Posts Tagged ‘Nike’

Does Paul Rodriguez’s iTunes Video Part Deserve An Elusive 10.0 Rating?

November 24, 2010

A number of years back me and a buddy of mine engaged in an epic argument, spanning a few hours and two bars, over whether Paul Rodriguez was in “the top five” or not. Think this was post-“Yeah Right,” around the early days of Plan B. My whole thing was: this dude is heavily gifted skill-wise but not pushing the envelope in terms of innovation or doing things in new ways. The buddy’s view was that I was a fucking idiot. Years later I like to think we were both right.

Hangovers fade, winter turns into spring and injured feelings are soothed with the balm of liquor. But generally my feeling on Paul Rodriguez hasn’t shifted a great deal, as the video parts and corporate sponsorship deals have piled up. Here you have a dude who immediately attained Next Big Thing status upon his arrival on the rosters of super-teams and TWS vids, but even snagging milestones like designing the first among several disposable Nike SB pro-models and posing for the only TSM cover to make Dave Carnie feel like a child molestor, it seems like something on-board has been missing, sort of like he’s yet to really arrive.

Fairly or not P-Rod more than probably any other hot-shoe am has had to evolve under near-constant comparisons to/oversight of the legendary ones like Kareem Campbell, who ensured the rolling of more than a few eyes by purposely scoring the kid’s “Street Cinema” stepping-out to “Want You Back,” with all the subtlety of an “Enter The Pu-Tang” ad. Or, Eric Koston making a PRJr-shaped spot on Girl/Es/Four-star, which you can’t say he didn’t deserve, but set up a certain amount of backlash when he inevitably left to do his own thing.

Ten years after his switch heelflip inspired hushed wonder from Atiba Jefferson, and he’s got a beard and a kid and an ill-advised foray into acting under his belt, Paul Rodriguez apparently still is toiling under the same ol’ comparisons to the Kostons and Tony Hawks (see: new Transworld). Not that he seems to mind, and his ode to Ronnie Creager comes off endearingly genuine, but I look at somebody like a Chris Cole who’s got at least as much skill and achievements over a similar time frame, and people generally don’t present him through this spectrum of greats that’ve gone before.

Tony Hawk invented numerous tricks and named one after Madonna. Eric Koston ran with a decade-long string of blockbuster rail sorcery (nollie noseblunt-backside noseblunt-nollie heelflip noseslide-nollie backside noseblunt-360 flip noseblunt) that justified de-facto closer positioning in most of the big productions where he featured. Getting back to the epic bar argument, this is where you could draw a line between the crop’s very creamiest versus the pros that can just do every trick and add a couple more stairs or an extra kickflip.

Which all leads up to Paul Rodriguez’s $3 iTunes part with the Kanye West song, because amidst the usual ridiculous skills the guy displays there are a few — chiefly the switch b/s noseblunt, a real live cover worthy move at a name spot, but also the nollie flip 270 switch b/s tailslide* and the fakie varial heelflip nosegrind — that threaten to set up shop at that tip-top tier of ultimate board bros. Not sure if all this puts him on par with them what he gets compared to in interview intros or if he’s still next up, but switch backside noseblunting a sizable rail does go some way toward glossing over the whole Target deal and Nascar fitted.

*labeled properly dudes?

Thug Motivation

February 28, 2010


Let’s get it

The latest in a grand tradition of blurring the line between pro and regular old bro, the imperatively titled “Yougottagetthat!” may be best represented by its “Bob & Bobby” section, which finds a slimmer-than-usual-looking Worrest switch backside noseblunting alongside the husky section shopper yet very agile switch b/s kickflipper Bob Reynolds, while Bun-B describes various ways of hiding drugs in your car before you sell them off. It’s not a terrifically serious video (though there will probably be some hurt feelings in the Blackbox camp as the credits roll and Jamie Thomas is mysteriously left off certain thank-you lists), but the stacking of some good shop-vid level tricks alongside the work of paid professionals such as Dan Murphy and Mike Peterson suggests a good-faith effort to document the vital and vigorous North Carolinian scene, fueled as it is by canned beer and Cam’ron. You can tell they’re easygoing because so many Nike shoes and Consolidated boards are peacefully coexisting.

