Lines are some dudes’ friends and a natural enemy to others, meaning that during the space between tricks you get to see the subject navigate the board, push, potentially tug at his trousers or swivel his shoes to get set up for the coming gap, ledge, rail or come what may. Vincent Alvarez is one of those dudes where a healthy chunk of the appeal is absent without the swerve of his trucks, like in the run here that starts with the switch bluntslide, or the switchstance slalom between the cars. Vincent Alvarez skates fast and loose and sometimes like he’s flailing to hang on, and some of these tricks here like the switch frontside bigspin wallride and the hasty follow after the nollie flip into the bank are presented with all their rough edges intact, backed by a meandering jazz tune. A lot of this footage reportedly is drawn from the years around when he got onto Chocolate and filming with buddies afterwards, and to me what elevates this part is how you can see that this is a dude running his own roster of tricks, zooming around some well-traveled labyrinth of alleyways and ditches, facing down traffic and big hills. It is one of the shortest eight-minute parts ever.
Posts Tagged ‘Lakai’
A Brief Interruption To Our Annual Year-End Programming Because Anthony Pappalardo Gave This Rather Frank Interview On 48 Blocks TodayDecember 28, 2012
It was a curious thing to observe the responses when, a couple weeks ago, you had in New Balance the umpteenth major-league footwear company announcing its late entry into the SB club. Time was, a couple pros would cobble together some investment group and foist upon the beleaguered consumership some new truck company or shoe company and be met with a round of harrumphs and annoyed sighs, whereas lately an entry one by one of the multinational shoe companies tends to get a subset of the culture atwitter over the prospect of being catered to with theoretically better technology and construction backing another vulcanized, low-top sneaker bearing a logo recognizable to principals, moms, the captain of the football team, etc.
Curiouser has been the justification offered up for backing new corporate competitors, usually centered on allegedly poor quality of the shoes manufactured under skater-owned outfits. When it comes to the extremely basic designs that have generally forced some equilibrium across the shoe landscape and the fixation on suede, canvas or leather as the material, quality seems like a red herring, but that may be just me. What seemed gnarly was a certain willingness (in some cases eagerness) to reject the “grassroots” players that, whatever their warts, are our own creations in favor of these larger and more powerful entities that until 10 years ago were not much thought of, except for some disdain when it came to various hamfisted efforts to push their products. At this point we part ways from veering into another circular referendum on Nike versus the Don’t Do It movement.
Now we have a telling from Anthony Pappalardo, to 48 Blocks, on how he was allegedly fucked over by Converse, which wooed him away from Lakai despite his apparent misgivings, made him a pro-model shoe and then abruptly shifted into some bare-knuckled contract fight that seems to have severely dented Pappalardo’s already fragile-sounding self-esteem. Some of the story as Pappalardo tells it is confusing — already barely making ends meet, the breakdown in talks with Converse saw him homeless within months and later selling scrap metal to survive, kind of like some 60-to-zero shift from “pro-skater-with-shoe-deal” status with no in-between option like seeking a different sponsor, moving in with friends or family, or getting a day job. Pappalardo describes a sort of catch-22 in which Converse is not supporting him, forcing him to hustle to survive, which makes him unable to skate, so Converse (and later Chocolate) doesn’t support him. It isn’t clear what happened to any royalties from his shoe model, which seem to have sold briskly, or why he stayed committed to this apparently abusive sponsorship arrangement, when several years earlier he quit Alien Workshop with no safety net whatsoever.
It seems like there’s several pieces missing from this whole story, and while resisting the game of diagnosing Anthony Pappalardo’s potential issues via an interview apparently pecked out on a mobile phone, you wonder about the other side of all this — during the time period in question Pappalardo was not exerting a Lil B-like flooding of the market with coverage and his career arc wouldn’t yet seem to afford him the coasting abilities of someone like a Fred Gall. But at a time when shoe companies like Es and Gravis have rolled out of the frame, not hearing out a dude like Pappalardo, even given these past few years of traipsing down a path toward his trick minimalism and urban recluse profile, against a giant corporate entity feels off in some way.
Not a lot to say here, other than that this was one of those photos where you’re flipping through the magazine (TSM, Jaws cover) and you stop and say “damn.”* Marc Johnson has nearly a Mumford eagle-is-landing thing going on with his arms here and I like his hat. White tee, blue jeans and a kickflip backside tail, these components could have equated to a photo 20 years ago.
