Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Revenge Of The Credits Section

April 11, 2021

Long before the Snapchat-aping IG story, long before the raw files and rough cuts, even further back before the DVD ‘bonus’ menu selection, there was the after-credits section. In those analog days of yore, meat was hunted on the hoof, and pioneers of the range raised sumptuous crops from sheer rock surfaces. At the time, what little skating could be filmed between chores and fighting for survival was mostly siloed: intro, parts, demo section, friends section, slam section, credits. The chaotic and pulsating smorgasbord that often followed — alternate angles, lenses getting smoked, assorted ‘hinjinx’ — were, beyond print mag interviews, among the few unscripted windows into the wild and wooly world inhabited by top-ranked pros and ams of the time, manna to the chattering class then reliant on telegraph beeps and bloops to rumour-monger and psychoanalyze industry players.

But the credits section’s eulogy was written years ago. Any self-respecting death-clock keeper had already been marking time, one eye on the sunset for physical media in this streamy phone dimension, another observing visual media consumers’ shriveling attention spans, and a third on the growing thrum of daily content churn. And by the mid-2010s the credits section sat overripe, and ready to burst.

Like any self-respecting skate trend, it had taken root, been heavily adopted and lustily beaten into the ground for years afterward. H-Street and Plan B impresario Mike Ternasky, a prime architect of the modern video format, set the trajectory three decades ago, placing a generous 8-minute credits/et cetera section at the end of the the 58-minute ‘Questionable’, expanding to a 14-minute, four-song runtime for the credits and everything after in the 52-minute ‘Virtual Reality’ a year later. The comparatively slimmer ‘Second Hand Smoke’ still exhibited a 9-minute credit section, taking up more than a quarter of the total runtime.

Hence it became known: Big videos merited big credits. The Transworld videos under Ty Evans’ steerage knew it, dedicating 10 minutes of the 48-minute ‘Feedback’ to road trip detritus and assorted potpourri. ‘The Reason’ went further with an 18-minute credit section padding out a 65-minute tape, and even as TWS’ video rosters narrowed to a half-dozen dudes or so, the footage spooled out as the credits rolled: 11 minutes in the 36-minute ‘Sight Unseen’, 13 minutes in the 46-minute ‘Free Yr Mind’, most tellingly 15 minutes in the 44-minute legacy burnisher ‘Anthology’. Other era setpieces ‘Menikmati’ and ‘Sorry’ both boasted credits sections running 10 minutes or longer. Ty Evans would ply his generosity to other Crailtap productions, including 14 minutes’ worth in the hour-and-a-halfer ‘Fully Flared’, a generous 10 minutes for Super Champion Fun Zone (plus 32 minutes of DVD bonus material), and in perhaps the most ultimate credit-section flex of all, 10 minutes’ worth in the 26-minute Harsh Euro Barge. Another peak came in 2001, when 19 minutes of credits and mumbo-jumbo followed the 17-minute PJ Ladd’s Wonderful, Horrible Life’, though part of that was another video part’s worth of PJ Ladd footage.

In an era in which filmers but not skaters are namechecked in 10-minute web edits and lineups are relegated to Youtube descriptions, the credits section seems not only buried, but buried beneath the foundation of a building that collapses and afterwards is covered over by an avalanche or lava flow, depending on the biome and/or time of year. Now comes Quasi, the most consistent scroungers of Rust Belt decay this side of the ‘Grains’ franchise, eyes-dilated dredgers of analog-era counterculture, this week uploading to the people the 10K ‘Grand Prairie.’ Oriented around Dane Barker’s distortion-pedal flick and Justin Henry’s professional-grade grace and thundering form — witness the nollie nosegrind — the vid stews post-‘Alright’ Gilbert Crockett manuals and too-rare Jake Johnson tricks with Bobby De Keyzer’s skyscraper block circuits and a solid slug of Dick Rizzo channelling Puleo and Gall among Jersey’s least obtuse brick angles.

Over and done with in 20 minutes, the credits briefly roll and immediately spill into a half-hour drift through alternate angles, pulsating autograph sessions, an ongoing cat-and-mouse game involving Tum Yetoans on tour, a slice of Taco Bell drive-thru life, casting stones at glass bottles, several interludes involving pickup truck beds, slams, lurkers, gas stations, fire, rural pathos, frisbee sessions, blunt passing, doodling and various others. Years now removed from regular and heavy doses of post-credits antics and outtakes, the effect upon the viewer is one of shock and disorientation. Is this the real video? What is a video? Must Quasi, deploying its 30-minute credit section, be recognized as the medium’s new and perhaps final master?

