A discrete plea to crowdsource a Dennis Busenitz You-Tube link: In the way one can be struck by a sudden craving for a Burger King Whopper or a grape-flavored cigarillo, midweek brought an overpowering urge to cue up the footage for what onetime Thrasher ledge-lord Josh Kalis declared to be the best manual trick performed ever at the pier. This ad came around 2007 and apparently before Busenitz made the hop to Adidas. The clip wasn’t filmed in time to make “Roll Forever,” was too far on the left side of the Western hemisphere for inclusion in “Diagonal” and my first guess, Volcom’s “Let’s Live,” wasn’t right. Sifting Real’s “Kitchen Sink” odds-n-ends video didn’t turn it up. The desire remains strong to the point reviewing various Thrasher and TWS video montages remains under consideration.
Posts Tagged ‘Josh Kalis’
Billions of burgers flipped by McDonald’s Corp., five decades’ worth of James Bond movies and the estimated $100 million net worth of Wayne “Mr. Entertainment” Newton bear witness to how consistency and a reliable product can command a loyal clientele and lucrative following, if not adoring devotion and the occasional soiled thong hurled upon a pockmarked Las Vegas stage. Jeron Wilson, Chico Brenes and Mike Carroll seem to understand that there is and likely always will be an audience for specialized heelflips, nollie heelflips and backside smith grinds, even while those such as Gino Iannucci and Anthony Pappalardo can’t seem to bring themselves to keep playing the hits year in and out.
Whereas technology setpieces of “Pretty Sweet” invested heavily in the wow factor, DGK’s full-length debut, arriving after a series of mixtape-like one-offs and features like Kayo’s “It’s Official,” offers few surprises. A DGK customer knows what he’s paying for — although the “Chocolate Tour” as reimagined by Harmony Korine storyline here heaps disdain upon paying for what otherwise can be racked or heisted — and Stevie Williams & co seem to have put years of work into delivering this, an overlong, guest-heavy, ready-made blockbuster willing to elbow aside wimpier videos for a spot as the successor to, if not the culmination of, vids such as “20-Shot Sequence,” “Tantrum,” “2nd To None,” “Ryde or Die Vol. 1″ and “Street Cinema.” When 2 Chainz comes on here it is more earnest than when used by dudes hopping bars in Queens wearing twill trousers.
For an hour, DGK’s “Parental Advisory” glories in loudmouth rap music, camouflage pants*, gunfire, cameos from skate-rap touchstones such as Kareem Campbell, Fabian Alomar, Steven Cales, DMX and Beanie Siegel, shoplifting, loose-fit denim, shiny chains and hat-tags fluttering in the breeze, wife beaters, small wheels, graffiti, and some jack moves. For those paying attention there are references to the Menace intro in “Trilogy,” the Bones Brigade in “Police Academy” and even a much-beloved pre-Slap message board pro-skater-dies meme.
No one will look to this video to register on the ATV meter but in the trick department DGK too delivers as promised: Josh Kalis and Stevie Williams skate Love Park; Josh Kalis unloads his monster 360 flip and Stevie Williams cracks some switch heelflips. Wade Desarmo, one of those Canadians who maybe fell a little too far in love with tall tees over the past decade, stacks heavy-lidded picnic-table tech including a hazed-out hardflip backside 5-0 and an alley-oop frontside flip that ranks among the best in a year when Andrew Reynolds put out a video. Marcus McBride turns in a full section that ought to make any pro with a board out for longer than 10 years sit up and prepare an excuse and Rodrigo TX, who has quietly been on a non-stop hustle these past five years, loudly reps the defunct Es shoes company and snaps a terrific looking switch kickflip over a rail. Some of these newer kids with all the “D” names blurred for me, but Keelan Dadd has poise and good runs like the one with the switch kickflip frontside boardslide. Lenny Rivas, who made a serious run at Knox Godoy status himself, has gone grown man and turns a couple new helicopters onto the handrails. My vote for best-dressed dude in the skate game Jack Curtin comes through late in the vid and wrecks shop with some incomprehensible tricks like a switch shove-it 5-0 on a rail up against a wall and his hairball switch backside lipslide down the Clipper ledge.
