Posts Tagged ‘art houses’

Greco and Bam Inside the Recompression Tank

March 18, 2017

Who fought hippos in the street while the zookeepers ran and hid? What’s left after an appetite for destruction is sated? And is there any place where a man or rogue hippo find a lasting peace?

Sebo Walker, imbued by the Great Old Ones with magic-moving feet and a mobile van, is a man of the people. In a literary and literal way, he lives at the skatepark — catch him on Instagram sporting his banana-yellow Lakai model, bros dozens deep riding the Stoner benches to the side. In this way Sebo Walker is part of a recent Crailtap resurgence fueled by the type of sun-kissed posse cuts that helped carve out a family-tied post-World identity way back when. The Fucking Awesome/Supreme kids, perhaps the tightest-knit team currently, jet together from SPoT to Oz, trailing ‘Fulfill the Dream’ vibes and footlockers of expensive casual clothes in their wake.

Elsewhere in Los Angeles, Jim Greco boils. Alone among anonymous automobiles and bleached avenues gone to seed, he sweats out the days documented in his new short movie, ‘The Year 13’. Sober, seemingly exhausted, Greco’s regimented routine constructs a lonesome, claustrophobic universe within his adopted city of four million striving bros. He sessions faded and decades-old spots with a close cadre of graying pros and celebrity Texans. He spends inordinate amounts of time yanking benches down the street to skate solo, until the bench inevitably gains the upper hand and he’s pitched to the ground. He stolidly accepts the slams. Years of hard living long past, his feet still have spark to dazzle on those brick banks and red curbs. There is a pork chop. Lengthy stretches of lonesome silence leave viewers wondering — is Jim Greco, man of a thousand looks, finding peace with himself?

I wake up every morning, I make my coffee, I go skating—there isn’t much of a deviation around this that’s worth talking about. My life is skateboarding. And waking up and staying sober and skating.”

Joining Jim Greco in skate-centric, substance-free life re-leasing is gothic SSBSTS tipster and flying tree-hugger Bam Margera, who this week described to Jenkem how he has pushed away the bottle to pursue some type of low-profile skate pilgrimage through southern Spain.

“And I just knew the spots in Spain are awesome and I wouldn’t get to bothered at the parks, like at home… Home is ridiculous. I don’t know about now, but four years ago I was like, I’m never going to a public park in America. I mean, if I was ripping it would be a different story. Then I’d know I could show up and rip. But to relearn how to skate in front of these kids with their dumb fucking iPhones filming in every which direction, and me bailing on a blunt fakie on a 4 ft quarter pipe… like, I don’t want this be seen on Earth!”

Bam Margera, who upwardly failed into the fame and influence that Jim Greco seemed once to dream of, now looks to be similarly whittling down his world toward the shape of a less burdened, if still world-weary, boy with a skateboard (and a filmer or two on hand, natch). Occasionally semi-NSFW photobloggings aside, Bam Margera’s new direction suggests a certain monkishness, prostrating in the Church of Skatan’s general direction, though separate from the group pilgrimages that have helped lure other waywards back toward their original sin.

How many comebacks have been stillborn due to self-consciousness? Might aged but still-successful pros pool resources to set up a private TF to facilitate skills-rebuilding for lapsed contemporaries? Like maybe one just for Henry Sanchez? Separately, when the technology exists for Jim Greco to film his movies in a solitary and self-directed fashion, will he? Could Jim Greco’s washed-out pocket of Los Angeles guest-star in an episode of Rick McCrank’s Abandoned?

What’s Really Good With ‘What’s Really Good,’ The Doc On Skate Docs?

July 7, 2013

“We were just some kids with a couple beat-up cameras…”

The flashes pop in rapid succession and the stringy-haired kid narrows his eyes, looks ahead, looks down. He’s steadily moving toward something, from somewhere we hear urethane on cement, Swiss with the shields popped off.

The shot cuts to a pair of Half-Cabs, one shoelace torn and mended with a dirty knot. Underneath, though, no griptape but instead a plush red carpet. Tuxedo slacks, cumberbund. We hear the crack of an ollie as the kid disappears into a darkened theater, still trailed by cameras.

“You have to realize that nobody set out to make a ‘documentary film.’ We barely knew the word. What, PBS? ‘Roger & Me?’ It’s raining out. The camera battery’s charged, now what? Sit over there and talk about your town. Your scene, whatever. Grammar? What’s that? One take, you’re done, forget it.”

The brainchild of Dean “Slim” Newten, “What’s Really Good” tells the story behind the rise of the skateboard documentary as an art form. From its parodic beginnings in Bones Brigade video-part bumpers to 411VM’s early stabs at profiles and forays into long-form pieces by “ON Video,” Newten sifted hours of cutting-room floor footage and assembled filmmakers behind “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” “Dragonslayer,” “Fruit of the Vine,” “Stoked,” “Epicly Later’d,” Rising Son,” “The Man Who Souled the World, “Waiting for Lightning,” “Bones Brigade” and others to tell this no-holds-barred story through the people who were there.

“These guys were literally making it up as they went along — something from nothing,” says “Slim” Newten. “It’s an inspiring story because they were writing history and they didn’t even know it, with no rules, no film school professors, no budget. They just grabbed a camera and a tripod and a stool and went for it.”

But when the red carpets began rolling out, they sometimes led to darker places than Hollywood premieres. As the promotional tours and receptions grew more lavish, some filmmakers succumbed to the debauchery for which the documentary film scene has become notorious — writhing among glaciers of crystal meth, drifts of cocaine and endless nights soaked with heroin and frequently anonymous sexual relations.

“We always lived on the edge. But all of a sudden we looked down, and there was nothing under our feet anymore.”

Gilded mansions and white tigers on leashes soon replaced skate houses and unpaid amateurs as filmmakers’ indulgences took them in garish new directions. Directors began employing actors to perform soft-focus reenactments, harnessed cameras to miniature helicopters and experimented with “reality” television.

“In the end, for some of them, it was their original love for documentary filmmaking that brought them back from the precipice of oblivion,” says “Slim” Newten. “There are a few people — and I count myself among them, for better or worse — who can honestly say that making documentaries about skateboarding saved their lives.”

As raves pile up for “What’s Really Good,” “Slim” Newten already is looking ahead to his next project — executive producing “It Is What It Is,” a documentary by independent filmmaker Franciolious Paul Julian-Buzzles, chronicling the painstaking process of poring through Hi-8 tapes and archival VHS tapes to make “What’s Really Good.” It’s a journey that “Slim” Newten says nearly cost him everything — his friends, his credit rating and, most riskily, the love of an honest woman.

“I set out to simply tell the story behind the story about the stories of the stories of a generation that’s all too often overlooked,” says Julian-Buzzles. “What I didn’t count on was stumbling across a tale that could’ve been my own life.”

Julian-Buzzles, originally trained as an organic taxidermist specializing in Eastern European waterfowl, is currently consulting with prospective ghostwriters for his own autobiography. It is tentatively called “Franciolious Paul Julian-Buzzles: The Raw Deal.”