But watching these Heath Kirchart off-cuts from the Emerica vid, I feel like there’s a passing moment around 8:49 here, where he’s hopping into the golf cart en route to landing that giant 360, that you can see the thought of maybe not retiring pass through the motorcycle helmet…
Posts Tagged ‘Heath Kirchart’
Hushed whispers and anxious talk these past weeks that California’s Heath Kirchart may have won skateboarding. Whether such a thing is possible, or even within the tremb-ly bounds of reality, matters little to them who speak of web-winged horrors in the night and terrible, elder gods whose names are better lost to fabled memory. We find ourselves confronting a post-’Stay Gold’ gap that fits like an abyss and is that much more perplexing for its almost welcome appearance.
It’s maybe wrong to say Heath Kirchart went out “on top” as he didn’t really wear the hungry contender hat — Rob Welsh once notoriously described himself as your favorite skater’s favorite skater, and probably that isn’t really the right hat to put on Kirchart either, but maybe something closer to your favorite skater’s most feared specter. His shadow was a long one, stretched by negative vibes, bushes-hiding and the occasional bout of physical violence, and it will grow with time. And perhaps the completion of certain American biking challenges.
So maybe better to say he left* on his own terms, though the Kirchart of the Thrasher interview might try and argue the point — saying more like forced out by tougher competition or something. But compared to a slow, five-year slide through fourth- and fifth-tier shoe sponsors and cashing elastic cable accessory checks, it could have been much less dignified. And it was without a blaze of sour grapes, or grabbing for some Hollywood brass ring, as interesting as that concept may have been.
Possible knocks on Heath Kirchart: A Career On Four Wheels? With counter-knocks
-Skated for Birdhouse during the height of the cartoon graphic/Tony Hawk deification era
—Was in “The End,” among the best 90s videos; damaged property and lit fires with future “Hater’s Ball” honoree Jeremy Klein; ate shit skating a bus stop
-For much of his tenure, a “handrail skater”
—Unless I’m wrong, was the first dude to backside noseblunt such a handrail; christened El Toro; that lipslide shove-it from the Foundation vid
-Turned in a half-dozen tricks for his last video “part”
—Jumped the mega-ramp/set a higher bar for “street dudes” taking the plunge; told everybody they could stop paying him afterward
*Barring a comeback, which would inevitably bring comparisons to Jereme Rogers which nobody wants
Heath Hirchart mustered all the forces of darkness to close out Alien’s “Mind Field” with the requisite sparks a-flying and some bonus bigspins for the ADD-addled YouTube generation. Every Heath Kirchart video appearance is a kind of event on its own, to the point that his appearance on O’Dell’s “Skate Talk” set viewership records only topped by the recent appearance of the self-awareness challenged JR. While JR’s message is about believing in yourself and balling out at the club, contempt for his fellow man festers in Kirchart’s heart, but much like the Incredible Hulk he seeks to channel it in useful ways such as backside lipsliding long rails and breaking the noses of mere mortals. With this part women trembled, the ground shook and minor miracles occurred in nearby counties, as anticipation grew for the Emerica whiteout.
20. “Ryde or Die Vol. 1,” 2001
One of the last videos with that 1990s feel, Rob Welsh came storming through with a section that observers and supporters had been waiting on since he popped up in the Mad Circle video. Kind of like the Pier 7 opener, there maybe are flaws to this section, but they’re awful hard to make out amid the crooked grinds and Wu-affiliated musics. Aside from the fade-to-whites, “ROD” also features rare full-length appearances from Kevin Taylor and Clyde Singleton, who floats that monstrous bar ollie, and Joey Pepper comes off all forward-thinking nowadays with his Stooges song and backside nosegrind pop-out 180s; this video also featured a pretty good John Igei part and a Mannie Fresh instrumental, ensuring it a top-20 position.
