion. Zen-stated wallride beltholder Jake Johnson for one has stated his intent to chill for a while and see whether AWS can work it out.

Could an Alien Workshop with a smaller team, scaled-back selection of t-shirts and hats and whatnot, and a sensible travel/video schedule be able to pay its HQ staff a living wage, cover Carter/Hill’s mortgages and not drain further dollars from Rob Dyrdek’s coffers? Does Rob Dyrdek have any more tricks yet up the sleeve of that DC Shoes varsity jacket? Have Carter and Hill dug out their basement-buried gold ingots yet? Will the retired Heath Kirchart return the favor and continue to consider a defunct Alien Workshop his board sponsor?

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Alien Workshop’s passage into shadow, permanent or not, is worth pondering. It would seem the biggest board company to go out since Plan B, and casts a singular and long cultural shadow. For a lot of people it is deeply personal. Like Girl/Chocolate, Toy Machine, Zero, Black Label, Powell Peralta, Baker and maybe a few others Alien Workshop not only resided among the top tier of a fickle and trend-driven industry for many years, it changed and directed the conversation with graphics and videos that couldn’t have come from anywhere else and inspired various acolytes and copycats. This blogging web page from time to time has taken a critical way with Alien Workshop and Habitat, and that is because the people running them have produced work worth holding to very high standards. Among the several possible outcomes mentioned earlier Boil the ocean Weblog very much is pulling for #3. While we wait, wander through the Black Hole.

*They call Los Angeles the “City of Angels” according to the US movie “The Big Lebowski”
**Versus earlier press releases in which Pacific Vector billed itself as a “premier” action sports retail and consumer brands company yall.
***For perspective, DNA at the time Pacific Vector bought it had sold $7.5 million worth of boards and clothes and whatnot over the prior 12 months.
****Earlier in the year, Street League and Pacific Vector dropped their plan to build Street League stores.

We Fly These Asphalt Yachts On City Streets, Pain In Our Souls, We’re Eating

April 28, 2014

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“Recession over!” arose the jubilant cry across American streets and by-ways these past days, as consumers cheered on trucks, trains and cargo ships plumped with exportable goods, steady gains in housing values and now, the most recent leading indicator: yung Trevor Colden, wearer of the beanie and holder of the 2011 Tampa Am belt, discussed emptying his savings account, to the tune of $15,000, for the pleasure of leaving Mystery ASAP for the presumably greener* pastures of Brad Staba’s Skate Mental imprint.

Trevor Colden offered his account of the career-minded balling in a Thrasher website interview shortly after a similarly themed Instagram posting set off questions about his spendthrift approach to contract management.

The graphic that people are probably talking about the most was the one with the check. What was that all about?
That check is the check I had to pay to buy my way out of my contract with Mystery.

So you had a contract and wanted to get out early to switch to Skate Mental?
Yeah, I tried to call Jamie a couple of times and he didn’t answer. I talked to Bobier and he knew the situation and they were going to find a way to solve it. Long story short, there was no way he was going to let me out of the contract, no matter what. He was asking people for a lot of money and they weren’t going to give it to him so I went ahead and said, “Fuck, he’s not going to let me out of my contract, I’ve got $15,000 in the bank.” He was asking for double that. So I called him and told him, “Hey, I know you’re really mad at me right now. I just really want to make some changes. I can offer you $15,000. That’s all I have. I’ll come down there tomorrow and give you a check.” He said, “Yes, I graciously accept your offer. I’ll have Bobier meet up with you.” Then I started thinking, “Fuck, that’s a lot of money! Taxes are right around the corner! Shit!” So I called him back and offered him $10,000. That was still more money than he owed me in my contract. I was hoping he’d go for it. But nope, he wasn’t down. So I went down there the next day and gave Bobier the check.

Computer bash files worldwide can testify to the numerous keystrokes and characters deployed on either side of this heated matter in the days since, though Jamie Thomas’ side remains untold. Was Trevor Colden, into whom Black Box/Mystery presumably had invested valuable U.S. dollars, time and transport fuel over the course of his amateur rise, now looking to play fast and loose with legal terms to which he had agreed in the not so distant past? Did Jamie Thomas, who recently touched on the hardgood industry’s struggles in his own Thrasher interview, play needless corporate hardball with a youngster who apparently really really didn’t want to represent Mystery any longer? Is Skate Mental, which one might reasonably assume would pick up part of the tab for this kind of personnel wheeling and/or dealing, grinning through Doritos-yellowed teeth at all this? Absent details on guarantees, prepaid incentives and otherwise, does the math described above make sense?

