Posts Tagged ‘Blades of Steel’

Point/Counterpoint: Should We Make Republique Great Again By Remembering The Lessons of The Most-Famed 1990s Drill Fight?

March 13, 2016

basrutten1

The discoloured and rapidly bubbling kettle that is the 2016 presidential election season offers a warped prism through which nearly every event, from the ho-hum to the oh-damn, can and must be viewed. Skateboarders long have spurted and spouted political pontifications, from Jason Lee’s stance against military force in the advancement of hard rock interests to Fred Gall’s tale of heavy-handed police force during one drunken and star-crossed Ozzfest and others bluntly going “fuck Donald Trump” in print and online media formats, as well as Lenny Kirk’s sober warning that the US government is plotting an ‘internal war’ to ratchet up control on computer-savvy citizens and various other sheeple.

‘Pussy Gangster,’ Bill Strobeck’s latest outing for Supreme and so far his longest dwelling upon the FA kids beyond US borders, from the jump throws a dripping and still-wet beefsteak to the ravenous hounds of political punditry whose bellies remain some seven months away from filling. In an ominous and threatening setup to Sean Pablo’s 50-to-50, Sage Elsesser’s channeling of Jereme Roger’s ‘Harsh Euro Barge’ hubba achievement, Kevin Bradley’s incredible flip-and-turn-and-catch and K-Rod’s fakie early grab to wallride, a butcher knife brandishing hobo pokes and swipes at our surrounding heroes, rasping and growling before Paris’ finest execute a textbook and grammatically accurate bum’s rush to extinguish the situation.

For crooked-grinding observers on both ends of the political spectrum, the much-buzzed sequence evoked immediate comparisons to ‘Virtual Reality’s’ famous drill fight, wherein Colin McKay and co pitted boards against bit in defense of Vancouver’s New Spot. The passage of two decades, and marked disparity in physical violence doled out, prompts diverging views on what this confrontation with an earbud-challenged threatener says about skating in this year of our Lordz Wheels, 2016:

Point (liberal): The clip is important because it shows the progress skating has made in the eyes of society’s most basic institutions. Here, government is functioning on our behalf, following years of foot chases, biting canines, verbal dressings-down, tickets and arrests — policemen in this instance act, forcefully, to protect a long put-upon class. This is the system functioning the way it’s meant — rather than handcuff Tyshawn Jones for hitching a bus ride after his tall-can backside lipslide, the powers that be neutralize a real and present danger skaters didn’t invite. By taking him into custody there is some chance the bebearded slashmaker will receive any help or counseling he may need, versus a beat-down via truck and deck that leaves him to nurse his fractures and ruptures with inexpensively priced French wine.

Counterpoint (conservative): Oh please. This clip, larded with more indulgent and excessive zoom, is only the latest and saddest sign that skateboarders have lost their collective edge, cowed into domestication by the steel barriers and security-guard shepherds of Street League, and loathe to rumple limited-run t-shirts and sweaters that could fetch lofty bids on Ebay. In the era that birthed citizen militias such as the Red Dragons and inaugurated James Kelch as EMB mayor, when Ricky Oyola and the Sub Zero locals took it upon themselves to regulate and enforce upon Love Park riff raff, skaters had far less to lose and weren’t hung up on concepts like even numbers or, perish the thought, help from the police or more esoteric taxpayer-funded agencies of Big Government. And before our friends on the other side of the aisle attempt to dismiss and diminish it all as American headstrongisms, let the record show that the drill fight was a Canadian affair.

Mall Justice No Match For Mike Vallely

January 20, 2009


“Somewhat integral”

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.

“I just had water, anger and a destination. It’s just how I am,” Vallely says.

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.