For the record. Cole v. P-rod was pretty stellar, but as ever, the runner-up match with Cory Kennedy and Torey Pudwill took the cake…
Posts Tagged ‘the Berrics’
Internet entrepreneur Steve Berra is in the news again. This week in dramatic fashion he took to the web with a heartfelt diatribe centered on the plight of the American small businessman. In keeping with the militaristic theme of the Berrics he describes nothing less than “a war being waged upon small businesses” in the United States, where plucky entrepreneurs are “taxed to death on both the state and federal level,” and also they are “over-regulated” and unable to compete with larger corporate rivals. An uphill battle in the best of times that has proven the undoing of ventures like SkaterAde, IceLounge and Chris Gentry’s rap career, and Berra assures the viewer that “in the current economic climate, [skate shops] don’t stand a chance without your support.”
Now it might be too easy to caricature Steve Berra as Ron Paul with a five o’clock shadow and military jacket. Even if they do share similar views on gun control and pork flu and look alike. This post will not try and explore whether or not Ron Paul is Berra’s true father, even though it may even be actually true, but instead focuses on Steve Berra’s core issue which is undue economic burdens upon citizens and their little stores. Here he also is in line with RonPaul. Take this recent screed for example.
Ron Paul talks about Tax Freedom Day, a hypothetical holiday which is “celebrated” today, April 13, and symbolizes the fact that Americans are slaving away 3.5 months, or 28.2% of this year to fulfill the government’s voracious appetite for confiscatory taxes, corrupt bailouts and wasteful stimulus efforts.
What was going on at the Berrics on 4-13? The site archives are too hard to search to know for sure. But what is true is that the famed skatepark is launching its own mail-order website, as described in a recent message to shops regarding the “unified” program, which allows shops to harness the Berrics web traffic to promote their own brands in a localized fashion using the power of Google maps or something.
Many of you have also asked about our Canteen and if we are going to expand it into a fully stocked mail order. The answer is yes and no. Yes we are expanding it, but no we are not going to be fully stocked with everything. We are primarily going to focus on pro endorsed product and most of that pro product will be our team riders. On every page of the Canteen we will encourage that everyone check their local Berrics Unified shop first before purchasing anything online.
All this, even despite the fact that many shops now operate an online component. We know what the business-minded among you are thinking – would this not put Joe’s Board Store in direct competition with Berrics.com? Perhaps or perhaps not, but Berra has thought of this, and harkens back to another conservative touchstone, namely Ronald Reagan’s concept of trickle-down economics.
We do not find it a threat because both Eric and I firmly believe in the old saying, “a rising tide lifts all boats”, in other words, general prosperity is good for all. The Berrics is flourishing and prospering and it wants you to as well.
In his video soliloquy Steve Berra refers at one point to the Unified effort as “one of three initiatives” that Berrics is launching; with the mail-order business being a possible second, one can only assume that the third will be Berra’s candidacy for the US Senate. As the Republican party is in the midst of an identity crisis, battling between itself over a move to the center or further to the right, it might not be surprising to see Berra to sail under the banner of a third party in his crusade against government waste and overzealous regulation of the small business man. With a flair for rhetoric and an internet grass roots network already firmly in place – again, taking a page from the RonPaul – expect Berra to launch a full-scale assault against the perverted Washington plutocrats who insist on perpetuating a two-tiered economic system, after he wraps his “Battle Commander” section.
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
Not to be overlooked when nitpicking Paul Rodriguez’s video productions (this also goes for Jereme Rogers’ generally superior “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”) is these dudes’ genuine effort to nurture the alleged next generation of possible pro-level kids, even if that effort does amount to basically attaching their name to some already-in-progress film project. Besides putting people on to your Mike Moes and Daryl Angels and so on, these videos allow semi-established types a chance to re-frame their whole deal and possibly help bust out of the dreaded man-am ranks, types such as one-time World warrior Jason Wakuzawa and former velour tracksuit proponent Eli Reed.
Reed along with Pudwill had one of the hotter sections in the JR vid, his relocation to Southern California apparently helping him develop oodles of crazy switchstance tricks that I personally had no idea he could do (or anybody else either when it came to the Flushing Meadows switch ollie). But, it looks like that part may be a warmup to still yet further bonkers shit in Zoo York’s “State of Mind” video, if Eli Reed’s entry in the Berrics’ venerable “Bangin” series last week is to be believed. All manner of crazy tricks in there — he seems to have learned a bunch of transition stuff in addition to taking some of his older moves, turning them around and doing them down hubbas — and I sorta dig the fact that his switch stuff looks switch, if that makes sense. Meanwhile my personal jury is still out on whether the navy Dickies top the sweat suit.
Now this is pretty old in internet time, but I feel it’s worth posting as A. I was kind of lazy about putting it up when it was current and B. a whole 45 days or so later the tricks are still all pretty much nutty. I haven’t decided yet for sure, but I was thinking about saddling up and riding for this kid all year long similar to how I fawned over Jake Johnson last year and Steve Durante the year before that (I was pulling for Justin Schulte a while back, but the JR Blastoff Neighborhood part was less than I had hoped for).
