Posts Tagged ‘personal brands’

Mike Vallely Films the First ‘Battle Commander’ Part I Watch More Than Once

July 26, 2009

mike_v_berrics
File under: skateboard tricks

When the untamed New Jerseyan, slam poet and personal brand that is Mike Vallely parked his black novelty sportscar outside the Berrics’ hallowed walls, we should have known something was up. Inviting the streetplanting hockey blogger to a technical flip-trick contest for which he was ill-suited was silly enough, and while Vallely kept a lid on his famously flaring temper throughout what looked like a pretty lighthearted affair, it stands to reason that he/his people wanted a little sugar to go with the tough flatground medicine that Chris Cole was dishing out. And so it swung onto the interwebs this weekend, the Mike Vallely “Battle Commander” section, crushing preconceived notions of skateboarding and reality itself. Sort of exactly like the iconic monster truck scene from “Road House.”

These little parts have been used by marquee pros to tease “legit” video parts and test-drive new tricks, but for me at least they’re generally snoozers, seeings’ how it is a part filmed entirely in one skatepark (dramatic light notwithstanding). For Vallely though this is kind of the ultimate environment. It’s a park for one, and the dude has filmed entire documentaries and TV miniseries in parks. Their legal nature provides him plenty of tries for the type of big jumps that get the kids on their feet, and the Berrics’ malleable format gives Vallely’s inner elephant plenty of room to swing its tattooed trunk and plant its broad feet here and there, as the whims of Vallely dictate. At one point they even show him drilling down a board that I thought was going to facilitate an even more huger boneless, but in a typical Mike V twist, he uses it for a drop-in (!) and leaves me confounded once more.

There are all types of amazing tricks in this part though, set off with that somersault/cartwheel into the Chris Cole-approved streetplant transfer thing. Vallely shits upon naysayers, breaking out his legendary no-handed 360 flip along with a couple other flip tricks that incorporate grabs and/or walking up a hubba ledge. Proving that he pays more attention to “new school” skating than he likes to let on, he throws in an up-the-stairs move, along with an up-rail trick with a launch-ramp assist, an obvious reference to “Storm”-era T-bone. Also he wears a vest.

Mike Vallely has been many things to many people. For instance he was once a vegetarian, a lifestyle he left behind in order to chew scenery in the Paul Blart movie.* He’s been called more politician than skateboarder, but what I think Mike V is, is a showman. And he figured out a while ago that he tends to perform best in controlled environments, with the possible exception of Warp Tours, where it seems like just about anything goes. Revolution Mutha music included, this really was the most entertaining Berrics segment I’ve watched in a long time. A few tricks over that hot rod and two solid minutes of purposeful pushing and it would’ve been easily the best part Mike V has filmed in the last 20 years I bet.

*oh, we went there

Industry Meta-Post

July 7, 2009


“It’s on”

So: in the last few weeks, JR Blastoff retired to the tune of a logo graphic, Nike scooped Koston, Heath Kirchart channeled Joaquin Phoenix on the TWS red carpet and Brewce Martin clung to life following a freak accident with a tire mounting machine. Strictly speaking yall can be forgiven if you didn’t notice that the yellow, coned wheels are coming off the skateboard business, while the powers that be do their damnedest to hold it all together, up to and including pro model shoes for Kyle Leeper and Shuriken Shannon. Perhaps it is time for a collective Bad Boys 2 moment.

First there was the nasty fight over who would be the lucky duck to nurse Active Mailorder back to health… because sometimes, “buy-two-clearance-items-get-one-free” deals just can’t get the bros buying flame graphic boardshorts again. Zumiez made a play with designs toward creating some sort of unholy mall-shop monstrosity, but couldn’t close the deal. The ultimate winners of the $5.2 million Active auction chose to remain nameless for reasons that remain their own (think they’re from Florida) but remember, you cannot put a price on the personal brand of Active Erica, though many have tried.

In a similar battle for a skate brand nobody cares about, Kareem Campbell issued a big “nuh uh” Tweet towards Circa, regarding the latter’s claimed ownership of the storied Axion footwear trademark. It’s hard to think who’d do better by this company, which had little going for it in its heyday besides the Guy Mariano model, a hot team and Kevin Taylor’s stab at a running shoe. As far as I know they’re currently counting on Brian Wenning to lead the charge back into the mosh pit that is the skate shoe market, which seems like the type of crazy-like-a-fox move the post-MNC Kareem would green-light, so maybe there’s room for the two parties to get together on this.

Elsewhere, Jamie Thomas’s Black Box distribution recruited Frank Messman, a known wizard with powers to conjure profits from skateboard sales. His brief is said to include constructing elaborate financial hedges against the shifting prices of Canadian hard-rock maple, urethane and black leather dye. Messman is familiar to some as the dude who “turned World around,” if that gives you any idea as to his credentials, but considering Messman’s rumored supernatural powers this actually could have been a back-door Trojan Horse power move by the Chief to head off competition in the past through time travel. (Terminator part 4 release this summer only a coincidence?) Regardless these are tough times indeed. Jamie Thomas famously tests the work ethic of his flow kids in the trenches of the Black Box warehouse; could traveling sales rep responsibilities await willing amateurs? Highly paid pros set to work devising a comeback strategy for Monster Trucks?

One idea to get the industry back on the rails that’s been floated by multiple “industry leaders is that old chestnut, the Olympics. This would “Grow the Sport” while simultaneously putting skateboarders alongside soccer and basketball players, thus earning them the respect of overweight middle-Americans that they so richly deserve. A similar gambit in the late 1980s resurrected the ping-pong industry, which had been all but dead after star paddleman Jerry Rogerman quit the sport to focus on a career in hair rock.

We at Boil the Ocean tend to believe that skateboarding in the Olympics is a bad idea, not because of any evil intentions by the IOC or the IASC or even Tony Iommi, all of whom are upstanding persons with nothing but the purest of intentions for athletic pursuits of all varieties. More problematic is the still-fresh memory of poor Bode Miller, pilloried in the press for his love of the bottle, and to make it plain I fear the same thing might happen to the gentle Fred Gall. Also certain sectors may object to putting professional skateboard riders in close proximity with teen girls in tights.

A better plan, of course, was already dreamed up by the wits at K-Swiss, who stunned the skate industry and rational thinkers everywhere by naming none other than Greg Lutzka “creative director.” Video evidence follows, if you somehow haven’t seen it already, it’s amazing.

BTO votes we put Billy Rohan in charge of everything. View his platform here around the 1:00 minute mark.


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