Archive for January, 2009

Greg Lutzka Wins The Dew Tour That Is This Earthly Life

January 13, 2009


One Toyota to rule them all

Like many others, my imagination was captivated this week with the revelation that frontside-favoring Milwaukeean Greg Lutzka completed an agreement with Toyota to produce a line of white cars with a drawing on the side. While it may have made more sense for Toyota to go with, say, valley boy Mikey Taylor for this honor given his fondness for street racing and, one can only assume, Tokyo drifting as well, you have to commend Lutzka for his business savvy and sheer ballsiness, managing to convince a global car company to adorn the side of a hatch-back with a funny-looking moustache dude pulling his pud.

(Notice to Madison Avenue: This is exactly the type of low-brow, bottom-of-the-barrel approach that I keep trying to tell you resonates with kids today. And this is why those kids are tomorrow’s today’s Toyota buyers.)

Wikipedia (where someone, possibly on the Lutzka payroll, keeps rather close tabs on his trophy-packed contest schedule), tells us that the Matrix is Toyota’s Heathcliff to the Garfield that is the Pontiac Vibe. It has received mixed reviews for safety, much like Greg Lutzka’s trick selection. Yet it also received solid marks for reliability, much like Greg Lutzka’s trick selection. Again, I refer you to the exhaustive Lutzkapedia contest compendium.

Now a lot of people poke fun at Greg Lutzka, or as he’s increasingly known, the Greg Lutzka. There was that embarrassing month-long stint on Krooked, a partnership rumored to have come apart following the revelation that the GL adorned his bedroom walls with his own likeness in the form of Illennium ads or what have you. And one of my great regrets of last year was that I never devoted one of these none-too-precious postings to the kind of amazing Globe section, themed as it was with French techno music and some really sweet “Krazy Kings”-esque special effects.

But the Greg Lutzka’s earnest Midwestern cluelessness is deeply endearing, and puts his finger-snappin’, hat-wearin’, frontside flippin’ spinnin’ in the sort of perspective that you can’t get when he strolls the club in a leather jacket. Why, just a few years ago the kid needed a sit-down* to learn the proper way to wipe and discard the wasteful, shameful, hateful “tissue glove” method.

Now look at him. His name sparkles proudly on the side of a Toyota hatch-back. He knows Lil Jon and Ryan Sheckler. He sells his own hat made from the skin of synthetic frogs, developed in a secret laboratory owned by Oakley glasses. Australian footwear concern Globe recently approached him to design a shoe, which does closely resemble the Muska’s vaunted Sky-Top, but this is hardly a mark against the Greg Lutzka. As we all know it is nigh impossible to fade the Muska, and one can only hope to follow his lead. Which the GL wisely has done in this instance. So don’t try and tell me the kid hasn’t made it.

*from a Big Brother writer, no less

When Your Friends Are Watching

January 12, 2009


Through all this bullshit

I got to thinking the other day, while pondering yet again how awesome it would be if Anthony Pappalardo and Brian Wenning got the band back together and rented a place in Philadelphia and teamed up to liberate Love Park under the tutelage of an older, wiser Matt Reason (like a sitcom)…

Despite Pappalardo’s Midwestern grandpa dress code I think he may still be too young to qualify as a true curmudgeon type, but probably can safely be called a sourpuss. So seeing the footage from “Photosynthesis” where he gets all giggly after nollie 180ing the Brooklyn Banks rail warmed the cockle-burrs of my heart and later got me thinking on earnest, honest smiles after landing tricks. Sometimes frowned upon, especially in these troubled times of trophy-tossing Austin Seaholms and back-flip fly-outting Ryan Shecklers, we may need an occasional reminder that it’s okay to show some emotion after negotiating a particularly hairy move. Or else you risk looking like a scary-eyed serial killer. (See Caswell Berry, backside lipslide, “Man Down”; Heath Kirchart, all videos)

So, a handful of good, decent, god-fearing smiles over the years:*

Mike Maldonado, “Welcome to Hell”
East Coast powerhouse exhibits a stubbly underbite after dismounting a tall backside 5050, affirming to the viewer that the spot probably is as fun as it looks and sapping a little doom-n-gloom from the Misfits song to come.

