Posts Tagged ‘Baker 3’

Sus Among Us

April 3, 2022

Neil Gaiman’s 2001 romcom novellina ‘American Gods’ followed the doings of a ragtag band of faded deities, whose powers and even basic existence waxed but mostly waned as fewer and fewer people believed in and worshipped them, setting up an eventual WWF-style slugfest with newer, flashier ‘gods’ cribbed from an Alien Workshop t-shirt — television, the internet, online securities trading, et cetera. As a historical artifact of the early ’00s, the tome can be alternately regarded as a blueprint for the current day’s ‘clout culture’, a case study in hackneyed character naming, and a cautionary answer to that age-old question: If a tree falls in the woods and it has no followers, does it make a sound?

For those skilled, inspired and fortunate enough to have achieved a form of immortality via trick names, the tale is much the same. Tricks such as Mike McGill’s McTwist retain gravitas among 1980s documentary makers and the several vert contests that continue to be held each decade, while Mike Smith’s grind and Alan ‘Ollie’ Gelfand’s breakthroughs remain in daily, trap music-soundtracked circulation. Alchemical creations such as the Barley and Bennett make occasional, respectable appearances, while others like Eric Dressen’s salad grind over time seem to consistently land outside the stylistic guardrails that separate the ‘Guiltys’ from the ‘Fulfill Tha Dreams,’ or the Guy Mariano of ‘Mouse’ from that of ‘Pretty Sweet.’ Some, like the k-grind, are genericised into ‘crooked grinds,’ leaving cultural residuals uncollected somewhere offstage, piling up like so much interest in an unattended offshore bank account, held in the name of some absentee hadropod.

It’s difficult to tell via IG whether Aaron Suski has grown more solid or powerful over the past couple of weeks, as his namesake backside tweaked, backside 5-0 grind has been plucked from somewhere in the vicinity of those trick-selection guardrails and freshly deployed by a number of young hot shoes: Deathwish’s Brian O’Dwyer dished one out at Muni last week in a vid for OJ Wheels with his Philly entourage; Colombian Creature fiend Jhancarlos Gonzalez scraped one down a serious handrail in Thrasher’s recent ‘Am Scramble’ vid. Sean Pablo, a longtime practitioner, kickflipped into one on IG on the cusp of springtime.

Is the Suski grind an underutilized gem or detritus better carted away as more profitable seams are mined? Plenty worse tricks, not limited to misadapted ramp moves such as the Losi grind and objectively bad ones like the Willy, have managed to not only periodically resurface but occasionally get elevated in big vids, or argue for erasing the concept of ‘illegal tricks’ altogether. Probably the strongest argument in favor of rescuing the Suski grind from the pioneered-and-put-away-again pile is its rarified alumni of backers over the years — Aaron Suski may have gotten his name hitched to it, but Kevin Taylor still owns the most iconic version, down the CA hubba in Transworld’s ‘Sight Unseen’; Antwuan Dixon and Pete Eldridge, those still-hallowed potentates of grace and power, also have used it to lasting effect.

If the Suski grind’s recent usage helps to refill some mystical power meter for Aaron Suski, should some of those supernormal protons also rightfully flow to Kevin Taylor, legendary in his own right as among the very few to never have ever taken a bad photo? How much of the Suski grind’s lack of relative staying power can be attributed to its possible labeling as ‘too easy’? If the backside ‘overcrook’ has been quietly acknowledged as the lone ledge trick in which the non-grinding back truck can acceptably be tweaked over top of the ledge*, should room be made for the Suski grind to live, given the longstanding acceptance of frontside and standard crooked grinds’ angling of the non-grinding truck away from the ledge?

*As applied to versions done on ledges

The Functional Baker Boys

June 5, 2015

fabolous_baker_boys

The true glory in growing old and finding one’s self with little or nothing left to prove is that it carries wealth in options. Bill Murray, that graybeard vanquisher of ghosts and pro jock to the Dalai Lama, honored fellow oldster David Letterman last month by leaping out of a secretive cake chamber and proceeding to take shots to the dome. Jack Palance, that silver fox of the US prairies, saw fit to parlay his time at the Oscar podium into boasts about the size of his bowel movements and several one-armed push ups. Betty White this week joined Instagram.