Is the credit section ‘back’ or is this the last, massive nail of tribute to seal its casket forevermore? Did those dudes go with the lesser of the two angles for some of these tricks on purpose, like how putting Guy Mariano’s switch frontside shove-it k-grind in the ‘Mouse’ credits helped seal the ‘official’ part’s classic status? How come Alien never made a video with alternate-colored magnetic tape? Could Quasi, probably better right now than any other production house as far as surfacing unrinsed music supervisory choices, run a respectable consulting business for video makers cursed with basic song instincts?

Save The Last Dance: Rough Cuts, Tony Hawk, And The End

April 3, 2021

For all of the sporting goods conglomerates and beverage merchants’ noble efforts toward social network policing, considered product placement and synergetic collabos with anointed undergrounders, freewheeling inventiveness and excruciating self discovery inherent to street skating lives on in the photograph, the video part, and perhaps soon in speculatively priced NFTs. The televised free-thrower or would-be home run swatter has been broadcast hundreds, thousands of times taking his or her shot; even Dill-acknowledged ice skaters have drilled their routines for weeks, years. Free from editorial hanky panky or daydreaming filmers, what you see in the still-going print mags and steady churn of video drops almost always represents the first time a given person has ever landed the trick or line in question, and even as the content drifts deepen, ABDs remain frowned upon, to the point that a talent so diamond-rare as Louie Lopez had his ollie into a slick NY bannister immediately asterisked as previously tamed by Cons colleague Jake Johnson, in the Mindfield DVD bonus materials no less.

The homies jumping up and screaming and mobbing after the trick’s been landed is such a timeworn trope now that the reason they’re fired up is assumed to be ingrained — he or she’s never done it before, the bros have never seen them do it it before, and if it’s your first time watching, you haven’t either. It’s been so since way back too, from the 1980s when capturing just-birthed tricks still awkward and wobbly helped push out the boundaries of what was possible and imaginable, to chases for the first version landed on film, to the pros themselves momentarily transported back to their first ollie on that long-ago sidewalk out front: Harold Hunter, happily shocked in ‘Mixtape’ — “never landed that trick in my life!” Geoff Rowley’s euphoric post-Clipper pushing and flatgrounding in ‘Really Sorry,’ the father to so many turning lane backside bigspins spun after bumps-to-bars.

All this is part of the engrossing spell cast by the rough cut/raw files vids rolled out in recent years, to feed forever-scrollers and reheat the steadily eroding shelf life of the IG-age video part. Mason Silva’s Spitfire part footage posted up a few weeks back is the case in point. Between soundtrackless clips of absurdly hard tricks seemingly cracked out in one or two gos, you wade into battle with him, your breath catching as each roll up ratchets the stakes higher. Toward the end when he’s tangling with the drop-down boardslide, he somehow over and over steps off, snaps his board and then the inevitable, not only sacking but pitched six feet to his shoulder. You watch him get up, suffer, trudge to the top and start in again, til he lands it — first time he’s ever done this — rides across the street, halfheartedly pops up the curb, lays down, pulls his shirt over his face… he sits up, daps the bros and grins, but then is keeling over again to the concrete and smiling and more than anything, relieved. You’re relieved too, but energized and inspired and you wonder — what will he try next?

Tony Hawk, owner of numerous firsts over the course of history’s most illustrious pro career, has in the last few months been documenting the opposite: the process of saying goodbye to tricks, doing them not for the first time, but the last. Now 52, solidly in what human biologists have identified as the ‘grandpa zone,’ Tony Hawk has been vocal about how his hollow bird bones don’t have many 900s in them anymore, and he seems to be methodically whittling away the list of what he’s willing or physically able to do, documenting some of these last dances for charity purposes and, one assumes, for personal posterity.

There’s a much different tone to these battles than those of Mason Silva or other still-ascendant talents. The stakes seem both lower — having twice put the Bagel Bites brand up on his back, Tony Hawk has little left to prove to anybody — and heavier, with every flatbottom slam carrying a premium for each year past 30. He means to do these tricks on his own terms, with no filming deadline or contest purse up for grabs, but he does have something on the line. If he doesn’t, can’t land these tricks, then maybe his last go-round with them is already in the rearview mirror, and that much more of his abundant ability already ebbed?

