Posts Tagged ‘Shorty’s’

Did The Sabotage Dudes Make The Illegalest Video Of The Year Already?

January 19, 2013

halford

For many downtrodden and disillusioned teens in the 1990s, the famous “skateboarding is not a crime” bumper sticker offered the kind of all-caps catharsis that can only be had by blaring your opinion from the rear of an auto. Those were idealistic times, but with the turn of the century came the dot-com bubble bursting and the terrorist attacks of 9/11 that sparked a nervier, more fearful era. In southern California, this new anxiety manifested itself in Shorty’s 2001 cautionary tale “Guilty,” which laid bare the real-world consequences that come from challenging the land’s law. According to unconfirmed rumors, the central storyline was inspired by Rodney Mullen’s brutal takedown and jailing of Shiloh Greathouse, whose time behind bars caused him to become a born-again step-hopper.

A decade later there are signs and siguls that the narrative may change again. DGK’s late-2012 release “Parental Advisory” reveled in lawbreaking of all shades, perpetrated by juveniles and presented in high-definition video format. Weeks later we have the Philadelphia-created video “Sabotage 3″ that comes like a thrice-dubbed “Faces of Death” bookend to DGK’s “Saw,” with an illegality quotient that nears previous high-water marks such as the drill fight in the Plan B video, or Muska brazenly spray-painting his own name on a wall in “Fulfill the Dream.” As far as grit, “Sabotage” guys Brian Panebianco and Ryan Higgins have bags. Across 35 minutes, within the general timeframe of ideal video length, viewers are treated to bums taking shits, street brawls, public consumption, graffiti tagging high above street level, various hustles, police raids and a dude bearing the name of “One Finger.” As if disobeying municipal and state statutes was not enough, several skate-video taboos are broken, including poached pro moves, drum-n-bass music and the execution of the “ghetto bird.” There are a couple clips of Brian Wenning, skating Love Park.

These are some committed dudes, down to link up trick combos on the Philadelphia city hall ledges even after they’ve been cracked to pieces in the process of a tear-down. They blast over the Love Park steps and cans and run from the neon-jacketed cops the same way Tony Montgomery and Kevin Taylor and Matt Reason used to do, but they have figured out some new ways to navigate not only the big ugly planters but also the tiles, propping up two at a time and skating them like a hip. And they mostly operate in the classic East Coast mode. Jon Hadley runs a stringy weed-dealer frame, black tank tops and a tough switch backside heelflip. Brian Panebianco maintains a stash of aged DCs and puts down nollie 360s similar to PJ Ladd. Tore Bevivino is on the Steve Durante tip with switch frontside blunts and switch heelflips out of switch b/s tailslides, plus some long ledge tricks over those planters. This video puts Ishod Wair back onto some East Coast spots that I always thought represent his skating the best, like the pop-out lines he does on the fountain ledge, and footage recorder Mark Suciu does a pretzel trick not seen before down one of those black micro rails.

Love Park is skated more than any other locale in this vid and between the runs up and down the fountain steps and the number of clips featuring day-glo EXP decks makes this probably the closest to a 2012/13 “Photosynthesis” that the market has to offer. They sell the DVD here for $15.

Kids

December 17, 2012

knox

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

Shorty’s Cooper Draper Pryce

March 29, 2012

Necessity is the mother of invention, goes the old saying. You can put lipstick on a pig, but you can’t stop him from eating the whole tube, goes another. Deceased Macho Man Randy Savage repeatedly shouted “oh yeah.” All of these phrases are different ways of expressing the idea that ever since the days when cavemen urinated on cave walls, mankind has yearned and urinated to express himself and develop a personal branding motif.

So it is with mounting hardware, that little-loved backwater of hardgoods commerce usually relegated to some lowly corner of the scratched-up glass merchandise case, forgotten between professionally colored trucks and expensive Black Label stickers autographed by Jub. Or is it? A detailed analysis of history reveals that hardware purveyours rank among the creamiest in skateboarding’s would-be crop of self-styled marketing necromancers.

The original baron of bolts must be known as Shorty’s Tony Buyalos, who swept aside faddish concerns such as “Bridgebolts” to zero in on an increasingly truthful fact of the world in the early 1990s, which was that mounting hardwares generally were too long and got sort of wavy from street skating*. At the height of its power, the Shorty’s empire commanded consumer loyalty not only to its nuts and bolts but to an array of multicolored bushings, bearings and even riser pads, a shocking twist of fate since the declining popularity of riser pads was what first helped to develop a thirst for Shorty’s bolts that were shorter. An unrelated line of snowboards came to be sold, Rosa became the industry’s diva of the 1990s** and the Muska was signed as an employee, skateboarding but also innovating new objects like the “short stacks.”

Today the hardware kingpin with the wealthiest fame must be Nick Tershay who built a profitable clothes company by starting with some difficult to use but heavily endorsed mounting hardwares bearing the Diamond brand. I never did see many people ever use Diamond hardware, but a knack for color schemes and a knowing of the right people bolstered Diamond’s standing to the point where one of its premium t-shirts may fetch near $100 in an open auction format. The company separately has Mike Carroll signature hardware currently on offer.

The expansive market share and well-loved logos nurtured in our time by hardware companies raises queries as to why bolt-makers have been able to capture valuable soft dollars while companies competing to sell “sexier” products such as footwear and boards have struggled to stay afloat in recent years. Seven-ply maple decks and minimalist suede shoes have steadily marched toward commoditization but selling nuts and bolts, basically a commodity to begin with, has birthed lucrative empires that have helped clothe rappers and introduced the world to the multifaceted talents of Peter Smolik. Are hardware sellers forced to hustle harder than the next outfit because they are starting with a humdrum product? Does a major corporate superpower like Nike or K-Mart or BNSF Railways possess the credibility to jump into the hardware fray? Could Torey Pudwill launch the next great mounting hardware dynasty? Is mounting hardware a right or a privilege?