Such questions invariably amount to little more than smoke and mirrors obstructing the real debate here, which as ever must harken back to that one other time period when America was emerging from a recession and war in the Middle East, Nas was preparing to release an album called “Illmatic” and a person with the last name of Hawk was performing pressure flips: the early 1990s. In the matter of Trevor Colden and his $15,000 check, is the true question not “who was more Rocco?”

Steve Rocco’s daring feats of team-raiding, fueled in turns by rampant money-throwing and sheer gusto, remain the stuff of slurred legend and at times serious documentary filmmaking. Gazing out upon the Pacific from his opulent trailer home, the gold fronts of Steve Rocco’s inner Bryan “Baby” Williams no doubt would have cracked a smile at the thought of a kid nonchalantly cutting a check to take his destiny into his own hands, and then plastering it across the bottom of one of his debut pro models (even if Trevor Colden’s dealmaking remains decidedly amateur-level). Or, Ipad in hand, might Steve Rocco have half-smiled and nodded in the general vicinity of San Diego, recognizing the real in a company holding a itchy-footed teamrider to terms that both had agreed, while sending a signal regarding expectations to other riders future and present, and providing a roadmap to other company owners contemplating their own next moves when top-drawer talent, if Trevor Colden should so be called, abruptly announces its intention to fly the company coop?

How much, if any, of the previously-quoted dollar figure represented Trevor Colden’s footage for his Skate Mental debut part? Are the excellent frontside noseslide, backside smith grind backside 180 and switch backside tailslide line offset entirely by an ill-conceived choice involving skinny camos and colourful socks? Would pro-level negotiator Rob Dyrdek have counseled Trevor Colden to instead ride out his contract til the end, to avoid burning bridges and potentially to help stoke a broader bidding war for his frontside k-grinds? Relatedly, is Alien Workshop thousands of dollars richer in hamburgers and hair grease now that John Fitzgerald and Donovon Piscopo are off the team, as suggested by the AWS website?

*Correct, a weed leaf joke

Got My Plastic Cup

April 8, 2014

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Fifty or so years from now, when rapturous books and articles are written about skateboarding’s free-wheeling early decades, televised contest series mounted by deep-pocketed energy drink merchants likely will be fingered among the culprits pushing for ever-greater institutionalization. But hopefully there will be footnotes and appendixes nodding to the occasionally unhinged goings-on at contests such as notorious “runs” performed by Neil Blender and Sean Sheffey, the Tampa moat, and the legend of Tom Penny supposedly blowing the whole of a contest purse in one night whilst celebrating on the European club circuit.

Jenkem comes this week with one such morsel via SPoT brain trust Jason Rothmeyer:

It’s no secret that people rage out at contests, has that ever affected anyone’s “performance” judging?
The very first year we did the AmsterDamnAM contest, someone had the bright idea to use Adam Dyet as a judge. I think Dyet really wanted to judge and thought he was up for it. My other judges were P-Stone and Berard (when he was really piled out). The Skatepark of Amsterdam has beer at the concession stand. And they continue to bring beer after beer to everyone running the event all day long. About one heat into a full six heat day of qualifying, Dyet looked at me and said, “I’m not gonna make it bro” because he was jet lagged, smoked silly and drunk off his ass. He looked like he was on heroin.

So he just passed out asleep. We put sunglasses on him, propped his clipboard up on his leg and put a pen in his hand full Weekend at Bernie’s style. It was awesome. Berard and P-Stone weren’t much help either, as P-Stone was beet red from being 400 beers deep and Berard couldn’t talk. I pretty much judged that one solo.

Reality Rap f. Galactic Magnetar (Prod. by DJ Cattywampus)

April 5, 2014

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In a testament to the reliable if rickety supply chain logistics tenuously connecting video-makers with skateshops, “Cherry” hardcopies now are safely installed upon brick and mortar shelves and therefore the real sport concerning Supreme’s not-quite-so-long-awaited inaugural offering can begin: guessing and tabulating what will ultimately become the video’s most-copped moves. Bucket hats, wrist casts and tucked-in beaters all are obvious contenders, as these must be. But of head-to-toe zoom-pans, Baker2G/Screw-mo interludes and the amorphous front-to-back montage-collage edit, a tantalizing prospect for aging pros who may wring more mileage from 38 seconds of footage by sprinkling it intermittently throughout a lengthier production, and potentially pulling another five seconds of screen time by tacking on a bailed flatground trick to the end of a line?