A couple months ago Tony Hawk posted up what he said would likely be his last 720, with rickety joints and dwindling appetite for pain already having placed them further out of reach. After repeatedly flinging away his board and queasily folding one leg underneath him on one slam, he of course nails one, some 35 years after doing the first ever. He hops up onto the opposite platform and hurls down his board in ‘The End’ fashion, pumps his fists and throws his helmet, sliding down the transition to throaty yells all around. It’s a triumph; he’s still got it.

Several weeks later Tony Hawk went for one more go-round with the ollie 540, another one he pioneered when he had youth’s faster feet and quicker bounceback on his side. This time he spins and spins, the board always slipping away, until he cranks one around as clean as you could possibly want. He scratches the opposite coping, kicks away his board and drops to his knees, covering his face — laughing, or sobbing — wiping at his eyes. “Definitely the last one I’ll ever do.”

Watching Tony Hawk take out some of the moves that made him for one last spin, do you feel hyped, melancholy, old, or some confusing and indigestion-courting combo of all three? Even as Tony Hawk puts away one by one his above-coping contest pyrotechnics, does a broader universe of grinds and slides await him, suggested by what he called his first switch Bennett grind the other day? For old dudes tuned to Mackenzie Eisenhour’s IG account, is his recent string of post-40 breakthroughs on everything from kickflip backside tailslides to backside smith grinds to backside noseblunts on transition inspiring or just confounding?

Do You Believe In The Healing Power Of Kyle Wilson’s Skating?

March 14, 2021

The world rent by heartache, disease and strife; millions in the grave, recriminations and poisons spat across borders and Zoom meetings, liberty in retreat. A schism in Britain’s royal family over yung breakaway royals sets teeth grinding and ferments mistrust across the empire that was. Not even Oprah can fix it, and in streetwear’s woodgrain-floored and white-walled halls, fears of a battle between the Old World and the New over cultural rights to the 20th-Century people’s princess. This year was promised to be better.

But hang on a minute. An unsettlingly temperate spell drains off snowy piles, and one needle at a time, a global pandemic at last begins to be pushed back. From up out of the HD digital video files of Austin Bristow last week came ‘Portions,’ a comprehensive but tantalizingly brief glance at the Palace Group’s recent London activities through non-vintage lenses, arriving on the cusp of a spring gesturing toward a better summer ahead. Everyone is here, Danny Brady doing Danny Brady things at Canary Wharf, Chewy Cannon resplendent in blue jeans and backward ballcap, Heitor Da Silva running it back in real time, Rory Milanes switch frontside blunting off a stone cliff face, Lucien Clarke putting up this young year’s toughest switch inward heelflip to date.

Tom Penny and Tom Knox and a lot of other dudes pop in, but even in a more intensive rendering than is typical for some of these skaters, much of the vid flows by in a kind of fog left after the smouldering bomb crater left by Kyle Wilson, who commands the start of the vid. It’s a collision of black denim, hugely floated tricks, switch backside tailslides and switch heelflips and certain other decades-tested streetstyle standbys. Early on he’s rodeoing a wallie up onto a waist-high block, later hucking a big backside 180 at South Bank, swerving his landings all over the place. The molten, fiery core of this video part is a ledge line at dusk, when Kyle Wilson is pushing switchstance between blocks, a massive camo parka billowing around him, its hood liner easily the fuzziest seen on British shores since Brian Wenning switch backside smith grinded at Milton Keynes, its value likely rivaling Rob Welsh’s multi-payment plan Giants bomber. It is over in a few seconds and feels like it will reverberate for years.

Is Kyle Wilson the best skateboarder alive, as Slam City rhetoricizes? Why not? It is the fundamental question that comes up watching his roundly unimpeachable footage. Why not switch frontside noseslide a stupid tall ledge and then roll off some big drop? Why not blast a frontside flip as high as you possibly can before setting up for the stair set ahead? Why not politely explain to the young and sophisticated bicyclist that you need to jump that wall so you can crush the landing and shortly afterward firecracker partway down the stairs? Why not see how high you can pop that shaped deck? Why not give Ishod Wair competition for the world’s most coveted rollaway? Why not believe in a better season ahead?

