Waiting For the Weirdness

Among my all-time favorite AWS ads, from TWS, October 1991

Due to certain geographical, connectional and hygienical issues, I have yet to see the Alien Workshop video, certainly my most anticipated skate release since “Fully Flared,” and probably more so really. For sure my hopes are higher in terms of rewatchability and enduring classic-ness: Ten years after Menikmati and Photosynthesis hit VCRs, just one is mentioned with the greats. Pappalardo may not be down with the Sect anymore, but he nailed that one.

In that way however I think DNA has tended to benefit, video release-wise at least, from moving in shadows, much like Ohio itself. The “Inhabitants” premiere, along with “Static 3,” was nearly lost in the dull roar of late-2007 Lakai buzz; in 2003 more people were checking for “Yeah Right” and “The DC Video” (doubtless dubbed by the same visionaries who named The Skateboard Mag) than “Mosaic.” Photosynthesis came out in the shadow of “Menikmati” and “Baker2G,” similar situation for “Time Code” and “Mouse”/”Trilogy”/”Welcome to Hell.”

Although I was young, I think I remember that when “Memory Screen” debuted, eight of the nine dudes who skated had to work.

But when the hour strikes this time, all eyes turn upon Xenia, and as much video hype as “Fully Flared” ginned up, the actual bar for an Alien video probably is higher what with the 20-year legacy, craftsmanship on past features and the degree of art they bring to the table. Also there is the fact that both Carter/Hill and our newly exalted snowboard gods at Burton have something to prove–basically that one of the best/brightest and for sure the most singular top-tier skateboard company has not, forgive the snowbro pun, lost its edge.

I hope not, really. I have gone hard on DNA in the past, mostly because their output does command a higher production standard than, say, Zero, 5Boro, or Cliche, to say naught of the Elements, Plan Bs, Zoo Yorks and so on. Alien Workshop conceived their enduring empire on an early-90s budget, in the bleak Midwest, fueled by sheer weirdness (and great skating, yeah).

So: I hope this video is weird, “Memory Screen” weird, to and past the point of unwatchability; we’ve given Ty Evans a year to draw us beautifully filmed slow-motion high-def diagrams as to why a noseblunt nollie varial heelflip out is good, and now I would like to see some barely visible ollies or perhaps a hook scratching pavement while the Nation of Ulysses drones away. I would be into seeing Heath Kirchart skate to something off “Drum’s Not Dead,” Omar Salazar maybe with the Jesus Lizard, Kalis with rap music. I expect to see shitty super-8 film and spinning antennas, rotting animal carcasses, general Midwestern blight and Anthony Van Engelen. 35 minutes or less. Arto Saari’s part hopefully not as boring as I can imagine it to be. I kind of wonder if golden boy Dylan Rieder will have the last part. I don’t know if that would be good or bad. I want to be shocked and taught, not just by the skating. I wonder if this is a dumb thing to hope for from a skateboard video in 2009.

I see it this weekend on a big screen; full reports to follow, depending on the meltedness of my brain.

(Don’t post spoilers in the comments, as I’ll probably delete them.)

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14 Responses to “Waiting For the Weirdness”

  1. adrian Says:

    I saw it in Dayton, its just strange enough for me. Little kids might hate the super eight birds and whatnot. AVE…..

  2. justin Says:

    The Jesus Lizard? The Liars? That would make for a great video soundtrack. The only company that should be allowed to use those bands would be the Workshop, but you know they won’t.

  3. pilot light Says:

    And really, I’d be vaguely disappointed if they did.

  4. mort goldman Says:


  5. rob Says:

    jake johnsons part is ruined by rolled up sleeves.

  6. carbonite Says:

    Just got back from the premiere… Kalis had the best part, then A.V.E. Can’t remember anyone else. Dill’s part was somewhat short, I thought. Overall, it pretty much just made me want to listen to Dinosaur Jr/ and/or “J. Mascis and the Fog.”

    ps. fuckin A, Kalis’ part is fucking intense.

  7. llja Says:

    Arto’s part isn’t boring at all and Heath earned a well-deserved last part.

  8. JNH Says:

    Saw it last night in Minneapolis. Really sick. Aarto=not boring at all; so glad I don’t have to sit through a Flip video to see him. Other stand-outs: AVE, Kirchart, I would’ve liked a longer Berra part, Rieder when he doesn’t have that stupid Matt Field hat on. Omar is fucking god, absolutely out of his mind. The music selections are definitely something; in almost every part, they overwhelm the skating. The only exception being Tyler Surrey’s part with that fucking Battles song; brilliant!

    One observation though, for a dude who’s sick of the Ty Evans bro-mo montage editing, how are you able to dig this? I went with my wife, a photographer, who I thought would like this for, you know, all they “arty” shit. Her first comment when we left was “Too much bullshit” in regards to constant Alien Workshop logos, clips of birds and the overall collage-y editing style. I’m kind of in agreement, I would’ve liked more short films and less random stuff.

    That said, the enders were all amazing and there were practically no slow-mo replays except on the enders. Good show.

  9. art hellman Says:

    a little disappointed with the ‘trend factor’ involved in the soundtrack (aside from Dino Jr…which is, of course, required)

  10. pt Says:

    apart from ‘the human’, skate blog comment posters are the absolute pits, several notches below even contemporary messageboarders. who are you dumbells?

  11. pt Says:

    or dumb bells, heh

  12. Anonymous Says:

    yeah…I’m still blown away by the video. It’s June 1st, 2010 and I still havn’t seen anything as good as Mind Field, I tried watching Fully Flared again and it bored me to tears, and 2 and a half years later, a ton of the tricks look soooo fucking tacky.

    And you can see Mind Fields influence everywhere, as the saying goes, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. While slow mo, HD and combo tricks were the main take away messages from Fully Flared, the ones from Mind Field are infinitely better, I’ve never seen this many people stoked on NY and OH, insane art direction, music, super 8 and lo-fi camera footage and creative skating. Seriously, before the video, I wasn’t seeing people do ANY of this type of stuff and then right after it, BOOM, the shit hit the fan, I see it’s prevalence from top companies to every little kids skatepark montage, seriously, all of it.

    Mind Field was fantastic, I still love it and Mike Hill and his team of trend killers have certainly continued the fantastic art direction too. Dylans “Faces” board reminds me of old Neil Blender artwork, Heath Kircharts 5 Minds board is classic Mike Hill, even the Dyrdek board with the photosynthetic font fantastic, mikey taylors current board graphic, the Salazar Eye, nice. The logoing needs to get toned down a little bit on some boards (like the Arto owl). I can understand their concern because of how many people steal their artwork, but c’mon guy, ease up a little, I got one of the original artos without the workshop logo on it and it looked fantastic.

    Everything came together, the skating, art, music, the DVD, everything, congrats to the Sect, you guys killed it.

    P.S. please tell the right people to put kevin terpening and kyle nickolson on full for AWS and Habitat, it’s long overdue and they kill. Also, let Wenning, Molinar and Pappalardo back on, you can tell they want on again. Please, somebody, anybody! Make this happen !

  13. Anonymous Says:

    *June 2nd. Sorry for the typo.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    You said all eyes on Xenia? Was it shown here? Ive heard alien workshop started in xenia oh but never found out…

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