Posts Tagged ‘Alien Workshop’

Scenes From The Spring 2005 DNA Distribution Catalogue

April 15, 2018

10. Joey Guevara – ‘Pyramid of the Sun’

December 22, 2017


‘Right to Exist’ was last year the title of a Santa Cruz video, amusingly suggesting a chip on the shoulder of a decades-deep stalwart once more having to assert itself amid a barrage of smaller, hipper upstarts. The title could just as easily apply to Alien Workshop, whose untimely implosion beneath overleveraged corporate bloat and fairly rapid resurrection — sans prior teamriders — brought on any number of reprisals and bad feeling. Three years down the line, it feels like Mike Hill has reestablished a footing with Yaje Popson, Frankie Spears, Brandon Nguyen and Joey Guevara — this last with the velvet-soled feet and affinity for Detroit’s crumbling foundations. His going-pro part this year, which could’ve been ported straight out of ‘Inhabitants,’ trades in mainly basic ingredients that Joey Guevara can craft into uncommonly satisfying-to-watch tricks — the frontside tailslide shove-it, the nollie backside 180, the fakie shove-it. It’s maybe a little bit long but gets over on the little touches, like the quick switch 180 up the step and the mild surf action following the bar-hop backside 180.

John Shanahan, Chopped and Sewed on the Final Frontier

May 28, 2017

Some weeks back a video Youtube link circulated advertising an attempted backside 360 down the famed El Toro stair set, the sort of heart-testing maneuver around which you’d either anticipate a fire-legged professional like Chris Joslin’s name attached, or else some risk-friendly unknown ready to offer up his effort to the world as some type of return on a foolhardy willingness to get uniquely pitched and presumably walk away. It was surprisingly convincing try — they say the last quarter spin is the moneymaker when hurling one’s self down twenty steps or more — and it rolls above a disclaimer revealing that the bros involved “might not go back for this” and various other pink-panted jumps and things.

But is it so easy? Many of skating’s seemingly most harebrained ideas have proven shockingly hard to let go. Duane Peters’ tangles with the fibreglass loop captivated a world-conquering Tony Hawk in his video game-designing prime, and assorted others after its bullring subduing. Jamie Thomas’ “leap of faith” drew Richard King to test his luck before the Point Loma school board took matters into their own hands and constructed a solid platinum elevator in one of this young century’s most stunning acts of baller-blockingism. In test fittings for the MegaRampTM crown, Bob Burnquist discovered that he, like propellerheaded originator Danny Way, could no longer resist the uniquely arousing allure of skating helicopters. Aaron Homoki’s taming of Lyon’s most notorious 25 stairs, 13 years after Ali Boulala charted its glide path en route to part-ending slams, became fodder for a Thrasher mini-doc.

Steeped in early ‘ESTs’, Flexfitted hats and the colour yellow, John Shanahan seems more concerned with resuscitating a specific vibe and era than etching his multisyllabic rhyming surname into history’s annals via big-spot trophy hunting. Bubbling under the DGK umbrella for a minute, John Shanahan this week officially arrives on the DC Shoes payroll via a cracking intro clip that pointedly trots out the bold/less bold/standard font DCSHOECOUSA logo of old along with eastern seaboard spots rinsed and fresh. Between the DC one and a separate LurkNYC VX footage dump, John Shanahan flexes backside nosegrind pop-outs, a slicing 360 flip out of the Kalis school, some tricks outta the modern school’s playbook (driveway wallride, ride-on tailslide kickflip), some flamboyantly retro Droors gear and hubba noseslides. Toeing some blurry line between ‘Photosynthesis’ and ‘The Storm,’ he wields a serious switch k-grind and a judicious use of camouflage, which is rare to see these days.

Like Philly neighbors Kevin Bilyeu and Brian Panebianco, it’s easy and erroneous to pigeonhole John Shanahan’s shared enthusiasm for the numbers 07 and 43 and all their sportsweary accoutrements as retroactivism rooted in personal branding. Just as the Sabotage dudes unearthed, resurfaced and restored an entire scene that had been municipally buried and professionally abandoned, John Shanahan seems to harbour deeper ambitions. Sharpening cut and sew skills, where else, on Instagram, John Shanahan demonstrates enough technical proficiency and stylistic nerve to construct cargo and swishy pants that command triple-digit price tags and earn “levels” hash tags when positioned alongside skaters’ current affection for graphical sweatpants and other sub-waistline achievements. But as he tests his growing powers, is John Shanahan consciously or not flying too close to that blazing sun of skate pants fashiondom, the two-toned pant?

