Among the many Zoo-affiliated video projects percolating in the years around the turn of the century, ‘Vicious Cycle’ held weight not just for its function as a vehicle for Zered Bassett, one of the best dudes working at the time off any of this world’s seaboards, but also as a generation-shifting document for certain dudes transitioning to old head status such as Vinny Ponte and Robbie Gangemi, and the ever present young bucks making meals from the New York spot churn, like Aquil Braithwaite, Brian Brown, Eli Reed and a young feeble grinder going by Lurker. Opting to reserve the heavy pyrotechnics for later on, ‘Vicious Cycle’ alots opener duties to Lurker Lou as he strings together numerous and solid tricks in meandering runs with some crouch-surfer landings, scrapping his way across much of the town’s serviceable terrain mix — for some citizens this would be a mellow season saturated in Etnies Raps and gently blaring horns, and perhaps a final gasp of innocence before Lurker Lou singlehandedly would go on to pursue various subcareers ranging from 411-venerating board developer, Osiris legacy-ponderer to ruining skating forevermore.
Posts Tagged ‘beards’
If wishes were ponies this site might instead be a highly productive dog-food factory, but one dream did take flight last year when the yearning for Grant Taylor to film a more transition-focused video part came true in living color via the Nike am video. But even before that, another longstanding hope was for Santa Cruz man-am Sid Melvin to swing his personal pendulum the other way – out of the concrete parks and back to the streets that made his Arcade Fire-stoked section in SC’s “Out There” a quasi-guilty pleasure for those of us who patiently await the paroling of Lil Boosie.
Ambiguously-named clothing company Ambiguous Clothing comes through in more ways than one with this brief Sid Melvin clip they posted up a little while back, which would suggest that a bounce back from knee issues has rekindled a belly-fire in the light-footed bro with the looks of a young Sam Smyth – the frontside 180 line has serious street mojo and the kickflip to mini-bank carries the right amount of lightning tweak. Still pulling for the beanie over the brim though.
There is a hazy, dreamlike quality to the generally ripping footage slathered across the 51-minute runtime of Slave’s inaugural video offering “Radio Television” that you could say reflects the company’s underlying theme: a demented fantasy existence of big-boned, bearded and beered-up old dude skateboarders, and the twisted dreams of those kids who aspire to this lifestyle. Sort of like the ads, it sometimes looks like the screen’s been smeared with dirt.
When Jamie Thomas gave Ben Horton’s bloodthirsty tiger room to chase and devour the gazelles of this hallowed industry, there was some mumblings and grumblings about how Slave was some type of Black Box AWS knockoff, or a transparent attempt to build a functioning Anti-Hero replica without the years of hard drug abuse, jail time and the crippling departure of a budding Brazilian superman. Watching the video you kind of get the idea that these type of theories overshoot the Slave bros’ aspirations, which seem to revolve around concrete parks, marijuana, late-night cable TV and in certain cases the aforementioned beard farming. There’s an abundance of stock footage, yeah, but it’s thematic and generally thrown in in a way that’s closer to the Baker Boys productions than anything out of the DNA camp, and the notion of “artsiness” resides several counties away with a restraining order.
The overall idea is probably closer to Black Label, and in certain instances the Slave dudes manage to out-Black Label the Label itself, a half-assed idea of mine prompted by video opener Anthony Schultz, whose maybe most impressive trick is nollie inward heelflipping up the sizable three-up-three-down steps in SF. For the arachnophobic there are maybe one too many scary spiders and definitely a lot of the lipslide-to-switch-crooks type combos, the feeble to b/s lipslide is pretty wild. The other bookend, spacebound Jon Goemann, employs a Dylan Reider-type flow amongst the transitions and doles out power moves like a switch bar hop and the wallride over the ditch ramp. Maybe his rail shit (kickflip 5050, switch f/s noseslide, fakie artoslide) got him the last part by default, or how he put a frontside spin into Rowley’s madness ditch.
