Archive for December, 2012

10. Joseph Delgado – “Bronze 56k”

December 22, 2012

The enigmatic Bronze cartel pieced together this year’s best-made video, a foggy hodgepodge of recycled late-night scheduling spots, deep dives into New York’s outlying boroughs and masterful drops such as the titular dial-up connection being achieved. Oodles of good skating amongst the Bronze squad generally but Joseph Delgado’s part was the anticipated payoff constantly lurking around the various corners of this shambling vid, able to handle a lot of difficult manuals with grace and like MJ skate with enough speed and control link together multiple tricks on the same ledge (without dancing like MJ). Joseph Delgado heaves a huge switch backside 5-0 up onto the big Flushing Meadows block and at the end rifles off a couple of the cooler looking tricks seen on the step-up recently; watch the whole “56k” video, spiced with Wolfenstein, AOL and Lil Ugly Mane, here.

Kids

December 17, 2012

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Billions of burgers flipped by McDonald’s Corp., five decades’ worth of James Bond movies and the estimated $100 million net worth of Wayne “Mr. Entertainment” Newton bear witness to how consistency and a reliable product can command a loyal clientele and lucrative following, if not adoring devotion and the occasional soiled thong hurled upon a pockmarked Las Vegas stage. Jeron Wilson, Chico Brenes and Mike Carroll seem to understand that there is and likely always will be an audience for specialized heelflips, nollie heelflips and backside smith grinds, even while those such as Gino Iannucci and Anthony Pappalardo can’t seem to bring themselves to keep playing the hits year in and out.

Whereas technology setpieces of “Pretty Sweet” invested heavily in the wow factor, DGK’s full-length debut, arriving after a series of mixtape-like one-offs and features like Kayo’s “It’s Official,” offers few surprises. A DGK customer knows what he’s paying for — although the “Chocolate Tour” as reimagined by Harmony Korine storyline here heaps disdain upon paying for what otherwise can be racked or heisted — and Stevie Williams & co seem to have put years of work into delivering this, an overlong, guest-heavy, ready-made blockbuster willing to elbow aside wimpier videos for a spot as the successor to, if not the culmination of, vids such as “20-Shot Sequence,” “Tantrum,” “2nd To None,” “Ryde or Die Vol. 1” and “Street Cinema.” When 2 Chainz comes on here it is more earnest than when used by dudes hopping bars in Queens wearing twill trousers.

For an hour, DGK’s “Parental Advisory” glories in loudmouth rap music, camouflage pants*, gunfire, cameos from skate-rap touchstones such as Kareem Campbell, Fabian Alomar, Steven Cales, DMX and Beanie Siegel, shoplifting, loose-fit denim, shiny chains and hat-tags fluttering in the breeze, wife beaters, small wheels, graffiti, and some jack moves. For those paying attention there are references to the Menace intro in “Trilogy,” the Bones Brigade in “Police Academy” and even a much-beloved pre-Slap message board pro-skater-dies meme.

No one will look to this video to register on the ATV meter but in the trick department DGK too delivers as promised: Josh Kalis and Stevie Williams skate Love Park; Josh Kalis unloads his monster 360 flip and Stevie Williams cracks some switch heelflips. Wade Desarmo, one of those Canadians who maybe fell a little too far in love with tall tees over the past decade, stacks heavy-lidded picnic-table tech including a hazed-out hardflip backside 5-0 and an alley-oop frontside flip that ranks among the best in a year when Andrew Reynolds put out a video. Marcus McBride turns in a full section that ought to make any pro with a board out for longer than 10 years sit up and prepare an excuse and Rodrigo TX, who has quietly been on a non-stop hustle these past five years, loudly reps the defunct Es shoes company and snaps a terrific looking switch kickflip over a rail. Some of these newer kids with all the “D” names blurred for me, but Keelan Dadd has poise and good runs like the one with the switch kickflip frontside boardslide. Lenny Rivas, who made a serious run at Knox Godoy status himself, has gone grown man and turns a couple new helicopters onto the handrails. My vote for best-dressed dude in the skate game Jack Curtin comes through late in the vid and wrecks shop with some incomprehensible tricks like a switch shove-it 5-0 on a rail up against a wall and his hairball switch backside lipslide down the Clipper ledge.

Probably there always will be like-minded dudes out there doing it like Brandon Biebel but the clarity of purpose Stevie Williams puts to “Parental Advisory” sometimes makes it seem like he’s carrying a whole subset of the 1990s on his back here — nods given to all these little-seen skaters and rappers, a lengthy skater-on-skater-crime narrative that picks up where the Menace video that would never come left off in “Trilogy,” even going so far earlier this year as to deliver a Fabian Alomar part time-capsuled in from 1996, and then achieving the seemingly impossible by getting Kareem Campbell to commit to a skate project**. Coming out a month after “Pretty Sweet” secured DGK an underdog status they probably relish, and the fact that every dude on the team managed to turn in more or less a full section can be read as an endorsement of any number of those motivational platitudes embroidered onto DGK baseball hats, but it’s probably too much to ask this company to cop to now-certified overachiever status.

