Posts Tagged ‘born to love volcanoes’

Can An Old Dog Unlearn New Tricks?

August 31, 2019

Before his untimely leap into the afterworld, Bruce Lee was fond of quoting a Zen proverb: “Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.” Thereafter, it became safe for humans, space aliens and various others to widely bite Bruce Lee, reformulating and broadcasting the sentiment via Hollywood space operas, superhero epics and carbon fiber manufacturers. Indeed, it is now hard to remember to forget what we thought we once knew about letting memories slip our mind in our communal quest to recall our true selfs.

The parallels between Bruce Lee and Guy Mariano by now are obvious. Both were born in the year of the dragon, descended from powerful family clans, and pursued martial arts first to defend themselves against street toughs and later as a path toward self-actualization and ‘total enlightenment.’ After beating up triad gang members, legend has it, both Bruce Lee and Guy Mariano fled Hong Kong for new lifes in the United States. The rest of the story you know.

Flash forward to the present, when over the past year Guy Mariano seems to be cracking out of some self-spun cocoon threaded with high-tech Nike shoelaces and stuck together with viscous, yellowish saliva. After his ‘Fully Flared’ second coming and a followup chapter in ‘Pretty Sweet,’ Guy Mariano’s remained largely off the grid since swapping out his decadeslong Crailtap affiliations for deals with athletic goods conglomerate Nike and a garage brand co-owned by once and future retiree Eric Koston. The question seems not whether a third act is in the offing, but what form it may take as Guy Mariano attempts that most daunting of combos, mid-40s to technical progression.

In the hypercritical realm of trick/kit/vibe deconstruction — and there is none truer, oh best beloved — Guy Mariano’s now-legendary mid-2000s comeback has become much debated as equal part pyrrhic victory. We got back one of the 1990s’ purest talents, the uber-cool embodiment of 1990s Los Angeles street skating, who clawed his way out of some hopeless cesspool and even then wasn’t satisfied with the Crailtap cruise-control chill program that dudes like his former self helped invent. Re-earning his spot involved Guy Mariano deeply in the ‘Fully Flared’ envelope-pushing ledge technicalities, and after again cementing his name atop those cultural totems he pressed on in ‘Pretty Sweet,’ questing after aesthetically side-eyed choices such as the smith grind laser flip, or the fakie backside tailslide varial heelflip body varial.*

Ruminating toward the end of the novel with the same name, Webber Grill inventor George Webber laments the impossibility of going “back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time.” Whereas Polar would have missed George Webber with its recent and successful ‘Big Boy Jeans’ line, Guy Mariano’s trick selection of late teases the mind. Debuting for Thunder trucks last spring, he leaned on gap-hopping tailslides by the old sand gaps. Last summer he flashed a bracing switch wallride to switch frontside crooked grind and more recently has been frontside 180ing into a a fakie frontside flipper, a carve-up to switch frontside crooked grind with that right arm trailing just so, and a switch crooked grind to vicious fakie flip back over the curb. Last week he posted a teeth-chattering and really hard two-piece through LA’s brick volcanos, sans combos, and where the actual highlight may be that achingly familiar turnaround.

Does Guy Mariano’s recent internet output rekindle hope for a simpler, more classical trick repertoire showcasing that incomparable form, which clearly still exists, and perhaps is best reflected in sensibly baggy pants? Does the potentially related reappearance of the goatee serve as some sort of stylistic leading indicator? Would ‘Become Devoid’ be a suitable album name for a metal band named ‘Totality’? Could Guy Mariano recapturing something closer to ‘Chocolate Tour’ on the tech spectrum offer hope for a Rich Gang reunion? Before all is said and done could Guy Mariano’s skating in its autumn years circle back to the youthful simplisms of his SK8 TV appearances?


Couch Quarterbacking

December 9, 2012



Awash in “Pretty Sweet” rewatches here, stopping to wonder at Raven Tershy’s backside tailslide shove-it, the apparent re-embrace of Lego-man caps and the number of slams to tricks in this part putting it near Gino/”Hot Chocolate” levels. Also mulling whether or not the last two tricks landed in the proper sequence — ollie in is far gnarlier to me, what about to you all?

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The 10-Minute Cory Kennedy Video Part

March 7, 2010

How did Cory Kennedy get so good, is the question upon the minds of men and children who witnessed his arrival via the Berrics take on American Idolatry, and subsequent rise to power thanks to the internet’s 86,400-second news cycle and breathless vivisection of several bizarro hip tricks at faceless skateparks. I mean, he comes out of the dreary rainforests of the U.S. pacific northwest. He didn’t toil away his tweenage years on Termite or Twigs or whatever and there is little evidence tying him to a secret 80s-pro father, so Occam’s Razor dictates that he sold his eternal soul to Satan for skateboard power, much like devil-worshipping pals Lizard King Plumb and Brian Hansen.

At family-values centric Boil the we narrow our eyes and curl our lip at the fallen one, and there are other reasons of varying validity to maybe not like Cory Kennedy: the Girl camp has had a fairly hit-and-miss record when it comes to developing its parade of uber-ams (yea, Malto/Calloway/Biebel; nay, Rogers/Eldridge; P-Rod/O’Neill/Angel, iffy) and it’s always a little weird to see some kid appear out of thin air able to whip out every trick in the book, etc. As perhaps has been rambled about previously it almost cheapens shit in a way.

Yet after spending probably more than an hour across multiple viewings of CK2’s opening statement in the heavy-hitting “Beware of Sasquatch” vid we are believers. For one thing, this dude doesn’t really do bad tricks. Even moves suspect under the feet of others (bigspin heelflip) tend to work out for him, and whether it’s restraint or a breezy outlook on life in general, the tension is eased with plenty of little nollie heelflips and wallrides in between his THPS combos (or are we now to call them EA Skate combos). He’s got enough lank to pull off a touch of the Wenning slouch, grasps the value of a straight-ahead switch ollie and does not jump off when the terrain becomes rugged and pebbly.

The length, width and techiness of this big Cory Kennedy debut, alongside the fact that it comes in a bro-powered video as opposed to some Grauman’s Chinese Theatre premiere, invites comparisons to PJ Ladd… for sure some of these moves (switch frontside bigger spin heelflip) fit the mold, and a lot of these spots look like they could be found around the corner from his house, sidewalk gaps and random manual pads, similar to PJ Ladd’s beloved window-ledge. We probably won’t see many more of these overcast industrial parks once southern California gets its hooks into him, but here Cory Kennedy seems not too worked up over things like stair counts and the grins come off genuine and easy.

Also: admiring the way his board sticks to the bench b/s tailslides, the headbanging backside noseblunt on the steps, and the 50-50 at around the 2:30 mark, which ranks among the better-sounding tricks of this young year. Music is region-appropriate and the track runners observing the bench-to-bank session brought on a Memory Screen flashback. Unicron has this vid now for fairly cheap, by the by.