It is a stylistic Leap of Faith that has shadowed previous practitioner Garrett Hill throughout his sponsored career, and one not lightly rolled up to. A year after Garrett Hill’s pants debuted in video footage, Tim O’Connor gleefully went in. Eight years on, the pants’ impression lingered enough that former teammates would bring them up as a cautionary tale of judgment, hubris and star-crossed romance:

Tom Karangelov: But when there’s someone that’s so original and out there, he gets so much shit. It’s crazy. Like with Garrett [Hill], half red half black pants. People are still talking to him about that. But dude, was it really that big of a deal? They are just fucking pants. Aren’t you encouraged to be creative when you skateboard? The dude who tries to go out of the box gets like, so much shit for it.

Jenkem: Have you ever considered wearing “crazy pants” like that?
Ah, no.

Has an Adidas-supported revolution in swishy pants and increasingly garish sweats provided enough air cover for John Shanahan to push pants envelope in ever-more colourful envelopes? Which trick ranks higher in terms of ’90s/east-coastness, the backside 5-0 backside 180 out or the fakie backside nosegrind shove-it? Yall caught that one switch backside heelflip over and down the blocks right? How is the resurrected Alien Workshop not sponsoring at least one of these ‘Photosynthesis’ acolytes? You been keeping an eye on Brian Wenning’s Instagram right?

Bring Hither the Fatted Calf and Kill It

February 13, 2016

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As the blind oracles foretold, Lennie Kirk is proving to be the guiding touchstone for skateboarding in 2016, with his devotion to hammer-handy fish multiplier Jesus Christ’s ’33 resuscitation and Lennie Kirk’s own unlikely rise from beneath that Pac-Bell van foreshadowing the timely return of top-shelf talents to the turbulent and beery pool that is skating in 2016.

Paul Rodriguez, he of the multi-sponsor fitted and long-distance switch 360 flips, already rolled away the stone and commanded the grave-cloths removed from the pro career of French double-flip enthusiast Bastien Salabanzi. With the Christian season of Lent upon us, Paul Rodriguez would play at the Lazarus legend again, this time bringing out onetime fellow City Star Devine Calloway for what by some poorly considered blog webpages’ count would be his third go-round with the skate biz, after his initial City Star twinkle, his Chocolate grown-up resurfacing some years later and post-‘Pretty Sweet’ bonus footage low profile. Nothing’s changed, it would seem, and besides his apparently mostly successful kicking of a costly New Era habit, he could’ve popped out the fakie flip 5-0 and that Crisco-smooth bigspin immediately following his still-impressive TWS part nearly a decade back.

Days later on the other coast, long-lost Tompkins wunderkind Yaje Popson officially moved his 64-Crayola wardrobe into Alien Workshop’s radiation-proof geodesic dome, itself recently restored to life via Rob Dyrdek’s Street League and television show dollarydoos. Despite what sounded like dual knee injuries, a somewhat dispiriting parting of ways with the Crailtap camp amid the heightened and heated ‘Pretty Sweet’ filming campaign, and the bucolic pleasures of small-city life in Brazil, Yaje Popson’s tricks remain super on point (switch backside smith grind, that pyramid ledge trick) and as suited as any to the worthwhile project that is refurbishing the Sovereign Sect, though maybe a little bit less surprising than Devine Calloway’s rebound given last year’s Sk8Rats turn and how he plainly spoke of missing it all. A TWS interview promises heavier hitting yet to come.

The limited economic prospects, increasingly crowded competition for unique eyeballs and impressions, and ever-present risk cocktail of age and injury raises questions around the logic of gone-once pros and bros returning for further bites of the industry cherry. Yet return they do, from Tom Penny’s bleary trip back in ‘Sorry’ to Guy Mariano’s wristguarded tech triumph in ‘Fully Flared’, the Muska’s single-gloved victory lap with Element, Christian Hosoi’s post-prison bid adventures, Supreme’s Paulo Diaz exhumation, and the extended post-Shorty’s go-rounds enabled by Sk8Mafia. More curiouser may be how such prodigal sons typically not just are welcomed but cheered back — witness last year’s outpouring of support after Kevin Spanky Long’s return journey to Baker put him again astride a pro board and back in the proverbial van.

