Archive for March, 2013

Hollywood Divorce

March 28, 2013

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It has been observed that the skateboarding industry is like high school, replete with jocks, nerds, overachievers, fashion victims, would-be authority figures, substance enthusiasts and vengeful, scheming captains of the water polo team who drive tricked-out jeeps and are partial to ripped jeans. Sticking with the analogy, last week we saw a long-running couple, recently broken up, each show up to the prom with new dates. Here was Blueprint, determined to pick up the shards of its spray-heart logo and shake off an ignominious dumping last fall, escorted by a half-dozen unknowns from the Southwest, and Mike York, who I like to imagine wearing a seersucker suit and white corsage. And then the former Blueprint squad, trotting out a sleek new name and logo spotlighting their Old World roots, ready to move on.

Look at Blueprint, chin out in an ill-fitting getup, dudes with blond dreads and Canadian management, trying at some kind of statement setting its team makeover clip to “Coming to America” (presumably by way of Quebec). As the would-be masterminds behind Ice Cream Shoes will attest it’s not easy to pull a Kareem Campbell when it comes to plucking unknown ams from the skatepark ether, and the pressure may be giving their filmer a case of tremors. Yet the former Blueprinters, offering pedigreed graphics and a trimmer team, may have the harder path. The stakes may be lower without this company having carried the UK on its back through the late-90s universe expansion, but it still arrives from some of the dudes who made all those legendary videos, and with no Canadian owners in the wings it’s all on them this go-round.

Both companies have an obvious fixation on America, economic or otherwise, and it is not difficult to see opportunities for them to jointly tap into American’s long-running love affair with familial turmoil and fractured relationships. Could a grudge match demo-tour produce 411 “Road Trip”-worthy highlights as each squad looks to one-up the other? Is there a potential sequel to last season’s “One in a Million” pressure-cooker meltdown to be had by confining the two teams to a “Big Brother” style condo to chew one another’s limbs off over British skate lore and whoever drank the last beer?

The respective team pages are telling. Are seeds of internal strife already germinating within Isle? A solid two-thirds of the team lists some variation of “green” as their favorite color, while boss figure Paul Shier stakes out the other side of the color wheel with “orange” and Nick Jensen boldly declares “not green.” Can they stand against the newly united Blueprint group, which have no history but seem to be on the same page when it comes to cuisine, roundly backing Mexican and BBQ variations? And will Isle continue to stick with the British spelling of words like “colour”? For that matter, will Blueprint?

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In Which A Recent Krew Video Inspires Us To Tally Up Some All-Time Lords Of The Bucket-Hat

March 20, 2013

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They say history is written by the victors, and when it comes to rewriting certain chapters, or revitalizing them for the purposes of revivalism, maybe we say the past is best remembered by those popping bottles and making it rain in the club at any given point in time. Current bottle-popper and kickflip backside noseblunter Lucien Clarke remains among the hottest ‘boarders out of London and as an employee of Palace possesses the subcultural capital to deploy for the purposes of making his mark on the scene, whatever it and that may be. So it is that this meaty clip released last week by Krew clothes documents his daring decision to get behind the bucket-hat, that vestige of late 1990s fashion long since wadded up in the fist of time and used to clobber some smaller, clumsier dimension for forgetting to stoke the rescue fire.

A Palace-branded white button-up that a waiter or Dylan Rieder might wear commands a $200 asking price on Ebay, giving the company and its team-riders gravitas in the accessorizing game, and doubling down on the bucket-hat is in keeping with prior Menace-aping efforts. But are Lucien Clarke’s shoulders broad enough to pick up and carry forward the bucket hat’s noble legacy? Here is a look back at some of its esteemed practitioners throughout the hat’s golden age.

Andrew Reynolds: The Boss is an obvious influence on Lucien Clarke’s massive nollie backside kickflips, and during his Birdhouse-moppet era a bucket-hat held down Reynolds’ locks as he launched himself down gaps and rails in “The End.” The fact that his hairdo looked sort of like a bowl cut only adds to the mystique and credibility of the hat.

Jason Dill: Probably run more as a novelty item that completed a Dr. Hunter S Thompson ensemble for a brief juice-sipping clip that featured in TWS’ “Feedback”, Dill’s foray came early in his deep dive into alternative fashion that would lead many an impressionable youngster down the proverbial garden path throughout the ’00s. You get the sense that Jason Dill probably was not that invested in the hat necessarily, but it’s interesting to ponder how he currently views its place in the world, and whether he agrees with Lucien Clarke that it is ripe for revisiting.