So too in the skate biz, where pro careers now offer second and third acts, there are elder statemenships to be carved out, with Jeff Grosso lovingly hollering at the collective industry to get off his lawn, French Fred Mortagne pulling back the veil on the early years of Barcelona paradise, and Tony Alva donning a puff-ball stocking cap to level-set the Vans video.

Andrew Reynolds and Mike Carroll still have a few miles in them but the heavy retrospecticus vibes and general grown-manning going on when the frontside flip impresarios deposited themselves upon the Crail Couch the other day suggested some pondering toward whatever roles await them as full-time company-runners, number-crunchers and talent-pickers. At this point Andrew Reynolds has been on the sober straight-and-narrow longer than his service under the Pissdrunx, and in interviews he’s been steering kids clear of drugs and drinking for a while now, but it is nevertheless a bit jarring to hear him take shots at Migos:

Advice for the youth?
AR: Don’t smoke weed. Don’t listen to whatever they’re saying in all this trap music, whatever that shit’s called.
MC: MOLLY!
AR: That music, I listen to it in the skatepark and people play it, nonstop, the same song over and over. And I like hip hop. But that new shit though is like brainwash, Migos and all that, like fuck. That’s like, and I see on Instagram, the kids, their little statement about them, is like ‘skateboarding and weed.’ It’s like, alright. And the music is just like ‘disrespect women, money, drugs.’ That’s pretty much it. And if they’re not listening to anything else besides that then that’s just pounded in, all day long.

Andrew Reynolds never has attempted to whitewash his past or foist his teetotaling on his riders, and one must assume that for now his official stance toward Migos music is the same.* It’s not clear whether Dustin Dollin owns ‘Rich Ni**a Timeline’ but the sometime devil’s spawn in the ‘Propeller’ divulges that he holds down the other end of the Baker spectrum, apparently the last bleary-eyed pro standing from the Warner Ave 7-day weekend after his assorted bendermates fell out over the years:

Thrasher: [A]re you the last Pissdrunk?
Dustin Dollin: I cannot confirm that rumor. Pearcy still drinks. Dancer still drinks, I’m sure. But yeah, out of the celebrity skateboarders in the public eye, I may be the last. I may be the last of the OG Pissdrunks, but there are thousands of them out there now. Thousands and thousands. And growing! But yeah, Jim doesn’t drink. Ali doesn’t drink, Elissa doesn’t drink, Andrew doesn’t drink, Erik doesn’t drink.

T: Can you still get tricks hammered?
I mean, every day that I go out skating I’m usually drinking and I try to get a trick if my body’s able. So I guess it’s every time I go skating.

Part of Andrew Reynolds’ legend status no doubt flows from about two decades’ worth of steady output that’s managed to consistently raise the bar, whatever his personal circumstances. But there’s a statistical argument to be made in favour of Dustin Dollin’s boozy functionality, previously revealed through his self-appointed role as KOTR footage logger/point tallier/stunt motivator and the staying power of the dudes he’s helped put on, but mainly via his own skate tricks themselves. A review of assorted Youtube clippings and Digital Versatile Discs from Baker2G’s Y2K release to the present indicates that among the named Pissdrunx, Dustin Dollin is the second-most productive in terms of minutes’ worth of video parts released, coming in ahead of now-dry peers Erik Ellington, Jim Greco, Ali Boulala and Elissa Steamer:

pissdrunx_chart

Does Dustin Dollin’s statistical outlier status reflect genetic advantages possessed by Australians in the barroom? What of New Jersey, and might Fred Gall similarly skew averages when stacked against peers less beloved of Sambuca, Ozzy concerts and plunging headlong into burning buildings? Would Andrew Reynolds take genuine offense to the ‘Better than the Beatles’ meme? Will legitimate musicals finally earn Migos the respect they deserve?

*Until the Slap boards divulge otherwise