It is a dense movie. Toward the end of the video there is a clip that encapsulates the whole deal pretty well, wherein Tyshawn Jones and Nakel Smith, two amongst the new vanguard offered here by Supreme, chitchat briefly before Tyshawn Jones slides down his pants and bends over a Citi bike in pursuit of a clandestine whiz, while Nakel Smith runs, jumps on his board and gaps out to a beefy feeble grind, thereafter cheered from nearby benches by among others a pigtailed Alex Olson, apparently mid-cell phone call. Elsewhere the vid meanders through apartmentsful of idle kids, a fistfight, adolescent come-ons, an irate vagrant shouting and slapping himself repeatedly in the face and again Alex Olson, heated and manhandling an oldster who ignores a plea to scoot himself off a prized spot.

Alex Olson, who maintains one of industry’s more transparent pro regimes, recently broke down the episode and expressed some remorse, in what’s probably a reasonable manner for a subculture that is currently fumbling its way toward a place that has room for gay and transgender participants and even former rollerbladers. In some ways Olson’s Tumblr mea culpa was a far cry from the comparatively more sterilized walking-back statement that Nyjah Huston disseminated after his remarks that girls shouldn’t skate courted a certain amount of PC backlash. One could argue that for Alex Olson, who maintains his own sponsorship ties to international corporate concerns, the stakes were similar to whatever Nyjah Huston may have believed he faced, given that Alex Olson’s former Nike coworker Peter Hewitt was reportedly booted from his position for recounting a graphic and similarly un-PC poop scenario in an interview.

Dylan Rieder, who shares billing with Alex Olson to open the third act of ‘Cherry,’ ponders the conventional-wisdom concern with regard to ‘big’ companies’ intentions in skateboarding in an interview in this month’s TSM, namely, that said big companies may be fairweather profiteers that duck out the back door at the first sign of an early-90s style collapse:

”I appreciate everything Adidas and Nike do for skateboarding, and they pay some of these dudes really good money where they’ll be retiring off it, but how long is that going to last? They’re going to be in skateboarding until skateboarding is not cool anymore and then what is it?”

Alex Olson and “Cherry” impresario Bill Strobeck can speak from some experience here, given how Quiksilver’s abrupt exit from the skateboard-threads program freed both up to work on Supreme’s vid. The track record though suggests that the recent economic typhoon engulfing the industry has sunk more skateboarder-run ships, ranging from DVS’ bankruptcy, Es shoes’ apparent hibernation, the diminished status of players such as Adio, Ipath, Elwood, Vox, Circa, etc. (It can be debated elsewhere whether Gravis, whose skateboard footwear effort also is defunct, counts as an “independent” shoe outfit.)

Dylan Rieder’s shoe boss Keith Hufnagel, in a separate recent interview, ponders a more interesting question: Rather than exiting when times get tight, what if the big ones instead remain and consolidate their position, strengthening their hands for when economic sunrays again deign to shine on the biz and expanding their status as content/cultural gatekeepers?

“Yes, there are some pros these days that are able to make a great living off skateboarding, which is amazing, but it’s a sad day for skateboarding when skateboard footwear and the industry in general is becoming more and more controlled by these big corporate companies. The more accepted these big corporations become in skateboarding, the harder it is for the smaller, independent brands to compete and maintain a voice, which unfortunately results in the corporations having a large influence on the direction and shape of skateboarding.

…When skateboarders get kicked off teams for smoking weed, getting too drunk or just doing one stupid thing, then things have changed. With skateboarding becoming so commercialized, there are sacrifices to be made on both ends. The big companies have to realize what subculture they have gotten involved with and deal with everything that comes along with it. But skateboarding has also changed as it has become more mainstream. For better or for worse it’s just not what it was before. This discussion is for the older crew and maybe some of the young guys, but I don’t think most people care anymore or even understand.”

