Posts Tagged ‘Birdhouse’

Events on the Horizontal Horizon of the Eventful Event Horizon

February 20, 2017

“Blessed be the ties that bind,” the good book says, referring to the festive ties donned by Medieval lords on the occasions of their weddings to matrons true of virtue and plump of size, who in turn wore flowery gowns and pointed hats in keeping with the custom of the time. The old saying however also could equally apply to the metaphorical plastic zip-ties that once bound the international skateboard community as tightly as the wrists of a newly gagged hostage, but now have been stretched, frayed and slicked with blood after a 20-year ride in a darkened trunk, bumping through energy drink-sponsored contest spectacles, international footwear investment and reality television seasons.

In this brave and bawdy 2017, year of the Rooster, what can draw together late-90s puffy-tongued plaza revivalists with mega-ramping park prodigies and their pastel-draped, body-varialing brethren? Time was, a big video could command the culture’s attention through months of ‘coming soon’ magazine adverts, a few carefully blown deadlines and a riot-inducing premiere. But ‘event’ vids increasingly have become the domain of the major shoe company, and that cupboard looks increasingly barren as Nike, Adidas, Emerica and Vans all have shot their respective full-length wads over the last two years, with mixed results; nearly all now seem to have sworn off the sort of hourlong teamrider-wrangling that takes years and increasingly seldomly stands up under colossal expectations erected with promotional hashtags, tossed-off teaser clips, and internet punditry.

Foundation last week premiered the latest entry into one of history’s stalwart video legacies, ranging from ‘Supercollider Superconductor’ to ‘Rolling Thunder’ to ‘Art Bars’ and ‘That’s Life’ – a heavy underdog narrative was built into the roll-out, including teamriders funding their own trips and pay whittled down to board royalties, making one wonder whether ‘Oddity’ should get you psyched on this latest iteration of the magic F or just hope these legitimately gnarly dudes find themselves a better deal. Ahead lies Transworld’s ‘Riddles in Mathematics,’ extending another beloved video dynasty with a knockout lineup and a GZA-cribbing title, helmed by Chris Theissen, whose Bordeaux-sipping extreme close-up techniques in last year’s ‘Substance’ bypassed perspective and boosted Dramamine sales. The majorest upcoming video may be Lakai’s ‘Flare,’ though with only four names remaining from the decade-ago (!) ‘Fully Flared’ lineup after former pro-model flarees succumbed to the gravitational pull of Nike, Adidas and old age, and much riding on emergent hot shoes such as Tyler Pacheco, Simon Banerot and Cody Chapman, it seems as much a reboot as anything — though the droney zooms and slick panning activity characterizing recently departed flare pilot Daniel Espinoza’s Royal Trucks part, assumed repurposed from his Lakai footage, looks very much prettier/sweeter versus any type of filmographic departures in the Federico Vitetta era.

After witnessing the coming-togetherness spurred by Brian Anderson’s coming out, Dylan Rieder’s death and earlier, John Cardiel’s ‘Epicly Laterd,’ are skating’s shared cultural events leaning less on videos and contests and more on personal narratives like SOTY? Can ‘Sabotage5’ transcend the tragedy of Love Park’s demise or only leave lingering questions as to what the fuck Philadelphia was thinking, and how did the resurrecting Alien Workshop not get behind a group of dudes so heavily infatuated with one of the Sovereign Sect’s most enduring heydays? Will Palace ever get around to doing a ‘proper’ video or are their mixtape-style releases like last year’s ‘V Nice’ so good they needn’t bother? Is Birdhouse gonna take another run at video history with Jason Hernandez behind the lens? Will Danny Way’s now 2-year-overdue video part ever drop or will Bob Burnquist come with another project that pushes it back again? Hasn’t it kind of been a long time since Krooked made a video?

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In Which Rakim Is Ignored and Various Techniques Sweated

February 5, 2017

benetton

One effect of the seldom-challenged objective to get more kids into skating, backed broadly by companies and other entities whose welfare entwines with selling skate-related goods and services, has been the homogenization of tricks. Whether a factor of once-platinum selling trick tip DVDs or YouTube channellers, mathematical norms seem to support the theorum that with more people skating and learning tricks via common and standardized sources, form and approach seem bound to gravitate toward some common center. The coveted Penny/Reynolds flick is no longer a technique possessed of some dudes and not others, rather it is the norm, increasingly rare to deviate from.