*of several persuasions
**no knock on the work that went into that song but the Crailtap dudes might’ve just happened to catch him at the store

Eric Koston, Exploring The Potential For Hammers In Personal Wardrobing, May Suddenly Have Del Boca Vista On Smash

December 11, 2012

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At Boil the ocean custom sceptre repair and old-tyme blogginghaus we make few pretenses to the effect that our ultimate loyalties lie elsewise than with the 1990s torch-bearing set, and it is against these currents that we swim when trying to weigh the personal bearing and heaviness of the newer faces on Girl/Chocolate, as juxtaposed in particular across “Pretty Sweet.” The task grows no easier when you have Eric Koston, a five-star general in the game who wears a jersey that says Champion and eats a bowl of Wheaties every morning, pushing around dressed like he’s got his mind set on the shuffleboard court and the early-bird special.

Initially “Pretty Sweet” finds him dressed for the PGA tour, schralping a California ditch in a soberly striped shirt and well-appointed swoosh hat, but before long he’s going for that high-risk 360 flip to switch manual off the drop where he can be seen breaking out the neon crayola crayon tees and, importantly, the camo. You may not guess it coming from a dude of his stature, but I am beginning to suspect that Eric Koston does not have a firm grasp on the efficient use of camo. Case in point being the run down the brick banks where Koston, possibly in a fit of wild abandon, chooses to combine a striped soccer jersey with some camouflage army fatigues, breaking several international accords against pairing stripes with camos. Later he indulges in some cut-off blue jean shorts while going all Jake Johnson down an APAC staircase.

More recently, Koston has been noticed swanning about certain European properties in a floral print hat, basketball jerseys and faux leopard skin, like some headphone-endorsing, crash helmet-wearing Tony Manfre.

While curiously diverse the point is not to catalogue the various and sundry fashion combinations that Eric Koston chooses to pursue, bizarre though some may be, but rather to speculate irresponsibly as to what these may reveal about his current mental state. One can imagine Koston, more than two decades into the video deadline grind and flush at last with Nike fuck-you money, grumpily rejecting any claims on tightly choreographed shirt/pant ensembles and thrusting his fingers deeper and deeper into whatever bottomless and mouldering duffel bag he has in tow on the current filming tour, cobbling together increasingly outlandish getups and upbraiding any youngster that hazards a question or sideways glance. You can begin to picture him treating a particularly day-glo hue of pants, better left undiscovered in some discount bin long since abandoned by a merciful god, as a personal challenge not to be left unaccepted and preferably matched with a pair of banana yellow sneakers, a cantankerous sneer perched on his lip and maybe a bingo card stuffed into his back pocket.

Will Eric Koston’s embrace of ultra-technical, two-sided curb tricks reach a peak concurrent to his recent exploration of colorful and multi-disciplined outfits, potentially involving a sombrero? Has Koston finally gone “too far”? Is this all a natural (though somewhat delayed) reaction to the white tee/blue jean uniform of 1995?

Couch Quarterbacking

December 9, 2012

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Awash in “Pretty Sweet” rewatches here, stopping to wonder at Raven Tershy’s backside tailslide shove-it, the apparent re-embrace of Lego-man caps and the number of slams to tricks in this part putting it near Gino/”Hot Chocolate” levels. Also mulling whether or not the last two tricks landed in the proper sequence — ollie in is far gnarlier to me, what about to you all?

Ty Evans’ Love Letter To Excess, In Which Even A Guy Mariano Part Sparkles With Frosting

December 1, 2012

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Thrasher Magazine’s Michael Burnett, who is one of the best writers in the space over the last decade, a couple years back wrote a simultaneously biting and loving intro to a Billy Marks interview in which he positioned the dude’s spendthrift and oftentimes fleeting love affair with “gadgets” and his generally relaxed attitude toward personal responsibility as fundamentally American personality traits, and some type of moustachioed, roast beef-grabbing mirror into which we all could gaze as the nation was tossed upon the horns of a fearsome economic decline.