Can a few minutes of incredible skate footage inject confidence and optimism not only into the tricks and session ahead, but prospects for the planet at large? Did you also catch similar vibes seeing the reinvigorated Fred Gall do a fakie ollie to noseblunt slide pop-in on a skatepark quarterpipe? How many cheap and easy payments might be required to secure a Kyle Wilson-cozy camo parka and, perhaps, peace for the House of Windsor? If web logging web sites were paid by the question mark could even the most meandering, run-on sentence typers drape themselves in fine, MLB-endorsed distressed leathers?

Down And Out In Dunktown

February 28, 2021

“It was one of the oldest neighborhoods around, but back then, nobody was really trying to live there. Nothing going on, every once in a while somebody would try and hype it up again like, hey, remember this place? Some cool stuff would pop up here and there but it was close to a notorious part of town. Nothing really wrong with the neighborhood itself, but it was more like, outta sight, outta mind.

“Other parts of town got crowded up and too busy, and here and there, people started moving back in. At first it was your typical mix, like young hipsters and sophisticated thirtysomethings. And you could see why, it had that a little bit of a more classic neighborhood vibe, kinda old school feel, for sure simpler than everything going on downtown. So people started moving back, they’d talk about how they’d loved the area all along and all that, and sure enough after a couple years you started to see some high rollers and upper crust types coming in. The vibe was changing no doubt, but you could find a reasonable place if you looked.

“It was still a nice place to be, nothing about the neighborhood itself fundamentally changed, but as the years went by it just started to get really crowded. And the free market did its thing. Rents went up. Bidding wars for coveted spots turned really intense. Different types of rent control programs were tried, some got pretty creative, but people were just getting so crazy with it — hiring programmers to build bots to help them land a spot, offering bribes, assaults, death threats. Kinda funny, since it was the old residents that were supposed to be the riffraff. Some landlords wouldn’t even give out their places’ address, the heat got so intense. But at the end of the day the developers and landlords didn’t turn anybody down, and you know, a lotta business and investment was coming in. Developers would sometimes try and set aside space for the longtime residents, but the same thing would always happen. And it’s starting to happen in other parts of town too.

“People say the bubble’s gonna burst soon, but they’ve said that before, and either way, most of the old locals who made the neighborhood what it was, by now they’re pretty much gone. All the streets, lines and angles are still the same, more or less, and it’s still possible on paper to live there without deep pockets and connects. But hardly anybody sees the point in trying, especially with the kind of money you can get for it if you do somehow land a spot. And there’s plenty of other neighborhoods around, some just as nice, some probably better, some whose roots in the city go even deeper. So this neighborhood’s theirs now, I guess, as long as they can afford it.”

The Snowblower Is The New Bolt Cutter

February 14, 2021

The story of ‘earth’ (the planet) is defined by the eternal tug of war between man and his environment. Viewed from above, land is carved into multicoloured squares and circles, crops to feed man’s teeming billions. Below ground, humans tunnel into soil and rock to extract minerals and gemstones that power cities and festoon foreheads. While tropical islands are constructed from trash or military equipment, each day people display their own minor triumphs over nature, driving heavily laden trucks up hills, relaxing in aeroplanes, boldly growing plants in Antarctica.

Erik Herrera, young fleet-foot now riding officially for Chocolate, this week put up another W for humankind, melding numerous pushes and an anti-ableist cement slope to fling a backside flip over a sidewalk and up a five-step, stoking out Tyler Pacheco and mankind generally. Despite the lack of a slow-mo angle, this backside kickflip more narrowly represented another ripple in the decadeslong environmental push and pull that birthed, developed and continues to define skateboarding. Asphalt embankments provided the friction and gravity for Z-boys of old to approximate surfing sans water; the pools later barged helped ferment the outlaw raiderisms that would be required to persist through the skatepark closures and vert ramp scrappings that would follow. Forced adaptation to office plazas, loading docks and schoolyards required fashioning tricks and entire disciplines around the street biome, working within the terrain’s natural limits and sometimes toppling them. The ingenuity required to translate picnic tables and staircase aids into platforms for innovation and progression allows a new form of vision, like slipping on the enchanted sunglasses from ‘They Live’ and seeing the Sistine Chapel in a New Jersey backyard.

Watching backside kickflips like Erik Herrera’s, on screens powered by rare earth minerals and housed within temperature-controlled rumpus rooms made out of dead trees, it’s easy to feel victorious. Science and technology have provided bondo and sawzalls and the power to make nigh any spot skateable; Thrasher’s March 2021 issue featured a how-to interview with a masked superhero knowed only as ‘Knob Buster.’ Those with mall shop and video game money, properly funneled into the pockets of laid-back warehouse landlords, have unlocked private TFs capable of sidestepping both security and inclement weather.