Ex-Zero recruits Mumford and Allie surface somewhere in the creamy middle – Mumford’s into Whale Wars and yellow hats now and seems solely focused on making the pool tile sing, when he’s not seeking to crack open his head on padless/helmetless loops. Jon Allie, working a moustache that makes him look like a cross between Cooper Wilt and John C. Reilly, still has a nice frontside tailslide but also hangs onto an annoying tendency to make a line out of a flatground trick and then a rail jump – the one with the b/s nosegrind pop-out was way better and kudos go out to the backside 180 nosegrind toward the end.
But the core of this video, and possibly company, seem to be the likes of Sean “Frecks” Stewart and Danny Dicola, barrel-chested brothers in spirit of Andrew Allen, Fred Gall and Jabari Pendleton who test the bounds of no-complys and dive headlong into huge banks. Frecks the redbeard likes the tailgrab and does this pretty sick frontside blunt fakie over a little grass gap, whereas Dicola blazes around the parks and cracks a tall rock-to-fakie in some ditch. If I had one complaint about this video, and it’s not the music for once because the soundtrack is pretty amazing, it would be that looking up at the actual world after watching it is kind of like taking off a pair of sunglasses, and there needed to be more 360 flips done by Conhuir Lynn.
*Some thought we went too hard on Jon Allie’s part in “DTL” a while back, and while the general sentiment still stands, we’ll nod to the kickflip f/s tailslide and the Hollywood High noseblunt, which was seriously out of hand.
“He makes a lot of dramatic faces when he lands”
“They have the weirdest songs on this video”
“Is he the midget from MTV?”
“When guys have big beards like that, do you have to shampoo them? It’s like having a bunch of pubic hairs on your face”
“He was eating Cheez-Its!”
“Is this video about guys skateboarding, or guys screwing around”
“This guy falls down a lot”
“That skateboard didn’t have any wheels? What?”
“What was that–it looked like he was puking some minty color?”
“Which one was that, wearing the Gucci shirt”
“Oh, they knocked over his drink, he looked like a homeless Santa Claus”
“What were all those things on his butt, gross”
“Are there synchronized skateboarding teams out there?”
“Well this guy is really hamming it up”
“Are you quoting me?”
File under: skateboard tricks
When the untamed New Jerseyan, slam poet and personal brand that is Mike Vallely parked his black novelty sportscar outside the Berrics’ hallowed walls, we should have known something was up. Inviting the streetplanting hockey blogger to a technical flip-trick contest for which he was ill-suited was silly enough, and while Vallely kept a lid on his famously flaring temper throughout what looked like a pretty lighthearted affair, it stands to reason that he/his people wanted a little sugar to go with the tough flatground medicine that Chris Cole was dishing out. And so it swung onto the interwebs this weekend, the Mike Vallely “Battle Commander” section, crushing preconceived notions of skateboarding and reality itself. Sort of exactly like the iconic monster truck scene from “Road House.”
These little parts have been used by marquee pros to tease “legit” video parts and test-drive new tricks, but for me at least they’re generally snoozers, seeings’ how it is a part filmed entirely in one skatepark (dramatic light notwithstanding). For Vallely though this is kind of the ultimate environment. It’s a park for one, and the dude has filmed entire documentaries and TV miniseries in parks. Their legal nature provides him plenty of tries for the type of big jumps that get the kids on their feet, and the Berrics’ malleable format gives Vallely’s inner elephant plenty of room to swing its tattooed trunk and plant its broad feet here and there, as the whims of Vallely dictate. At one point they even show him drilling down a board that I thought was going to facilitate an even more huger boneless, but in a typical Mike V twist, he uses it for a drop-in (!) and leaves me confounded once more.
There are all types of amazing tricks in this part though, set off with that somersault/cartwheel into the Chris Cole-approved streetplant transfer thing. Vallely shits upon naysayers, breaking out his legendary no-handed 360 flip along with a couple other flip tricks that incorporate grabs and/or walking up a hubba ledge. Proving that he pays more attention to “new school” skating than he likes to let on, he throws in an up-the-stairs move, along with an up-rail trick with a launch-ramp assist, an obvious reference to “Storm”-era T-bone. Also he wears a vest.