There is a similar sensibility careening through Girl/Chocolate’s “Pretty Sweet,” or maybe more like a jittery animal instinct, allegedly governing a cultural attention span fragmented across mobile phones, social networks, flatscreen TVs and 3D IMAX movie theaters — beginning with an extended-take intro that dissolves into day-glo pyrotechnics and thumping electronic music with robot vocals, rarely lingering on one shot for more than a few seconds and deploying fireworks, special effects, time-lapse video and of course the super slow-mo. Ty Evans is eager to fish out all his tools as soon as the first part gets underway, chopping Vincent Alvarez’s more-Chocolatey-than-others tricks into a multi-course dog’s dinner determined to move as quickly between tricks and filler shots as fast as Alvarez pushes, with an aural nod to a previous Chocolate production before upshifting again to a third act, which naturally is soundtracked a custom-made song performed by a pro skater and a member of Metallica. Vincent Alvarez spins a 540 out of a curb cut and you blink and are dazed and wonder what has been happening.

And so it goes, as Hollywood celebrities again supply off-color commentary on session sidelines, dudes carve nearly up to the rooftops of buildings and Ty Evans reaches deep inside his bag of digital hocus pocus for other occasional curveballs. Many of these are not new ideas, as the invisible ramps and obstacles from “Yeah Right” make a reappearance, along with the souped-up slams from “Fully Flared” and some synchronized skating and crowd control that provided whimsy in “Hot Chocolate.” The slow-mo super cam is deployed heavily throughout, though in shorter bursts that add Hype Williams alongside Michael Bay and George Lucas as apparent inspirational touchstones for the directors here. There are some fun surreal moments, like the liquifying ledge and the suddenly multiplying boards, that signal some hope for a collaboration if Spike Jonez really were to exercise his “Malkovich” muscle.

The editing and production that are loudly at the center of “Pretty Sweet” takes their cue partly from the skating, which is as diverse a roster as Girl and Chocolate have ever recruited. Bowls, ledges, handrails, gaps, waterslides, ditches and the beloved mini picnic tables all are schralped upon by dudes whose ages must now span about two decades, including both dudes who have beards and other dudes who don’t. The Anti-Hero fandom from those summertime tours is in play, mostly by certain of the “Trunk Boyz” contingent, while a lot of the aging stalwarts tally new and lower-impact ways to spin and shove-it and flip out of tricks.

Some cosmic pendulum is aswing here. “Goldfish” arrived as the early 1990s’ obsession with slow-moving pressure flippery and brightly colored giant pants gave way to smoother and simpler tricks carried out from inside loose-fit blue jeans, and somebody out there would probably argue the case for Guy Mariano’s “Mouse” section setting some high-water mark for difficult tricks made to look easy with a minimum of fuss. There’s no goofy boy outfits strapped on in “Pretty Sweet” but a smith grind laser flip comes off like sprinting in the opposite direction, skating-wise. The younguns too embrace the spirit of excess, as they toast foamy beers and are tracked by camera-toting helicopters and dolly rigs that advance the filmer slowly through a grove of trees to capture a lipslide in the wild. Cory Kennedy, whose mid-backside tailslide kickflip attains the rare status of super-technical tricks that look as good on film as they did in a sequence, casually precedes one handrail NBD with a four-trick run. Such is the embarrassment of riches in Torrance that Eric Koston (Eric Koston) is relegated to a cameo in someone else’s section.

There is a sunny and light-hearted something bouncing through “Pretty Sweet” that, combined with the production values and skits reminded me sometimes more of a mid-period Bones Brigade movie rather than any of the Girl/Choco catalog in particular. This one doesn’t feel so much like it’s got the chip on its shoulder that “Fully Flared” did — Guy Mariano’s comeback is sealed, Marc Johnson seems to have exorcised some of the demons that drove him to record a 15-minute part and abruptly retreat to a mountain compound, Eric Koston no longer carries the weight of the team on his back by way of benchmark tricks, Mike Carroll and Rick Howard seem content in a shift toward full-time mogul status. Chico Brenes shows up and does his nollie heelflips and Jeron Wilson is not sweating it. Also it seems weird to think of someone like Brandon Biebel as a veteran pro, but at this point he definitely is one.

Like with “Stay Gold” some loose talk has gone around to the effect that “Pretty Sweet” will be “the last big video” which, well, you can just imagine how that must hurt the feelings of the poor DGK team members who are getting ready to release their first full-length in about two weeks’ time. You do wonder though what the next Girl video may look like, as there will for sure have to be one unless Ty Evans is conscripted to tote camera machinery through some Eastern European forest in service of the next crop of Disney-owned “Star Wars” movies. Can a lineup underpinned by Mike Mo, Cory Kennedy, Alex Olson and Sean Malto in four or five years’ time command the same gravitas and hoopla as something like “Pretty Sweet” or “Fully Flared” without the decades-deep vets on board? With the VHS-fetishizing movement alive and well, will Crailtap be forced to double down on high-definition recording devices and co-located editing engines? Could there one day be an entire section of after-black editing hammers?