Now Habitat may or may not be a more interesting company if they had put Nicholson on ahead of, say, Marius Syvanen, but I’m confident things will work out one way or the other for the young Pennsylvanian. And if they don’t, well, then he’ll live on in YouTube glory, having spared himself a career fraught with the temptation to don energy drink New Eras, swim the fickle waters of footwear sponsorship and shore up ailing street cred via facial tattoos*. While there are grimmer fates than working a straight job, Nicholson is talented enough and a reasonable time has passed since somebody came up with a good Tom Penny resurrection, so he should be good.
- which are permanent
For some reason I find it hard to write anything that seems at all interesting about the epic game of skate going on at that undisclosed Los Angeles location, which is alright I guess, seeing’s how there’s a 59-page topic a-churning over at the Slap message boards, untold billions of postings on it at the Berric’s cheap China-produced Slap board equivalent, and oh yeah, a feature-length feature in the Wall Street Journal that’s rather on point with regard to the spirit of the thing, explaining the general gist to the Todd Palins and Mary Cheneys of the world, while making an end run around the old gray lady for the skateboard mass media crown (sorry, Bonnier Corp). There’s a video too, though it’s clear the narrator is biased toward the goofy footer…
Probably the best part, aside from any reference to Mike Mo as “Mr. Capaldi”:*
Talent is what sets the Berrics’ games apart. No one trick they try is awe-inspiring, but the contestants are the world’s best. They possess a humbling command of the basics, ripping through dozens of tricks and landing most in one try. It’s like going to the practice tee at the Masters and seeing Tiger Woods place golf balls wherever he pleases. (In skateboarding, as in golf, sometimes it’s more impressive watching a professional practice than compete.)
That’s pretty much it right? We rush (or shuffle bleary-eyed, stinking and off kilter, depending on your own personal mileage) to our computers twice per weekend to watch grown men flip skateboards about on a concrete block, shouting at themselves and one another and sometimes a siren blares. Yes, my dudes, these are the salad days. Before it’s over and the second round is inevitably scheduled, musings on some of the matches that have come before:
Koston v. Donovan Strain
Not even a laser flip could save a very nervous-looking Butters in this slop-filled and ultimately anticlimatic match-up. I almost felt bad for the kid, until I considered how annoyed I probably would’ve felt if Donovan ran the table on a trick cribbed from the credits of a 10-year-old TWS video. Then again, maybe it would’ve been awesome.
Chico v. Mike Mo Capaldi
I wouldn’t have thought that this heavily imbalanced round would be the one to see Mike Mo unsheath the nollie kickflip 360, but I’m assuming this is one of the tricks that he’ll ride to the final round and beyond, if Jehovah wills it. The catch on the switch 360 flip is also notable.
PJ Ladd vs. Andrew Reynolds
A blistering, toe-to-toe, knock-down-drag-out cliche/cliche/cliche battle in which a very staid Reynolds knew what he was up against, but refused to go gently. I think he knew what time it was when the switch backside kickflip was offered, but a valiant effort all the same, bruh.
Steve Berra vs. Marc Johnson
Probably my favorite one so far.
Erik Ellington v. Jimmy Cao
The awesome shockingness of Ellington’s backside bigger spin eased the pain of seeing my Jimmy Cao pick swirl down the drain like so many loose turds. Eh, so be it.
Mike Carroll v. Mike Mo
I think Carroll was genuinely bummed about losing this, although, he maybe saw it coming.
Koston vs. PJ Ladd
For sure, the best battle yet, and one of the few where I felt like a retard when it was over and I found myself hunched all over the computer with my fists balled up, sweaty, the cat bewildered as to what the fuck I was on about. I picked PJ of course, but when Eric Koston broke out all those goddam pressure flips and shit, well, I just about had to go and have a glass of warm milk and take a walk around the block. Was it a cheap shot to take him out on the hardflip? Maybe…
If I can just suck my own dick for a minute here, I’ve had Mike Mo vs. PJ Ladd for the final match since the start, so yeah. I think Mike Mo’s gonna win. $10,000 on the line (?) and he’s got the spark.
*So is “Mo” a nickname or what?
Blood on the asphalt
In the past I’ve kind of been turned off by Billy Roper’s effusive exuberance when it comes to his skateboarding prowess, but I won’t pretend that his “Mag Minute” video from the Skateboard Mag isn’t ridiculous or anything. The way things stand, my capacity for self deception hit the limit for the summer when I tried to convince myself the new Indiana Jones didn’t sort of suck. While it was easier to dismiss Billy Roper when he was backside tailsliding rails that Carroll backside lipslided a dozen years earlier (in a line), he definitely doesn’t suck and a lot of his tricks in this clip are serious bananas. To wit, the frontside tailslide bigger spin out.
Shit like that makes me wonder why PJ Ladd hasn’t thought up that trick and done it already, and Billy Roper definitely seems to take cues from PJ’s Boston heyday, especially with his tendency to do things the hard way: see the nollie crooked grind shove-it (frontside), backside bluntslide 360 shove-it (also frontside), f/s 5-0 b/s 180 out in the middle of the ledge, and the f/s nosegrind 180 off the wall. Yowch. Roper recently left the illustrious stables of Sugar Skateboards for some presumably greener pasture yet to be named, but in the meantime he’s wearing $30 T-shirts courtesty of the Hundreds and maybe he’ll show up on the Berrics in the next couple weeks.