Posts Tagged ‘Habitat’

Stream-Of-Consciousness Rant Touching On Wet Willy’s Contributions To Small-Town American Culture, Emerging Markets Wealth Distribution And The Innate Hypocrisy Of Tree-Hugging Graphical Concepts? Jason Dill’s Got U

June 24, 2013

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In case you missed it.

Thrasher: What’s skateboarding look like from where you’re sitting?

Jason Dill: It seems like skateboarding is like India. You’re either insanely rich or you’re fucked! There’s no middle class in skateboarding. We’re selling these skateboards to little kids. They like lame shit. Kids like some bullshit. I’ve been around a long time. I’ve done a lot of fuckin’ demos. I refuse to do them anymore because I don’t need to come to your town for 20 fuckin’ people who show up and no one cares. I’ve been to every small town at least twice. I remember a time when kids would come up to me to sign their boards and I’d tell them, “Hey, neither Wet Willy or Flame Boy is going to come and do a demo for you. Go get a different board and I’ll sign that.” I refused to sign a Flame Boy or Wet Willy. It just pissed me off. Talk about getting mad about something that is so far out of your control!

After that I pretty much refused to sign Element boards. Are you fucking kidding me? You know what I had the most in the world? It’s when people are like, “Oh, go green!” and it’s bullshit. I hate that fake eco green marketing shit. Power to the planet? You cut down a tree and glued it together with fuckin’ toxic glue and then paint your little save-the-world message on it? Oh my God, you’re a fuckin’ asshole! Wow! I hope they made a whole lot of fuckin’ money.

That’s the point where I can’t believe people still want me around. Wow. I’m still here? And they still want me to perform tricks on film? I still get to create? I still get to make my shit? I still get to lose my mind trying tricks and feel super insecure about my age and freak out? But the checks keep following me. The checks have followed me my whole life. The checks have followed me since my mother and me’s shitty little apartment that we had to move out of because she couldn’t afford to pay for it without me pitching in. I moved out onto my own and these checks have followed me ever since.

I’ve never lived a real life. Dyrdek’s got a Fantasy Factory? Great. I’ve got a whole fuckin’ fantasy existence. I got to spend 14 years being a drunk, drug addict alcoholic. I come back for one year and work and everybody’s high fiving me and you put me on the fuckin’ cover like I never did anything wrong? Are you kidding me? I want to stay in this forever! Go to jail, come out sponsored! That’s why skateboarding still fuckin’ rules!

Were Things Better When Habitat’s Logo Was Busier?

May 15, 2013

stuck truck

In these topsy-turvy times a bro can be forgiven for wondering if we are witnessing some wholesale collapse of ‘the industry.’ One day it’s Jason Dill and AVE leaving Alien Workshop, the next it is rumored to be Grant Taylor, then the Holy See that is the Slap board would have Austyn Gillette, Brian Anderson and Alex Olson all flying their respective coops en route to greener pastures and possibly other mixed metaphors further afield. Meanwhile footwear developers have uniformly failed to achieve, leaving no alternative for Chaz Ortiz to secure sponsorship suitable for his skills than a new shoe company invented by Lil Wayne*. Perhaps most confounding is the news, reported last week by Quartersnacks, that Fred Gall got married (believed to be pictured above, with wedding party).

As we cast about for certainty and stability we look not to flighty teamriders or faddish deck technologies or the shifting cuts of cotton t-shirts, but to the graphic designs crafted to withstand the ravages of time and various silk-screen appliques. Faced with chaos and corporate identity crises, the beleaguered consumer still can safely plunk down funds for hard and soft-goods bearing a Ripper, Oval, Bighead, Flare, or OG of the Blind or Girl persuasion. So it is with Habitat’s famed and beloved ‘Pod’ logo, winner of the best new graphical design by a deck concern for the year 1999; however, a close review demonstrates a subtle shift over the past 13 years. Harken back to the original iteration of the Habitat logo, pictured herewith.