Chad Fernandez: Even before Chad Fernandez was drawn into a verbal sparring match with an unpaid tween amateur he gave the impression that he had something more to prove than other pros, which is maybe why in retrospect he seemed more invested in the hat when rewatching clips like his part in Osiris’ “The Storm.” A decade later Chad Fernandez has shifted to beanies for this 2011 part that features some genuinely out of hand stuff like the ollie up to crooked grind at the beloved bench-to-stair spot, a nosegrind on the rail recently wooed by Sean Malto in the Girl/Chocolate video and a high-speed one footer.

Ronnie Creager: The lord of positive vibrations was an equal opportunity endorser of headware in videos such as Es’ “Menikmati”, in which Ronnie Creager managed not to succumb to the pressure of conceptualizing a lengthy, autobiographical intro that may have featured costumes. Of all those mentioned on this brief list, the desert-dwelling Creager may today have the most legit claim to wearing a bucket-hat in the course of his current day to day, which could also involve golf and checking in on Easter Egg packages that may lie around the Southern California region unclaimed for fifteen years.

A Bold New Era Of Robotics And Certain Processed Plastics May Affect Our Future Debates Over JP Jadeed Footage Dudes

March 9, 2013

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Across the epoch of time, asteroids have associated themselves with the evolutionary process. A rogue meteor struck down the age of the dinosaurs, which ruled the planet and amassed wealth for several years. Later, space rocks struck the Earth’s moon, producing a pockmarked appearance that has come to be accepted as the common image of the moon. In recent weeks three other asteroids harried our planet, with not a little excitement and millions of rubles’ worth of property damage. As our planetary hair was ruffled, quietly the skateboard industry found itself shedding some of yesteryear’s trappings and business motifs. Coincidence? Possibly, but in this daring age we bear in mind the timeworn slogan, “in space there are no coincidences.” It is important to note that the earth travels in space.

Growths in new technology are forcing a painful and sometimes messy transition upon the business. Unicron.net, which had touted itself as the ultimate skateboard DVD source, now lists 22 videos in a search for ‘all products’. Time was, if you hankered after an esoteric or hard-to-find foreign-produced video, and your shop could not accommodate, Mikendo was a source. ‘Pretty Sweet’s’ rise to the top of the Itunes charts, sign o’ the times though it may be, has not obliterated the digital video disc, as the Quartersnacks dudes officiated. However, BigCartel and Etsy have enabled video authors to rub out the middleman and distribute physical movies directly to those who would continue to fill DVD trays, and Youtube bootlegs serve others.

Whilst magazines still argue for a role as gatekeepers of, and longer-lasting billboards for, top-drawer photos and interviews, the daily grind of content cycling a-churn on the internet washingmachine alongside general economic malaise has built pressure upon paper-pushers everywhere, and already twice-resurrected Skateboarder mag in particular. The “GrindMedia” title last month divulged that it would zestily evolve away from the traditional send-you-a-mag-each month format, instead selling some issues in stores and focusing on their website. Now also going “digital only” is onetime California Cheap Skates, CCS, planning to shutter brick-n-mortar locations in favor of glossy mailers and powerful email listservs. A further impairment charge to corporate parent Foot Locker is anticipated in relation to the closures, according to media accounts.

Technology really seems here to stay. But what products and services are the next to become supplanted?

Helmets and pads: Safety gear has long resided at the bottom of the priority-buying list for tween consumers transfixed by graphical decks, D3 sneakers and (lately) weed-leaf socks, while simultaneously battling against the perception that pads and whatnot are the exclusive domain of “wimps” and the related offshoot segment “wussies.” Now, the padless deep-pool and vert work of Ben Hatchell, Grant Taylor, Elijah Berle and Jaws may for the coming generation obviate pads and helmets altogether, because, when everybody’s good enough to do every trick, there is no point in falling and getting hurt.

Bushings: Deep wobblers including Daewon Song and Matt Rodriguez have established the widely thought about fact that bushings are at best an impediment to fully turning trucks, to be microwaved, squished and generally derided. If Daewon can switch nose manual a curvy block with his kingpin nut barely hanging on, why bog down a board with additional plastic weight? This development will raise new questions around whether kingpin nuts are necessary whatsoever.

Skateshop employees: CCS’s bold move to revert to its mail-order roots, framed by Amazon.com’s development of ‘pickup lockers,’ poses sticky queries for would-be skateshop careerists. May we be encountering a robot-commanded future in which the vast selection offered by the CCSs of the world shall be deployed to secure locations for pickup, or even the immediate, automated dispensal of everyday staples such as decks and shoelaces and weed-leaf socks? Would such technology relegate former skate shop workers to offering grip-jobs around back for loose change? Would dispensers become clogged with lengthy lines of pre-tweens counting out sticky pennies to purchase the 2035 analog of a Flameboy sticker? Will all future discussions of JP Jadeed video sections henceforth be relegated to the internet under the new regime? Has this already come to pass?