One could ponder whether Supreme, wielding its renowned reputation as a vibe-heavy tastemaker, played a meaningful part in Nike’s third and successful attempt to develop a “skate footprint,” paving the way for various of its multinational rivals to follow suit and wage blistering combat for shoe-wall real eatate and market shares? It’s debatable, similar in fashion to the true origin of time itself, but it’s interesting to look at the unvarnished street scenes afoot in “Cherry” from this perspective, especially since it isn’t like Supreme had to do a video, much less what will for sure be one of the great ones of the year that lingers over the raw and illegal, same as “Sabotage3,” the House video and so on.

Will “Cherry” inspire a shop-video dynasty in the pattern of the hallowed FTC vids? Has Bill Strobeck achieved the to-date pinnacle of HD skate videomaking? What cards may Anthony Pappalardo have yet up his sleeve? Who will be the first to lampoon the inset image with something like a grinning Fred Gall in place of Camille Row? Is Fucking Awesome off the hook as far as videos go for a minimum of four or five years?

‘Doomsday’ For 1990s Creeps One Step Closer As Ronnie Creager Exits Blind, Experts Fear

March 13, 2014

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The 1990s Doomsday Clock moved one minute closer to the much-feared ‘midnight’ mark Thursday following an announcement that Ronnie Creager had departed Blind.

The surprise move marked the exit from his company of the last remaining featuree of the 1996 World Industries production ‘Trilogy,’ ballyhooed by several messageboard commentators as one of the two seminal documents of 1990s` schoolyard skating, next to ‘Mouse.’

“We cant thank Ronnie enough for all his contributions,memories and fun times over the years,” Blind officials wrote in a press statement shortchanged of apostrophes. “We wish Ronnie nothing but the best and look forward to seeing more amazing skating from him in the future.”

Ronnie Creager was not immediately available to post to his Instagram account. The move caught some observers off guard, abruptly capping a 20-year tenure on a company originally founded by Mark Gonzales under the World umbrella, where Ronnie Creager was the longest-serving team-member several times over.

Overseers of the 1990s Doomsday Clock, including an international assortment of blogmasters and aging skateshop employees, in response moved the clock’s minute hand one increment closer to ‘midnight,’ which would signal the effective end of the 1990s’ influence over kids and industry players alike. The setting currently stands at 11:51, following the Ronnie Creager announcement.

Clock officials previously had moved the minute hand closer to midnight at various times over the past 14 years, including after Steve Rocco divested Dwindle Distribution, when Joey Suriel and Richard Mulder became licensed to sell real estate and when Rick Howard did not contribute footage to ‘Pretty Sweet.’ The minute hand was moved farther away from midnight in 2006 when Daewon Song earned Thrasher’s ‘Skater of the Year’ award, in 2011 when Patrick O’Dell released the Menace ‘Epicly Later’d’ and also following DGK’s disclosure of the lost Fabian Alomar video part.

Guy Mariano’s comeback for the Lakai video set the clock back by a full ten minutes, the largest increment on record, igniting controversy among some pundits who claimed the trick selection in fact merited moving the minute hand closer to midnight and others who argued for setting it back by as much as an hour on general principal.

The clock has proven a magnet for criticism over the years, with some arguing that the 1990s are destined to live on forever in the hearts of those who truly believe, and others who maintain that the 1990s ended at the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1, 2000, an event knowed to some as ‘Y2K.’

High Anxiety

March 10, 2014

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Clint Walker’s flubbed nollie heelflip and subsequent board tumble in the Ambiguous vid ranked as the most vertigo-inducing video clip of 2013. Fellow Birdhauser Ben Raybourn in his new Nike shoes video part further challenges vestibular systems at around 2:00 with his mindbending run through the big old waterslide. Glad to see the horse pool again.

Bobby Worrest’s Phenomenal Pulaski Part Offers A Glimpse Of The Great Skate Recession

March 9, 2014

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While recent ‘one-spot’ video sections have generally revolved around transition of one type or another, be it DIY concrete (Chet Childress, ‘God Save the Label’), mega-scope wood scaffolding (Bob Burnquist, ‘Dreamland’) or backyard dipping bowl (Lance Mountain’s still-amazing part from ‘Xtremely Sorry’), Eastern coast action-sport action hero Bobby Worrest this week released via the Internet a for-concentrate edition of his grimy, technical stylings filmed entirely at DC’s famed Pulaski Park. It’s easy to formulate arguments around why this is probably the ideal setting for Bobby Worrest’s brand of unvarnished ledge gnawing, the white and brownish blocks serving themselves up for any number of switch backside kickflips and noseslides, that seat-of-the-pants 180 nosegrind revert and a rarely observed backside noseblunt shove-it, peppered with various over-the-shoulder traffic checks, nose stalling and an abrupt half-cab end-runner.

