Nants Ingonyama Bagithi Baba

What happened to that boy

As Sir Elton John famously sang through the mouth of an orphaned cartoon lion, the circle of life is evident in all things, even or perhaps especially the Alien Workshop skate video. New careers are launched, even as others film a handful of low-impact ledge lines on their way toward that inevitable twilight. We could jawbone about professional obligations and numerically stack pro model shoes against tricks in the video, but that won’t get us any further than a Brian Wenning alphabet ledge trick (to keep it vintage DNA for ya’ll) so let’s focus on some of the “Mind Field” veterans who, ahem, showed up for work.

In Jason Dill of course we have somebody who’s been in the skateboarding business for about two-thirds of his life and has actively given a shit about his contribution to the whole ball of wax for at least half that time, if not longer, little shit status notwithstanding. He cares to the point of calling people out on shit that the rest of us would probably let slide, or at least silently simmer until some drunken industry function spills onto a post-bartime sidewalk; he seems to have a very definite idea of what skateboarding can be and puts no small amount of consideration into what he does, how he does it and when. Whether it’s lifestyle factors or some new less-is-more inclination (which I can get down with to some extent) Jason Dill’s video parts and coverage in general have gotten more spare in the last few years, putting whatever tricks he has into sharper relief – I think I like his “Mind Field” part better than his shit in the DVS video, if nothing else because there a noticeable absence of Cass McCombs droning, but also due to the fact that he seems like he was going for it a little more on this one. Clarity of vision, or the whole trying-harder-for-the-Alien-dudes thing. Lots of feeble grinds in uncomfortable places, updating the Photo-era 180 to 5-0 sequences to contemporary abrupt transition spots* and generally weirding up Pappalardo’s non-Flare minimalism. I want to believe there’s some deeper symbolism behind letting the phone float away at the end of the section. Something to do with Chris Carter taping him, right? Or maybe he lost his phone?

For Josh Kalis it seems simpler – he’s laid out his philosophy of professional-grade skating several times, likening it to a ladder, or staircase to heaven, or, god help us, a 12-step program. First you get the flow… then you get the pro board… then you get the women. Or, shoe deal. Pro model shoe. Video game. Reality show (or not). Like that. Learn new tricks along the way, take the tricks you know to different spots, do them faster. Not real complex. At this late stage in the game Kalis probably could get over cycling through tricks from parts that Kids Today haven’t even seen (kickflip noseblunt/411 Alien industry section, frontside flip nosegrind/411, switch backside noseblunt/”Sixth Sense”) peppered with the usual 360 flips, switch backside tailslides and so on, but darn it if he doesn’t keep on trying. He’s been talking up the possibilities of the bigspin for years but really pushes it in “Mind Field,” with fairly dazzling results, and when he turns up the heat after Marquise Henry’s cameo the general badassness of the entire affair makes it easier to overlook how some of his tricks don’t flip as fast as they once did, and how the classic eagle swoop form is missing more often than not. But with all the bigspin tricks, the taller-than-a-building switch backside flip, the 360 flip off the Barcelona bump, this might be the best Kalis part of the white cap era. And he’ll have more of course.

Anthony Van Engelen, I have no clue whether he thinks in these terms or not – you want to think his skating is totally visceral and from the gut, the way it translates on video, an idea (or not) and then a full-speed charge. But who knows. He does seem to have gone through some shit during his years in the wilderness, so maybe he’s been plotting, but his new voracious appetite for big rails and off-the-wall tricks (I’m thinking like the fakie f/s 50-50, and the spin-around ledge stuff) kind of seems like he’s shooting first and asking questions later when it comes to mapping this stuff out. I’m not sure if this time around quite matches the platinum standard AVE set with his blazing debut in “Photosynthesis” or the refined and elevated “DC Video” part, time will be the judge I guess, but it’s awesome to see him so hungry again. Depending on the day, this is one of my favorite three parts in the video. That fuckin’ switch frontside noseslide. Ollies straight onto rails = the new nosegrind pop-outs.

*I enjoy the phrase “abrupt transition” and plan to use it often – thanks Deer Man of Dark Woods

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9 Responses to “Nants Ingonyama Bagithi Baba”

  1. theProgram Says:

    no mention of the fact that Dill filmed a line ending with a backside nosegrind on the ledge in NYC that puleo fixed and nosegrinded in a venture ad? or what about the feeble on the white-coped bank to wall in atlanta that kris markovich did years ago? how about the fact that he just barely one-downed sheckler by spray painting his name on his apartment wall and then put a piece of film with him contemplatively smoking at the window underneath it in his part?

  2. Vitis Says:

    it is a good phrase.

  3. pt Says:

    andy, don’t be a faggot with that bitter ‘abd’ talk

  4. theProgram Says:

    nah man, not bitter, just surprised. for such a “conscious” dude, i was surprised that dill ran that type of shit in his part. i thought he had some amazing tricks in his part, but running the same fakie to fakie 5-0s on that ditch in austin that everyone runs in montages on the internet and the tricks i mentioned in my first post just doesn’t seem to fit his typical MO.

    thanks for the faggot comment nonetheless.

  5. carbonite Says:

    12-step program


  6. rich Says:

    I noticed there were a lot of ollie straight on to rails too. I though I was the only one. but after Jake Johnson’s switch one where his truck bounces off the rail and he still pulls it, I stopped caring because I didn’t think there would be a better one in the video. The ollie over to nosegrind was pretty sweet though.

  7. Joe P Says:

    Well since a lot of the posts about this video have been about homages, let me throw my $.02 towards some of the commenters here:

    A: Let’s not forget that AVE pretty much started the ollie over to rail thing 8 years ago (I know Sheffey did it first, that’s why I said “pretty much started”) when Photosynthesis came out, so if anything, Jake Johnson was paying homage to him with that. And honestly, the ollie over to nosegrind made me say “DAMN!!” out loud, and I never do that. Jake’s switch over was amazing of course, but I think the edge goes to AVE with this one.

    B: I’m pretty sure Pendleton painted that “Dill” on Dill’s wall, so I had just figured that was Dills way of paying homage to the longtime Alien artist, since no one else seemed like doing it. Classy and respectful move if you ask me. I was actually really disappointed that there was no sign of Pendleton art in at least one of the billion art shots throughout the flick.

  8. mort goldman Says:

    whats the deal with the broll skating… it’s like everyone’s part could of been twice as long but they sacrificed all of those tricks for stock art fart…WTF

    i also felt bad for paying for dyrdek’s part…and berras…

  9. jesse-san Says:

    berra’s didn’t offend me so much; i had pretty low expectations what with seemingly multiple injuries and film festivals etc. it sure wasn’t the most inspired part but it didn’t make me feel bad, unlike mr. dyrdek’s part.

    holy shit, i guess a career-long commitment really pulls a lot of weight. that man should not be in a video a high-caliber video like mind field. i’m sorry, but his shitty style just does not cut it. he’s never been great, but he’s also never been this bad.

    and i agree a little with mort about the duration of everyone’s parts. considering jake’s part (representative of most everyone’s) didn’t have two tricks back to back without some art shots in between, shouldn’t it have been longer? make no mistake, though, i think the “stock art fart” is part and parcel of AWS movie-making and honestly would rather they be in the videos than just straight skating (a al moving in traffic). but objectively without them the parts all shrink at least 40% in duration.

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