Posts Tagged ‘Bad News Bears’

PJ Ladd, Bearing the Weight of History’s Expectations Amid a Multiyear Video-Part Drought, and Also Some Discussion of Mystical Bears and Their Rumored Powers

July 23, 2017

In Richard Adams’ ‘Shardik’ a primitive people discover a long-prophecized god-bear, departed many generations earlier. The plus-sized mammal is worshipped by some and denounced as a property-wrecking menace by others, ultimately sowing divisions and touching off armed conflict before going on to collect royalty payments and licensing fees for use of his likeness by various professional sports teams and honey vendors. It is a lesson for our times and enshrined in our country’s tightest document, the USS Constitution.

Raised among Boston’s bruins, PJ Ladd is among the skating tribe’s most prodigal sons, gifted immense talent which he may not necessarily have squandered in the post-‘Really Sorry’ years — but certainly has been hidden beneath a bushel, to trangress into the deadly sin of proverb-mixing. It is inaccurate to claim he’s had no parts since — there was Es shoes’ last full-length gasp, a noteworthy DC intro, scattered park footage and assorted detritus — but the Plan B vid no-show sounded an ominous tone, and Colin McKay’s subsequent ‘Black Swan’ invocation eroded hope for the autumn of this wonderful, horrible skate career.

Does US sports apparel manufacturer New Balance and its ‘Tricolor’ executive production team deserve credit and reciprocal shoe-purchasing decisions for coaxing forth the most complete PJ Ladd video section since the Iraq war’s onset? Credit may lie with trusted filming hands, team manager life-coaching hammers and related Vince Lombardisms, promises of forbidden treasure hoards or (most likely) some potent mixture of these. The question itself is moot, the proof lies within digital video footage files spread across three minutes like $240 worth of creamsome pudding.

There is a line here, when the jittering percussion fades to a soothing drone and any remaining eyebrows lifted by PJ Ladd’s marmalade scruff relax to Cro-Magnon levels — it kicks off with a switch 360 and meanders with enough spark in the flips and power in the push to briefly resurrect those Coliseum ghosts. And much is forgiven. PJ Ladd, who once changed skating’s trajectory via an out-of-nowhere skate shop video mainly on word of mouth, owes the world in 2017 probably not much, enjoys a secure legacy. But you can still hope for more, and even if it doesn’t hit with the same impact, one can wallow in a fistful of PJ Ladd lines and ledge moves from Boston’s famed Eggs spot and be satisfied.

Some cosmic block now lifted, will PJ Ladd’s recent bout of filming develop into a full-blown fever in which he, like the recently revived Aphex Twin, unloads a succession of new footage and unburdens various archives unto a gobsmacked and blissed-out public? Does the fact that PJ Ladd is filming more while the ‘Tricolor’ vid’s release is delayed heighten your hopes? Has PJ Ladd, by growing a Grizzly Adams beard, communed with mystical bears of old to attain still-greater powers such as tearing the doors off cars and swatting salmon from rushing river rapids? If you are a bear is eating a whale an ender-ender?

Serious As Cancer

June 27, 2009


Ask about our catch of the day

Depending on whom you ask, Powell (was it Powell Peralta again for a shot while there?) is either an enduring monument to the successes and excesses of ’80s skateboarding, a third- or fourth-tier farm team company that’s been home to high-ollie champions and future SOTYs, or a stalwart supplier of blank decks. It has yet to be seen whether the new “FUN!” video will reassert Powell’s seat at the table of board companies people care about or catapult its featured amateurs to, er, am status on bigger/better board companies, but it’s an impressive effort even beyond the skating (which is roundly pretty awesome) – a statement of purpose from a notoriously directionless company, with the only ones that seem to give a shit about the whole affair probably ranking fairly low on the pay scale. Pretty much your classic rag-tag team of misfits taking a shot at the little league title or whatever, in a video that could only begin with a Spongebob song.

Since it’s unlikely that one video is going to turn the Powell ship, which has been floating aimlessly art-direction and team-wise for over a decade now, a more constructive game might be to parse “FUN!” re: the likelihood of different dudes getting tossed lifelines to other teams. Opening dude Josh Hawkins would probably be one, despite some kind of weird body varials out of tricks. He does this immaculate bluntslide kickflip and lands a cartilage-crushing noseblunt toward the end of his part, which features some pretty sizable gap skating. Also the relentlessly rounded Ben Hatchell, spinning a feeble grind whirligig in the shallow end and back-to-back flipping in the full-pipes. He has the crucial Cab cameo and also offers some handrail heroics to and beyond a double-kink feeble grind, crazy tricks that could maybe land him on Real or something; maybe Almost could get some of these dudes when Lutzka’s contract finally, finally runs out.

Meantime former Element-For-Lifer Dallas Rockvam gets his AVE weight up on a fat wallie to backside 50-50, the gap-to-rail lovin’ Aldrin Garcia hops a fence to a puffer-fish landing and scores a sweet look-back after a big backside flip. John White, previously a paralegal and in close competition with Mike Anderson for most boringest name in skating right now, is working with a new light-footed technique that isn’t bad and skids a sick backside noseblunt at the Crailtap electro-box ledge. On the topic of names, Derek Elmendorf has thankfully dropped one of the lamer nicknames around, and winds down a hammer-ready section with a bizarro fakie ollie to switch feeble grind and that 50-50 that must be seen to be believed.

Flarey ledge combos in this video include a noseslide to back noseblunt, nose manual to b/s noseblunt and f/s boardslide spin-around to noseblunt, but all things considered it’s a pretty big guns-focused affair that sees Wallenberg varial heelflipper Jordan Hoffart emptying the clip to “Panama,” stepping right up to the Staples Center hubba as he generally gets his Muska on. Noseslide shove-it transfer on a beefy block, a double-set jump to 5-0, long cranked-out k-grinds and gapping out over some stairs that I’d been waiting the whole vid for somebody to do. He goes and gets his Billy Marks on a little later with that Slap “Curtains” curtains trick, and there’s a finishing move that surely resets some type of bar. It would be impressive if Hoffart and everybody else refused all offers in favor of mutinying the Powell ship, stuffing old George in the brig and pointing the prow toward glory and treasure, but there’s a time to fish and a time to cut bait, and you gotta think that with these kids’ buckets full of freshly heaving lunkheads it’s time to see what kind of price they’ll fetch on the open market. And so ends this extended deep-sea fishing metaphor.