Yet all of this is a feint, dodging the real and ultimate authority: weather. No less a visionary than Mike Carroll recognized the climate’s paramount rule when, in the ‘Modus’ credits, he mutters his capitulation to the wind, seeking solace in the embrace of a video game controller when persistent breezes made all flip trick attempts pointless. Pat Duffy and Ronnie Creager and Marc Johnson wowed generations by taking on handrails and pic-a-nic tables in the rain, but these remain novelties, with malevolent nimbostrati continuing to reroute domestic and international filming trips to local bars. Even in these pandemic times, the only surefire cure for winter is southbound airfare.

Or is it? The same combination of ingenuity, courage and hardheaded masochism that hurls bodies repeatedly down stairs in pursuit of the clip, and that certain euphoric zen, are now pushing the meteorological envelope further than ever before. John Shanahan’s uncanny ability on the slippery snow-skate is one thing, but as blizzards rake the U.S.A. over past weeks, ways are being found to best even the uncooperative climate itself. The Philadelphia contingent again curls their collective lip toward any barriers before their ledges and cans — deploying a damn snowblower to cut paths between Municipal Plaza’s benches, leaving gaps for young Chris Falo to push and pop over as needed. Further west, Josh Kalis’ Grand Rapids group took the same approach to liberate an even more minimal spot from old man winter’s icicle-fingered clutches, in Boston and Cincinnati they’re skating snowbanks. Kevin Bilyeu’s bubblegoosed nose manual and trash can kickflip aren’t even the point, it’s the principle involved.

Is the snowblower the new bolt cutter? Could an iced-over parking lot or frozen Canadian pond, properly Zamboni’d, host a powerslide event worthy of a wintertime Dime Glory Challenge? Will the future bring affordable and localized weather-controlling machines to skateparks and leave yet-to-come generations that much more confused over why anyone bothers with street spots at all, or will varied temperatures, locales and other environmental trappings be required to properly model the premiumly priced softgood pieces that will support the pros of the day?

Death, Taxes And 10,000 Pounds Of Rolling Steel: Wade Speyer’s Dump Truck And The Quest For Immortality

January 31, 2021

In the smash Broadway politicopera ‘Hamilton,’ the closing number ponders man’s quest for immortality through government. After the gunshot death of major figure Alex Hamilton, lover of women and bayonettor of British, the refrainers mourn: “U lived, u died, bro we’ll tell ur story.” It is true, but only to a point: Andrew Jackson remains a day to day sight, but only until US currencies move fully digital. The system of government designed by aged brewmaster Benjamin Franklin has proven vulnerable to shirtless men in buffalo hats. Even Washington and Jefferson and Lincoln and Roosevelt, their visages carved 60 feet high in solid stone, exist only at the pleasure of phaser-equipped alien spaceships that one day may decide they have grown bored with the entire affair.

Approximately 70 years into its history, the skateboard realm mutters to itself the same lyrics as it flits about its day-to-day. Some things, like kickflips, the ‘Sick Boys’ video and the popsicle shape, persist through time. Others — the shoelace belt, Shorty’s boards, the lapper, Pat Corcoran, Justin Roy, Bridgebolts — rise and fade. And some prove truly immortal, such as Half Cabs, Brandon Turner’s switch hardflip, Fred Gall obviously, and as we shall come to understand, Wade Speyer’s dump truck.

Featured in 2001’s black denim document ‘Label Kills,’ and again in ‘Weekend at Wade’s’ alongside certain other heavy machineries, Wade Speyer’s dump truck has outlasted companies such as Bootleg, Seek and 3D; it has posed for the cover of Big Brother, which is also outlasted, and rolled like a timeless wave as decks and pants have widened and slimmed like the shifting of the tides. Footwear labels such as C1RCA, Ipath and Es have amassed great power only to fade again, but the dump truck persists. Photo/videographer John Bradford in North magazine rightly named it among the seminal moments captured in his photography career:

…I was lucky enough to be asked to help with what I think was one of the best things going on in skateboarding at that moment. It was so sick to be a fly on the wall as those guys put together some of those stories. Like listening to Natas [Kaupas] recount in his own words about his career. We went and filmed Wade Speyer drive his dump truck. We filmed an interview with Clyde Singleton where he refused to take off his Mexican wrestling mask.