Opening act and heir to the Colt Cannon throne of alliterating proto-names Conor Champion straddles this line, positioned as he is for breakout hot-shoe status thanks to a can-do attitude and close working relationship with frontside crooked grinds, both regulars and switch. This dude gets off some crazy moves, including a buried switch feeble grind on a handrail, makes DC shoes look good and has this one line that ends with a b/s smith grind down a modest rail and is sorta reminiscent of a mid-90s LA playground romp. The SPOT website suggests that he’s currently trying his luck with the flow vortex that is the Crailtap camp, so hopefully he’s put a moratorium on attaining recognized status over there before moving on to other pastures, since it would be a shame to see this dude’s tricks slip too far into obscurity.

Mike Peterson and Kyle Berard, two blue-collar bowl types who I don’t follow too closely, both have nice sections and Berard (think it’s Berard) gets hairy on the coping with a switch hurricane grind that is kind of a “wow” move, since it follows right after a regular one. Young Alien Gilbert Crockett does his thing with the swooping launches and cat-footed landings, noseblunting this tall ledge and catching a lofty frontside shove-it. Brett Abramsky, co-director with Reynolds, casts a big 360 flip into a smoothly paved hill at what looks like a scarily fun speed, and kind of resembles Cliche’s Javier Mendizabal.

Past-and-perhaps-present NC transplant Dan Murphy anchors, advertising up front his switch to the magic F and unloading a lot of his Mystery deck footage in the process. Solid is the word that most often comes to mind with regards to this dude’s footage but he’ll occasionally throw in an eyebrow-raiser like the long switch frontside blunt in this section, or the textbook-edition nollie backside flip down some blocks that serve to remind he may not be the knuckle-dragging gap jumper his college keg-party background suggests to some of us. Although it was nice to see that mega-rail jump pop up here as well as in that internet clip a few months back. One thing about Dan Murphy is that he seems to work hard for his tricks and it’s nice to see a dude on the Nike payroll willing to suit up in gloves, a hat and hooded sweatshirt for the purposes of rounding out a section in his friends’ vid.

The Skateboard Mag put up a remix edition of this part the other day but it doesn’t quite measure up to the original, which boasts one of three good songs off the Clipse album — you can and should consider buying this DVD off the fellows who made it as it features talented dudes taking themselves none too seriously and two (count em) songs with Cam’ron.

3. Grant Taylor – “Debacle”

December 28, 2009

Despite turning in one of the more rewatchable parts in Alien’s very rewatchable “Mind Field,” the one nit this blog-site picked was that Grant Taylor’s section could’ve featured more of his coldly controlled transition stuff, and sure enough a few months later the Lite-Brite perpetual motion machine that was Jason Hernandez’s “Debacle” vid for Nike delivered the goods. Much like the lime-green drug rug donned for backyard rain dances, Grant Taylor wrings extra mileage out of the classics (one-footer, stand-up frontside 5-0s in the deep end) without coming off like one of those kids who hurried to learn pivot fakies after all his friends quit frontside flipping the stairs down by the school. The roly-poly launch to quarterpipe transfer thingy is one of my favorites in this and still gives me the willies occasionally, even after watching this video dozens of times on the i-pod.