19. “In Bloom,” 2002
TWS’s first am-boosting video featured two of the most visceral parts committed to DV tape this decade from Trainwreck and TNT, more than balancing out the comparatively humdrum footage from the young Evan Hernandez and Mikey Taylor. Tony Trujillo was at the height of his powers, clinging onto tricks he should’ve bailed and ending with a sort of literal smash. People who don’t skate have watched this part on my TV and termed it poetry in motion, and also tight jeans. Whereas P-Rod stood on the cusp of cashing in his little-kid chips for a spot on Girl and probably should’ve had the last part with all the switch gap stuff, it becomes difficult to logically argue against Slayer and 100-mile-an-hour handrail jumping by the rapidly sleeved and unfairly maligned Alex Gall, practitioner of a truly brutal form of gnar skateboarding. I wish he’d stuck around. Finally, this entry would be remiss not to mention the inclusion of Chris Cole when he started getting more interesting, indulging in the Misfits and the Love Park gap.
18. “Man Down,” 2001
Everything that “Tilt Mode” was and more, except a little less, since there was no Juvenile and Steve Cab didn’t take another run that one crazy handrail, perhaps on sound advice from his lawyers. Saying that the Tilt Moders re-injected “fun” into things misses the point and can make the sayer sound embittered for his or her own bizarre and unfortunate reasons, but videos such as “Man Down” did seem to make a point to encourage drinking, indulging in peculiar fantasies, and generally taking things less serious than the pros who stare at handrails, or wap themselves over the head with their boards for instance. Marc Johnson’s last trick in this video was a switch hardflip backside tailslide, which Rodrigo TX did for his last trick in the Flip video last month. Marc Johnson also skated to the disco Rolling Stones and if you slow-mo certain tricks you can see him bludgeoning seal pups for fun and profit.
17. “This Is Skateboarding,” 2003
Retroactively the Emerica video with the kinda-silly title gets lumped in with the leather-jacket-and-basic-handrail-trick movement from the early part of the decade, which it was part of sure, but “TIS” had a lot more depth than that thanks in part to the crack production squad of Miner and Manzoori. Opening on a dismal/dour note with a subdued Heath Kirchart section, they meander through the noisome world of Ed Templeton and his ollie impossibles, the most legitimately urban Tosh Townend part, and the last major effort from Chris Senn who did that crazy f/s pivot. Kevin Long roared onto the scene here, spinning both switch and frontside, and the Reynolds closer has that opening line for the books and some serious left-field tricks like the switch backside shifty.
16. “The DC Video,” 2003
DC’s vaunted debut video was notable for a few reasons, including Rob Dyrdek seeming to make a sincere effort, Josh Kalis making some of the first miscalculations when it came to choosing tricks, and Colin McKay skating to Jimmy Buffet while foreshadowing the rise of the Geico insurance lizard. The video as a whole though gets over on three parts: Anthony Van Engelen’s blistering crooked-grind melee, Brian Wenning doing less than five tricks regular-footed throughout his other great video part, and yea, the Danny Way. A generation in skateboard-years later the mega-ramp is a known commodity, with its own X-Games designation and related baggage, but seeing the iron man jump and twirl and soar over that thing for the first time was a very, very nutty thing to see, and the victory lap with the rainbow rail sealed the deal.
15. “Mind Field,” 2009
Reminding us what a video can do aside from whomping you over the head with unending ledge combos, “Mind Field” returned Alien to form in time for the decade to close out after a few years of soul-searching brought the company to Burton’s doorstep. Purists will quibble about putting on Arto and distribution strategies but in the end-results department “Mind Field” was a triumph, dragging AVE back out of the gutter, putting a match to the incendiary Omar Salazar, letting Jason Dill do as he must and anointing Jake Johnson as a new standard-bearer for New York City – before Heath Kirchart blows through and wipes out everything. Maybe if we were doing this list five years from now, this video would be higher.
14. “Vicious Cycle,” 2004
For an outsider this Zoo-backed production signaled a sort of generational torch-passing as far as high-profile New York types – you had Vinny Ponte yelling at people and Robbie Gangemi doing those frontside blunts and Danny Supa, sans Supa-suit, with a bigspin-flip higher than a regular person’s head. It’s hard to ignore Zered Bassett though, seeings how he comes through and switch heelflips over a house or something in basically every section, and all the then-young guns have pretty amazing shit: Charles Lamb, Eli Reed, Brian Brown and most especially Lurker Lou, whose low-key opener features many colorful varieties of the Etnies Rap, and Aquil Brathwaite, who was on some serious Lavar McBride in “Trilogy” and who I would’ve bet the farm was gonna be huge. Live and learn..
