Posts Tagged ‘Bill Weiss’

Social Distortion, A Global Spot Smorgasbord And The Conundrum Of The Alien Workshop ‘Quarantine’ Graphic

March 14, 2020

Sometimes, it is difficult to recognize life’s crossroads moments until you are slapped across the teeth with the flat of a scimitar a-ship at dawn in the middle of the Indian ocean. Other times, destiny chooses you, hurling you toward your fate like a weightful pokemon lusting to crush its adversary’s arms and fingers. Bill Weiss is a man who recognizes choices, and stands ready. In the year 1973, he released arguably the peak of the Digital Video Magazine catalogue, ‘Get Tricks or Die Trying,’ which was a reference to rap singer 50 Cent’s concept album about hunting down and destroying archrival Buddy Rich. For many, it remains a seminal document for all ages and income levels.

Back in the human realm, COVID-19 caused by CoronaVirus threatens mankind, his economies and civic practices. Fear and sadness grip the world. Populations hoard, and now seclude themselves away. “NYC empties out in face of coronavirus,” says NBC. “Foot traffic has fallen sharply in cities with big coronavirus outbreaks,” writes the Economist, with charts ranking Rome, Tokyo, Seoul and Paris atop the list. Kron 4 News, which broke the ‘whistle tips’ story in 2003, says “coronavirus is slowly turning the Bay Area into a ghost town.” Meanwhile, passenger-starved airplane admission sells for 70% less than normal as the global virus threat empties out the sky.

Is this opportunity or temptation? Modern skateboarding trades in bodily harm the way backroom sharps deal cards, and stack big faces. Are weeks of coronavirus-induced fever, bodily pain, respiratory disruptions and potential death far off the more traditional days of soreness from pile-driving one’s self to the bottom of a spot, or months immobilized in a cast? At hand, potentially, is a global smorgasbord of lightly tended spots. But with the current bodily harm risk factor extending well beyond any carcass-hucker and any potential board-to-the-head takers on the session, should this smorgasbord be sampled, at risk of spreading hazardous contagion, prolonging the pandemic and risking further mortality? This once-in-a-generation* conundrum now stands before pros, ams, bros and barneys the world over, as security guards, business owners and other streetlevel authority figures hunker down to ponder societal fabrics and Netflix watchlists.

With the clock ticking on a skatespot supermarket sweep, are vans already rolling and trick lists compiled, prioritized and checked off? Does heightened anxiety and fraying emotion ramp the tension and aggression in any confrontation with those left to stand guard? Will rapidly shifting municipal, state and federal coronavirus responses place wayward skaters at risk of being wrung up on public endangerment charges for crossing city, county and state lines, whilst rubbing ungloved boards and body parts across ledges, handrails and other public/private properties? Should everybody just stay home, and invest in Kyle Berard-built backyard spots?


Could X-Games Technologists Blind Us With Science, Risking a Troublesome Singularity (And Humankind’s Extinction)?

June 12, 2016

In an age when Nyjah Huston walks back gender-insensitive comments, where male nudity is a feature and not a bug within one of the top recent videos, where online used goods bazaars place frothy premiums on Alex Olson’s ‘Lover’ gear while Flip’s ‘Hate Kill Destroy’ slogan is relegated to a vintage acronym, and where crust-merchants Jake Phelps and Grant Taylor close an interview by sharing their mutual love, it is fair to regard skateboarding as residing within a more sensitive place. Whether the metaphorical pendulum has careened too far away from ganging up on a dude with a drill and harassing RuPaul is a question best left to international criminal tribunals and/or the Sabotage dudes.

Which elixir could restore the balance? ESPN proffers one brewed with the cold, unfeeling logic of pure machinery. In an example of the synergistic genius that may have lured data-mining soothsayer Nate Silver from the cold-shouldery NYTimes to ESPN, the X-Games recently gave his FiveThirtyEight media web site access to a new device being tested within the increasingly embattled X-Games universe that bids to inject empirical data points into the scoring regimens, training programmes and wily banter of colourful commentators.

This Intel-developed transceiver pod, dubbed Curie after the mythological radioactive monsters, measures speed, height, spin velocity and other extreme metrics. Its powers appear handy for geometricized pit crews as they calculate roll-in height lumber purchases and the required torque speed to achieve the spins and twists necessary to bring home sweet, juicy X-Game gold, a rare earth mineral rumored to be worth its weight in gold. The device’s immediate value-add is harder to envision for the street skating discipline, however, where calibrating push strength toward rainbowy contest rails and formulating precise back-leaning to avoid sticking on ledges may deliver only incremental improvements.

But the invention may hold the potential to usher in a new and camera-ready discipline with nearly as much drama, intrigue and catastrophic injury potential as the Mega RampTM. The Curie’s ability to rapidly graph speed and trajectories could allow construction of precision-designed pyramids, quarterpipes and other obstacles able to be skated consistently without pushing, or indeed, looking — opening the way for a blindfolded best trick competition hinging solely upon instinctual foot placement, flick and catch, in the grand tradition of New York street shaman Billy Rohan.