Is the skate sphere unique in its tolerance for such wilderness years, spent consuming substances, recovering from blown-out joints, pursuing alternate careers or raising families? In the parlance of major-league team sports, comebacks usually are intra-game affairs, with some allowance for those rare talents drawing sufficient investment to bide a season or more in physical therapy, but clawing one’s way back into the professional universe after years away seems a rarer feat still, whether fueled by Kenny Powers-level moxie or some other chemical reaction. But even with a decade or more off magazine pages, digital video discs and relevant social media mobile networks, it’s difficult to imagine an increasingly fragmented and nostalgia-shaped boarding industry turning its collective nose up if long-faded lords like Sean Sheffey, Alex Gall, Scott Kane, Mike Maldonado, Billy Valdes, Pat Channita, Tim O’Connor, Jon West, Ted de Gros, or Gideon Choi turned up with a video part approaching their respective primes and the gumption to keep at it.

Does skating’s willingness and seeming zeal to re-embrace its wandering prodigals flow from the same spiritual mountain spring that nurtures tendencies to stockpile decks skated beyond any reasonable use, pack grocery-store boxes full of even lean-year Transworlds, and scour Ebay auctions to expensively recapture some spark first kindled in a long-lost CCS catalogue? As skating is lassoed, saddled, broken and eventually led head-down and besequined into that great Olympic rodeo, replete with floodlights and sad clowns, will lapsed pros resurface more often or must all spare dollarydoos shower down upon the podium-bound few? Has the YouTube age made it harder or easier for pros to recatapult dormant careers? Is Brian Wenning at Love Park right now? Yall saw Jeremy Klein’s kickflip bench stall in the Greco movie right?

Ams Behaving Badly and The Struggle For Our Immortal Souls Dudes

January 9, 2016

lobstrosity

As the sleek and plush (if leased [and somehow less flavourful than the Honda Civics and cliff-bound Cadillacs of decades past]) Porsche that is skating’s motorvehicular avatar purrs into 2016, the dashbound is fruitlessly thumped again and again in a hapless bid to steady the jittery moral compass mounted somewhere south of the cracked rear view and fuzzy dice. Turmoil abounds. Tweenage inward heelflip lothario Baby Scumbag and self-styled switchstance deity Keelan Dadd stand accused of sexually exploiting a 12-year-old, drawing revulsion from all but their most loyal Instagram subscribers. Knox Godoy, that onetime Baker bidder for Billy Waldman status, assures Jenkem that a hybrid lifestyle of drug selling, professional chefing and knocking over the odd Wal-Greens is preferred over the comparatively stressful elements of pro-level boardsmanship. Elsewhere there is an uneasy peace to be made with contractually obligated energy-drink hoisting, ‘name’ pros openly endorsing Drake material and Thrasher ringing in this uncertain new year by dabbling in emoticons.

Polarization and its closely related national pasttime, the culture war, seem bound to lay hooks into the skating sphere as it embarks upon a bold age in which a pro can be sacked for too-loose poo talk, while Andy Roy, noted degenerate, holds forth as a wizened confidant and adviser. Mythmaking and condemnation continue their two-decade waltz* around a film meditation on trading HIV status and various assaults while Lenny Kirk admonishes snitches and trafficks in Biblical morality from behind bars:

“A lot of Americans don’t know these things. They’re too caught up with fake tits and butts, plastic surgery, gay sex, drugs, and how to get God out of America. Obsessed with themselves. The flesh. Perverted, influenced by bimbo hoes with twisted minds and famous because of pornos. America is heading to Hell yet they don’t think so. Some try to make it as if homosexuals are normal people but it’s a lie, a deception. You’re not born that way! Men move from viewing pornography to homosexuality, to rape, to incest and to pedophilia… from one glass of wine to abusive alcoholism and from smoking marijuana to crack cocaine.”

