Posts Tagged ‘Aesop Rock’

D3 The Movie

September 19, 2021

A good tale richly told is an oat for the soul. By now, the story of the Osiris D3 2001 is a tale knowed by many, and familiar to millions more. A rapid rise, debauched excess, noise, tragedy, riches, confusion, an all-too-public fall and, yes, a long road back to redemption. It is a story uniquely American in the telling, and it may be the story of us all.

Take not its name in vain. A vision out of time, gaping lace holes and a tongue a-puff, soles as flat and broad as a hippopotamus’ hoof. From there, things grow murky. This was all right around the turn of the century. Onetime Evol filmer and noted Robotech fan Brian Reid co-founded Osiris shoes and put on his onetime roommate David Mayhew, amongst others, developing a series of professional-use and “crazy layered” shoes intended for the commercial market. While Osiris dodged murderous factory managers in South Korea and jealous h8ers stateside, the original D3 hit stores in 1999.

In skateshops, on Limp Biscuit stages and at random ‘raves,’ the D3 stood tall, shouldering aside rivals with its burly physique and raw grip. And yet behind the scenes, discord and vitriol soon fermented. Bad feelings over allegedly purloined D3 royalties preceded David Mayhew’s exit from the big Storm tour bus; in the years since, barbs and sideways comments over design and inspiration credit for a shoe that is widely regarded as a prime example of early 2000s excess, for years a kind of subcultural albatross heralding minifigure hats, toilet-brush goatees and metallic turntables, slowly spinning into infinity.

Did the phenomenon manifest entirely from the vision of A-Team Member David Mayhew? The wizened hand of Osiris footwear architect Brian Reid? The truth may remain unknowed, and few cared until money came back into the picture via the recent puffed-out tech shoe revival, with a sort of vindication for David Mayhew via A$AP Rocky’s UnderArmour-produced D3 clone that landed the former Maple pro on the GQ web page. A potent stew of sneaker-centric content farms, the D3’s rich narrative and that ever-seductive intoxicant, righteous anger, touched off a series of think pieces and jousting interviews. From there, the D3 media war escalated with a Vice magazine mini-documentary, in which Brian Reid and David Mayhew further traded claims and shots.

This week brought a new chapter, as David Mayhew sat for a 3.5 hour Nine Club panel discussion covering the D3 design process. “In my mind I was like, ‘I want something buck wild,’ he relates. “I saw this hiking boot, had the vision, called Brian and tried to explain it over the phone… he came up with the bottom, and the back… it obviously became a hot kind of button issue, but at the end of the day I don’t care what people believe, I can put my head on my pillow.”

Obviously a feature-length film is the only logical next step in this decadeslong war over the monstrous footwear’s legacy. And yet the media arms race so far has overlooked the D3’s real and decisive role in skateboarding culture. Beyond the double-kick deck, urethane wheel and cut-off jean hem, few products have proven as pivotal as the D3. The excess it represented served as a sort of conceptual rock bottom for the overengineered puffy tongue era, setting the stage for the resulting simple-shoe renaissance that followed in the mid-2000s — and no company capitalized better on this shift than Nike Inc. and its classic Dunk silhouette, widely aped by competitors who subsequently fell over themselves in a rush to commoditize minimalist shoe models. Rather than munch popcorn as David Mayhew and Brian Reid stake competing claims for the D3’s dubious stylistic attributes and still-seeping cash flows, they perhaps should be recognized as authors of a cautionary tale that remains relevant as ever, as shoes again gather puff and reach deeper into the ever-confuzzled consumer’s wallet.

Will ‘D3 The Movie’ fully capture the D3’s corrective role in the ever-mutating skate shoe continuum, or is the longer runtime of an exclusive streaming series justified in this case? Or is this ‘Max Max’ type beef that can only be resolved in the ‘Thunderdome’? Can it be true that the original concept for the D3 included packaging each pair with a miniature set of oars to justify a price premium recognizing the shoe’s capacity to serve as scale-appropriate liveboats for common household pets including gerbils, hamsters, mice and even juvenile guinea pigs?

Who’s Smiling In The Great COVID19 Footage Drought Of 2020?

March 22, 2020

“Country boy a tourist, say he looking for a brick,” Gucci Mane softly rasped in late 2017, spinning a crime tale of feast turned to famine on his ‘El Gato: The Human Glacier’ project. In between threatening to burn down rivals’ marijuana crops and sticking up for the Steve Harvey suit, Gucci counseled all would-be cocaine magnates on one of the several secrets to his own (past?) successes: keeping a side supply stashed to draw upon when your competitors’ plugs run dry, allowing Gucci Mane not only to continue peddling drugs in a thinly supplied market, but to charge a premium to boot. It is a story much like Aesop’s fable of the hardworking, pragmatic ant and the flamboyant, cocaine-addicted grasshopper, except in Gucci’s version the ant is an iced-out lion and it did not come out on Def Jux.

Today, as the global coronavirus pandemic reconfigures human and animal societies, it is again time to ponder Gucci Mane’s words. Indeed, time is all mankind has now, in an age of boredom and worried waiting. Instagram, the skateboarding industry’s outsourced hypnosis engine, sputters and coughs on limited fuel. Municipal and statewide lockdowns in the US and Europe have upended the long-running ‘Skateboarding Is Not A Crime’ conceit; with businesses and schools closed across continents and cities deserted, the question is now whether a spot can be skated, but should it? The athletic equipment manufacturers that are pro skateboarders’ most powerful employers have aligned with public health authorities and independent companies in a species-wide call to stay indoors and curb potential infection, inventing hashtag campaigns and video challenges to bide the time and sate the daily lust for ‘likes’ and follower maintenance.

Just like Gucci Mane’s secret bricks and pounds, the end result is pause pushed on the 24-7 content crush, a rain delay on the global, never-ending demo all had until recently taken for granted. COVID19-chancing renegade missions aside, today there exists a finite supply of footage that pros, ams, filmers, brand managers and TMs and bros now must determine how best to sprinkle and disperse as movement and sociable restrictions grow steadily more intense, and any endpoint uncertain. Just as sports TV channels dip into ‘classic matches’ and commentators regurgitate and eat their own punditry again and again, so do skateboarding’s content brokers and programming avengers have their own choices to make. With filming missions cancelled and even throwaway park clips now a limited commodity amid shelter-in-place orders, the wizened ants and ‘El Gatos’ who banked footage and resisted those tingly ‘for tha Gram’ urges shall be revealed; flakey, unhappy grasshoppers soon shall go wanting, forced to fall back on virus-themed #TBT variations and pontificating on road trips past, in between propping up their phone for off-the-couch flatground clips.

Has Thrashermagazine.com already implemented a wartime video-rationing programme designed to stretch its supply of releases to cover a widening coronavirus-driven gap in new productions? Will companies readying full-lengths increasingly carve them into single parts to dribble out over time, so as to command more homebound and content-starved eyeballs? Since it’s been about 3 months since his last one, does Mark Suciu already got a couple parts filmed and ready to go? If the COVID19 virus mutates and returns and forces further quarantines and social isolation, will the pressure on board companies, hardgoods distributors and independent contracting pros grow to such an extent that footage comes to be hoarded up and traded for exorbitant sums of toilet paper, pasta and ammunition? Should everybody just watch Justin Albert’s excellent ‘Flora’ vid over and over again?