Mike Vallely has been many things to many people. For instance he was once a vegetarian, a lifestyle he left behind in order to chew scenery in the Paul Blart movie.* He’s been called more politician than skateboarder, but what I think Mike V is, is a showman. And he figured out a while ago that he tends to perform best in controlled environments, with the possible exception of Warp Tours, where it seems like just about anything goes. Revolution Mutha music included, this really was the most entertaining Berrics segment I’ve watched in a long time. A few tricks over that hot rod and two solid minutes of purposeful pushing and it would’ve been easily the best part Mike V has filmed in the last 20 years I bet.
*oh, we went there
Mike v is a man of contrasts. There are those who would call him a hypocrite. I view him as a beardly figure brimming with nuance and harsh truths about the human condition. Also, bonelesses. Truly he is a man of our times, but as it ever was, the measure of a man is made not in X-Games or even the wrestling ring, but rather in that penultimate court of American accomplishment, the box office.
Last weekend, you see, Mike V met and introduced himself to the U.S. public, or at least those unlucky few who haven’t seen his Fuel TV series or his numerous biographical documentaries or his poems. As one of the chief villains in the new retail-themed thriller “Mall Cop,” our Vallely is garnering passing mentions, if not rave reviews, in the national press. To wit:
Finally there’s champion skateboarder and musician (in the band Revolution Mother) Mike Vallely, who plays the criminal ringleader, Rudolph.
“They had to find the most bad-ass skateboarders on the planet,” says Vallely, a voracious reader and father of two who wears his blond hair long and scraggly. “I was at the top of that list.”
Vallely has the biggest action sequence of the bunch, battling James throughout the mall. In what he describes as an undoubtedly riveting climax, Rudolph will leap from floor to floor as he chases Paul Blart. Then, in a never-before-done skating move, he’ll jump on – and break into – a moving elevator.
“It’s a whole new challenge,” Vallely says. “I’m not just skateboarding. I play a character that is somewhat integral. This is the first time I feel, as athletes, we’ve really been taken in.”
Somebody’s been taken in for sure, as the Blart-star vehicle hoisted an estimated $40 million over the three-day weekend, putting it in the number one box-office spot.
But the tidings of Vallely’s Hollywood success is of course no news to those of us in the skateboarding sphere, who gladly cheer the multifaceted Mike V as he flexes his pecs in the squared circle, gets his nose cracked open on the hockey rink, recites verses at the poetry slam, snarls through his beard at the Warp Tour, or pushes over and over and over in that Black Label video. Cuz it’s not the destinaton. It’s the journey.
Equally transfixing are Vallely’s intellectual travels, transitioning through vegetarianism, straight-edgeism, and non-violence over the years. (Yes, non-violence.) He hews closely to the punk purism of local scenes and staying true to skating’s roots, whatever those may be, while fervently embracing mega-corporate sponsors. He remains fiercely loyal to his sponsors of the moment and wastes no time in spewing poison upon those who dare to cross him.
To this end there’s actually a really good interview in the new Transworld (2-09) where Mackenzie Eisenhour kind of gets Mike V to admit he wants to have his beating-people-up cake and eat it too.
TWS: You repudiated violence after the “Greatest Hits” DVD. (re: fighting “Creature Lee” at Van’s Downtown Showdown last year)
MV: In a broader sense, I have spoken out of both sides of my mouth…. “Greatest Hits” was definitely the capitalist pig in me [laughs]. After the craze of “CKY” and “Jackass”, I saw an opportunity in the marketplace to package that stuff and that’s something I can understand someone disagreeing with.
There’s a lot more, it’s a pretty good interview in terms of putting the harder questions to Vallely as far as his perceived jock nature, whether he ever considers learning new tricks, how he’d be a great cop and that hoary old cliche “skateboarding saved my life.” Also there are two photos of bonelesses.