Rushing Elephants

August 31, 2009

pink_elephants
The psychedelic Walt Disney reference so nice we used it… again

There was, and probably still is, a certain breed of skateboarder that works second-shift assembly line jobs, uses their deck to clean weed as often as skating it, and gets evicted from cheap apartments. They’re not the best dudes skating the spot, but maybe they buy liquor for the best dudes, and you could say these types remain a crucial part of the skating DNA as far as flying the high school dropout/”fuck an office job” flag. I’m pretty sure this demographic still exists – I hope it does – and would like to think of future “buy a vowel” T-Eddy contender Ben Skrzypek as a sort of standard-bearer, because he totally looks the part. I’m pretty into this guy’s section in “God Save the Label,” because he skates different from most of the others and somehow ups the sleaze factor, no small feat in a Black Label vid, whilst generally skating much faster than you’d expect with a dude who looks like his off-board time is spent dealing bammer weed out of a single-wide trailer and flipping a butterfly knife around. There is validity to the Rob Welsh comparison on some of these ride-aways (like the fakie flip b/s nosegrind) and it’s always nice to see a dude on the make who’s not caught up in the outfit wars. We are partial to the switch frontside heelflip over the rail of course, the backside flip over the hydrant, and the cracked ender that looks like it took some balls to ride out.

Whereas Skrzyp6qrxpek rarely shifts from his black tee motif, Adam Alfaro continues the rich history of in-the-public-eye pros aligning themselves (read: dressing up as) members of their favorite band. On its face this practice may be considered uncreative and/or laughable, but I sort of thought Alfaro had something going with his desert-dweller GY!BE deal. So in some ways it seems like he’s lightened up for his part in this video: colorful socks and some loopy spots with a comparatively bouncy song and those effortless kickflips. The carve-around ditch kicker thing looks like a snowboard spot, and pretty fun.

But if you’re short on spots, or buy into Chet Childress’s sob story about a bad recession ruining his scheme to frontside grind the Taj Mahal, you could do worse than film a one-spot video part at the ever-mutating Burnside, and the harebrained hillbilly is probably among the better-suited types to pull such a thing off. He’s claiming Portland as a hometown of sorts now, and while he could possibly claim Canada after pushing a Wu-Tang sample for his song, the Label benefits from the thematic push forward I think. And the part’s good, full of trademark Chetisms such as the bluntslide pop-out, the 5-0 revert, as well as an eyebrow-raising switch drop-in and some weird disaster sorta stuff. It is also mostly free of ebonics, for those of you who A. watched the NBTT skits and B. reacted negatively. Personally I rank Chet Childress among the better skate video actors, up there with Tony Ferguson, Keenan Milton and Lance Mountain, but it’s all about the script innit?

Institutionalized

July 30, 2009

cuckoosnest
You don’t have to be crazy to write a skateboard blog but it sure helps! =)

Interesting bookend to yesterday’s posting comes to us today from Rupert Murdoch’s wood-pushing beat reporter Conor Dougherty, who has a rundown on the state of play in Portland Oregon where skateboarding has corrupted “the system,” as opposed to the other way around:

As skateboarding exploded, Portland’s skaters began lobbying for more parks, and for a say in how they were built. One was Tom Miller, who had moved from Seattle to attend law school and later started a non-profit organization called Skaters for Portland Skateparks. The city later set up a skatepark committee that included Mr. Miller, Mr. Dahlgren and Dean Dickinson, a BMX bike rider. The panel pushed for concrete parks designed by skaters, rather than the plastic obstacles many cities were buying from playground equipment companies more familiar with swingsets than skateparks.

But the group also suggested something so bold Mr. Miller says he was almost embarrassed to propose it: a citywide skatepark system. Mr. Miller’s skatepark lobbying led to a volunteer position with the campaign of Sam Adams, who was running for city commissioner. Mr. Adams won the election, and Mr. Miller became an insider: He was offered a job as chief of staff. A few months later Portland’s city council approved a plan to create the skatepark system.

The “skatepark system” is intriguing to me; I’ve always thought personally that far more practical for cities of size, rather than building destination-type parks on the outskirts of town or in some bizarre, hard-to-reach location, would be to make legal spots scattered throughout various neighborhoods. Like a couple flatbars alongside a basketball court somewhere, a wallride spot in the alley behind some city building, legal ledges in schoolyards, a miniramp in the park, etc. But then again I have lots of other stupid ideas like taking spots people are already skating and stop wasting cop wages chasing people around all day. Or getting reincarnated as a grackle in order to shit on haters of various types and descriptions.