13. “Mosaic,” 2003
People bemoan Habitat’s westward shift in terms of personnel, but the squad might have been at its strongest when it struck a balance between coasts. Featuring the dirtbag debut of Danny Renaud, with Brian Wenning and Anthony Pappalardo at the height of their relevance and Jason Dill’s planned/unplanned all-line section, all differentiated the first Habitat vid and realigned things for everybody else to a certain extent over the years to come. One of the few videos where either of the last two sections could’ve closed it, but it’s hard to think of any other moment in time when poised Peruvian Danny Garcia could’ve dropped the curtains, and nollieing a gap to k-grind remains a pretty crazy thing to do even years later.
12. “Baker2G,” 2000
The video that launched a thousand apparel companies centered on black stretch denim. This video shocked upon arrival, first and foremost with the foul-mouthed Knox Godoy, second with the skating, and to a lesser extent the assorted antics and guest appearances from Brad Hayes, Hoops and Chad Fernandez. Greco’s backside noseblunt and Reynolds’ nollie noseblunting ascension to Koston heights aside, the influence of “Baker2G” was felt just as heavily off the board, and it’s to their credit that the bros have stuck to their niche in and out of 12-step programs while finding new ways to heft a middle finger toward, for instance, the Olympics.
11. “Real to Reel,” 2001
A Bay Area classic in the spirit of “A Visual Sound,” “Sick Boys,” and “In A Major Way,” Real’s early ’00s entry is still the best case for Nate Jones’ elevation to flower-child style icon, and watching this video again is kind of disappointing when you wonder how much further he could’ve taken things, what else could’ve been, etc. But “Real to Reel” also launched Hensley revivalist JT Aultz and the barnstorming Dennis Busenitz, with Mark Gonzales refocused on street lines and Cairo Foster at or approaching some sort of peak. Max Schaaf on the money board and shit, even this video’s credits section approaches classic status.
Just throw it in the bag
This year seems like last year, kind of, as far as there not being any type of clear front-runner for the most hallowed of skateboard awards that is not distributed in buckets by the Maloof brothers. There’s no Daewon or Danny Way or Arto Saari no-brainer, and while there are several semi-brainers (useful for commentors such as myself), the politics and squishy qualifications and completely opaque voting process makes it all the more interesting and fun to pointlessly speculate. And so we jump in.
Leo Romero: I kind of feel like if that Skateboarder cover had been a Thrasher we wouldn’t even be bloviating on this, but the uphill path of the inscrutable Leonard is part of his appeal – jumping ship from Baker to Toy Machine years after several former bloodsuckers headed headed the owner way and left Ed & co. with their hands in their pockets, alongside a general negative attitude that many have compared to Emerican elder Heath Kirchart. Leo has a potentially ground-shifting video part in store with “Stay Gold,” and while it will not drop this year, Phelps and his buddies have been known to move pre-emptively, and who doesn’t like to look smart?
Heath Kirchart: The buzz is that the Thrasher camp may not have enough love for the brooding bro with the red-carpet disses and vending machine business, but I don’t know. It’s not like the dude goes around handing out cookie bouquets to the other mags, and to a certain degree you could imagine the Thrasher powers that be digging a devil-may-care mode of operation. It would sorta be a safer pick too, since Heath K brought a show-stopper video part in 09 and potentially another one next year. Cons, he hasn’t done much for Thrasher and he skated to Morrissey.
Sean Malto: The teen heartthrob who lives his own reality show, baffling security guards with nollie frontside feeble grinds and shredding the Pacific Northwest with Julien Stranger. Green but his Thrasher cover was among the year’s gnarliest and the non-stop skateboard mission seems to always have room for a stop or shoutout to his beloved Kansas City; a pro model shoe is not far off and he’s had enough footage drizzled out here and there to mold a passable follow-up to “And Now,” but Malto’s 09 slow burn has yet to fully flare, and I’m not sure the cover, rowdy as it is, would get him over.