*Not good wavy like “Coke Wave 2,” bad wavy like going to prison for 75 years
**Runner-up, Ricca Gentry?

The Beak Is Back, Maybe

January 28, 2010


Can’t be stopped

As you can imagine, even in the freshly minted year of our Lord 2010, the Muska is never far from our minds around here. Whether it was his days pioneering the cargo pant as the Shorty’s team captain, the clear sunglasses-and-headscarf combo of Circa’s heyday or his resurrection as a white-denimed Hollywood nightcrawler, Chad Muska’s legacy looms large. So large in fact that I was gobsmacked no less than twice yesterday during my usual You-Toob clip perusal by the way Muska fulfilled the dream with one of his token moves, the backside noseslide.

I’ve been hard-pressed to keep up with the various “You/U/Eu” video contests and controversies that seem to be constantly churning over at the berrics, but was prompted to click this one because it had an odd name that I incorrectly thought belonged to a single person, and also because it came from Mexico, a land I imagine to be overrun with bloodthirsty druglords toting AR-15s, but actually is home to some bros that do a lot of body varial tricks. The Muska moment arrives at 2:33 with a healthy noseslide through some sizable kinks and taken back to regular which is always a good look with this move.

Elsewhere on the planet, globetrotting Yankees fan Kenny Reed stretches his backside 5-0s to worldly proportions and revisits a few obscure spots en route to a (spoiler alert) truly massive noseslide down something like 50 steps. The sheer length is one thing but what makes this noseslide really classic is how low the ledge is and the never-say-die way that Reed skids it out to the bitter end. Kind of comical but it’s interesting to see a resurgence of these more basic tricks these days. People like Davids Gravette and Gonzales are promoting 5050s again when there’s a gnarly handrail involved, although for years it seemed like that trick had been discarded as too basic* to even consider. If noseslides creep back into the rotation, perhaps there will one day be no need to twist boardslides into feeble grinds.

*disregarding Anthony Pappalardo, in which case that seems like the whole point

The All-Ighty Ollar

April 7, 2009

pappalardo_ad
“No, I want roast beef, you clod”

Though I have mixed feelings about Converse jumping into the SB/IVSK8/SR-71 Blackbird business, I do got to hand it to them re: their entertaining fold-in ads, a criminally under-used format outside the realms of Alfred E. Neuman and Shorty’s better years. The real genius is that this approach lets you reimagine these seasoned pros as skating any way you want them to. Say for instance that you like Anthony Pappalardo, but pine for the days when his repertoire spanned regions beyond 50-50s, boardslides and shove-its. And say that you despise the way gravity and, indeed, a paltry three dimensions bind our everyday life. Voila! If MC Escher were regular footed and also mentally retarded he might have come up with something perhaps far better than this. Did I mention, I like the Converse ads. That includes those ones with all the animals, as I consider myself an ally to all natural creatures, especially the tortoise. Boil the ocean wishes these stalwart nomads peace among the Dutch tulips.

Working For the Weekend

November 28, 2008


Ain’t trickin if you got it

If I had a nickel for every skateboarder done wrong by the industry I could probably save deck merchants from the scourge of blank boards, bail out PacSun and have enough left over to take Dave Duncan and Fred Gall out for buffalo wings (not even on 5 cent night). However, on rare instances I get to wondering what’s lost when the industry effectively closes the door on some former hot shoe’s career, for what are usually pretty subjective reasons. The fickle tides of footwear choice and waistlines, etc.

I got thinking on this recently when two Wisco boys, Brian Emmers and Aaron Snyder, popped up in various media via The Skateboard Mag – Emmers with the pic above in the photo issue and Snyder with this “Mag Minute” video feature a couple weeks ago. While as far as I know neither one’s got any kind of major-league sponsors backing them right now (or anytime since the turn of the century if you don’t count S-One [which maybe I should]), both clearly remain ready and willing to skate up to and possibly beyond current standards. Which is cool from a soul-brah-pure-love-of-skateboarding perspective of course and interesting as far as their willingness to continue pushing their personal trick envelopes.

I’m still a fan of Brian Emmers’ part in Plan B’s “Revolution” and remember being blown away by the nollie cab backside lipslide shove-it out, which still isn’t a trick you see done much at all today. Aside from some style quibbles the part holds up pretty well, as does his contribution to the rag-tag group of misfits Evol video, which anticipates the rise of Brian Wenning minus the Yosiris ender. The question on my mind: in an age where camera-ready park pros wax poetic on their frontside feeble grinds, would Emmers’ “respect the skills” transgression still get him drummed out of the industry?

Likewise, when dudes up to and including a skater of the year can get away with fudging a sequence and Photoshopping is par for the course, you wonder whether Aaron Snyder’s fiasco with the Big Brother sequence would be such a big deal. Spilled milk aside, the dude hasn’t lost many steps with the TSM clip, arm-flappiness on the manual pads aside. His last two tricks are genuinely insane.

Whether these dudes belong back in regular circulation is a question best left to industry dark men and the free market. But I wonder if it bums out pros on the slide or come-up kids, seeing dudes like Snyder and Emmers busting legit stuff on current spots like that. I imagine it’s probably the same way strippers feel when somebody’s drunk girlfriend leaps out of her chair, onto a pole and starts working it for free. Those bags of blow don’t pay for themselves, after all.


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