Anyway, the WSJ article correctly points out that skateboarding’s subversion/infiltration/sliding in thru the side door of Portland city government was aided by the widely believed fact that the place is run by a load of hippies, or so is my understanding. It’s also interesting to note that this has all taken place in the backyard of Nike Inc., whose interest in skateboarding has probably risen steadily alongside the number of parks in town; somebody more energetic and talented than your BTO staffer could probably make an interesting graph or perhaps a cheerily coloured pie chart to demonstrate this, but if wishes were ponies, well, there you are.

Another interesting sidebar to the Portland story is that as skateboarders have gained civic clout, the BMXers are starting to feel disenfranchised, since none of the power-broker skateboard types want to see their tax dollar-funded ledges all chunked up from pegs:

“It’s almost like skaters are the cops now,” says Mr. Dickinson, the BMXer.

Youch. The irony, she burns. On one hand, the BMXers have a fair point, but on the other hand, now that skateboarders have paved the way* they could go ahead and find their own city government to fill with various moles and rogue agents in fingerless gloves and Fox hats. You know, the Cuyahoga River is just begging for one of those big dirt jumps.

*delicious punnery sort of intended

Fuck You Money

May 15, 2009


Deviating a bit from mining the R&B charts for tenuous pro skater comparisons

Taking a break from beating the Koston shoe-sponsor horse into a fine, not-all-that-humorous powder has given me some time to really, you know, lay back in the cut and marinate on this whole thing for a while. Like, perhaps Koston’s abrupt ship-jumping isn’t predicated on some brass-ring grab or a valiant effort to shore up Lakai’s balance sheet, but rather a wish to live out the remaining years of pro-skaterdom in whichever kicks he sees fit.

The above pic, which purports to depict Koston skating a pair of Adidas, got me thinking that he may be having a jolly old time sampling the ever-expanding skate shoe buffet, confounding internet speculators and no doubt enduring a fair amount of grilling from the old lady in the process. But why not eh? Koston’s been a loyal soldier for the past 15 years or so, if you aren’t looking at his trucks, and if he hasn’t earned the right to play the field a little bit before Nike makes the official announcement, well, who has.

However – and here comes the obligatory “the 90s were better” part – think it would be kind of cool if Eric Koston played this thread out for the rest of his career. Forthcoming multi-zillion-dollar contracts notwithstanding, he’s already got some money, and if there ever was a working pro skater out there that can get by without a shoe check, he’s the one right? A video part featuring a smorgasbord of skate shoes on Koston’s feet would probably be kinda jarring, but could serve to remind us that there once was a time when you could maybe skate another company’s board/shoes/shirt and the footage wouldn’t be slated for the low-res web clip file. An element of mystique even – recall if you will Gino’s Reeboks from the 101 part, the shoes that launched a thousand Slap board queries; to a lesser extent, the Sauconys sported by Smolik in his TSM interview or Simon Woodstock’s clown shoes.

Ohhhhhhhhhh, Ohhhhhhhhhh, Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, Ohhhhhhhhhh

May 5, 2009


“Radio killa”

In the above video for “My Love,” the main single from The-Dream’s critically valued 2009 CD “Love vs. Money” The-Dream attempts to press home the point to a befuddled Mariah Carey that “it takes time to get money,” likely a thankless and futile task given the widely rumored fact that Mariah lost her damn mind back in the Glitter era and could well continue to wander in her own mental wilderness, and you know what else, who fries sausages and eggs in the same pan. Yet you have to admire The-Dream’s determination, if not the impression that he is on the verge of taking that frying pan upside Mariah’s head, to make her understand that it takes time to get money.

This is one of many themes of control that The-Dream, who seems overweight and may own several houses, explores in “Love vs. Money,” a powerful work that insists upon a man’s place and how he is utlimately powerlessness before the persistence of time when there is money needing to be gotten. Hinting at the two great American eventualities, the fact that The-Dream is willing to lie, cheat, steal and beguile in his pursuit of money probably is beside the point. More critical is the constraints of a mortal life and the limits this inevitably places on money getting and several other activities, including but not limited to Mariah Carey features and R&B beefs with man-about-award-shows Chris Brown, who has vowed to destroy The-Dream’s career at all costs.

