Posts Tagged ‘Aesthetics’

Kids

December 17, 2012

knox

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

Does It Get (Measurably) Better Than This?

November 16, 2012

And if so, how. Here’s a different one though — is Joey Pepper the last of the “Ryde or Die Vol. 1” ryders to keep a skate career lit? Is Rob Welsh nowadays a fulltime guitar-slinger? Did John Igei hang it up after performing what has been duly recognized and/or realized as the best switch inward heelflip captured on film, over the Pier 7 block no less? Before planning your own pilgrimage to Pier 7, read some recent reviews here.

Mark Suciu Pens “Photosythesis” Fan Fiction, Has Hudson News On Smash

January 17, 2012

What with the standalone physical-release full-length video production gradually scaling back to the more occasional “event” that they were up til the late 1990s, we’ve got some of these one-off web parts taking on a bigger profile and developing their own little hype cycles — the Dylan Rieder “Laterds” coinciding with his landmark statement of purpose for Gravis, Nyjah Huston’s biographical/career turning point as promotional peg for his Element clip last fall, Thrasher handing its website over to Plan B and Torrey Pudwill over the summer in the run-up to his midyear footage dump, and so on. Drama and promotion seem to be part of the effort to rise above the Youtue/Hellaclips/message-board footage din, which makes it notable in a different kind of a way when Mark Suciu and his Atlas store buddies show up and run the WWW table for a three-day weekend with very little fanfare or notice ahead of time.

It’s hard to overstate how good this part is but we’ll try here. Gone is the five-panel hat, but otherwise Mark Suciu and his collaborator Miguel Valle strip away the floppy hair, overwrought ledge combos and assorted other little kidisms from the already-good “Origin” section and double down on stuff like the rail ollie to backside lipslide on the block, and all those flip tricks atop the narrow curb. These dudes seem to work like a good musician/producer combo and are smart about how they put hard tricks in the frame here, like the backside noseblunt up against the wall or the backside tailslide pop-out at Pulaski Park in Washington DC which seems like the type of trick that’s been crying out to be done by somebody. No egregious slow-mo, or even any slow-mo. And some of these tricks and runs are way out of hand.

But past all that you get the feeling that this dude almost is working with a kind of plan. Jake Johnson talked a while back about messages. Not knowing a lot about what he was going for with this section, or Mark Suciu in general except that he comes out of the Bay Area and he’s a fan of vintage Pappalardo and he heeds advice from Brennan Conroy as to footage gathering, it lets you project or theorize a little bit as you oooohh/aaaahh through this footage for the eleventh time. A blurb in Transworld not long ago put him in Philadelphia on some for-the-fuck-of-it road trip that apparently netted the switch feeble grind and probably a lot of the other local stuff as well as the Occupy clip. Looking at the way he’s skating now and the places him and his friends choose to hit, you can put together some picture of a kid who’s getting a chance to put his own spin on a “Photosynthesis”/”Ryde or Die Vol. 1″/”Element World Tour”/”EST” — carving his initials into spots next to Anthony* Pappalardo, Josh Kalis, Fred Gall, Ricky Oyola, Tim O’Connor, Kevin Taylor, John Igei, etc.

People are out there talking about this part in the same fashion as PJ Ladd’s debut, and there’s one similarity as far as how the heaviness of the tricks and lines here** are balanced out by a general low-key approach. No costumes, the whole time you’re basically watching a dude in a t-shirt flipping his board down the street, neither him nor the dude with the camera tripping too much on the angle of the sun in the picture or a little blurry footage or a wayward backpack. Also the fakie b/s nosegrind shove-it in that last line gave this mid-90s torch-bearer goosebumps.

*Possibly my favorite Pappalardo photo of all-time, so it was awesome to see Mark Suciu flip the script at the same spot
**Did he seriously do all those tricks in SF on the same night..

Now That’s What Boil the Ocean Calls Skateboarding (’00s Edition): 20-11

November 13, 2009

20. “Ryde or Die Vol. 1,” 2001
ryde_or_die

One of the last videos with that 1990s feel, Rob Welsh came storming through with a section that observers and supporters had been waiting on since he popped up in the Mad Circle video. Kind of like the Pier 7 opener, there maybe are flaws to this section, but they’re awful hard to make out amid the crooked grinds and Wu-affiliated musics. Aside from the fade-to-whites, “ROD” also features rare full-length appearances from Kevin Taylor and Clyde Singleton, who floats that monstrous bar ollie, and Joey Pepper comes off all forward-thinking nowadays with his Stooges song and backside nosegrind pop-out 180s; this video also featured a pretty good John Igei part and a Mannie Fresh instrumental, ensuring it a top-20 position.