The thrillingly unorthodox cover of his month’s Thrasher features Jim Greco, who put the flick debate on front street with his Feedback dissertation on ‘mob’ vs ‘flick’. The Thrasher feature for Jim Greco’s most recent late ’80s video revival piece, after last year’s enjoyably indulgent/indulgently enjoyable “The Way Out” vid, includes a photo showcasing classical mob styling on a schoolyard bank, suggesting that Jim Greco, who once strove to curb his mob, now may be embracing it in some throwback move consistent with his recent nostalgia tripping among first-generation Birdhouse videos, the H-Street era and other childhood recollections of one who grew up on the opposite side of the continent.

Whether or not ‘mob’ kickflips look good, as a retro affectation or not, is a matter for the courts to decide and above the pay grade of poorly managed blogging web pages. However, the recently proffered notion that Chad Muska’s ‘illusion’ frontside flips looked good, wrongheaded as it is, speaks to a similar, latent yearning for diversity in trick form that seems to have been squeezed out in the online video age*. Setting aside the singular proclivities of ‘mob’ godfather Mark Gonzales, the comparative spread between a Kareem Campbell kickflip, a Tim O’Connor one and a range of others throws into relief the relatively few outliers from the norm today, such as Brandon Westgate.

Beyond throwback questionings, could skating’s politics-bucking globalization push offer a cure? In the far corner of this hemisphere, Magnus Bordewick and his Torey Pudwill arms suggest it may be so. Following his thumping ‘Firetre’ part from a year or so back the tricks in his ‘Tigerstaden’ section erupt as much as they flip; the 360 flip and bigspin kickflip slow-mo’ed on his Instagram have the board nearly going vertical as his feet kick at the camera frame’s edges.

Could any budding diversity in trick form collide with a wave of anti-politically correct sentiment now sweeping the Western world? Have body varials opened peoples’ minds to alternative trick-doing lifestyles? Could biological differences between males and females, both mental and physical, influence trick-doing styles as a wave of fairer-sexed video parts greet the new year?

*A more preferable alternative to the current technique might be Ryan Hickey’s

The Ball or the Sword

February 7, 2016

zorro

Was there a time when persons skated without bubblegoosed lenses trained upon them and atmospheric detail duly noted for later transcription or verbal tapestry-weaving when the mood lighting strikes? If you answered “hrm the 70s?” you may legally change your name to Burl Ives and open a blimp repair business in the tax-free domicile of your choice; all others must submit to pondering how the 00s’ era of history-unearthing and nostalgia-shampooing, from ‘On’ to ‘Epicly Later’d’, may now have given way to real-time mythmaking and neatly boxing up the memories and labeling them with straight and Sharpied capital letters.

Thrasher, which in 2016 enjoys the singular luxury of having probably not just every sphere-jolting trick pass their desks prior to public consumption, but also being looped into advance plotting, wisely made an event of Aaron Homoki’s jousts with and eventual slaying of the Lyon wyrm that Ali Boulala, Europe’s switch-kickflipping PD rogue, had fenced to a draw in the ‘Sorry’ days. Recognizing both the additional weight any Boulala-linked adventure would derive from his rather crushing ‘Later’d’ entry and chessboxing various message-board-borne critiques of spot ownership, Michael Burnett & co brought Ali Boulala aboard to lend technical ‘expertise’ alongside a phalanx of documenteers dripping with cameras, presumptive champagne bottles for popping and at least one dad*.

Ali Boulala’s in-person blessing, the attendant media scrum and days of stomach-knotting uncertainty made Jaws’ wrestle with the Lyon 25, which by now has been imbued with way too much weight to just close off some future video part, perhaps the fullest and frothiest example of real-time mythmaking in action, notwithstanding corporate-bannered Evel Knievel event tricks that may or may not require the approval stamps of Communist Party officials or purpose-built structures. As Love Park again circles the tubes, likely sparking plans for further, hour-plus documentaries**, here was the supernaturally ligamented Aaron Homoki jumping this big bunch of stairs, his couple seconds of hangtime stretched across magazine pages and digital video files via security-guard entanglements, celebrity pro cameos, body armour, familial love and a whiff of history and tragedy to spice the triumph and Jaws’ tears of joy.

The well-planned battle in Lyon comes at a time when skating seems increasingly fixated on capturing and preserving its wild old days as the quest to recapture lost market share and sock away retirement funds requires adopting a more scrubbed, professional and/or mercenary stance. Books drawing upon the misadventures of Scott Bourne, Lennie Kirk and now the hallowed Big Brother magazine in various ways strive to capture in permanent print those halcyon days of molotov cocktails, ill-advised trysts and penis pump reviews before they collapse into the great internet memory hole and premium priced Ebay collector packs.