Now, in this year of our lord 2021, it rises again, as Darren Navarrette in the February 2021 Thrasher pens another chapter of the legend:

I was always a bit starstruck by Wade. Before one contest, I decided to get a little liquid courage and dipped into a bar. The only other customer in the place was Wade. I was scared. What do I do? Do I pretend like I don’t see him? I decided to pull a stool up next to him. He looked over at me and said, “Darren, you wanna see a picture of my pride and joy?” He pulled out a photo of his brand new dump truck. I was like, What? A dump truck? The funny thing is, I had a picture of my pride and joy in my wallet, too, so I took it out and showed it to him. It was literally a photo of Pride dishwasher soap and Joy hand soap. Turned out neither of us were exactly rock stars.

Has Wade Speyer ever been documented doing the trick called the ‘dump truck’? Should Fred Gall, easily the most widely revered doer of the dump truck trick, buy a real one as he contemplates life paths beyond pro skating? When FA inevitably awards a ‘class photo’ board to the dump truck should it feature a pic of the truck fresh out the assembly line, some Tonka model, or heaps of unrefined iron ore bound for the blast furnace?

Is The Gap Being Properly Minded?

January 18, 2021

Jim Greco is in the news again, winding down 2020 with a display of his remove from skateboarding’s professional rat race, putting forward his most recent Film ‘Glass Carousel’ just as the inevitability of Mason Silva’s SOTY campaign wound to its undeniable conclusion. Ironically, or not, ‘Glass’ represents the closest thing to a conventional video part from the mercurial Greco since 2013’s ‘The Deathwish Video,’ vid; he surfaced not in November’s ‘Uncrossed’ full length. And he rips, rattling long bluntslides across bricked planters, backside 270 tailsliding a serious tall ledge, backside flipping on an impossibly tight bank, a disheveled meditation on a few square blocks in Los Angeles’ hot, disease-wracked core.

Absent this go-round are the attendant pork products, the silent rootbeer sipping, the inch by inch scraping of metal furniture across bleached concrete. ‘Glass Carousel’ gazes instead upon downtown Los Angeles’ tired and drug-hooked vagrants, Joey Sinko’s jittery lens provoking one to give angry chase and taking a long look as another sucks in chemical vapors. Greco himself of course has been in and of this world, and part of the off-putting allure of him and Joey Sinko’s prior Films has been the way they steep watchers in Greco’s urban ghost towns and drab routines, but the unblinking stare on the downtrodden struggling here rapidly feels discomforting, and a shade invasive.

Maybe that sentiment’s another symptom of skateboarding’s long and halting maturation into its current and more ‘grown’ mindset, the one that eats healthy, draws ice baths and makes more room for those outside the cultural mainstream for whom it always was supposed to be a refuge. Maybe Jim Greco and Joey Sinko let these clips run a few too many seconds beyond the snapshot blinks used for city-grit seasoning in other vids. The surplus of suffering and anguish generally over the past year may have everybody at this point hitting a certain collective limit. Maybe that’s the point?

‘Glass Carousel’ is the most recent in decades’ worth of skate videos to stitch in homeless people and assorted other streetbound characters in between tricks and lines and whatever else. When Ricky Oyola threw hands with the dude at Love Park in the credits of the Sub Zero video around 1994, it was two people who both spent their days in disused pockets of the city, harassed by cops, avoided or castigated by most everybody else. Contemporaries have described the vibe then and there as general coexistence and occasional turf battles between groups who may not have been seen as very many rungs apart on society’s grand ladder, though one set probably much more likely to have a roof over their heads.

In the quarter-century hence, skateboarding’s capacity to generate ad revenue for sport organizations, television networks and bagel merchants have widened that gap, by some measure. In 2003, with the THPS/X-Games era in full swing, California lurkers nicknamed ‘Da Clown’ and ‘Ghostrider’ were providing comic relief and occasional pearls of wisdom between parts and montages in Transworld’s ‘Free Yr Mind.’ Another decade on and the Supreme kids shared airtime in ‘Cherry’ with a Misfits-hating corner growler and the illicit smoker ‘Spark Plug,’ in service of a multi-billion dollar clothing supplier.

In our current epoch, skateboarders of various stripes grace billboards and Superbowl ads, show off their mansions and command what remain of MTV’s airwaves nearly around the clock. Police can kickflip and may give you a couple more tries, a presidential candidate is a ’skateboard philosopher,’ and one of these years the much-ballyhooed 2020 Olympic debut will occur. Meanwhile, after years of moderate declines, the number of US homeless has increased by 20,000 over the past four years, and the coronavirus has spread through shelters and threatens them on the streets.