It had been speculated that Bobby Worrest taped these tricks during the 2012 government shutdown, though various media accounts of the time period thoroughly debunk this era as some free-bust, sovereign credit rating-imperiling Shangri-la. Something far simpler and more grim may be at work here, that is, a shadowy economic strangler that seems to be marauding amongst the smaller, more independent industry members and choking them out in various financial ways.

Hark, ye: Erotica author and shop owner Chris Nieratko speaks on the slow death of the demo, wherein the ‘sad state of our economy has halted almost all domestic skate tours if they aren’t within a short van ride from Southern California.’ Elsewhere, Jamie Thomas posts an update on Black Box Distribution’s restructuring efforts, while Baker trimmed long-timers Braydon Szafranski, Kevin Long and Jeff Lenoce in what’s described as a survival tactic. Months-long jaunts to Barcelona seem to have been traded for weeks-long China visits or more common, domestic road-trips that increasingly appear pasted together by bros as opposed to cos.

A hometown-centric skate part of Bobby Worrest, himself a refugee of the Sole-Tech slim down, could reflect any number of other factors, such as a preference not to go anywhere or an abundance of stacked footage with an easy packaging hook. Would though such a futuristic vision of more-budget parts such as this be so dire? Brian Panebianco and Ryan Higgins delivered one of the best videos of the past 14 months centered on the resurgent Philly front that is doing what scenes used to do; that is, draw people to it rather than inspiring Orbitz email alerts for vacation destinations. Lucas Puig’s drip-drab of French foundation-spot footage over the past year regularly topped certain others’ polished video offerings, and the punctuation-marked Gravis clip that revived the Dylan Rieder movement years back earned Internet plaudits for deeply mining a close cluster of LA spots.

Will coming years more deeply segment have-not pros from those lifted on tides of multinational sport apparel largesse, capable of securing weekend skate-spot permits for the pedigreed few that can command widespread online sales powers? Would this be a bad thing? Will the Great Recession and regulatory ‘uncertainty’ continue to hover long enough over landlords and property owners so as to give locale-bound professionals a reasonable buffer zone before having to expand their legal/ticket budgets? Have certain Barceloniyean bartenders begun to feel the financial pinch of fewer moneyed American professionals wetting their moneyed, professional whistles after long days of nude sunbathing, or did moneyed American professionals become/stay that way by judiciously regulating their tipping behaviours?

Alex Olson’s Braids Go Hard Dudes

March 6, 2014

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Time was, a young man headed west to probe the frontier, seek fortune and treasure, and just maybe discover a small piece of the American Dream along the way. This was the inspiring tale behind such 1980s computer game franchises such as ‘Tha Oregon Trail’ and 1990s escapades in skateboard distributorship involving chiefly American Dream Unit, but the ensuing years have seen several stars realign and scripts flipped such that Alex Olson, heir to a Dagger dynasty and budding entrepreneur, leaves the Southern California desert basin that raised him in search of a more-inspired industry pathway to be had in New York City, known to some as the City of Lights.

Of a piece with the ‘classic era’ tricks and sensibility that helped land a young Alex Parker Olson on the cover of that now de-funked Skateboarder mag, the breakaway Crailtapper’s brand vision involves pushing skating outside its corporate and cultural comfort zone. However, a couple decades removed from the racially/sexually/violently charged graphics of the World heyday, Alex Olson’s personal vision quest seems to revolve in large part around some of the few remaining industry taboos to be had: the Italian tongue, rave music and a more malleable view of sexual orientations that earned him a ‘Skate or Bi-Curious’ T-Eddy award. Is he or isn’t he? What’s up with the phone number? Will the market continue to bear premium prices for fancy t-shirts? Is Bianca Chandon what’s hot in the streets?

Alex Olson recently divulged some of the venture’s spiritual touchstones when crafting the company with raw mindpower.

AO: I think I had mentioned to Brian (Anderson) before 3D was thought up that it would be really cool to name a company after a boat.