19. “In Bloom,” 2002
in_bloom

TWS’s first am-boosting video featured two of the most visceral parts committed to DV tape this decade from Trainwreck and TNT, more than balancing out the comparatively humdrum footage from the young Evan Hernandez and Mikey Taylor. Tony Trujillo was at the height of his powers, clinging onto tricks he should’ve bailed and ending with a sort of literal smash. People who don’t skate have watched this part on my TV and termed it poetry in motion, and also tight jeans. Whereas P-Rod stood on the cusp of cashing in his little-kid chips for a spot on Girl and probably should’ve had the last part with all the switch gap stuff, it becomes difficult to logically argue against Slayer and 100-mile-an-hour handrail jumping by the rapidly sleeved and unfairly maligned Alex Gall, practitioner of a truly brutal form of gnar skateboarding. I wish he’d stuck around. Finally, this entry would be remiss not to mention the inclusion of Chris Cole when he started getting more interesting, indulging in the Misfits and the Love Park gap.

18. “Man Down,” 2001
man_down

Everything that “Tilt Mode” was and more, except a little less, since there was no Juvenile and Steve Cab didn’t take another run that one crazy handrail, perhaps on sound advice from his lawyers. Saying that the Tilt Moders re-injected “fun” into things misses the point and can make the sayer sound embittered for his or her own bizarre and unfortunate reasons, but videos such as “Man Down” did seem to make a point to encourage drinking, indulging in peculiar fantasies, and generally taking things less serious than the pros who stare at handrails, or wap themselves over the head with their boards for instance. Marc Johnson’s last trick in this video was a switch hardflip backside tailslide, which Rodrigo TX did for his last trick in the Flip video last month. Marc Johnson also skated to the disco Rolling Stones and if you slow-mo certain tricks you can see him bludgeoning seal pups for fun and profit.

17. “This Is Skateboarding,” 2003
this_is_skateboarding

Retroactively the Emerica video with the kinda-silly title gets lumped in with the leather-jacket-and-basic-handrail-trick movement from the early part of the decade, which it was part of sure, but “TIS” had a lot more depth than that thanks in part to the crack production squad of Miner and Manzoori. Opening on a dismal/dour note with a subdued Heath Kirchart section, they meander through the noisome world of Ed Templeton and his ollie impossibles, the most legitimately urban Tosh Townend part, and the last major effort from Chris Senn who did that crazy f/s pivot. Kevin Long roared onto the scene here, spinning both switch and frontside, and the Reynolds closer has that opening line for the books and some serious left-field tricks like the switch backside shifty.

16. “The DC Video,” 2003
DC_video

DC’s vaunted debut video was notable for a few reasons, including Rob Dyrdek seeming to make a sincere effort, Josh Kalis making some of the first miscalculations when it came to choosing tricks, and Colin McKay skating to Jimmy Buffet while foreshadowing the rise of the Geico insurance lizard. The video as a whole though gets over on three parts: Anthony Van Engelen’s blistering crooked-grind melee, Brian Wenning doing less than five tricks regular-footed throughout his other great video part, and yea, the Danny Way. A generation in skateboard-years later the mega-ramp is a known commodity, with its own X-Games designation and related baggage, but seeing the iron man jump and twirl and soar over that thing for the first time was a very, very nutty thing to see, and the victory lap with the rainbow rail sealed the deal.

15. “Mind Field,” 2009
mind_field

Reminding us what a video can do aside from whomping you over the head with unending ledge combos, “Mind Field” returned Alien to form in time for the decade to close out after a few years of soul-searching brought the company to Burton’s doorstep. Purists will quibble about putting on Arto and distribution strategies but in the end-results department “Mind Field” was a triumph, dragging AVE back out of the gutter, putting a match to the incendiary Omar Salazar, letting Jason Dill do as he must and anointing Jake Johnson as a new standard-bearer for New York City – before Heath Kirchart blows through and wipes out everything. Maybe if we were doing this list five years from now, this video would be higher.

14. “Vicious Cycle,” 2004
vicious_cycle

For an outsider this Zoo-backed production signaled a sort of generational torch-passing as far as high-profile New York types – you had Vinny Ponte yelling at people and Robbie Gangemi doing those frontside blunts and Danny Supa, sans Supa-suit, with a bigspin-flip higher than a regular person’s head. It’s hard to ignore Zered Bassett though, seeings how he comes through and switch heelflips over a house or something in basically every section, and all the then-young guns have pretty amazing shit: Charles Lamb, Eli Reed, Brian Brown and most especially Lurker Lou, whose low-key opener features many colorful varieties of the Etnies Rap, and Aquil Brathwaite, who was on some serious Lavar McBride in “Trilogy” and who I would’ve bet the farm was gonna be huge. Live and learn..