As skating’s graying corporate checkhandlers steer it toward an Olympic status and the balance sheet replenishing endorsement largesse to follow, skaters must determine whether they continue cheering bad guys. The general public already had split over Palace’s prodigal ‘old New York’er Shawn Powers’ art career, jacket game and skating generally, but the gulf widened this week upon digital unearthing of a clip in which Shawn Powers forcefully liberated several lobsters before sending several toward an untimely and preemptive broiling via wall.

Shawn Powers’ shock-and-awe campaign upon these semi-suspecting lobsters drew widespread shrugs and condemnation in turn within the skating sphere and without, amid calls for Palace to cease his sponsorship, police to jail him and aquatic beings across the region to rise up in moistened vengeance.

Skating of course already has had a long and fraught relationship with lobsters, mainly manifested through footwear color schemes. Lobsters, despite their cuddly appearance and gregarious ways, are among the most enigmatic and threatening invertebrates of the time. Long rumoured to possess the secrets of immortality, they will feast upon the flesh and carapaces of their own kind, spreading dangerous bacteria wherever they scuttle and threatening the toes and, indeed, the very souls of the unwary:

These you may eat of all that are in the water: whatever in the water has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers—that you may eat…. Whatever in the water does not have fins or scales—that shall be an abomination to you. Leviticus 11:9, 12

Did Shawn Powers, possibly fresh off Chrome Ball Incident’s landmark Lennie Kirk post and a recent poll that voted God most likely to destroy humanity, simply seek to look out for immortal souls generally and avoid potential abominations by the best means possible? Would lobsters rather die briefly free on the pavement than live doomed behind glass? Dad-a-cham? Dum-a-chum? How does this clip not go in the next Bronze vid? What would Andy Roy do?

9. Brandon Nguyen – ‘Bunker Down’

December 23, 2015

The initial video clips heralding Alien Workshop’s stripped-down resurrection went long on ‘Memory Screen’ level image cryptology and edit-bay abrasion, which goes some way in explaining why October’s ‘Bunker Down’ reintroductory video, hewing closer to a more straight-ahead Habitat lane, came off kind of more ‘Time Code.’ Sect-worthy skating was offered up from Joey Guevara, Max Garson and particularly Brandon Nguyen, who could legitimately jockey for a T-Eddy themed around wallride prowess. He’s got a wild type of double wallride transfer in ‘Bunker Down’ and the most convincing pop out of one since Tom Taxpayer went in for Transworld, plus all types of dipped smith grinds, a whirligig frontside 360 and perhaps the year’s best Pupecki grind, back to forward.

Been There All The Time

October 24, 2015

backfromthedead2revue

“Too hard,” was the beleaguered takeaway from jurists deliberating for three weeks the fates of legal executives who oversaw one of the law world’s most breathtaking collapses, that of the once high-flying Dewey & LeBouf LLP, sunk in 2012 and soon accused of cooking various books. Juggling upwards of 150 criminal counts, saturated in deeply technical testimony and confounded by the volcanic, phlegmatic and difficult to follow rants of one Uncle Donald, jurors tossed towels after finding themselves unable to agree on dozens of counts, in a situation similar to a spandexed rollerblader being handed a Nike-branded pen and pad so as to formulate precision Street League contest scores at a championship stop where the lowly ranked are shipped off to toil in gaol for unhappy decades.

Deck-consuming purchasers this week shall don blindfolds and ponder their own misbalanced scales as Alien Workshop unveils ‘Bunker Down,’ the resuscitated Ohio conspiracy-and-equipment merchant’s first formal video offering since resurfacing toward the beginning of the year. In its way it is a precedent-setting case — whereas half-hearted stabs have been made toward rebooting once-lively board concerns such as ATM Click and Vision, and companies such as World Industries, Toy Machine and Plan B have staged comebacks after replacing much of the companies’ prior rosters, AWS’s amateur-powered reincarnation represents the first attempt at a complete slate-wiping reset without letting its name first marinate in some nostalgic purgatory, or a box-checking effort toward team rebuilding so as to market bargain-bin products.

