Archive for January, 2018

Bathe in the Glory and Horror of Post-Everything Skating

January 29, 2018

Last week was notable in the sense that Miles Silvas ended lines for all professional skateboarders forevermore. For a meandering five minutes, he pushes, flips and slides his way through several Los Angelean blocks, swerving past security, adjusting his chain and switch heelflipping an artfully knocked-over trash bin on the way to a truly gnarly ender and a history-book entry for probably the craziest run ever. But has Miles Silvas’ ‘One Stop’ line pushed things not only forward, but over some maddening brink?

We now enter a realm where seemingly everything been done, in which all eras exist simultaneously, where nothing and everything is cool and wack all at once everywhere. Observe, on any given day. Switch tailslide something-out champ Luan Oliveira nonchalantly rips wearing a visor. A Florida flow kid lands on Thrasher’s cover, just a few months after a similarly situated young buck frontside crooked grinded the fearsome El Toro first try. Not long before that, Gabriel Summers nosegrinds a larger 21-stair handrail first try whilst wearing a dogs-playing-poker shirt. All over, the established ways dissolve before your eyes: Varial flips are commonplace, people are sponsored by weed mobile phone apps, neon camouflage is freely worn, and CCS proudly advertises its mail-order catalogues in the pages of Thrasher while marketing jeans with macaroni and cheese print interiors.

It’s easier to exhale and surrender to feeling permanently unmoored, eyes glazing over as irony and confusion blunt shock’s few remaining edges, and one brow-furrowing surprise after another leaves you punch drunk. For Youtube browsers in this state, caution is the watchword as skate videos, once content to function as a compendium of individual skaters’ tricks set against a driving tune of their own choosing, now throw loose whatever bonds of convention remain, seemingly pursuing their own brand of ‘What, Me Worry?’ lawlessness.

Drone buff Ty Evans has long shouldered criticisms that his brand of Filmmaking prizes high-end camera rigs and general spectacle over actual tricks, and more than two decades into his skate Film career, no stripes-changing can be detected in ‘The Flat Earth.’ The Film’s heavy incorporation of 360-degree video, digitally rolled onto two dimensions for consumption on high-resolution flattened TV screens, suggests a project that perhaps once aspired to some virtual reality gambit — but settled for a version of Ty Evans’ prior outing, ‘We Are Blood,’ with the storyline switched out for intense bouts of psychedelia, where mountain peaks and highways contort and spasm to dubstep blurts for minutes on end with no identifiable skateboards in sight.

There’s of course blistering footage, in particular from the unsinkable Carlos Iqui and aforementioned one-time Floridian flow rider Jamie Foy. But whereas the Brain Farm budget permitted Ty Evans to indulge in peak Ty Evansness (see: slow-motioned puddle splashing, skating the world’s tallest building, fire) the comparatively bootstrapped ‘Flat Earth’ production may be the first time in 15 or so years where his level of resources significantly declined for a new full-length skate Film, and the result suggests something like Ty Evans’ version of ‘Memory Screen.’

As Ty Evans casts about for purchase in this sloppy, undulating stew that is skating in 2018, simmering a few sub-basements below Bronze and Beez, nearby to Ssquirted, thrives the Instagram video clips of @dogceo. Here is a euphoric and jarring dimension in which park and street footage are hurled with abandon into some video toaster, sauced liberally with vintage video games from other countries and blurred text offering repeated and nonsensical exhortations — where it’s not enough for a grab-bag of logos to bleed through background (or foreground) of a clip, they must flash, and ripple. Skating is happening here, to an extent, at times, but the giddy, disorienting thrill is squeezed from not really knowing whether the steadily immolating visual salad bar is a vehicle for the tricks, or the other way around.

In a time of pink swishy pants and backside smith grind body varials, where’s the lane for a comparatively level-headed dude such as Walker Ryan? Is the steady erosion of conventional wisdoms and tribal law behind the continued appeal of high-handed authorities such as Jake Phelps and @FeedbackTS? If everything officially is over what happens next?

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Passing Virtual Hats Versus Capturing Digital Trophies, While Our Machine Masters Sit in Silent Judgment

January 22, 2018

Throughout the age of man, humans have invented machines to get money. Printing-press produced money predated the first printed Bible by a cool nine or five centuries; more recent innovations have included the one-armed bandit and the automated teller machine clique. But as demonstrated by the Internet-based currency scheme Bitcoin, its value jingling intensely higher, computers have come to surpass them all.