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In the winter of 1999-2000 the planet was similarly on the cusp of change. Yellow shirts were commonplace and a presidential election approached a fine froth in the U.S., while computer scientists stayed up late searching for a digital harpoon with enough 1s and 0s to slay the fearsome Y2K bug. The Habitat logo as then envisioned offered safety and security, calmly explaining that Habitat was issued under the Sovereign Sect and that the company was focused on coexistence. The hand, leaf/wave and buildings represent ancient hobo hieroglyphs used by Fred Gall to indicate places of safety and prices for lap dances at certain New Jersey strip clubs.

habitat_vinyl_decal

If we skip ahead several chapters to the year 2013 much has changed, and the Pod logo no longer is adorned with horizontal lines and explanatory dialogue. What the Pod has gained in versatility, now shot through with camo, plaid and other patterns, it has shorn off in complexity, occasionally leaving off the H part on the left altogether and just having the circle and leaf thing. The viewer in such instances may be left to fend for his or herself, squinting and gritting teeth to recall aeroplane series, Mr. Dibbs instrumentals and the follow angle on Brian Wenning’s switch backside smith grind at Love Park. With so much now in question across the industry, should Habitat consider adding back some hot new glyph action to the logo? Have companies generally simplified their logos to shave weight from t-shirts and hopefully secure more X-Games medallions? Is Habitat only following the minimalist trek of technology hardware developers, rumored to be developing a new mouse with one button that does not click or connect to any computer?

*Perhaps more troubling is the growing realization that Trukfit and Spectre could ultimately dilute the already-established market for Hot Boy Wear.

1. Mark Suciu – “Cross Continental”

December 31, 2012

Mark Suciu seemed to lurk around every corner in 2012, roaming the map and riddling spots with very hard tricks before resurfacing every few weeks with yet another video clip, earning him favorable comparisons to Gucci Mane in his prime. In recent months Suciu has ripped downtown San Jose, Spain, the southern U.S., Philadelphia and most recently New York, finding a new way over the courthouse cliff en route to an Adidas paycheck. And this all came after setting off 2012 with a skateshop part that digs deep into a trove of well-worn spots to unearth some bar-lifting lines and certain yet-to-be-dones. Views can and will differ as to the tastefulness of frontside reverts out of backside noseblunts or frontside crooks, but Suciu proponents were handed piles of ammunition this year in favor of a rare talent that gets over without slavish retreads of coast-specific tricks on coast-specific spots, hands-off editing and (aside from a little wavy animation) no punchlines and no gimmicks when it comes to execution. Mark Suciu in the “Cross Continental” part shakes out a seemingly bottomless bag of tricks, including the little-seen switch frontside smith grind and an immaculate hardflip, and rolls below nighttime lights of skate capitals on both coasts as he composes a love letter to turn-of-the-century urban classics like “Photosynthesis” and “Ryde or Die Vol. 2” and possibly the first “EST.” It is rare that he passes up the chance to add a flip trick up a curb or a 180-out at the bottom of a bank, and he packs multiple variations on 360 flips and 360s into the same line, but it still doesn’t come off all egregious. I for sure watched this part more than any other one this year and maybe more than any other part in the last couple years, up there with Dylan Reider and Jake Donnelly.

Six Pictures Of Danny Renaud Skating Again, And One Other, Cribbed From Various Instagram Entries

October 15, 2012

“The recovery process was hell. I was confined to wheel chairs and walkers. I had a halo around my left leg for about 6 months and one on my right for two years. I had to sleep on my back, coffin style, the whole time. Talk about taking tossing and turning at night for granted. I had to learn how to walk all over again. I couldn’t start my recovery until the halo’s were off. The day I got my second halo off, I walked around a lake that was about four miles. It wasn’t until last August (2011) that I got my last surgery where I had my Achilles heel lengthened and scar tissue removed for more range of motion in my right ankle.”

“I’ve been skating a lot, trying to get this footage for Mike Atwood’s upcoming video, Incognito, which should be good. All the Florida homies and then some. So far I’ve got a small part, but you know how it goes. It’s a nightmare trying to film, but I’m working on it. I’m also taking some business classes in New York because eventually I would like to start up my own small company.”