Sovereign Sect disciples reared on grainy images of rural blight and zoomed in shots of creepy crawlies have been heartened by now-daily photos and video clips on the Workshop’s Instagram portal that show Mike Hill much in command of the company’s signature visuals, ensconced in an abandoned nuclear research facility of some description, bought by Dyrdek. Absent hanging onto (M)other’s founding fathers, rebuilding the team from scratch was a plan far smarter than resetting with knowed pros or amateurs, lured from establishment sponsors and bearing their own baggage. Promising returns already are seen in Joey Guevara’s hilltop to alley marauding, Brandon Nguyen’s wall scaling and Frankie Spears’ handrail riffage, before Miguel Valle’s reliable lens, boring through lesser-chewed crust inside Detroit, upstate NY and other locales various. These dudes’ skating smacks of AWS to varying degrees, not far off the spectrum mapped by the company’s post-‘Mindfield’ additions, and time has validated many of the company’s prior pluckings of lil-known am talent, from Pappalardo and Wenning to Taylor and Johnson.

That grand and fickle arbitror, the marketplace, will judge whether this steamlined and refreshed Alien Workshop will remain a prowess player upon board walls and social media feeds for the years ahead, but its trajectory bears close observation — roughly 2200 miles to the southwest there have been ominous rumblings within the Crailtap camp, which already has seen three high profile departures and enough recent, billowy smoke around the prospective ship-jumpings of decades-deep Girl stalwarts such as Eric Koston and Guy Mariano so as to reasonably presume some type of fire. With the careers of other gen-one Crailtappers in their autumn season and the intentions of the Altamont cash-injectors toward lesser-loved hardgoods operations unknowed, it seems fair to ponder the future of another upstart turned industry pillar whose influence has receded like so many 90s-pro hairlines.

Is a wholesale reboot of Girl doable or desirable when vested owners such as Mike Carroll and Rick Howard are still capable of justifying their pro model products and Cory Kennedy, among Girl’s latest-annointed pros, appears in the SOTY mix? If Girl’s flow program were mined for such a baseline reset would Antonio Durao’s thundersome switch 360 flips provide air cover for any and all other newcomers? Was Plan B’s ‘Tru, B,’ bereft of all legacy professionals save the unsinkable Pat Duffy, actually a ‘Bunker Down’-style reset in all but name? Should the Alien Workshop have held the bagpipe hymn in reserve for their comeback release, or will the opening chords of BIG’s ‘You’re Nobody’ replace those of ‘Little Ethnic Song’?

Tha Agony and Tha Ecstasy

May 31, 2015

TrillFam

For all the mumblings of Peter Pan syndrome and deferred adulthood attached to pro-level boarding careers and various man-amhoods, such pursuits are not built for the emotionally unhinged: Marking one’s day-to-day progress by recording hard-fought clips destined to be trimmed to a few seconds each and pasted into a Thrashermagazine.com web-video in a couple years’ time, clinging to fleeting victories during which a hammer is performed, landed and hand-on-death-lens marked, then past, perchance to plow through a 30-pack and next week try for another one. Anthony Van Engelen speaks of grappling with emotional voids after completing big video projects, and witness the deep valleys leading to an uncertain but undeniably triumphant peak in Jamie Thomas’ cold war with the not-long-for-this-world Clipper ledge.

Love/hate relations betwixt bros and boards are to be understood and forcibly massaged when circumstances demand. But what of those emotional snake-runs entangling teamriders and sponsors, which have taken to marketing themselves as families and brotherhoods? Chris Cole and his new Plan B family exhibited their unbridled giddiness upon his joining the ‘Tru’ Tank this month, cheesing and fist-pumping and committing various spelling transgressions as the onetime Zero heavyweight apparently shelved any plans to market decks on his own and instead chose to endorse monocoloured boards with skulls and guitars manufactured by another company.

It’s hard to imagine the Black Box camp not feeling some type of way after clicking on this clip, given Zero’s role plucking Chris Cole from the World camp and providing a hard-rocking hessian launchpad for the next dozen years of his career; to boot, Chris Cole just a year before seemed to identify with Paul Rodriguez’ abrupt flying of the Plan B coop as a cue to carve out one’s own deck-centric microbrand: “I think at some point Paul figured out it wasn’t about Plan B selling Paul Rodriguez skateboards anymore, it was about him selling Plan B, and that’s the point where you start to realize you could be doing something more.”

Any career-minded gnar merchant gathers a certain amount of lumps along the road, and Jamie Thomas like other pros-turned-entrepreneurs signed up for an extra helping by starting his own companies and seeing dudes he put on later pack up and leave. But Zero proved to be one of the relatively few sellers of skate goods to not only publicly acknowledge the departure of a team lynchpin in Chris Cole, but go so far as to post a brief retrospective video and wish him well.