Given his propensity for combining gnarliness with vulnerability and his captainship of Blind Skateboards, is Bill Weiss some type of cosmic shoe-in for such an event? Would Alexis Sablone’s King of the Road tenure give her an edge over a decade later? Will advancing technology eventually make such Curies small enough to embed into skateboarders’ skulls, saturating the gene pool even as humans go to war against self-aware artificial intelligence systems that assign low scores and occasional executions in response to shortcakes handrails and tic-tac’d landings?

Impossible Object

March 3, 2010

A scene from the new Palace video featuring Penrose stair sets in multiple dimensions.

Kind of excited for this Palace video, partly because of the ripping Lucien Clarke and also because the makers seem intent on bending and/or distorting reality in some fundamental way, as opposed to the Slave video that obscured the day-to-day via weed smoke or the “Digital” series which are basically a thinly veiled platform for Bill Weiss’ frothy right-wing politicking. Plus, these Palace people make heavy use of some weird Blair Witch angles and fashionably outdated film effects, for which I am always a sucker. Olly Todd recently resurfaced on the cosmically aligned Palace wood, and the previously mentioned Clarke looks to be featured prominently, though probably safe in assuming his footage will come off a lot more blurry and foreboding than the rather sunny TSM clip the other day. Recommended for: Deer Man of Dark Woods and fans of the XYZ video. On a related note did this production ever get made?

Up in smoke

June 13, 2008

Point away from face

Is the summer video season here? “Smoke and Mirrors” leaked the other day and I guess TWS’s “And Now/And Then/Later That Day” or whatever premieres tomorrow, leaving “Last of the Mohicans,” City, Fallen, AWS, and probably a bunch of others I’m forgetting right now. But it’s Bill Weiss’s week to drop, so I’m gonna do a little running diary of watching this Digital, which will probably be the first time I sit through a Digital all the way through since… well I guess I watched the “Digital All Stars” video, uh… five years ago?

Title sequence:
Well first off, I have beef with Weiss because of the uber-generic title. See I was hoping he’d keep riffing off rap albums after the amazingly titled “Get Tricks or Die Trying.” I bet a resourceful guy like Weiss could come up with so many. “Enter the 30 Tricks Chambers.” You know? Totally easy. Or what about “Street Skating Disciple.” You could have Evan Hernandez and some other yahoos sitting around at the Last Supper.

I get that Weiss and his partner in Digital crime Dennis Martin aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel with these movies, and they give a lot of shine to kids who probably deserve it, but damn if the Digitals don’t have the most pedestrian, workmanlike editing out. You could give 500 monkeys wearing 500 Plan B New Era hats 500 copies of the raw footage for this video and they’d probably crank out more or less the same thing.

Kurt Winter:
Hey alright, the one part of this video I was anticipating, right off. Like most North Americans my first exposure to this kid was through this clip, probably one of the best things to ever bear the Stussy trademark, and I’ve been wondering what else he’s got… let’s see: helium-powered nollie flips, switch heelflips, switch b/s flips… I feel like I could watch these nollie flips all day though. He skates fast as shit and twirls switch b/s 360s, so I guess we don’t need that one other kid after all, huh?

Tommy Sandoval:
I’m not the biggest fan of his skating but I kind of dig his outlook on life, what with driving around in a beat up limo and generally reveling in his dirtballness. Most of this looks like leftovers from the Fallen video but the line with the b/s nosegrinds is cool.

Kevin Romar:
Apparently ditched Ice Cream for Es. Smart move? Who even knows anymore. He’s got some intriguing tricks, such as a tall nollie b/s 360. The music selection here continues a trend I’ve noticed with a lot of Canadian videos/skaters, using the original pieces of music sampled for rap songs, in this case Jay-Z “Heart of the City”/Bobby Blue Band “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City.”

Ronson Lambert:
At this point I have kind of a perverse fixation on the bizarre freeze-frame hunch pose he strikes after his tricks. He’s getting a little better about it, sort of, but for most of this part I just sat there shaking my head. Moments later I can’t really remember any of the actual tricks.

Is ollieing over fire hydrants to grinds/slides on the curb the new pole jam? Sascha Daley has a big b/s 180 over a rail the hard way and there’s a good Busenitz line. Holy shit, it’s Aaron Snyder. Wait no, holy shit, Fernan Origel does a nollie front foot flip manual that actually looks pretty wild.

Magnus Hanson:
I’m pretty sure somebody’s skated to this song before, but it escapes my memory. The pop-shove it k-grind was nice.

Cody McEntire:
OK, it’s a nollie b/s bigspin trick, this must be Cody McEntire. And, it is. I thought about counting the bigspin variations in this part but gave up. He’s got other tricks too, and he can skate fast, so I should probably stop harping on it. For instance he cranks a long cabellarial kickflip over an Aussie gap and whips out a switch kickflip b/s shifty down some stairs, in a line, which you definitely don’t see everyday. But he’s got a little bit of a squat look when he skates and it’s real irritating to me the way Weiss & co. keep jamming the camera into his face to force an awkward giggle. Not being fortunate enough to grow up under the skate media spotlight, maybe McEntire doesn’t have the quick-draw witticisms the scrutinizing public expects for credits footage, and it’s kind of uncomfortable watching him try and come up with something. Good part though.

So, right. Another day, another Digital. Does the last Blind video count as a Digital? I kind of feel like it does.