Posts Tagged ‘Brian Brown’

The Pit and the Pendulum

September 6, 2009

ThrowingStar
Stick it

Belatedly wrapping up our rundown of the Black Label video, a topic that has spanned two months here, by looking back to the imperatively titled TWS production “Let’s Do This!” and specifically, Brian Brown’s part: at the time, watching this section tended to tire me out trying to keep track of the tricks, as nearly every clip was a sequence event incorporating a wallie, wallride, manual or some other shit. Chris Troy, a professional skateboarder for the Label as of last week, is a similar breed, having apparently never met a 360 or 360 shove-it he didn’t like and seeking to incorporate these into damn near every trick he does. It’s a lot to take in, and there are times when he pulls it off super impressively – the fakie bigspin feeble grind is a ballsy move for sure, though maybe not in the same league as skating to a brand-new Rancid song. Other times though it’s cool to see him do a sort of more simple trick, for instance, the crooked grind backside 180 at the Kellen James ledge, a breath of fresh air amongst the bigspins to boardslides to whirlybirds.

Shuriken Shannon tilts things in the other direction, kicking off his last-part performance with two ollies, on flat, in a line. In a couple different ways this dude is helping shift Black Label’s overall aesthetic but he’s doing it via a Lewis Marnell type of solid/frill-free skating (lime grip and occasional ledge combos aside) that gets over mostly on mashing those four little urethane circles to the ground all at the same time in a fairly satisfying way. There are techy moves, like the fakie inward heelflip and the ghetto bird (?) over the rail, but stuff like the 50-50 kickflip, switch frontside 5-0 and backside heelflip are more the rule, and I’d put the ender-ender into this category too – that spot I really like for the purposes of video clips, because it’s naturally occurring, appears kind of scary and tricks look good going down it, especially if people land switch and have to carve it out.

In other vids you’d have to wonder whether our friend the throwing star has the fireworks necessary to close out a feature-length production but one of the things “GSTL” has going for it, like Black Label generally, is the panoply of styles/terrains/archetypes as opposed to six or seven parts of stretch-denimed greasers taking aim at handrails or tall-teed technicians rotating in and out of New Era fits. I don’t carry a huge torch for Black Label or anything but Lucero’s institutional expertise and general viewpoint are as necessary as they’ve ever been (insert comment re: this day/age here), they make good videos, and have aged well as the glam rock wave crested earlier this decade… to whatever extent they owned some of that real estate before the Baker Boys/Hollywood/Pigwood community moved in, and they’re doing a nice job keeping up the neighborhood.

P-Rod, Girl and the Enigma of the Mobius Strip

December 18, 2008


Innocence, destroyed

While the planet, nay, galaxy awaits the already-classic “Street Dreams”, featuring the long-awaited debut of whippet enthusiast-turned-auteur Rob Dyrdek and guest starring Ryan Dunn with the evil mom from the O.C., Paul Rodriguez isn’t waiting around for some Decenzo brother to hand him his daytime Emmy. No, P-Rod is blazing ahead with another star turn in the upcoming “Vicious Circle”, which for purposes of this post I choose to view as a complex, feature-length metaphor about his years skating for Girl skateboards.

Some of this is fairly overt: “Boy meets girl,” a nod to the days before the honeymoon ended, when P-Rod was still the next Koston, Plan B existed only on DVD and nobody ever heard of Sean Malto. Paul had a more innocent view of the world then, as you can tell from the nifty suit he wears in early scenes.

However: “Girl has past… past won’t let her go.” P-Rod here is suggesting here that Rick and Mike are akin to the child of an abusive household: determined not to repeat Rocco’s excesses and transgressions, they succeed only in driving away their young stars (P-Rod and Jereme, represented here by P-Rod and “Angel”, a reference to Rogers’ Christian beliefs and pasty pallor).

Paul Rodriguez does a bit of gun-waving, perhaps channeling the unrefined anger of Sal Rocco Jr., and soon the film takes a disturbing turn as P-Rod seeks catharsis via revenge fantasy: the “Girl” dies, and as fingers point in his direction, Paul is determined to clear his name.

Whether this suggests that Rodriguez believes Plan B (portrayed in the film as life after Girl) will bury his former employer is open to interpretation. It’s a disturbing thought, nearly as troublesome as P-Rod Senior expounding on his son’s numerous attractive qualities.

The title certainly plays off the resurrection/rebirth themes that Plan B has mined since Danny and Colin brought it back, and P-Rod’s gracious comment on the role – “I was blessed to be given it… I have to do the best with my opportunities” – is easily applied to the offer that wooed him away from Girl in the first place.

In short, a troubling and fascinating picture of the fractured worldview of a young man, frustrated, consumed with revenge and constantly battling against his own crushing talent. Also, “Street Dreams” coming soon.