Dennis Busenitz: The current Slap Board messiah would seem to have SOTY at long last sewn up, with an internet-smashing video part, talked-about contest runs, many good photos and a pro shoe to boot.* He’s a Nor-Cal gnarler who can schralp transition and/or spit out switch 360 flips, he’s with the right companies. If there’s a downside I guess it’s the lack of any super-handrail heroism or mega-ramp fireworks or some type of singularly groundbreaking trick, but then again, maybe that plays to his advantage. In ten years a Busenitz SOTY win would probably come to be seen along the same lines as Chris Senn, which is to say those who know would know, the rest would be wondering “why not P-Rod” and there’d be a certain amount of “you had to be there”
Lizard King Mike Plumb: Let’s put him on the list. The zaniest Wallenberger with a stupider tattoo/carving every month, and he’s a decent interview. Kind of a long shot maybe but one could argue he’s fairly representative of where skating is these days, which is to say, both trick- and movement-wise.
Anthony Van Engelen: The odds might be stacked against him but to my mind the case has never been stronger for an AVESOTY and the brow-furrowing AWS decks it would probably produce. He has a couple magazine covers, a blazing video part, a harrowing comeback story, a bunch of tattoos and he wears Vans. As one who birthed the current fascination with speed and successfully fused hesh grime with precision tech skating he’s for sure a contender from the career standpoint and probably a SOTY everybody could agree with on some level.
Torey Pudwill: Just throwing it out there, Jake Phelps knows who he is and he’s given it to fresh-faced pros before. But, the lack of follow-through on the Wallenberg nollie flip might cost him precious support in the Yay area.
Zered Basset: the King of Zoo York coulda won it the year he made the “Vicious Cycle” part as far as we’re concerned but he nearly hit that mark again in the “State of Mind” video (still thinking the MOP was totally brilliant) and he has been on the Thrasher radar for some time. The drawback might be that he’s been kind of below the radar compared to some of the charge-happy spotlight grabbers like teammate Brandon Westgate, but an elder statesman might be the one to usher the tradition into the next decade.
It seems like there should be some kinda transition dude in here so, I don’t know, Lance Mountain. Insane as Bob’s mega-ramping has been, our view is that he’s a little bit too TWS/Fuel TV these days for Thrasher’s taste. While on the topic it seems like Justin Brock has whatever “rookie of the year” awards wrapped, unless Grant Taylor gets em.
“You guys live in little shelters where you don’t answer questions”
I hadn’t tuned in to Patrick O’Dell’s “Skate Talk” live internet webcast chat call-in show before tonight, because I generally forget about this stuff until I read about it elsewhere a dozen or so times, but for whatever reason I recalled that Heath Kirchart was going to be taking questions from the assembled minds of the web-enabled skateboard community. So I cued it up in the background while I parsed the canned statements around the Active purchase and after a half-hour was set to write it off as another failed web 2.0 experiment, like message-board interviews with freeze-ups and a fuzzbox phone… until the slurs got the better of Heath Kirchart and he started demanding to know why it took them five (?) weeks to slot him as a guest on the show.
“I mean, you guys are my friends…”
“Why was I not a guest?” (Asked every 15 seconds or so)
“Why did you only ask me after Nick Trapasso defaulted??” (asked when the point was made that Heath Kirchart was a guest right now. He kept returning to the word “defaulted” which I thought was interesting for whatever reason)
“Why am I only being asked now. Why”
“Why did it take five weeks to have me on?”
“I’m your backup”
“Boosh, you’re not in a position to be making decisions”
To some extent skateboarding is about exerting control over your environment, sort of, and it speaks to the mastery of Heath Kirchart that he’s apparently able to do this in social situations as well, since the last 20 to 30 minutes of the show were basically variations on this theme. Which was far more entertaining than watching him roll his eyes at questions about Berrics strategies. Though he did lay to rest the question that has kept many a skateboard blogger awake nights: “was your last trick in Mind Field a tribute to Josh Beagle?” Answer, no.