Probably there always will be like-minded dudes out there doing it like Brandon Biebel but the clarity of purpose Stevie Williams puts to “Parental Advisory” sometimes makes it seem like he’s carrying a whole subset of the 1990s on his back here — nods given to all these little-seen skaters and rappers, a lengthy skater-on-skater-crime narrative that picks up where the Menace video that would never come left off in “Trilogy,” even going so far earlier this year as to deliver a Fabian Alomar part time-capsuled in from 1996, and then achieving the seemingly impossible by getting Kareem Campbell to commit to a skate project**. Coming out a month after “Pretty Sweet” secured DGK an underdog status they probably relish, and the fact that every dude on the team managed to turn in more or less a full section can be read as an endorsement of any number of those motivational platitudes embroidered onto DGK baseball hats, but it’s probably too much to ask this company to cop to now-certified overachiever status.
*of several persuasions
**no knock on the work that went into that song but the Crailtap dudes might’ve just happened to catch him at the store
Next to Luy-Pa Sin, JB Gillett, Bastien Salabanzi and Henning Braaten, the hot shoes of Lordz Wheels’ 2004 production “They Don’t Give A Fuck About Us” shared billing with this pretty dizzying array of amazing spots that a lot of us in the US had yet to see at the time, when the domestic pro wave had at that point fully crashed into Barcelona and France but had yet to wash over the rest of the continent. Situated amongst the rickety handrails and cluttered run-ups that you’d come to associate with old-world skating was a whole smorgasbord of expansive, new-looking plazas drenched with marble and strewn about with all manner of ledges and steps and banks and wedges. At various times it was almost like it didn’t matter which dude was pushing through or what he was up to exactly, you could sit back and let your imagination go.
Into the annals of spot pr0n now comes Ishod Wair, human American, pictured above tooling through this carnival of brick that reportedly can be found in Hamburg, Germany. Some time back we linked up an old Tom Penny section that amounted to a couple one-off tricks in a skatepark and then one long, meandering line down a street on a sunny afternoon, with some commentary stapled onto it to the effect that such a line summed up certain shit about the appeal of this beloved action sport. The spot in the Ishod Wair clip gets to some of those ideas in the same way as the great ‘plazas’ of yesteryear, like the Santa Monica Courthouse, EMB, Pier 7, Love Park, Sants station and so on — these big blank canvasses where a dude, possibly feeling his oats, could pull trick after trick until his batteries give out like Mike Carroll in “Goldfish” or he runs out of space like Josh Kalis. No need to X off rail or gap tricks from a finite list and enough room on the benches over to the side for cultural spillover, this is where Josh Kalis’ “organic” tricks can be sewn. Extra bonus points awarded to Ishod Wair here for inserting a flatground kickflip into the mix here, no sweat.
Wound down the evening tonight skipping through EST 4 for a long-lost Josh Kalis line at Philadelphia city hall that ends in a switch b/s lipslide down a fabricated handrail. Eventually found it and clicked back to watch it a couple more times before letting it play through and then confronting this. Blinked a few times, wasn’t sure how to respond. Still not sure to be honest
Not sure how many folks celebrate or even remember Black Label’s Jim Gagne, a blue collar street-and-transition man known to pack a keg into the back of a truck to ratchet up the awesome factor in a given session. Don’t necessarily recall tricks in particular but the dude always got a thumbs up on general principle because of how he saw and embraced his “small-town mentality,” as per an old interview in Thrasher that detailed the keg scenario. It was not on the level of a Fred Gall interview but pretty close.
Around that same time Josh Kalis was gathering momentum for what would be a decade-long run of pretty much unparalleled video/photo coverage, arguably peaking with the “Photosynthesis” video section, pretty much every trick difficult and snappy and done well at eye-pleasing spots and sometimes in swishy pants. Like the coyote or famous zebra mussel he has proven able to acclimate to and thrive in the most metro of zones across New York, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Barcelona, as detailed in mostly chronological year-order over a recent “Epicly Laterd” broadcast. Probably you wouldn’t call 200,000-person Grand Rapids, MI a one-horse town but by comparison you maybe wonder if Kalis is on some level the same sort of small-town sentimental type as Jim Gagne.
Case in point, the sepia toned recollections of Love Park days gone by in the “Laterd” and revelations of how Kalis has since chased the meetup-spot vibe to other venues with what sound like gradually diminishing results. In the Toy Machine Thrasher that’s out now he discusses the Embarcadero era.
When you watch a video part with those guys, you see them slapping fives with everyone and having fun. I loved that time when you could just be all together at a spot, egging each other on. Everyone’s feeding off each other. Nobody wants to punk out, ’cause their friends over here might make fun of them. I like that stuff.