Thanks to those users from whom these photos were yanked. For rewatching purposes.

Cup Fulla Beetlejuice

February 28, 2012

It seems like it’s been a little while since we seen one of those curveball tricks that gave Stefan Janoski another couple dimensions past just being a style-killer type during his lengthy come up from “Alone” onwards — since “Nothing But The Truth” you sometimes got the feeling he was operating under some legal obligation to represent the premium coffee swirling, fine food tasting, mahogany wood sniffing lifestyle represented by his premium boat shoes. But the above trick, which comes out of the recent Habitat catalogue and is the first time I can think of seeing this move on a hubba ledge, moves back toward the line of thinking that produced big switch b/s shifties and those backside tailslides on top of the curb, Scott Johnston style. Anybody else take this down a hubba to fakie like that?

In Which We Discuss The Potential For Stacking Some American Dollars Via Spot Profiteering

January 25, 2012

When Josh Kalis talks about a growing shortage of organic skating and tricks in current videos and magazines he’s mostly talking about how filming has come to be oriented around missions rather than documenting whatever progression is coming out of an existing scene or spot or crew, and he has a point — the idea that the possibly most-recognized/followed spot is a California warehouse done up in shades of gray probably says something about the state of the union/kids these days/etc. But the discussion around Mark Suciu’s States-spanning video part throws out some broader questions about what constitutes real or genuine skating, amid explosive charges of what one friend termed “pseudo-east coasting.”

Oh? It’s hard to recall eastern-borns skating Southern Californian schoolyards being derided as west coast carpetbagging but let’s go with it here. Authenticity counts, or it used to. In the days of yore, like the 80s, “poseurs” served as shorthand for wannabe types looking to co-opt the image of skateboarding without paying the various tolls, such as being branded a loser/misfit/outcast in zones outside of California, as well as physical injuries and legal reprisals in all locations generally, or possibly owning Limpies. Shoulder chips were earned by those who slaved over hot asphalt in pursuit of a flip trick destined to go unloved by all but a handful of local peers. Or even more dire, skating a vert ramp.

The knock against Suciu (ten years ago you could maybe slot in another Habitat employee, Danny Garcia, in a similar fashion) I think is that he’s looking to mint an image by taking some California skatepark show to hallowed East Coast spots and thereby earn valuable blog-points that are redeemable* for blog-cred on widely observed messageboards, a surefire plan to reap riches and piles of endorsement goods. This type of NIMBY brainwave has forced young’ns in days past to pay respects to their forebears and earn respect in old-fashioned ways, in some cases by stepping up to the same shit they skated. An argument could be made that kids build more character skating Love Park nowadays in its more-illegal state versus the ’99-’00 heyday. But what would be an acceptable penance for growing up in California, indulging in some “Forecast” ledge combos and not bombing enough hills? At what point would it be cool for such a bro to take his shot at the Fred Gall ledge-to-handrail? Should Jake Johnson have taken heat for tilting at the Astor Cube? Were hard feelings harbored after Bob Puleo tried his hand over in London?

There’s legitimate gripes to be made when up-and-comers seek to launch their personal brands upon your El Toros and your Hubba Hideouts and your Macba 4s, especially if they’re foolishly snarling traffic for the builders of Burnside or the flag-planters at Embarcadero. Maybe the Love Park holdouts still feel this way when they look at the Mark Suciu part. I’ll grant that part of it is down to the dude involved — much less slack would be granted to, say, Ryan Sheckler if he concocted some video part that stitched together beloved Eastern seaboard plazas and a bunch of spots in New Jersey and whatnot. But I don’t get the impression that Mark Suciu is bereft of street cred, and if this is a calculated get-rich quick scheme on his part I think he’d do better to log hours on Google Earth looking for teeny stair sets to jump up, or figuring out where Elijah Berle shops for his outfits, or recording some private skatepark antics.