Somehow, though a combination of reticence, grouchiness and no small amount of punishing gnarlitude, former crack cocaine purchaser and sometime bikini contest judge Heath Kirchart has over the years perfected the quality/quantity cocktail of skateboarding career moves that most never get right and others probably shouldn’t even bother with, to the degree that few dudes’ video parts are as hotly anticipated as the greasy-haired fellow who these days motors across the country decked out in somebody else’s military medals. It’s a beautiful thing, that such a willfully antisocial weirdo can surface once every few years, command our full attention, and yes, cement his place in the history books by earning the title of TWS’s Best All-Around Skater.
In terms of what he films Heath Kirchart generally isn’t reaching for the high-hanging tech/gnar fruits plucked by the likes of Chris Cole and Eric Koston, and he’s not chasing the biggest/highest/farthest challenges for bonus points either really. And it’s not as though he pulls from a bottomless bag of tricks either (shoutout to the bluntslide and backside flip). But there’s a kind of contemptuous recklessness in the way he skates, heaving himself onto a handrail or slowly twirling ten feet out of some skatepark bowl. And intensity. Oodles and oodles of piping hot intensity.
This sort of contemptuous nonchalance fuels Heath Kirchart’s thundering bloodbath of a bookend to “Mind Field” on a suitably dour Morrissey note as we lap up the usual tropes (backside noseblunt, switch kickflip, frontside noseslide, frontside tailslide) and some newer ones (switch heelflip, backside lipslide bigspin, kickflip nosegrind, the JT Aultz/ollie over to noseblunt slide); in the meantime we’re treated to a hyperventilating owl and an effort to loosen up the collar of the shoelace belt look for summer ’09. It’s not a party exactly – it seems like it never really is with this dude, even when him and Jeremy Klein were terrorizing shrubberies over a decade ago – but when he gets his inner whipsaw or whatever revved up there aren’t many who shove-it out over gaps or bomb frontside boardslides down hubbas or eat shit better than Heath Kirchart really. And it was nice to see the TSM covers, years old though they may be.
via Epicly Laterd
-Jake Johnson had the best part.
-AVE got his handrail mojo back, in a major cot damn way (b/s nosegrind)
-for guys with their own, private skateparks, you’d think they could get more footage
-Kalis taking the bigspin-to-ledge switch made me want to, you know, something
-a handful of intentional-or-not homage/tributes to past DNA productions, among them Jake Johnson’s regular-footed Lenny Kirk, the wind-ups, Mikey Taylor’s nollie f/s noseslide to fakie and Heath Kirchart’s kickflip-as-pretelegraphed ender (sort of)
-Jason Dill’s abiding love for the indie-rock Phish is rather endearing
-Omar Salazar’s Stallone grind brought the house down
-Heath Kirchart, fuck, but err what happened to the all-white part?
-Mikey Taylor still rides for the long frontside 50-50
-A nice effect: somebody breaking a glass concurrent with Tyler Bledsoe touching down a bigspins
-A suitable amount of razzmatazz and middle-America flotsam.
Who out there thinks they can make a better video this year?
Due to certain geographical, connectional and hygienical issues, I have yet to see the Alien Workshop video, certainly my most anticipated skate release since “Fully Flared,” and probably more so really. For sure my hopes are higher in terms of rewatchability and enduring classic-ness: Ten years after Menikmati and Photosynthesis hit VCRs, just one is mentioned with the greats. Pappalardo may not be down with the Sect anymore, but he nailed that one.
In that way however I think DNA has tended to benefit, video release-wise at least, from moving in shadows, much like Ohio itself minus that ignoble stint in the national spotlight as John Kerry passed his darkest hour. The “Inhabitants” premiere, along with “Static 3,” was nearly lost in the dull roar of late-2007 Lakai buzz; in 2003 more people were checking for “Yeah Right” and “The DC Video” (doubtless dubbed by the same visionaries who named The Skateboard Mag) than “Mosaic.” Photosynthesis came out in the shadow of “Menikmati” and “Baker2G,” similar situation for “Time Code” and “Mouse”/”Trilogy”/”Welcome to Hell.”
Although I was young, I think I remember that when “Memory Screen” debuted, eight of the nine dudes who skated had to work.
But when the hour strikes this time, all eyes turn upon Xenia, and as much video hype as “Fully Flared” ginned up, the actual bar for an Alien video probably is higher what with the 20-year legacy, craftsmanship on past features and the degree of art they bring to the table. Also there is the fact that both Carter/Hill and our newly exalted snowboard gods at Burton have something to prove–basically that one of the best/brightest and for sure the most singular top-tier skateboard company has not, forgive the snowbro pun, lost its edge.