*Another one from the same issue is Jon Dickson’s nollie backside flip
Technology Rolls Steadily Forward, And As We Contemplate The Coming Girl/Choco Video, We Contemplate Also The Idea Of Being Steamrolled Or Jumping Into The Steamroller’s Cab Alongside Ty EvansJuly 9, 2012
The 1990 “Brady Bunch” reunion/reboot is recalled as a triumph of broadcast television, surpassing lofty expectations set by the artistry of the original series and hauling in ratings that shamed and embarrasses the Superbowls and Little League World Series of that day. The fog of time and extremely singular nature of the event have obscured though the massive risks taken by the artisans and business hounds who plotted it all, with plenty of chewed fingernails and nervously cracked knuckles early on as decades-deep devotees feared and fretted whether that long-ago magic could be rekindled or whether the whole endeavor would amount to so much bodily fluid sprinkled atop a beloved legacy, never again to be un-sprinkled.
Did the Crailtappers pluck Ty Evans from the TWS camp with the knowledge that he would over the next decade bear on his shoulders the burden and associated emotional message-board baggage of carrying forward a video franchise regarded as helping to set the high bar for the 1990s’ great video rethink? Only Rick Howard’s personal psychic knows for sure, but pluck they did, extending into the 00′s a second rethink driven not by any particular evolution in craft, such as the embrace of the streets as an ipecac-like reset button following the excess of the neon-and-spandex drenched vert era, but instead by the gradual availability of cheaper/better technology and software that within a few years erased much of the distance between Jamie “Mouse” Mosberg and any hometown heroes dredging their local skatepark hip for Youtube-ready NBDs that can involve front-foot impossibles.
Ty Evans’ output suggests a subscription to the school of thought that says “what got you there will keep you there,” in this case referring to a deep, loving embrace of the newest camera models, rigged filming gizmos, lots of effects and filler shots and emotive techno music. Transworld’s Evans-helmed productions had all these in spades of course plus some other tricks including the sometimes-attempted but never well-advised fast-forward/rewind motion in Danny Gonzalez’s “Reason” part, as well as the voiceovers, an interesting innovation that somehow wore out its welcome after 10 years. Going with Ty Evans was an intriguing look for Girl/Choco at the time, given that vids like “Mouse” never had much in the way of slow-mo (perhaps because they’d seen the lackluster results elsewhere at the time) but also cuz somebody reading between the lines could take the old pogo-stick skit in “Goldfish” as an indictment of the high-pressure, high-production regime that dudes in “Fully Flared” wearily recounted after it came out five years back.
Around 2000 though you could say Girl was shopping for a new identity, putting on the gap and rail-minded youngsters who would constitute the torch picker-uppers of “Yeah Right” and “Fully Flared.” It’s tough though, for someone who saw the influence wielded by Carroll/Koston/Howard/Mariano/et al in the 1990s to have felt the same impact from the next-genners with the possible exception of Paul Rodriguez or Rick McCrank, and efforts to extend the super-team rep into the tech-gnar era brought on a mixed spread of amateurs through the Torrance offices that included Jereme Rogers.
For a company whose founding principles included not taking themselves or their skating too serious the post-Modus presentation sounded a little off-key too–the Jonze/Howard sensibility was still there in some of the skits, but especially come “Fully Flared” that stuff took a back seat to high-definition cameras, elaborate filming contraptions and slow-motion explosions. Myself I never had any real gripe with the recorded skating material, but the sanctimonious way it got put together — behold, I give unto you this trick, slowed down and then sped up and then slowed down again; below these bros, with a follow-up high-five and/or running and throwing down the board as a segue to the next clip — seemed miles away from powersliding down the yellow lane-divider lines. Here we will submit that it was no coincidence that the technology-embracing, filler-friendly and emotion-emphasizing directorship of Ty Evans dovetailed with a high-water mark in technical ledge skating that’s inspired some of the current wave of “power” skating by way of backlash, and the Crailtap camp are fans like the rest of us, investing in tall-sock wearers Raven Tershy, Elijah Berle, Alex Olson and Vincent Alvarez over the last couple years.
How then does this dynamic, call it Pappalardo-Flared vs Mariano-Flared, inform the cobbling-together of the coming Girl/Choco feature “Pretty Sweet”? The recently released preview suggests the answer is, not much, or maybe not much different than before. We are previewed some HD video, solid bro-ing footage*, some real painfully slow mo, some emotive techno music** and, if past performance is any future indicator, a release date that is prone to being pushed back. Interestingly, though, if Ty Evans continues to stick to what got him here the likely complainers such as myself will face an interesting conundrum similar to those who wish for “The Simpsons” to be cancelled in defense of the first nine seasons’ legacy — the era of Ty Evans-led Crailtap video productions at this point would at least in terms of years far outstrip what old-timers regard as the classic age, steadily shrinking in the rear-view mirror..