13. “Mosaic,” 2003
mosaic

People bemoan Habitat’s westward shift in terms of personnel, but the squad might have been at its strongest when it struck a balance between coasts. Featuring the dirtbag debut of Danny Renaud, with Brian Wenning and Anthony Pappalardo at the height of their relevance and Jason Dill’s planned/unplanned all-line section, all differentiated the first Habitat vid and realigned things for everybody else to a certain extent over the years to come. One of the few videos where either of the last two sections could’ve closed it, but it’s hard to think of any other moment in time when poised Peruvian Danny Garcia could’ve dropped the curtains, and nollieing a gap to k-grind remains a pretty crazy thing to do even years later.

12. “Baker2G,” 2000
baker2g

The video that launched a thousand apparel companies centered on black stretch denim. This video shocked upon arrival, first and foremost with the foul-mouthed Knox Godoy, second with the skating, and to a lesser extent the assorted antics and guest appearances from Brad Hayes, Hoops and Chad Fernandez. Greco’s backside noseblunt and Reynolds’ nollie noseblunting ascension to Koston heights aside, the influence of “Baker2G” was felt just as heavily off the board, and it’s to their credit that the bros have stuck to their niche in and out of 12-step programs while finding new ways to heft a middle finger toward, for instance, the Olympics.

11. “Real to Reel,” 2001
real_to_reel

A Bay Area classic in the spirit of “A Visual Sound,” “Sick Boys,” and “In A Major Way,” Real’s early ’00s entry is still the best case for Nate Jones’ elevation to flower-child style icon, and watching this video again is kind of disappointing when you wonder how much further he could’ve taken things, what else could’ve been, etc. But “Real to Reel” also launched Hensley revivalist JT Aultz and the barnstorming Dennis Busenitz, with Mark Gonzales refocused on street lines and Cairo Foster at or approaching some sort of peak. Max Schaaf on the money board and shit, even this video’s credits section approaches classic status.

Eye Candy

April 11, 2009


Alternate title: Game gear

Since I now see how I was kinda riding off frozen in carbonite’s recent Nunez posting last time around, I suppose I’ll keep the (ahem) ball rolling and quasi-bite Bloggy Omega’s Joey Pepper item in a certain kind of way, insofar as recognizing the dude’s apparent role as a sometime graphic design assistant when it came to those last glorious days of Aesthetics.

It was some time ago that I stumbled on the Tunney page, I think during the course of a fruitless Google Image Search for Kevin Taylor Aesthetics ads – specifically this bombastic backside 180 nosegrind on one of those Temple rails (I think?) where he’s letting it all hang out in typical KT fashion; one of those skaters who pretty much never ever produces a bad photo. I might try and argue that Kevin Taylor photos as often as not turn out better than the footage, but it would depend on the day, how I was feeling at the time, what was for lunch, etc.

One thing or another prompted me to save the link and not long afterward, in a classic “plate of shrimp” moment, my Mozilla ran aground at the Handheld Games Museum, where a couple other series of Aesthetics graphics are archived (Gamer, pictured overhead, and Arcade). All of which got me thinking back on the, er, artistically beautiful and/or pleasing appearance of Aesthetics graphics, ads, Rob Welsh’s switch 360 flips and so on.

Now many pixels have been sacrificed to the ongoing eulogization of skateboard graphics’ import, relevance and general quality, all of which are agreed to have slipped since [insert golden age here], thanks to such usual suspects as the heat-transfer process, series boards, kids these days, and that ever-present creative bugbear, corporate influence. Which may or may not be true, although great graphics still are being produced here and there.

I think though the generally sweet quality of Aesthetics graphics is usually left out when discussing what should’ve been Sal Barbier’s great legacy, where the conversations usually focus on the amazing squad and the tragic migration to Zoo, which as far as I can tell didn’t treat anybody especially good. Barbier served a short and probably thankless TM stint, Welsh wandered in board-sponsor limbo after fleeing the Ecko empire, Pepper nearly quit skating, Clyde Singleton I guess wrangled a foot surgery before getting out, John Igei had to wait a couple years before going to W.E. for the belated pro nod, and Kevin Taylor has to skate in Zoo York shoes. Is the latter “worth it” though if it funds monstrous backside heelflips and a car note? Probably that’s one of those questions that can only truly be answered in the afterlife, or perhaps the Slap board.

PS, if anybody knows that KT ad I blathered about earlier, by all means post it up somewheres or point me towards it.

Flo Jo

April 20, 2008

Today’s dispatch from the holy shit department: Joey Pepper with hair


(via crailtap)