*but non-transferrable

Mark Suciu Pens “Photosythesis” Fan Fiction, Has Hudson News On Smash

January 17, 2012

What with the standalone physical-release full-length video production gradually scaling back to the more occasional “event” that they were up til the late 1990s, we’ve got some of these one-off web parts taking on a bigger profile and developing their own little hype cycles — the Dylan Rieder “Laterds” coinciding with his landmark statement of purpose for Gravis, Nyjah Huston’s biographical/career turning point as promotional peg for his Element clip last fall, Thrasher handing its website over to Plan B and Torrey Pudwill over the summer in the run-up to his midyear footage dump, and so on. Drama and promotion seem to be part of the effort to rise above the Youtue/Hellaclips/message-board footage din, which makes it notable in a different kind of a way when Mark Suciu and his Atlas store buddies show up and run the WWW table for a three-day weekend with very little fanfare or notice ahead of time.

It’s hard to overstate how good this part is but we’ll try here. Gone is the five-panel hat, but otherwise Mark Suciu and his collaborator Miguel Valle strip away the floppy hair, overwrought ledge combos and assorted other little kidisms from the already-good “Origin” section and double down on stuff like the rail ollie to backside lipslide on the block, and all those flip tricks atop the narrow curb. These dudes seem to work like a good musician/producer combo and are smart about how they put hard tricks in the frame here, like the backside noseblunt up against the wall or the backside tailslide pop-out at Pulaski Park in Washington DC which seems like the type of trick that’s been crying out to be done by somebody. No egregious slow-mo, or even any slow-mo. And some of these tricks and runs are way out of hand.

But past all that you get the feeling that this dude almost is working with a kind of plan. Jake Johnson talked a while back about messages. Not knowing a lot about what he was going for with this section, or Mark Suciu in general except that he comes out of the Bay Area and he’s a fan of vintage Pappalardo and he heeds advice from Brennan Conroy as to footage gathering, it lets you project or theorize a little bit as you oooohh/aaaahh through this footage for the eleventh time. A blurb in Transworld not long ago put him in Philadelphia on some for-the-fuck-of-it road trip that apparently netted the switch feeble grind and probably a lot of the other local stuff as well as the Occupy clip. Looking at the way he’s skating now and the places him and his friends choose to hit, you can put together some picture of a kid who’s getting a chance to put his own spin on a “Photosynthesis”/”Ryde or Die Vol. 1″/”Element World Tour”/”EST” — carving his initials into spots next to Anthony* Pappalardo, Josh Kalis, Fred Gall, Ricky Oyola, Tim O’Connor, Kevin Taylor, John Igei, etc.

People are out there talking about this part in the same fashion as PJ Ladd’s debut, and there’s one similarity as far as how the heaviness of the tricks and lines here** are balanced out by a general low-key approach. No costumes, the whole time you’re basically watching a dude in a t-shirt flipping his board down the street, neither him nor the dude with the camera tripping too much on the angle of the sun in the picture or a little blurry footage or a wayward backpack. Also the fakie b/s nosegrind shove-it in that last line gave this mid-90s torch-bearer goosebumps.

*Possibly my favorite Pappalardo photo of all-time, so it was awesome to see Mark Suciu flip the script at the same spot
**Did he seriously do all those tricks in SF on the same night..

Rob Dyrdek Bids Against Self In AWS Pursuit, Vexes Merger Arbs

January 14, 2012

As skateboarding’s most-recognized dealmaker, Rob Dyrdek has built his career on the risk of embracing different kinds of risk. A Jackass for the CNBC set, Dyrdek is as comfortable negotiating his homeboys’ contract terms from beneath a Motel 6 hangover as he is nollie frontside nosesliding to fakie or cooly inhaling intoxicants from colorful balloons at a European rave event. Among those who invest their business expense money in gas station trinkets and accept automobiles as payment, Dyrdek’s business sense is high lore, which only added to the shock following his premature exaltation this week that he would take ownership of the hardgoods concern that has employed him since he was a tyke.