Belying Alex Olson’s beguiling cat-and-mouse branding game is a quiet assertion of aggression via his recent hairstyle, as captured within some Thrasher photos. The embrace of pigtail braids not only pushes the grand Alex Olson envelope that much further, it also harkens back to 1990s rap hairstyles sported by game-related legends ranging from Snoop Doggy Dogg to Wish Bone, Ice T and that other redheaded stranger, Willie Nelson. Alex Olson is challenging the industry to keep pace with his assertive moves, even as he challenges up and comers to match his vertically oriented wallrides, absorb his rave sounds and sport spotless white linens on tough city streets.

AO: I wonder if pigtails will come in as the new style.

TWS: You launched it bro.

AO: It would be funny if everyone had pigtails (Laughs.)

Is the onetime APO nonchalantly carving out his own lane or risking a multi-car pileup by shifting gears on fickle hard- and softgoods consumers one too many times? Will the Supreme vid answer all or just unspool further questions, like an unhelpful Cheshire Cat that is also bearing coveted Scott Johnston clips? Will Bianca Chandon’s party line grow in stature to one day rival They Might Be Giants’ ‘Dial-a-Song’ service for domestic phoneholders? 

The Incredible Shrinking Alien Workshop

February 23, 2014

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Singular as it was to see the Dill/AVE ‘Dear John’ letter pop up on AWS’s site last spring, it is wild to look upon the ‘Team’ page in recent weeks and count just four working professionals and two amateurs, half the year-ago number, and relegating 30-years-young 2006 Sect inductee Omar Salazar to de-facto elder statesman status. Setting aside Heath Kirchart’s retired jersey and the mercurial standing of Rob Dyrdek the absentee landlord, if you were to trim now-departed ridership from the ‘Cinematographer’ section (and keep the between-clip clips) you’d get about a three-minute vignette; just three parts from ‘Mind Field’ would survive.

The narrative seems to go like this: aging bones and the lack of any equity stake in the company that employed them for some 15 years, Van Engelen and Dill dipped after seeing the title to DNA’s corporate UFO change hands multiple times in recent years, in the most recent case supposedly finding out only after the fact that Dyrdek had abruptly flipped the company to sunglass investor and Street League licensor Pacific Vector Holdings. (‘Despicable Me’ teaches us that a vector possesses direction and magnitude, while Pacific refers to the ocean that abuts California.) Sans these sometime-roomies and industry spirit-guides, Ohio-rooted bean-planter Kevin Terpening quietly exited, followed by the long-anticipated departure of Mikey Taylor, Grant Taylor’s seemingly preordained leap to Anti-Hero and most recently that of onetime franchise fakie 360-flipper and recent DKNY booster Dylan Rieder*.

The slow ebb of branded professional talent from the AWS roster over the past three quarters probably does not rise to the level of the World Industries ship-jumping of the mid-1990s or the nearly absolute Toy Machine team abscondiment that left Ed Templeton and Austin Stephens to rebuild by themselves the house of the Transmissionator. The steady grabbing of coats leaves open the question though as to whether the exodus has yet run its course. The curb-carving hair-greaser known to fans as Donovon Piscopo is seen to remain close with the DAVE contingent; hardly a fortnight can pass without wallride impresario Jake Johnson being instagrammed in close proximity to Polar hardgoods and he has really started to do a lot of no-complies these past 18 months.

Are the quartet of Jake Johnson, Omar Salazar, a recently reinvigorated and spectacleless Tyler Bledsoe, and Gilbert Crockett — who for one has voiced on the record his commitment to remaining aboard the grand Alien trip — strong enough to sustain and refresh this hallowed and murky well of Midwestern weirdness? Did recent “collaborations” with the estates of Warhol and Haring* signal a grasping at creative straws for a company with one of the strongest track records of art still going? To what extent are DNA’s new owners vexed by the exits, versus what their financial models may have divined prior to agreeing the purchase? Will the excellently disjointed TOUROHIO clip from late last year come to be seen as bridge or a bookend? Are the personnel moves to be interpreted as some right-sizing of DNA’s pro-level staffing, given Josh Kalis’ recent comments to the effect that even the MTV-moneyed boardroom chessboxer Dyrdek struggled to keep the company financially viable?

*Noting the Dill and Ave note, as the industry becomes increasingly press-release driven it seems more and more strange when companies keep silent on the departure of marquee names, especially those of years-long riders, instead quietly deleting them from their websites and re-screening their boards.
**does the world need a Radiohead album of Beatles covers?


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