Cairo Foster, “The Reason”
Following a blistering line through Pier 7, Cairo’s skull-like features soften as he catches his breath and looks forward to a heavy helping of Ty Evans slow-mo for what will remain his best part to date nearly ten years on, in one of the best TWS vids. So, what’s not to smile about.

Ben Stewart, “Seasons 4”
Kickflip-to-smith-grinding Hubba Hideout admits young Ben Stewart into a fairly select membership of skateboarders to have stepped to the crack cocaine-themed ledge, and his innocent schoolboy smirk is well earned, if not crack cocaine-themed itself. (I don’t know him personally)

Devine Calloway, “Let’s Do This”
Pearly whites, can-do attitude and a seemingly constant grin, but for the purposes of this posting we’ll highlight the post-nollie varial flip period in the 2007 Transworld video, the name of which could double as a subtitle for the next installment of “Thug Motivation.”

Jovontae Turner, Mike Carroll’s part in “Questionable”
The haircut gets him over I think. I’d smile if I was running around with that look, early 1990s or no. A proper shiteating variation here.

*Ray Barbee and Karl Watson are disregarded because, too easy.

Have It Your Way

January 9, 2009


“Our burgers are fucking delicious,” perhaps

Hitching your wagon to the whims of the masses can make for an interesting ride. Decision by consensus has produced some amazing cultural milestones in our time, including but not limited to the Soulja Boy dance, David Archuletta and Wikipedia.

Of course public opinion is often way off to the point of blowing it entirely: CNN entrusted the internet peanut gallery with reporting power, which produced a sort-of plausible but still wildly untrue story about Steve Jobs nearly dying. There’s the inexplicable appeal of “The Mummy” movies, as well as David Archuletta.

I’ve noticed that skateboard-minded advertising is similarly hit-and-miss in this way. Real boldly rolled the dice with a minimalist ad generated by the Slap message board brain-trust, specifically known Hero Member “sal23,” in reaction to some apparently questionable prose accompanying the current campaign. Anyway, behold:

Real’s populist/“plain folks” approach seems to have resonated with the masses, who heaped plaudits on sal23 (“with the their/there/they’re shitty grammar and all”) to the point that he is no doubt entertaining offers from Leo Burnett, among others.

Z-mogul Stacy Peralta had less luck with his recent “Whopper Virgins” ad for BK, in which he served up the floppy sandwich to the moribund citizenry of far-flung zones in Thailand, Greenland and Transylvania as a kind of ultimate taste test against the mighty Big Mac. Or something. It’s only sort of interesting and kind of long, but if you wanna watch it, here it is, funny outfits and all:

Peralta wound up getting slagged in the media for exploiting third world residents’ marginal sophistication when it comes to fast foods:
-“Outrageous” declared Sharon Akabas of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University
-“Insensitive” stated Marilyn Borchardt, development director for Food First

More distressing, Peralta came in for even more flame-broiled criticism from online comment forums:
-“The most nauseating, soul-destroying bit of corporate propaganda that I’ve seen in a long time” clucked one anonymous poster.

Of course the King and his court probably meant to stir the coals a bit with the ad, working people into a tizzy before coming back to sweep us off our feet with the scent of roasted cow-flesh. Hopefully Peralta fares better with his new documentary on the Sharks’n’Jets, where he may be playing for significantly higher stakes.

Anthony Pappalardo, This Is Your Life

January 8, 2009


You went away but now you’re back

In the interest of full disclosure, I tended to roll my eyes when people told me how they teared up the first time they watched Guy Mariano’s part in the Lakai video, with the emo music and slow-mo door opening and all. Also, while I’m for sure a fan, I did not get particularly misty-eyed watching the later, more inspirational chapters of the John Cardiel “Epicly Later’d.” And even though I’m desperately going to miss it (and the Big Push which I meant to commentate on last year but got too lazy), my cheeks stayed dry as I accepted that Document magazine has indeed gone gently into that good night.