As multinational beverage and sportswear suppliers up the number of racks available to coming generations and social media empire-building draws the wandering eye of TMZ, it is fair to wonder whether collective laces inevitably and regretably must become straighter, for all involved. Jenkem, who has taken up the Big Brother interview format mantle as convincingly as any current media, got in a good one with still-reliable quote mine Corey Duffel, a living and leather-clad link to Big Brother’s no kids-gloved past, who reminds that for the time being some moat remains between skating and major-league sports as long as pros are willing and able to hold forth on their dealings with grave-robbing furniture dealers:

So I buy the Craigslist bathtub and bring it inside the house, and my old lady is like, I don’t know how I feel about this tub, I’m getting weird vibes from it, that place it came from was so fucked up. Well that night, the first night with the tub in the house, a big mirror in the back of the house just came crashing down, no earthquake or wind or anything. Something else happened, like the TV flickered, something strange, and Rachel was like, “It’s the fucking tub.” So she suggested going to the hippie store to get sage – sage is suppose to get rid of evil spirits and we’re kind of hippies like that – so we’re saging around and I shrug it off like whatever.

Then a couple of months later Bobby Worrest comes over and goes like, “Oh, that’s the tub! I met that guy Tom, Tom is fucking insane!” I was like, yeah, he’s a fucking crazy but a really cool guy. Then he goes, “What a trip, someone committed suicide in that tub.” I’m like, what?! And Bobby tells me Tom told him someone offed themselves in that tub. It was funny to find out 6 months later. Now the bathtub sits outside next to the flowers.

Elsewhere, would-be Olympian Chris Cole sits for an interview with Rolling Stone, which appears in one of its sporadic periods of interest in extreme pro lifestyles, offering a glimpse of potential Q&As to come in some future age where contest politicking and milestone trick trophies must be rattled through on behalf of those greenhorn readers who need guidance through the subject-matter minefields of ‘who’s this person’ and ‘why do I care.’ It’s a relatively staid account til the end, when in a possible fit of cultural catharsis things veer abruptly toward a liquor-soaked Russian bar fight:

The next time we saw Ian, he was up on a stage, dumping his beer over some guy’s head, and in an instant, dudes were fighting all over the bar ­– tackles, punches, chokeholds. I was on the ground smashing this dude’s face in, and I look up and saw Ian getting choked by one dude while he was punching two separate dudes and being punched in the face by a chick.

If future pros fistfight Russian bouncers but never speak of it publicly out of an abundance of professional caution, do the busted teeth and cracked eye sockets make any sound? Wasn’t Chris Cole straightedge at one point or is this another phantom memory like Henry Sanchez’s Aesthetics pro model? Has Jaws scouted out the Leap of Faith elevator structure for a future wallie cover? In states where suicide was historically considered a crime would Bobby Worrest be considered to have snitched on the ghost that lives in Corey Duffel’s secondhand bathtub? And if he did, would the fact that the bathtub now is used as a planter by definition make it dry snitching?

*Unclear whether dad pants were obligatory or only assumed
**Any of which may possibly be instantly obsolete beside the Sabotage series

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 2 #4 – Willy Santos ‘The End’

June 28, 2014

Hair-salon proprietor Willy Santos in his hot-shoe am days was regarded as the prototypical new-school tech kid, and his opening part in Birdhouse’s $1 million 16/35MM extravaganza ‘The End’ kept him in good standing as it pertained to the miniature picnic table set, cracking nollie pop-shove its and switch heelflips over that small can with some finesse, plus the rarely seen half-cab noseblunt back to fakie. Looking again at some of the tricks here though like the switch boardslide pop out, which may obligate the ‘could stand up today’ trope, as well as the kinked lipslides and boardslides, conjures flashes of clips to come from card-carrying gnar dogs such as Vincent Alvarez, Geoff Rowley and Dustin Dollin. The gently sun-faded footage here can be weirdly relaxing, probably because like the rest of ‘The End’ it’s backed by those clumsily dubbed-in sound effects that lull in a fashion similar to elevator music or a distant helicopter.

McDoubles

September 7, 2009

birdhouse_mctwsts
Royale with cheese

For those of us who started skating in the 1980s there’s shit being done now that of course seems unfathomable in retrospect, for instance, switch 360 flipping double-sets, 360 flip noseblunts, nose tattoos and so on. Then there’s a whole other world of tricks that are the type of thing that theoretically were within the realm of possibility, but so out of hand as to be restricted to idle speculation during recess or in the wee hours of a sleepover after the third watch of “Public Domain,” and it is into this category that this sequence from the new TSM falls: Tony Hawk blasting a quarter century’s worth of contest-honed McTwisting over Aaron “No” Homoki’s parlour trick somewhere in Australia. It’s very possible this same pairing went down in some X-Fest or another, and I missed it because I never think to watch that sorta thing, but I really did set down the magazine and ponder this one for a minute when I saw it.