Back to the video though, is Mariah Carey’s confusion or refusal to accept The-Dream’s argument intentional? Who can tell — she has suffered from “exhaustion” in the past after all — but it sure doesn’t make his job any easier. He is a tortured man who is racing against the clock always as he tries to get money and keep Mariah under his thumb. (For the record we all know he is just playing a character, okay)

Nike’s skateboarding division touched similar touchy touchstones in “Nothing But the Truth” a couple years back, in a series of nigh-unwatchable skit segments that rapidly ascended to the top of skateboarding’s most-skipped sections just behind Jordan Richter’s contribution to the Blind video. And rightly so, but I’m not sure Nike got as much credit as they were due for the sheer weirdness (hubris?) involved in that whole effort. Though I have no particular effort to try and wrap my brain around some of those skits ever again when there’s that Landscape video to watch, I do sometimes think about what they were trying to do with that skit where Reese Forbes runs into the fog and returns a different yet still flannelled man entirely.

But as they keep pumping out the internet videos I gotta say I kind of like the way Nike moves, as much as it vaguely saddens me to shuffle into the park and see the swoosh adorning every other kid’s feet. Ten years ago people were coming up to Tony Hawk after the premiere of “The End” and saying they hadn’t seen a video like that since the Bones Brigade era, and I think Nike has the potential to do some similar sort of high-concept thing, provided they rein in whatever ad agency cooks up the theme for their next full-length production.

In the meantime there’s been a slew of sweet clips on their site recently like this “120 minutes”-esque clip with Matt Beach, Al Partenen, Daniel Shimizu and Chet Childress tilting at sketchy warehouse rigs; last week they had this Dan Magee-directed clip from Italy featuring a heap of Euros like the man Luy Pa-Sin, lots of backside flips and interesting angles. The usual complaints about slow-mo HD footage aside, these are alright, but I’ve got higher hopes for their Debacle amateur video, which may or may not be a no-bullshit endeavor with ripping Grant Taylor footage etc. but will be Nike’s first big attempt to redirect their creative ocean-liner after encountering the “NBTT” iceberg. Forecast clear to partly cloudy…

Gotta Be The Shoes

April 13, 2009

When I saw the cover of this month’s Skateboard Mag, which features a wild-and-wooly interview with sometime BTO favorite Torey Pudwill, I got to wondering whether Swooshbuckler Brian Anderson was channeling the Ghost of P-Rod Advertisements Past with this “taste the rainbow” ensemble that harkens back to those anticipation-tinged days surrounding the release of the Paul Rodriguez 2 model. This ad made a big impression on me, because P-Rod at once debuted a wacky color-scheme for a pair of shoes, and simultaneously obliterated the days-long thought process that surely would go into constructing a matched outfit for them, by donning the only logical hat-shirt-pants combo in the universe that could possibly work. Clearly it also made a big impression on our hearty street pirate, who may have thought his people would receive more equitable treatment under an Obama presidency, but was proven woefully wrong last weekend.

Irregardless, the ad in question:

So. Hear any other good ones about Nike lately?

Midwinter Video Roundup: Am Chowder

March 20, 2009


Extra good with the soda

I have this secret theory that the ultimate reasoning behind Brad Staba’s alleged master plan to require everyone on Skate Mental to wear Nikes is really about the fat photo incentive checks keeping all the kids paid to a certain degree, and maybe less likely to raise a stink when asked to model a Mike Carroll chest-hair T-shirt for the Crailtap catalogue. But who can know these things.

So this little video, it was cool and all, except when it was done it left the feeling that I’d been watching the same dude more or less the entire time. I don’t know. I like Daryl Angel pretty good. We have a lot of fun with Ty Bruckheimer and his wide-eyed techno-reverence for top calibre skateboarding, but I thought that old HD test reel featuring lil’ Daryl Flannel worked pretty good as a showcase for really beautiful skate filming, even if the whole deal was in ultra-slow mo and comprised about 45 seconds of actual footage stretched to the length of a two-hour feature film. The Skate Mental promo is pretty much the opposite, two-song part with minimal filler and slow-mo. But I still felt like I seen a lot of these tricks already, just at a quarter of the speed and twice the resolution. The bar ollie to 50-50 caught me off-guard, he can get urban-creative; the switch backside tailslide on the barrier was big. Was the first song the Breeders? Fairly awesome either way.