*Major fan of the doubles action, btw
**Bear in mind that while we grouse about emotive techno music, and with good reason, blanket criticisms of Crailtap video productions fronted by Ty Evans were rendered null and void forevermore after “Fully Flared” included a song from the Mannie Fresh solo CD.
As the Mediterranean breezes, expansive vineyards and reported peccadilloes of Dominique Strauss-Kahn suggest, France can be an easygoing place, illustrated herein by the major-production video debut of the nation’s favorite four-wheeled son in Cliche’s “Bon Appetit,” set to a freewheeling Zappa jangler. Back when this came out–not that long ago really, but seems like a while ago–people began drawing comparisons between young Puig and Mouse-era Mariano, and while these comparisons haven’t borne out over time given both dudes’ eventual embrace of tricky ledge combos, they did wind up endorsing the same kind of shoes, so the possibility remains that some of those original comparison-drawers were psychic. I was and remain ‘psyched’ regarding a lot of the relatively simple but well-chosen moves in this part, namely the kickflip backside shifty, the fakie frontside flip off the wedge, those backside noseblunt variations on the little banked ledge, the spin on the switch 360 flip over the channel and the smattering of dork tricks in the middle. Lucas Puig tapdances across sculpture gardens and sunny public spaces, plus there’s a JB Gillett feature, without which no summer can really be complete. In closing, we hope you have enjoyed this rare run of several posts across consecutive days, or at least the video clips.
Nuff respect to solstices and the relative positioning of the star Sol from the North and South poles, but the true starting gun for summer can be benchmarked to Memorial Day weekend in the US, an occasion dripping with waterskis and barbecued pork that gives way to a solid three months of potential sessions, slams and progression (and if you live in the south or midwest, heatstroke). Some while back this web space dumped on the fall season as a harbinger of cold temps and muscle amnesia, so in the interest of fair play we’ll take the next several days to offer up some odes to summer via the original form of poetry, the skate video part.
This fantastic Vincent Alvarez section was being buzzed up a few months back but so far as i can tell just hit the WWW in the last week or so. It’s well timed with a late-August schoolyard kinda haze that could’ve been transposed from “Video Days” or maybe applied with that washed-out filter they used for the Slave video. Across the various switch frontside pop-shove its, jazzy horns, bluntslides, bank to bench, baggy chinos and what appears to be Guy Mariano’s old traffic guardrail, the point has been made elsewhere that this section is likely to be more classically chocolatey than Vincent Alvarez’ probably slower-mo’d turn in the upcoming Crailtap feature production. Most of this thing seems to have been recorded in and around LA County and these lesser-loved little chunks of town, where VA jumps driveways and zips through ditches, give off whiffs of heated asphalt and diesel fuel. Still not a fan of switch boardslides to 270 out on ledges but this dude is coming up real nicely and that backside 180 up to abrupt fakie frontside flip down should get some kind of award that would ideally be presented by Daewon Song.
We believe sport is a lifestyle. It’s where we leverage that brand identity, that credibility. And it’s the biggest access point of all from a consumer standpoint. And you can see Allyson Felix, Kobe Bryant, referenced here in the visuals. These athletes are connected with the brand in every aspect of their life. We can supply that connection. We can also innovate in every single one of these dimensions. I’m happy to report it’s working. We saw every single one of our categories in fiscal year ’11 deliver growth. We have strong momentum across the category portfolio for fiscal year ’12. Trevor is going to spend a little bit more time going a little deeper about what goes on in our category offense in a few minutes.
–Charlie Denson, Nike brand president, fiscal fourth quarter earnings call, 6-30-11
Alas, Charlie Denson will be forced to stammer and cough his way through any analyst questions pertaining to the credibility of Nike’s King of the Road squad this Thursday when Nike Inc. delivers their next batch of quarterly results to shareholders. Vegas odds had the Koston/Oneill/Kennedy/Wair/Taylor fivesome as heavy favorites to handily lick the Vans/Dekline/Lakai teams, in a fancy van to boot. But as we learned last night, that wasn’t the way it went down. Below the blog website “Boil the ocean” looks at five reasons why.
1. Video game eyes
Video games taught a generation of children how to coordinate their hand motions with what’s happening on the screen in front of them, and the revolutionary PowerPad did the same for feet. Horribly for Nike’s points-gathering efforts it seems like the company refused to spring for a van large enough to fit a PowerPad, leaving Cory Kennedy to suffer a normal Xbox.