I hope not, really. I have gone hard on DNA in the past, mostly because their output does command a higher production standard than, say, Zero, 5Boro, or Cliche, to say naught of the Elements, Plan Bs, Zoo Yorks and so on. Alien Workshop conceived their enduring empire on an early-90s budget, in the bleak Midwest, fueled by sheer weirdness (and great skating, yeah).
So: I hope this video is weird, fucking weird, “Memory Screen” weird, to and past the point of unwatchability; we’ve given Ty Evans a year to draw us beautifully filmed slow-motion high-def diagrams as to why a noseblunt nollie varial heelflip out is good, and now I would like to see some barely visible ollies or perhaps a hook scratching pavement while the Nation of Ulysses drones away. I would be into seeing Heath Kirchart skate to something off “Drum’s Not Dead,” Omar Salazar maybe with the Jesus Lizard, Kalis with rap music. I expect to see shitty super-8 film and spinning antennas, rotting animal carcasses, general Midwestern blight and Anthony Van Engelen. 35 minutes or less. Arto Saari’s part hopefully not as boring as I can imagine it to be. I kind of wonder if golden boy Dylan Rieder will have the last part. I don’t know if that would be good or bad. I want to be shocked and taught, not just by the skating. I wonder if this is a dumb thing to hope for from a skateboard video in 2009.
I see it this weekend on a big screen; full reports to follow, depending on the meltedness of my brain.
(Don’t post spoilers in the comments, as I’ll probably delete them.)
Through all this bullshit
I got to thinking the other day, while pondering yet again how awesome it would be if Anthony Pappalardo and Brian Wenning got the band back together and rented a place in Philadelphia and teamed up to liberate Love Park under the tutelage of an older, wiser Matt Reason (like a sitcom)…
Despite Pappalardo’s Midwestern grandpa dress code I think he may still be too young to qualify as a true curmudgeon type, but probably can safely be called a sourpuss. So seeing the footage from “Photosynthesis” where he gets all giggly after nollie 180ing the Brooklyn Banks rail warmed the cockle-burrs of my heart and later got me thinking on earnest, honest smiles after landing tricks. Sometimes frowned upon, especially in these troubled times of trophy-tossing Austin Seaholms and back-flip fly-outting Ryan Shecklers, we may need an occasional reminder that it’s okay to show some emotion after negotiating a particularly hairy move. Or else you risk looking like a scary-eyed serial killer. (See Caswell Berry, backside lipslide, “Man Down”; Heath Kirchart, all videos)
So, a handful of good, decent, god-fearing smiles over the years:*
Mike Maldonado, “Welcome to Hell”
East Coast powerhouse exhibits a stubbly underbite after dismounting a tall backside 5050, affirming to the viewer that the spot probably is as fun as it looks and sapping a little doom-n-gloom from the Misfits song to come.
Cairo Foster, “The Reason”
Following a blistering line through Pier 7, Cairo’s skull-like features soften as he catches his breath and looks forward to a heavy helping of Ty Evans slow-mo for what will remain his best part to date nearly ten years on, in one of the best TWS vids. So, what’s not to smile about.
Ben Stewart, “Seasons 4″
Kickflip-to-smith-grinding Hubba Hideout admits young Ben Stewart into a fairly select membership of skateboarders to have stepped to the crack cocaine-themed ledge, and his innocent schoolboy smirk is well earned, if not crack cocaine-themed itself. (I don’t know him personally)
Devine Calloway, “Let’s Do This”
Pearly whites, can-do attitude and a seemingly constant grin, but for the purposes of this posting we’ll highlight the post-nollie varial flip period in the 2007 Transworld video, the name of which could double as a subtitle for the next installment of “Thug Motivation.”
Jovontae Turner, Mike Carroll’s part in “Questionable”
The haircut gets him over I think. Fuck. I’d smile if I was running around with that look, early 1990s or no. A proper shiteating variation here.
*Ray Barbee and Karl Watson are disregarded because, too easy.