With Shane no-apostrophe-Oneill I could almost fool myself into thinking it was Daryl Angel again, what with the backside bigspins and backside lipslides, except for certain tricks where it was like watching Jesus Fernandez. The nollie kickflip backside tailslide bigspin was pretty nutty and there was a nice “yeah” after one of his manual tricks. John Motta stands out I suppose because he brings more wallrides than the other dudes, and maybe more European footage, like the blazing backside 180 fakie manual helicoptero that was in Transworld I think? The varial heelflip to fakie grinder was cool and he did some convoluted ledge combo that I’m sure will have Joey Brezinski powering up “Skate 2″ with a quickness. And a slick backside lipslide to backside tail.

The sort-of homogeneous skating aside it’s truly cool that there seems to have been pretty much no effort put into the production of “Chowder,” and it incorporates a lot of elements I wish got more consideration when skate video “directors” are doing the modern day equivalent of hooking together their VCRs and thumbing the pause button… i.e., sub-15 minute run-time, no intro, some interesting angles on well-worn spots (bank to bench) and some lame humor. Also, setting a pedestrian aflame with the powerslide blowtorch. I really don’t know if they’re selling this video or what.

Soldier’s story

September 3, 2008


And I’m tryin to ignore it

So what’s the line on the long-awaited Gino Later’d that premieres tonight? Inspirational Cardiel-style True Lockwood Story? A reprise of the hilariously dark WESC calendar interview? Surprise conversion to fundamentalist Christianity? Fixed-gear bicycles? Heaven help us, indeed…

For all his VX1000 grit, O’Dell brings reverence for skateboard royalty when it’s called for, so I’m guessing it’ll be somewhere in the middle, i.e. long on career highlights, some good stories, probably more humor than we’re used to with Gino Iannucci. It might be interesting if they got real into his personal demons, be they liquid, powder or sheer lethargy, I guess. There’ll probably be a couple episodes on Keenan Milton.

With 10 episodes we’re in for a long ride either way, and it’s probably not out of the question for Nike or Chocolate to issue the thing as a career retrospecticus the way Vans did with Cardiel. However, I’m guessing there won’t be a whole lot in the way of hope for another video part or anything. Shit, the dude said as much in the preview, right?

As far as I see it, our only real hope for any substantial Gino comeback lies with Guy Mariano, who put dude’s name at the top of his skate-buddy wish list on 48Blocks a while back. As far as reunions go, such a thing possibly would surpass Muska’s tracking down of Tom Penny in Europe on that one Circa tour… back when Muska enjoyed Fab Four levels of fandom, Rattray still skated for Blueprint and Chris Cole’s pants flapped freely in the wind. You may remember this era from the TWS video “Videoradio”, the one where they managed to lose 2/3 of the footage on the flight home. But I digress.

I mean, if ever there was a dude with carte blanche to milk his career in skateboarding, it’s Guy Mariano, and now that Guy is back, the sheer cocktease potential of a Gino Iannucci comeback would allow him to put out like two tricks a year and be good for another decade, easy. There’s kids who seriously look back fondly on his part in “Hot Chocolate” and marvel. So he doesn’t gotta do much. More stuff like the Nike video would be fine. You’d imagine that he could use the paychecks. Even though he just reopened his Poets shop in Long Island, the skate shop business generally is not the velvet goldmine the Zumiez 100k club might lead you to believe.

So while I’m looking forward to the trip down memory lane and all the old LA footage and everything, what I really hope is that this Epicly Later’d answers this question in some way. Although maybe that’s the point, that the man himself doesn’t know if he has a comeback in him. All I’m saying: a couple tricks a year. A nollie cab switch backside tailslide here and there. We don’t need much, you know?


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