Skateboarders are a subset of humans who use their ingenuity to find deeper purpose and sometimes lucrative thrills in automobile parking structures, cement swimming holes and metallic stair-climbing assisters. Just as they remade the concrete Jersey barrier into a gateway to unholy pleasures, they have fashioned the Internet into a digital sieve through which financial donations freely flow, while haters and modern life’s other harsh realities are easily filtered out.

This yung year of 2018 already has seen motivational Exxon Mobil tank-blaster J Scott Hands Down seek to parlay a considerable Instagram following into a sort of X-nest egg, angling for a $100K down payment on a video part and cost of living increase associated with quitting his day job and moving his family to California to pursue a highly profitable and stable career in skateboarding. J Scott’s solicitation of funds to penetrate professional skateboarding’s ranks came as noted Canadian Dan Pageau, famed for a pioneering switchstance slam on El Toro, sought thousands in recognition of his careerlong contributions to the culture as he made his own industry exit — following similar and earlier efforts by Youtube person Vinnie Banh and various others.

Dan Pageau and J Scott Hands Down are innovative and interesting in their own ways. But their ultimate undoings may lie in failing to grasp that increasingly, the Internet is the end, not the means. Consider: Despite certain chest thumpings over Street League contest purses rising to the hundreds of thousands, machines again demonstrate their money-making superiority. Within the burgeoning realm of E-sports, wherein children and men competitively play video games, contest winnings are magnitudes larger, rising well into eight figures, with consolation prizes including an absence of battered bones and comparatively fewer court dates.

Instead of hoping to stoke sympathy of skaters and assorted well-wishers via internet money-requesting platforms, should J Scott Hands Down, Dan Pageau and Vinnie Banh instead focus on stroking keyboards and tickling touchpads, to better appease our mechanized rulers, grab for digital brass rings and capture all the riches that can be crammed into virtual wallets? Did you know that pro video game players also indulge in industry drama and get kicked off teams? Can pros like Shane O’Neill and Nyjah Huston help to bridge the cultural gap between skateboarders and the artificially intelligent paymasters of the Internet? Has this limp joke been attempted in this blogging space already before? Will we know whether and when the singularity arrives if it is not posted to Instagram?

More 2017 Video Part Life

January 1, 2018

Griffin Gass, ’35th North’ – Future ‘Say My Name, Say My Name’ T-Eddy candidate again raises the question, as the Girl camp dips deeper into the Pacific Northwest for its new pickups, are they indulging in continued Anti Hero fandom or returning to the company’s partial Vancouverian roots? Also, the Pupecki grind on the Seattle rail

Magnus Bordewick, ‘Tigerstaden’ – This dude makes flip tricks look like explosions, with a jacket game to rival SP

Lucien Clarke, ‘Palasonic’ – From the Landscape intro to the Boss seven minutes later, Lucien Clark goes in

Kyle Nicholson, ‘Olympic Demo Reel’ – If there ever was a dude who belonged on ScumCo it’s the perennially overlooked Kyle Nicholson, bouncing back here after the City of Philadelphia robbed him of a Love gap switch 360 flip

Josh Drysen, ‘sml. Wheels’ – Solidly weird tech

Yonnie Cruz, ‘The Flare’ – It’s up for debate whether Lakai lensmen Federico Vitetta and Daniel Wheatly can capture Yonnie Cruz’ skating with the same combination of reckless abandon and high stakes that Ryan Garshell managed, but this part ripped, and James Capps tricks helped too

Yaje Popson, ‘Riddles in Mathematics’ – Whatever headaches were saved thanks to having the least-claustrophobic camera work in Chris Theissen’s latest paean to the uncomfortable close-up were offset by some of the most garish camo going. But Yaje Popson’s skating surpasses all

Kevin Taylor, ’42’ – A deep indulgence from one of the discipline’s true masters

Jimmy Lannon, ‘Shaqueefa Mixtape Vol 3’ – If you’re among those that can watch Jimmy Lannon do bump-to-bars for several minutes straight, you can do so via one of the year’s best-soundtracked videos

Niels Bennett, ‘Awake’ – The catch on the frontside 5-0 shove-it in this is nearly enough to tide people over until this dude’s next clip, which would benefit all involved if it announced Niels Bennett as the next curly-haired wallrider for Girl

Louie Lopez, ‘West End’ – people will debate whether he should’ve gotten Skater of the Year, but he gets points for prioritizing shove-its over kickflips when it comes to bump and gaps. And who’s whipping caballerials out of wallrides?

Tore Bevivino, ‘Sabotage 5’ – Strapping on the face mask for some of the gulliest levels lines ever done at Love Park