Few others do — Brandon Westgate’s decision in April to join the Element family after seven years holding down the Zoo York family passed with little notice on Zoo York’s Instagram. Gino Iannucci’s Slap board-shaking jump to Fucking Awesome just shy of 19 years as a red block head drew nary an official peep from the Crailtap camp, though months later his former teammates can’t finish interviews without being asked about it. Whereas Mic-E Reyes headbutt sendoffs now rank as just another hallowed memory of 1990s realness and sour jpgs are a Web 1.0-ready if rarely utilized substitute, the default seems to have become an Orwellian electronic eraser applied to the team webpage, removal of the defector from relevant social media hype circles and moving on.

Like insurance and the signing of openly gay athletes, is skateboarding again in danger of being outpaced by major-league sports when it comes to acknowledging contributions from longstanding-but-departing riders? The Seattle Mariners deployed a warm statement of gratitude when outfielder Ichiro Suzuki bounced after more than a decade on the squad, and later publicly big upped him when he got his 4000th hit playing for the Yankees.

Besides agreed-upon stacks of legal tenders, what if anything do companies owe their independent contractors who toil atop handrails and within ditches in the name of endorsement deals? In Alien Workshop’s ultimately transient dissolution last year, some of the then-remaining abductees seem to have received no official word of the shutdown at all, much less any word of thanks:

Jake Johnson: It’s a strange one. Nobody said good bye. Mike Hill didn’t throw in the towel. It’s strange. It was on the internet.

Omar Salazar: I never spoke to anyone. No one ever called me, I’m just like, who is running this thing? They got rid of the only dude who I was talking to [Chad] who told me to stick around. And that’s how you get rid of people after all these years? I was bummed and then got hurt.. But no phonecall. No Rob Dyrdek phonecall… I mean jesus, who are you, man? I thought we were homies, bro [laughs]. Just kidding. Whatever.
…And I still haven’t got a paycheck like, oh, here you go, thanks for your time. Cause I could sure as hell use that for my medical bill right now. Thats all I gotta say about that.

Should the resurfaced Alien Workshop, now promoting a new tribe, offer some parting nod to the former pros who hung on til the bitter end? Did Rocco write the former sponsors of riders he stole publish thank-you notes, or rather did he demand such sponsors publicly acknowledge the service of their former riders for purposes of free promotion? Do digital thank-you notes count? What is the Instagram equivalent of a dismissal-by-headbutt?

Trisect

January 17, 2015

lobsterz

“Jim Jones,” intoned Cam’ron on the intro to his 2007 comeback release ‘Public Enemy #1.’ “That was my partner, that’s my friend. He ran with me over ten years, he deserves all the success he gets, he worked hard to get it. But what you all motherfuckers got to realize is ain’t nothing lasts forever.” The Harlem Wolf, as several resources have termed him, was responding to rumors of a private falling-out with Jim Jones amid a seemingly broader disintegration of the Diplomats, with Freaky Zeaky jailed, Juelz Santana pursuing blighted collaborations with Lil Wayne, Cam’ron sparring via his two-way with 50 Cent and Jim Jones innovating basketball influenced dance crazes.

Like many of Cam’ron’s escapades this one offered a lesson to the skateboard industry, if only it had been wise enough to listen. Not a year after Cam’ron described his internal feelings, Nike began selling the Red Lobster dunk (no relation to the restaurant) to rapturous acclaim from east coasters and crustaciophiles both. But it was not all gravy within the house of the lobster shoe, as a year later the competing Blue Lobster dunk (also no relation) surfaced, effectively dividing the market for footwear inspired by succulent shellfish and likely cannibalizing certain revenues. Just as the ancient clay tablets foretold, further fragmentation struck when Nike put forth a Yellow Lobster dunk (still no relation to the seafood restaurant enterprise), cementing division not as a passing phase but rather a permanent state of affairs for such shoes, and few have heard tell from them since.