Ought this increasingly glaring gulf be more recognized/respected by camera-toting inner city spot hunters? Does there exist a sliding scale between the New York summer-vacationing pro squads and the likes of Philadelphia’s Sabotage group, who may spend as many hours in a given day at Love Park or Municipal Plaza as any of the city’s unsheltered, and probably aren’t much banking off it either? Has the dude set up on the Santa Monica Courthouse stage appeared in any videos yet?

Covid Beards, Flame Beanies, Cargo Sneakers And Other Detritus From This Pandemic Year

January 1, 2021

Ten further
-Josh Wilson, ’Hardware For The Masses’ — lighting up Michigan City, pre-Covid beard
-Jahmir Brown, ’DC’ — near-knockout blow for the famed Pyramid ledges
-Nik Stain, ‘John’s Vid’ — dude needs a pro model flame beanie
-Patrick Zentgraf, ‘Kiosq’ — no matter the country, strong switch backside tailslides and track pants will eventually draw Primitive’s attention
-Jake Anderson, ’Cheap Perfume’ — to go with the helicopter heelflip frontside 360, there’s a great clip of a lady holding a tropical fruit and gasping in disbelief
-Javier Sarmiento, ’Jarana’ — the don of the Basque country can still do switch smith grinds, frontside and backside, in lines
-Chris Colburn, ’Heatwave’ — if Element’s weird arms’-length management of this dude and his backside 180 to switch frontside feeble grinds on handrails leads to yacht rock music vids like this, maybe it’s all fine
-John Shanahan, ’Cargo Sneaker’ — noseblunt to fakie on a handrail is rare, but pop shove-it to noseblunt on a ledge may be rarer
-Amelien Foures, ‘Introducing’ — Orlando Blooming tech on tree stumps
-Griffin Gass, ’Nervous Circus’ — flips-out that may be unrivaled right now

1. Tom Knox — ‘Atlantic Drift’

December 31, 2020


Is there such thing as a perfect video part? Determining an answer may require intensive quantitative computing, enchanted armor, and forensic analysis of Mark Gonzales in ‘Video Days,’ Guy Mariano in ‘Mouse,’ Jason Dill in ‘Photosynthesis,’ Dylan Rieder for Gravis, et cetera — all of which lay beyond the operational and budgetary constraints of modern weblog technology. Doesn’t watching the inevitable-feeling Tom Knox/Jacob Harris brick-and-bubblegoose masterpiece press the question though? It is a rapper-producer partnership as strong as any there were, probing and working many threads across ten engrossing minutes that mine London’s vacant schoolyards and blocks of flats — smirking humor, heartache, family, memories of spots and days past. It is tempting to sift for the nods and references, or ponder how many tries the street gap nollie out of the kickflip nose manual took, and whether the frontside boardslide to fakie after the backside 360 was spur of the moment. But the real reward is getting lost watching Tom Knox and Jacob Harris wind on and on through these claustrophobic brick and stone labyrinths, soaking in flourishes like the backside powerslide after the 360 flip to make it around the corner and cannon blasts like the monstrous curb cut ollie over the can to backside lipslide, set against incongruously beautiful summer days in an accursed year. Just cuz it’s obvious don’t make it wrong.

2. Nick Matthews – ‘HUF Welcomes Nick Matthews To The Team’

December 30, 2020


Imagine having committed to longterm body memory the exact combination of torso contortion, forefoot balance, ankle flick and split-second timing such that you now possess Pupecki grind kickflips out on command, the way Chicagoland’s Nick Matthews seems to have done. No longer the most feared flow dude in circulation, Huf became the first big operation to take the increasingly obvious step of elevating Nick Matthews to its formal team and presumably mailing out the first of what ought to be years and years of cheques. These and other payments are required to formally recognize the sheer difficulty of the things he repeatedly has done over the past couple years and continued to do here — ranging from a gargantuan street gap, the incredible block-to-block backside lipslide, to a fakie blunt to fakie and switch heelflip frontside blunt, in a line — Steve Durante level. Nick Matthews’ laser-eyed gaze is a smart match for any of the companies supplying him with equipment, but especially Huf, which consistently has delivered some of the best-constructed* videos in recent memory.

*if lazily titled