2. Social media domination
At some point along the way Eric Koston appointed himself KOTR11′s all-points shit talker, weighing in on rival teams’ struggles to produce usable footage or have a backpack that does not look like a van, or randomly putting folks on blast as he saw fit. Several of his online quips are collected here.
“Sounds like that pussy Dan Z hit the wall. KOTR ain’t for the weak.” -@erickoston
“@carmelcreeper all those pussies you’re rolling with sleep?? Fuck dat!” -@erickoston
“Why would you cover up this beauty with a shitty-ass dreamcatcher @jaredlucas” —@erickoston
“Boring as fuck” -@erickoston
“I’ll take all 3 of you guys in the octagon right now!!!” -@erickoston
“When I say “weak ass!”, you say “bitch!”….weak ass, bitch!!! ” —@erickoston
“@ham_n_cheese maybe if you got the fuck off instagram and shot a goddamn skate photo, your phone wouldn’t be dead” -@erickoston
“Awe that’s cute!! You guys have a van shaped just like the dakine backpacks you make” -@erickoston
3. Ghostly spirits
Whereas the other vans were assigned relatively benign starting points such as Seattle and El Paso, Nike began in Albuquerque, N.M., one of the most haunted cities in the U.S.A. The white paper “Haunted New Mexico: Ghosts of the Southwest” tells the legend of a hacienda that is haunted by spirits, and other bone-chilling stories. Is it possible, that Nike’s black van fell under the spell of a wayward phantasm, or they erroneously bought some haunted gas?
4. Internal group strife
All the pics of the Nike folks partying it up in the van are a classic cover for the stress of a group that is tearing itself apart in silence, or sometimes with sound. Shane Oneill quietly stepped off the merry-go-round as the competition heated up, despite (because of?) his team-manager egging him on to consume fast food and soda like his teammates Cory Kennedy and Grant Taylor. Tension was further ratcheted up by Phelps’ naming longtime Koston internet nemesis Leo Romero as Nike’s surprise guest, prompting a silent war fought with middle fingers and profane t-shirt designs.
5. Blaze of glory
Frenchman’s Defection To German Shoe Company From Californian One Spotlights A Deepening Fissure In The Industry DudesSeptember 11, 2011
“…Along the way, amazing things have simply continued to happen–like a Francophile Forrest Gump, seemingly stumbling obliviously from one victory to the next…”
Did you leave on good terms?
We talked a lot about it. For them it was hard. I understand their point of view. It’s the skate brands that make all this happen. They have the real sense for it. They are the ones that go find riders and build them up. Without Rick Howard, Mike Carroll, or Guy, I would still be out in the French countryside. They push people like me up and then the big companies can come in and help themselves. I see their side of it. That’s why it was so hard to make that decision.
Trying to figure out which plot point in “Forrest Gump” would correspond with Lucas Puig’s fraught parting with Lakai to don triple-striped track suits. (Spoiler alert) Maybe when him and Lieutenant Dan ride out the hurricane and Lt. Dan loudly curses God? Or the point where Forrest decides to stop running cross-country with his new pack of followers? Sleeping with his elementary school heartthrob and then she abruptly bounces?
Like Gump’s rise to become a shrimping magnate, Lucas Puig’s shift to Adidas was in the works long before Es went into suspended animation, but this month’s splashy teamrider interviews in the new TWS, Adidas-backed web part and the magazine’s concurrent gushing over a lavish Nike shoe-release party in Spain comes off sorta tone deaf, coming a shortly after the towel was thrown in by the dudes who touched off the current generation’s Game of Skate obsession.
I guess if the years go on and footwear heavies like Lakai, Sole Tech, etc are forced into a farm-league role by virtue of their slimmer wallets, interview responses like Chris Cole’s recent DC talk or the one above (or maybe the “why’d you move” question itself) will vanish and look kinda quaint in the rear-view mirror, but currently Puig’s comment makes me feel for the Crail camp. They bring up the hot young’ns, occasionally turn them into stars good for a pro model or two before they wave goodbye and head for money-greener pastures. And if you don’t cheer them on the way out you risk looking a hater in the “do u” era.
From a P&L perspective it seems like a kick in the pants too–like you can have Cory Kennedy sell your wood and urethane, but when it comes to moving high-margin kicks and clothes, a dude like that may ascend outta your price bracket. So does your enterprise turn into a staging ground for the more well-heeled shoemakers, or does a Lakai satisfy themselves with a role as tastemakers and scouts scooping talent on the upswing? Do these companies need to figure out tie-ups to ensure some type of compensation/protection for bringing dudes up? Long-running contracts? Does skateboarding need break-up fees?