Kalis believes the organic vibe of a session bleeds through into whatever photos or footage wind up getting produced in between the smoked cigarettes and cracked jokes and musings on theoretical physics traded with local hobos. As per the “Laterd,” Kalis values honesty both in terms of how tricks come to pass and what’s presented in any finished product, opting to put forth the last year’s travels and daily routines as opposed to stacking DV tapes in a garage somewheres.
Kinda worried about Kalis, not because this all isn’t a worthy effort that other dudes could/maybe should follow. Concerned though that we’re seeing a cowboy slowly fenced in. Hassles from the man plus proliferation of skateparks times glorification of private warehouse training facilities makes me wonder how many organic scene/spots are bound to be left in five/ten/forty years, if Kalis is holding to the phantom of a dying vibe or some equally chilling concept. Wonder if the torch he’s carrying is going out, or turning into a plastic flashlight, or maybe even a more bizarre and ominous analogy like it’s actually the headlamp of an oncoming train and the Mayans were right and we shouldn’t really be worrying about any of this.
Sorta related to all this, wonder whether the question Kalis raises with regard to what footage inspires him (or vice versa) points back to all those dudes occupying benches and taking mounting hardware off broken boards and rolling joints in the handful of seconds before or after a trick goes down on the screen–like whether a video clip’s improved by its background noise, the suggestion of good times being had in the sun at some ledges around the corner and how it plays off all the potential inside the deck/trucks/wheels setup and even the street in front of your house. Stopping here before we hit Marc Johnson in “Operandi” mode.
The burgeoning web 3.0 endeavor “Already Been Done” nets a gimme mention on our web-space today by posting up some 411 industry section-era Josh Kalis footage that has the Love Park ledges, DC Lynx and wind pants you might expect, but also spices things up some with a few lesser-used arrows from the Kalis quiver (switch frontside crooked grind, reverse Pupecki) and some of that urban camo with the dark red blotches. A cursory search of Wikipedia’s camoflague page has revealed little as to the technical name of this camo persuasion. If anybody (such as the camo professors of Quartersnacks maybe) should know the identity of the black/white/dark gray/dark red camouflage pattern please chime in below so I can avoid looking so silly next time some good footage pops up that somehow incorporates this pattern.
Well, I suppose we’re obligated to ramble on a little bit more on the Kalis/DGK/Alien situation, but believe it or not, I’m kind of at a loss* since this whole deal seems like it should be a bigger issue than it is. Maybe it’s team-hop hangover from Koston-Nike, or maybe it’s like Kalis himself implied in the EXPN interview – he saw it coming, Alien saw it coming, nobody was too broken up over the whole thing. There is a vague end-of-an-era feeling I guess, but AWS has moved a space pun-worthy light year or two from where they were back in 1995 (throwback graphics notwithstanding), whereas Kalis, bless his heart, hasn’t changed his approach too much (brown cords and Rolling Stones notwithstanding).
There’s been talk of unused Spanish footage collecting dust on Greg Hunt’s cutting room floor, the stunted career ambitions of one Marquise Henry**, and the increasingly divergent path of Alien Workshop from its hallowed backpack rap roots, which was one of the things that perhaps made Kalis a more interesting part of the mix in “Mind Field” than “Photo” and for sure “Time Code.” Is it ‘better’ that Josh Kalis reclaim his gold link-wearing past and steer clear of stretch denim and coloured-frame Wayfarers, probably yes. It is a bit sad though, since one of AWS’s great strengths was bridging the gap between the weird, cerebral shit the Ohio brain-trust had going on, and the dudes cracking tricks and fighting bums in the piss and dirt at the Brooklyn Banks. I thought Josh Kalis’s section in “Mind Field” was one of the proverbial fresh-air breaths with its abrasive rap music and baggy jeans, but as long as they hold onto Jake Johnson and Grant Taylor, they should be good riding the Dyrdek/Berra reality TV revenue into Jake Burton’s good graces.
As far as DGK goes we’ll stick with yesterday’s headline, in that there are far cheesier and more cold-blooded mercenary moves to be made than joining an old buddy and putting your remaining video footage and photo output toward promoting an independent outfit. Despite coming up in the golden age of profiling Kalis has never really stopped producing, and DGK could probably benefit from his focus as they gear up for a new video. You know Stevie Williams in particular is psyched to have him on. Old compadres back in the saddle again, etc, plus reports have the DGK chieftan forgoing his next multi-zero shoe deal in favor of filming the best section of his career, a tall order on or off Philadelphia public space.
