Archive for December, 2010

Is Forrest Edwards The Reality-TV Villain We’ve Been Waiting For?

December 22, 2010

Pity the eventual winner of Slap Magazine’s “One In A Million” contest, for this lucky young man will forever be doomed to push in the long, unsmiling shadow cast by Forrest Edwards, the switchstancer from Riverside who almost immediately cemented a position as the breakout character from what has become a sort of “America’s Next Top Flow Kid.” Aged 18 or 19 years and already a master of the lefthanded compliment, Forrest Edwards is estimated by scholars to have come of age right around January 8, 2004, when a younger and more tender U.S. populace met and introduced itself to a onetime political consultant named Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, villainess of Donald Trump’s initial run of “The Apprentice.” A lesson told in nine weeks: negative attitude, abrasive behavior and “not here to make friends” mindset buys notoriety that is worth its weight in American Idol text-messages.

Mango, the free-spirited ditch skater with the bad haircut, does not make Forrest Edwards laugh. Switch backside heelflipping a solid set of stairs does not crack his lips into a smile. Cigarette dangling dangerously from his mouth, Forrest Edwards broods and bides his time on those occasions when a handrail, double-set or ledge is not within reach. He’s not sorry that he broke Daryl Angel’s deck and transition is for old people and those intent on wasting an opportunity to carve out a piece of the lucrative sponsorship pie. He knows the names of the forgotten reality TV gods like Puck and Richard Hatch who long ago painted on television’s cave-walls the arcane lore, if you are not on-screen, you at least ought to be spoken of, and damn the consequences.

The web-evolution of the “One In A Million” contest has birthed a camera-ready series that, with a bit more coverage of after-hours chill/party sessions, could stand alongside all your “America’s Next Top Models” or “Real World Road Rules Challenges” in terms of painfully earnest moments of self-realization, product placement and shoehorned-in celeb cameos. In Forrest Edwards they have an Omarosa figure in spades, as he explains how he makes it all look so easy while making a run at being skating’s most divisive figure of 2010 — a tall order against the likes of Jereme Rogers, Brian Wenning, Antwuan Dixon and Shane O’Neill.

But do our times call for a Forrest Edwards? Following a decade marked by the rise of the Tilt Mode, Daewon Song’s goofy genius, assorted Jackassery and the Odd Couple stylings of Rob and Big, might Forrest Edwards’ unshakeable discontent be an antidote for too much fun? Dead-eyed and silent, Forrest Edwards seems to look upon a skateboard as a tool useful for proving his worth Mark Whiteley, his OIAM rivals and the world in general, comfortable with the sexual orientation of his go-to tricks and equally at ease when doling out quotables or bigspin-flipping stairs. Our nation’s economic house of credit cards in shambles and the prospect of a long economic slog ahead, Forrest Edwards’ single-minded fixation upon the prize serves to remind us that none of this is a game, that he is not playing around, even when brazenly choosing not to skate at any given time and instead offer advice on personal conduct or a balanced diet.

Would You Buy A Skateboard From This Boy-Child?

December 13, 2010

As the 24-hour twit cycle and its bottomless demand for web-ready footage continues to remake the skateboard pursuit before our eyes, one of the semi-entertaining developments has been the fulfillment of a prophecy made several years ago by now-Dirty Ghetto Kid Josh Kalis, who said something to the effect that there are now multiple stages of “going pro” — the first being the symbolically important signature deck, followed by the more lucrative pro shoe deal, and onward/upward into the lofty realms of reality TV contracts and energy drink sponsorships that run more than skin deep.* This blog-space would add to this list the message-board fodder of getting on various-status flow programs (rep, “direct”), the sounds-silly concept of “going am” and I guess the baseline local-shop deal, although you could have some flow chart fun tracking elevation to “name” shops like your FTCs or Westsides, and maybe a mailorder offshoot.

From a personal brand-building standpoint it seems like the deck, however commoditized the seven plies have become, is still the leading indicator in terms of how/when/why dudes get the pro nod, even if the blessings of whatever footwear concern is backing said dude are increasingly being sought. Kenny Hoyle, that long-laboring, Laker-hating West Coast kid with the hardflips and relaxed attitude toward life, got called up to the show last week in a promo-video arrangement centered on the kind of sorta-sensical skit that in the bro-age known as the 80s could’ve carried a decent chunk of a Bones Brigade vid, and done a good job of it too. Hailing back to what was said about Toy Machine’s Matt Bennett a few months back, this kid has earned it which helps to rebuild a little faith in the vague structure of the universe — the graphic will soon be buried under piles of team series boards and other one-offs, and maybe his next move is already in the frame at DVS, but dudes, the debut pro board maybe means something still.

Kenny Hoyle’s trick universe seems like it expanded for this part, with like that f/s bluntslide kickflip and the switch heelflip b/s tailslide shove-it helping with our little “earned it” thesis — watching his footage in the past he always looked confident but on some of these “Madness” clips he’s matured or gained more command (thinking here of the 360-flip noseslide near the end for instance), though his face still looks about 12 years old. Maybe varial heelflipping gaps off what looks like a gigantic building block turned sideways keeps you young.

Expedition plays the contrast to the hilt when Hoyle is confronted by an extra-grizzled Rob Welsh, here doing his best “Paco” and breaking out the payment-plan jacket for the first time in a while. For my money Welsh’s footage in this little vid outstrips what he had in “Fully Flared,” a lot more of the classic smoker Welsh with new spot footage, obligatory pants adjustments and transition stuff to justify the Lowcard hats. Refer also to the hand stylings on the fakie b/s 5-0 flip out, and Rob Welsh remains able to pop out of nose-centric tricks better than your favorite post-Lakai ledge am. Head-turners elsewhere from Joey Pepper (kickflip to surprise lipslide) and Enrique Lorenzo who has this one clip where it’s hard to tell what direction he’s skating and reminded me of that Cliche segment from “Freedom Fries.”

Happily returned Ryan Gallant’s got an eerie calm with one of the harder tricks going, his much-utilized b/s 180 switch f/s crooked grind, and also newly pro Matt Miller’s ungodly ledge powers and vaguely Colin Mckayish looks made me muse a little on why his DC affiliation didn’t land him at Plan B when Gallant’s spot opened up. But wife-beatin’ Spencer Hamilton’s mini-part maybe wins best supporting video part or whatever here: beefy board flipping from a rail-skinny bro who wears pants the right way and has mastered the fakie frontside bigspin out of switch backside nosegrinds. His manual tricks are super hard and the effect on that last stair set is key, the trick is bananas.

*For the record, my money remains on “not real”