The Nieratko-penned article on this trip is a generally good one by the way – brief and BB-tinged, it’s telling of the way things are reshaping at the ‘house that Hawk built. For one, there’s an amusing and unapologetic Shawn White diss, and much is made of the fact that the Birdman was in the van* as opposed to sipping Chardonnay on his Lear jet or whatever on their city-to-city jaunts. Plus, the dude skated street with the bros (who included his son of course) and threw down his personal plastic when more juice was required to keep the distillates flowing. Who can say whether the B-House corporate account remains solvent. Perhaps Willy Santos, who also has a Birdhouse ad this month. No shit, Willy Santos. Either way, as far as the article goes, we can assume that none of this, including Nieratko’s invitation, happened by accident, but it’s nice to see nevertheless because Birdhouse continues to be home to some genuinely dirty/dedicated dudes and there’s some effort being put in over there to have a say in the way things are right now. It’s a long way for them to go of course, but I’m curious to see how far Tony Hawk is willing to push to get his shit back on track.

*they rented a van

A Chilling Vision of Things to Come

July 29, 2009

hail-ants
Shouts to Ross Powers, Kenny Brocklestein and Hewlett-Packard

There are days when a dude can do two switch 360 flips in the same line and it comes off all inspired, like there’s still little chunks of zany magic to be scraped from the cracked maple veneers of this earthly life. And then you got days when the Olympics seem like a depressing inevitability that will transform each session into a practice and once-dirtbag kids into future competitors for the glory of succulent Olympic gold. Because, you can’t eat just one.

Anyway, for those of you that are like me and caught this NY Times article on Shaun White’s non-skating Olympic training regimen, today was of the second type. Behold, and imagine a future 10 years from now by swapping out the term snowboarding for skateboarding:

With a deep and talented field, qualifying for the four spots on the United States men’s halfpipe team will be highly competitive. To help riders prepare this summer, the United States Ski and Snowboard Association helped finance construction of a 22-foot-tall halfpipe that meets Olympic specifications at the High Cascade Snowboard Camp on Palmer glacier at Mount Hood in Oregon. White was among several top professionals who spent time training there this month.

This part brings to mind the dudes fortunate enough to have their own multi-hundred-thousand-dollar megaramps, and the golf carts with which to properly traverse their length:

Last winter, Red Bull, one of White’s sponsors, built a private halfpipe at Silverton Mountain, a spartan resort in Colorado known for its extreme terrain. Rumors and images circulated on the Internet of White’s secret spot, with a giant air bag at the bottom of the halfpipe for soft landings while practicing tricks. His fellow professionals Keir Dillon and Heikki Sorsa joined White, but little was known about their sessions. In a sport in which top riders were accustomed to training together, a private halfpipe marked a departure from past practice. White’s rivals took note.

In June, Nike built Pearce a private halfpipe at Mammoth Mountain in California, which he rode for two weeks with his fellow United States Olympic hopefuls Danny Davis and the brothers Luke and Jack Mitrani. When asked which tricks he was working on, Pearce was circumspect.

“That’s the whole idea behind a private halfpipe, kind of keep it a bit quiet, not let everybody else know,” he said. “So once the season’s under way, it’s pretty much a surprise.”

Also, this:

He did not directly address questions about whether he would return to skateboarding next summer.

“Snowboarding has always been my main sport from the beginning,” he said. “I was just lucky enough to have my snowboarding skills cross over to skateboarding.”

Will the skateboard industry survive this global recession without help from the Flying Tomato, the most recognizable personality in action sports? Spoiler alert, the answer is no. For those of you contemplating suicide on this news, me and a bunch of my friends are going to try and get reincarnated as grackles and shit on Shaun White’s Lambo as a form of avian vengeance from beyond the grave. Login “grackle”, password “gracklezrule2005”

An Autumn With Ace & Gary

May 26, 2009

“Kevin” Spanky “Long” takes a lotta heat in certain circles for looking like a girl, wearing girls’ trousers, having girly hair, his unabashed hipsterism, and occasionally skating like a girl. The internet’s great unwashed can and will debate these points, but to my mind, there is little debate as to the classic status of this f/s air, just reaching cruising altitude above the rim of Brooklyn’s Autumn Bowl. Photo is from a striking B&W set in the Brandon Westgate “Skateboarder,” snapped by Jonathan Mehring, and for those of you who like to make your ambiguity a double, the Spanky pic butts up against a shot of Dylan Rieder backside crailing with reckless, untamed abandon. Elsewhere there’s a really sick Joey Pepper lip trick sequence that I can’t think up any dumb jokes about.