There’s a rumor going around that Sean Malto is being wooed away to DC to the tune of $5 million over a period of five years, a princely sum that raises the interesting question as to where DC ranks along the shoe co spending spectrum, what with their recent team overhaul-splurge. You could also ponder the potential for the multinational Nikes and Adidases to raise up new faces–in their now-decade of SBness has Nike gotten behind many lesser-known ams? I’m thinking Shane O’Neill, Grant Taylor? Lewis Marnell? With Adidas one would be Lem Villemin, who it’s nice to see get on with Cliche at last.
As far as that part goes it’s usual killer Lucas Puig stuff–he has got a real good handle right now on manual tricks, especially the one at three-up-three-down and the crazy squeaker. The BA/SF run was a nice point-scorer and the backside nosegrind revert up that brick ledge is heavy duty.
As Vincent Alvarez’s facial hair deepens, so too do his gangster-ish ways upon the board. Alongside some impressive bank-to-barring in this recent Lakai amateur video are three of the bossier switch tricks of this month or so offered up by VA, including but not limited to: the bank-to-ledge switch backside tail, the rail switch lipslide and the switch thunder-gap bomb over the rail, each one a crusher. This dude is getting more exciting/powerful and has left behind the grosser ledge combos from his earlier days – worth revisiting is last month’s Lakai ad that has a crazy lipslide and invites the viewer to consider a world in which Federico Vitetta takes the cinematic reigns at the Crailtap camp.
Once upon a time there was a band called Ween, two brothers in blurred vision and fractured humor who made cheaply recorded records full of bizarre and beautiful ditties dedicated to squelching weasels, juicy trees, Mexican restaurant menus and persons called “Jilm.” Born of hotboxed bedrooms in that fabled decade of the 1980s, the Ween bros for years beckoned listeners to follow as they stumbled sidelong into new nooks and crannies of their aural rabbit-hole, until at a certain point they decided to try their hand at actual songs – cleaning up the rattling fuzz, taking the delirious helium out of their voices and scaling back on the copious chemical consumption that fueled the fever dreams of their early days. Few begrudged the evolution and broader success followed, but that beloved loopy spark was diminished.
Try as I might to shrug it off I’m having a hard time not feeling similarly wistful re: Blueprint’s annexation of U.S. amateurs in recent years, most recently highlighted in this “Make Friends With Marty (Murawski)” clip teasing the hotly anticipated “Make Friends With the Colour Blue” vid. There’s nothing much wrong with the skating of Murawski or his Bostonian brother-in-boards Kevin Coakley, who preceded his entry to Blueprint’s ranks, though Coakley sometimes has left me nonplussed and Murawski’s manual madness in this most recent clip didn’t particularly move me, with a few exceptions including the manual to f/s 180 to switch manual to revert.
Aesthetically these two guys are fine and all but you kinda wonder to what purpose they’re seeking out these US dudes, overlooked by domestic operators either fairly or not; I suppose you can’t blame Blueprint, particularly in these tenuous economic times, for trying to be more than “just” a British concern. They’ve earned a seat among the top-tier outfits of the world by virtue of output, progression, very nice graphic design and general staying power over the years, etc. But I recall putting on “Waiting for the World” and cocking an appreciative eyebrow at the meticulously constructed intro, like a TV-shaped portal into an empire of overcast skies, decrepit ledges and red phone booths where the “unique vision” of the thing, in the earnest parlance of a Tim Gunn, more than made up for tricks that weren’t necessarily 411-opener flashpoints. The rather ripping Brady/Jensen footage in the “Make Friends” clip is a good/current example, and fuck, their approach got these dudes into the biggest vid of the past five years, so they’re doing something right.
This is all sounding kind of “you know, when I was a kid…” and whatnot, which is true, but Blueprint’s got some global heft to its name and the hope is it’s put to good use, as opposed to loading up the new BP holo-vid in ten year’s time and seeing a load of the same Arizona ditches and San Diego handrails that recently appeared in the 20th-anniversary SK8Mafia video for instance. Keeping it gutter, and so on. Probably I’ll be proven wrong on multiple fronts when “MFWTCB” arrives, and I’ll buy it regardless, but in the meantime I’ll continue to wonder why you’d fish overseas when there are bass like this to be boated in your own backyard.
Addendum: Do you think Brady frontside flips into that thing for the video? Holy fuck.