Far more interesting than any of this is that Jackson Curtain is rumored to be sitting on an alleged 30+ minutes of video footage for the DGK project, raising the possibility of a Marc Johnson-esque reign of terror set to a suite of Just Blaze instrumentals… or maybe a Daniel Dumile approach that would see him parcel out multiple parts over the course of a year in a bid for SOTY status or Nike pro shoedom.
*I know, I know
**who’s good and all but should thank his stars he has powerful people watching out for him
Am I right, guys
What happened to that boy
As Sir Elton John famously sang through the mouth of an orphaned cartoon lion, the circle of life is evident in all things, even or perhaps especially the Alien Workshop skate video. New careers are launched, even as others film a handful of low-impact ledge lines on their way toward that inevitable twilight. We could jawbone about professional obligations and numerically stack pro model shoes against tricks in the video, but that won’t get us any further than a Brian Wenning alphabet ledge trick (to keep it vintage DNA for ya’ll) so let’s focus on some of the “Mind Field” veterans who, ahem, showed up for work.
In Jason Dill of course we have somebody who’s been in the skateboarding business for about two-thirds of his life and has actively given a shit about his contribution to the whole ball of wax for at least half that time, if not longer, little shit status notwithstanding. He cares to the point of calling people out on shit that the rest of us would probably let slide, or at least silently simmer until some drunken industry function spills onto a post-bartime sidewalk; he seems to have a very definite idea of what skateboarding can be and puts no small amount of consideration into what he does, how he does it and when. Whether it’s lifestyle factors or some new less-is-more inclination (which I can get down with to some extent) Jason Dill’s video parts and coverage in general have gotten more spare in the last few years, putting whatever tricks he has into sharper relief – I think I like his “Mind Field” part better than his shit in the DVS video, if nothing else because there a noticeable absence of Cass McCombs droning, but also due to the fact that he seems like he was going for it a little more on this one. Clarity of vision, or the whole trying-harder-for-the-Alien-dudes thing. Lots of feeble grinds in uncomfortable places, updating the Photo-era 180 to 5-0 sequences to contemporary abrupt transition spots* and generally weirding up Pappalardo’s non-Flare minimalism. I want to believe there’s some deeper symbolism behind letting the phone float away at the end of the section. Something to do with Chris Carter taping him, right? Or maybe he lost his phone?
For Josh Kalis it seems simpler – he’s laid out his philosophy of professional-grade skating several times, likening it to a ladder, or staircase to heaven, or, god help us, a 12-step program. First you get the flow… then you get the pro board… then you get the women. Or, shoe deal. Pro model shoe. Video game. Reality show (or not). Like that. Learn new tricks along the way, take the tricks you know to different spots, do them faster. Not real complex. At this late stage in the game Kalis probably could get over cycling through tricks from parts that Kids Today haven’t even seen (kickflip noseblunt/411 Alien industry section, frontside flip nosegrind/411, switch backside noseblunt/”Sixth Sense”) peppered with the usual 360 flips, switch backside tailslides and so on, but darn it if he doesn’t keep on trying. He’s been talking up the possibilities of the bigspin for years but really pushes it in “Mind Field,” with fairly dazzling results, and when he turns up the heat after Marquise Henry’s cameo the general badassness of the entire affair makes it easier to overlook how some of his tricks don’t flip as fast as they once did, and how the classic eagle swoop form is missing more often than not. But with all the bigspin tricks, the taller-than-a-building switch backside flip, the 360 flip off the Barcelona bump, this might be the best Kalis part of the white cap era. And he’ll have more of course.
Anthony Van Engelen, I have no clue whether he thinks in these terms or not – you want to think his skating is totally visceral and from the gut, the way it translates on video, an idea (or not) and then a full-speed charge. But who knows. He does seem to have gone through some shit during his years in the wilderness, so maybe he’s been plotting, but his new voracious appetite for big rails and off-the-wall tricks (I’m thinking like the fakie f/s 50-50, and the spin-around ledge stuff) kind of seems like he’s shooting first and asking questions later when it comes to mapping this stuff out. I’m not sure if this time around quite matches the platinum standard AVE set with his blazing debut in “Photosynthesis” or the refined and elevated “DC Video” part, time will be the judge I guess, but it’s awesome to see him so hungry again. Depending on the day, this is one of my favorite three parts in the video. That fuckin’ switch frontside noseslide. Ollies straight onto rails = the new nosegrind pop-outs.
*I enjoy the phrase “abrupt transition” and plan to use it often – thanks Deer Man of Dark Woods