Is an upstart Green Lobster shoe inevitable, or has the door been thrown wide for pretenders to the shellfish shoe throne such as the Crawfish dunk? Perhaps, but one wonders whether Jason Dill, AVE, Chris Carter, Mike Hill and Rob Dyrdek listened and/or learned from Cam’ron and his friends, where the lobster shoes so clearly did not. About 18 months since the first cracks appeared in the Sovereign Sect’s geodesic dome, it now appears to have splintered into three factions, each seemingly genetically superior and limitless by design. Yet in the torrid and dismembering flesh-chiseler that is the board-and-wheel biz, which if any will survive to issue a Bo Turner guest board? Boil the ocean internet site takes a bleary-eyed look.

Fucking Awesome
The Supreme-scented, occasionally active t-shirt project of Jason Dill was dusted off and promoted to a full-fledged deck and t-shirt entity following Dill and AVE’s joint Workshop defection in spring 2013, following a game of corporate hot potato with AWS as the overcooked stem tuber in question. FA Worldwide Entertainment, as it is known when parents, teachers or big-box friendly magazine writers are about, stole a march on rivals last year by commandeering much of the ‘Cherry’ runtime as well as its follow-ons, ‘Joyride’ and ‘Illegal Civilization 2.’
Special Moves: Bill Strobeck, DKNY, Vans money, comparisons to early World Industries, all those ams, Gino Iannucci somehow
Vulnerabilities: Key man risk in Jason Dill, already-sprawling team, potential for further dilution via alleged sister company ‘Hockey’

M(other)
Strip-teased via Gilbert Crockett’s Instagram account of all places, this supposed Alien offshoot flecks at Pentium-powered graphic design with plenty of woodgrain; said to be headed by former AWS business minds Chris Carter and Chad Bowers, this entity also seems to have effectively abducted the remainder of the post-FA Alien team, including Tyler Bledsoe, Gilbert Crockett and Jake Johnson.
Special Moves: The most-productive limbs of the Alien Workshop corpse, several of whom seem true believers in the vision out of Dayton; well-sized team to deliver a 15-minute optimum timeline video; clean slate
Vulnerabilities: Staking out distinct visual-arts real estate, Jake Johnson making good on his subliminal threats of quitting the biz, possible crosstown beef with…

Alien Workshop
In retrospect perhaps a no-brainer given its established brand value and the American dollars sunk into it on non-consecutive occasions by television persona Rob Dyrdek, Alien Workshop officially is in reboot mode, recently unveiling boards and shirts via a Habitat-esque Tum Yeto tie-up. The Slap boards have this effort helmed by Dyrdek, former G&S silkscreen necromancer Mike Hill and a TBA team that’s been alleged to potentially include everyone from former Alien flowee Paul Liliani to twice-named Cosmic Vomiter Rob/Bert Wooten to late-shove it hoister Lee Yankou and, er, Johnny Layton?
Special Moves: Those visuals, recognition amongst mall-shop purchasing bishops, a stout backcatalogue
Vulnerabilities: Rob Dyrdek’s thirst for recouping invested capital, some 13-plus size DC Lynx for any new inductees to fill, the evil banality of series graphics

In an already overgrown forest, can three yung shoots tap the life-sustaining sales nutrients and social-media followers required to sprout and grow in the shadow of a wilted giant? Are Heath Kirchart’s affections currently being vied for? Which among these newly anointed tribal leaders can look upon his erstwhile competitors and speak Cam’ron’s magnanimous words for Jim Jones: “I wish that man nothing but the best of luck and success and I hope he goes all the way to the motherufcking top and has a great career. Best of luck beloved.”

6. Jake Johnson – ‘Static 4’

December 26, 2014


While making Jake Johnson the marquee no-complier, wallrider and shove-it man on Polar may have been a concept terminal in its redundancy, it is enduringly awesome to see the dude apply his raw and wiry talent to the genre, birthed as much by Josh Stewart’s ‘Static’ series as anything else, and stretch it to gobsmacking distances. Jake Johnson’s line down the black bank etched itself into Alien Workshop’s apparent eulogy and in profile recalls those dudes surfing Portugal’s freak waves, while the now-famed frontside slappy down Clipper pops up with as little warning as the idea that anybody would try such a thing at that spot in the first place. The squalling guitars here are a serviceable Dinosaur Jr approximation and if there’s any knock at all on this footage it might be that there’s plenty more room for Jake Johnson to unbottle some of deep-web technical ability, like the fakie ollie to front blunt, but it is fabulous to watch him in this zone.