But goddammit all, if this Pappalardo “E L’d” turns into a mumbly bro-huggin’ reunion between APO and Brian Wenning, well, I don’t know.

Bus to Beelzebub

January 7, 2009


It was smelling like a locker room, there was junk all over the floor/We’re already packed in like sardines, but we’re stopping to pick up more – look out

Despite what my mellow demeanor and musky odor may lead you to believe, I was not a part of the Love Generation, though I do consider myself an old soul and a friend to all animals (excepting the toucan for reasons of my own). For this reason I, like many skateboarders, missed out on seminal 60s experiences such as grooving, turning on, or tripping on the magic bus. Indeed my earliest memories of buses tended to be filled with dread and foreboding, as I associated them with school and the untimely deaths of (analog) guitar heroes.

All that changed of course in the late 1990s when a storm rolled into town. You know the one I’m talking about:

Yes, Osiris’s “Aftermath” tour reinvented the very concept of the skateboard demo tour complete with swishy pants, hip-hop DJs and Josh Kasper. This was an era of excess fueled by multifaceted ledge combo tricks and shoes that incorporated untold bucketfuls of technology to protect the tootsies of Peter Smolik and Brandon Turner as they playfully pelted one another with paintballs. But really it’s pointless for me to try and describe it when New Jershian Chris Nieratko lived it:

I was blue collar, used to touring in cars and small vans, paying for my own meals, smelling of someone else’s ass and being forced to read and reread magazines and books over and over to pass the time on long stretches of road. Suddenly I’m on a tour bus complete with 12 bunk beds, two large-screen TVs, Playstation 2, stocked refrigerator, cable TV, SVD and VHS players and anything else one would need to take on the American highways and feel like king of the world. It was like culture shock. I didn’t know which movie or video game to play first, I wanted to sleep in all the bunks at the same time, I wanted to take advantage of the occasional free meals by ordering everything on the menu.

Flash forward the better part of a decade, and tour bus glory is a thing of the past for those without luxurious Bagel Bites endorsements. And while Osiris continues to defy the odds and stay very much in business, it fell to Circa’s unlikely “Combat” subsidiary to revitalize the tour bus concept for the late aughts. David Broach details in this month’s Thrasher how a former schoolbus was transformed by way of white spray paint and a certain amount of elbow grease, but only after discarding an ambitious scheme to airbrush the vehicle with “a chick with like a big laser, like protecting it”:

We loaded the bus with the essentials before we hit the highway. The first upgrade was a new stereo system: four big speakers mounted in the back. Normal van seats were welded down in a U shape around the back of the bus, and a cooler was purchased to sit in the middle so you could put your feet up and have a drink. Cup holders were taped by every seat and lighters were superglued in every corner. The lighters were all attached to retractable strings – you could pull them down to light whatever needed and then, when let go, they’d snap back into their resting position. Portable ashtrays fit in the cup holders, and magnetic bottle openers were always stuck to the inside in the event you couldn’t open your beverage with the lighters.

A small trash can was installed (wedged) in the front, as well as a couple of clips in the back that held a mop and a broom.* The van came with two small fans in the back for airflow, plus one on the roof that sucked air out. It really felt like you were rolling around in your living room.

Of course similar to the “Beauty and the Beast” situation the Combat bus (dubbed “White Lightning” at one point) eventually succumbs to the power-suckage of various BlackBerries and Blueberries and other nefarious vine-growing fruits, and Broach leaves it unclear as to whether or not it will eventually ride again. But the article does wrap up with a pretty entertaining story of Frank Gerwer overindulging on Britney Spears and evading Johnny Law all at the same time, which is a happy ending for everybody except the other two guys who went to jail.

*Assuming he meant to type “mug” and “bong”

C’mon now

January 5, 2009


I mean, seriously…