Dyrdek surely knows that dealmaking of any kind is a gamble, yet chose to break a cardinal rule of M&A and show his hand to his opponent — the snurfer lord Jake Burton — by announcing not only the advanced stages of their deal talks but vowing to keep the beloved Ohio memory-screener under his financial protection forevermore, implying that profits and losses are but a passing fancy on the wind that take a back seat to his emotional connection to the Alien Workshop. Which is understandable and even worthy of praise from fans such as this weblogging site that bore with some of the at-times questionable decisions re: team and otherwise over the past 10 years, but Dyrdek’s business sense oughtta be reptilian enough at this point not to let something like love enter the picture when you’re trying to bend your trading counterparty over the table.

The deal confuses me. Few details are out there, because maybe they have yet to all be determined. Let’s assume Dyrdek buys DNA Distribution in full from Burton. He gets AWS, Habitat, Reflex bearings, Habitat shoes. I would think Burton keeps Gravis’ IVSK8 effort. For one thing I wonder why Burton would sell after acquiring the AWS business just four years ago. Maybe Burton is looking to trim its balance sheet, as they’re rumored to also be trying to unload a surfboard company also. Decks and wheels are known not to be tremendous moneymakers and the t-shirts/hats/etc business seems as flooded as ever. What I don’t get is how Dyrdek would be able to run it more profitably as a standalone company, since you would assume that under the Burton umbrella AWS could get better deals on materials like shirts and pants and whatnot since Burton already buys a lot of that stuff for its own purposes. Maybe he has plans to integrate his Rogue Status thing there, or realign AWS with DC, by way of Habitat shoes. DC’s new advertising person would be interested in such a move no doubt.

The most likely scenario to me seems like Dyrdek becoming majority-owner with Burton keeping a stake, since that way maybe the two companies could maintain their ties in terms of volume discounts on raw goods, stocking DNA and perhaps other Dyrdek products in Burton stores, some skateboard-world cred for Burton, etc. Long-term I’m not sure whether such a deal’s a positive in terms of DNA, or at least Alien, maintaining the weird and “separate” vibe that made it seem to cut deeper and matter more than your typical deck and urethane purveyour. You’d like to think that Dyrdek the actual dude stands somewhat apart from the MTV and Street League character, and that he knows when to leave shit well enough alone. I think he trusts Carter/Hill/Castrucci.

6. Brian Delatorre – “MIA”

December 25, 2011

Habitat might’ve been guilty of playing to type a little bit in putting on Brian Delatorre even going beyond the easy ponytail jokes, but if his MIA closer part didn’t goose his career trajectory somehow than things may have been in much worse shape for 2011 than they otherwise were. There’s maybe a handful of dudes out there taking the same sort of risks this guy does on hills and it’s always cool to see dudes who go for the gusto on set-up tricks, like here where he’s nollie flipping or nollie backside 180′ing up the curb before blasting off whatever handicap ramp. It’s nice to see use of the nollie varial flip down a gap and the way he keeps swinging at some well-worn SF spots. The ender fits that spot like a glove too.

Funnel Cloud

April 23, 2011

Got the warm fuzzys seeing Raymond Molinar pop up in the Trapasso-facepaint Skateboard Mag the other day, partly because I’ve been worried about him fading out ever since his departure off Habitat. (Did anybody ever get the story with that, btw.) There’s a little bit of Henry Sanchez-style spazz crustiness to Raymond Molinar’s take on technical ledge tricks and he had a reputation for being kind of a dick, deserved or not, there’s a certain amount of that sort of thing that’s necessary I think, the more you gotta color inside the lines to appease the energy drink-pourers of the world. My initial recollections of Raymond Molinar date back to some tricks in a TWS vid montage, possibly “Free Your Mind,” which would’ve been an all-time classic with another part and 1/3 as many skits — he did lines in those Vans with the giant V on the side, reminiscent of some Vision Street Wears, and even back then he had the switch kickflip backside tailslides. This entry in Popwar’s short-lived “Video Hype” DVD teaser series I thought of as his official/proper debut and it’s also worth revisiting as some Utahn has revived the brand-name, a strategy that we know is sure to bring profit and pleasure to all involved, and maybe even a lucky few who are not.


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