Posts Tagged ‘career opportunities’

Is Nyjah Huston’s Element Victory Lap The “New Coke” Of Sponsorship Arrangements?

April 3, 2011

The above pic of a shirtless LL Cool J functions as a multi-purpose vehicle, in that it’s aimed to increase this blog-spot’s marketshare among female consumers of sk8 commentary [via content-farming] while also calling into question the much-ballyhooed (by Transworld this month) comeback of Nyjah Huston, 16-year-old Element prodigy turned hardgood entrepreneur turned Element prodigy. According to an exclusive interview given to the periodical, Nyjah’s two years in the skate industry wilderness nearly cost him everything, from sponsors to the coveted Maloof’s Money Cup, and his personal journey of becoming an older and wiser teen as a result begs the question of which other professions or pursuits involve making career comebacks at age 16 — those weird “Lil Miss” pageants? Gelding racehorses? Gymnastics?

Nyjah Huston’s skating doesn’t do a whole lot for me on a personal level (although much credit due for caballerialing onto the rail the hard way). Yet the TWS interview offers much to chew over. The Maloof powers that be preferred to hand the cash to a skater like Chris Cole who is backed by major corporate sponsors instead of a grassroots effort like Huston’s I&I although he retained the support of his loyal fans on the face book and even Element, who waited patiently and eagerly for him to return to the fold from the day he departed. He intends to shift his focus to technical skating as he enters the autumn years of his late 20s and is wary of becoming “lost in the core” if he strays too far from the spotlight of mainstream competitions and sponsorships. Manny Santiago is off the hook and he is more motivated than ever to expand his career.

It is possible this the drama of the recent years is part of a broader plan for Nyjah Huston. This entry on Yahoo! Answers! suggests that under a pseudonym he began planning his “comeback” as long as three years ago, even before he departed Element at the urging of his dad and launched what is described as a one-man operation in I&I skateboards, which found the then-ninth grader struggling to set up a profitable distribution model while simultaneously arranging demos and originating positively themed board graphics. Which leads us to ponder whether striking out on his own was a preemptive move to build anticipation for an ultimate comeback to Element and generate board sales revenue in the seasonally weak first quarter financial cycle, similar to the conspiracy theories that for years have dogged the introduction and eventual burial of the beloved “New Coke” recipe for all-time. Will Nyjah Huston’s market value, like that of Coca Cola Co., rise 2200% in the future and prompt an investment from the Oracle of Omaha?

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DGK Invokes Godwin’s Law In Rodrigo TX Signing

January 4, 2011

It was pretty clear that Flip/Rowley ruffled some feathers with their Mark Appleyard kiss-off a few weeks back, but the more recent muted send-off of Firm transplant Rodrigo TX kinda makes you wonder whether top DGK bosses really meant to equate Flip to the Third Reich, which this meme-upon-meme welcome clip sort of suggests in a bizarre way. We’ll assume they’re riffing on this one and move along to the more surprising and intriguing prospect of Arto Saari resuming residence under the genie’s lamp, now maintained by NHS. For someone who was flummoxed by the AWS abduction in the first place (all Burton in-house power maneuvers aside) this is one of those instances of things again being right with the world, though your mileage may vary…

Third Time’s The Charge

June 10, 2010

For a company that’s expanded/rejiggered its lineup as much as Habitat over the past few years, I’m not sure I get the rationale of a semi-backward-looking “greatest hits/b-sides” sort of video, as flagged in the new preview for the forthcoming “Origins.” Besides the new-blood parts there’s talk of this being a kinda reissued version of “Inhabitants” with some musical changes, I’m sure they’ve got other sound reasons, probably detailed someplace my eyes have yet to roam. And if the end result is a package along the lines of the Girl/Choc boxed set, replete with Danny Renaud and Rob Pluhowski footage, not exactly complaining or anything.

But if tracing a narrative is what Castrucci & co are concerned with on this project, what better way to tap into the reality-age’s obsession with rise-fall-redemption stories than to reclaim Brian Wenning from the wood paneled basement discard pile from which he broadcast those infamous youtube dispatches? He’s already signaled that his NJ door stands wide open to getting the “Photo” band back together, and whereas relaxed-fit denim doesn’t hold the sway it once did in the Coexist camp, the steady am additions and pro bump-ups suggests the Burton backers aren’t tripping about headcount that much. (And didn’t they let Guru Khalsa have some rap music for his going-pro clip)

We’ve pulled for Wenning before in this space and probably will do so again, really, there’s few touching that switch b/s tailslide bigspin even nowadays. Back to the next-gen Habitat issue, the bros are to be thumbs-upped for hanging onto the Getz/Gall/O’Connor trifecta all these years, and as much as the idea elsewhere has come off kind of like a back pasture for also-rans, maybe Habitat can take a crack at a sort of “Legends” squad, since they’re still doing the Intl team thing to my knowledge. Although at the rate I’m making up new companies for them they may as well have kept Seek going. I don’t know, I’m just trying to finance a few more switch heelflips out here.

Fat Lady Sings

September 22, 2009

kalisstevie
Techneat

Well, I suppose we’re obligated to ramble on a little bit more on the Kalis/DGK/Alien situation, but believe it or not, I’m kind of at a loss* since this whole deal seems like it should be a bigger issue than it is. Maybe it’s team-hop hangover from Koston-Nike, or maybe it’s like Kalis himself implied in the EXPN interview – he saw it coming, Alien saw it coming, nobody was too broken up over the whole thing. There is a vague end-of-an-era feeling I guess, but AWS has moved a space pun-worthy light year or two from where they were back in 1995 (throwback graphics notwithstanding), whereas Kalis, bless his heart, hasn’t changed his approach too much (brown cords and Rolling Stones notwithstanding).

There’s been talk of unused Spanish footage collecting dust on Greg Hunt’s cutting room floor, the stunted career ambitions of one Marquise Henry**, and the increasingly divergent path of Alien Workshop from its hallowed backpack rap roots, which was one of the things that perhaps made Kalis a more interesting part of the mix in “Mind Field” than “Photo” and for sure “Time Code.” Is it ‘better’ that Josh Kalis reclaim his gold link-wearing past and steer clear of stretch denim and coloured-frame Wayfarers, probably yes. It is a bit sad though, since one of AWS’s great strengths was bridging the gap between the weird, cerebral shit the Ohio brain-trust had going on, and the dudes cracking tricks and fighting bums in the piss and dirt at the Brooklyn Banks. I thought Josh Kalis’s section in “Mind Field” was one of the proverbial fresh-air breaths with its abrasive rap music and baggy jeans, but as long as they hold onto Jake Johnson and Grant Taylor, they should be good riding the Dyrdek/Berra reality TV revenue into Jake Burton’s good graces.

As far as DGK goes we’ll stick with yesterday’s headline, in that there are far cheesier and more cold-blooded mercenary moves to be made than joining an old buddy and putting your remaining video footage and photo output toward promoting an independent outfit. Despite coming up in the golden age of profiling Kalis has never really stopped producing, and DGK could probably benefit from his focus as they gear up for a new video. You know Stevie Williams in particular is psyched to have him on. Old compadres back in the saddle again, etc, plus reports have the DGK chieftan forgoing his next multi-zero shoe deal in favor of filming the best section of his career, a tall order on or off Philadelphia public space.

Far more interesting than any of this is that Jackson Curtain is rumored to be sitting on an alleged 30+ minutes of video footage for the DGK project, raising the possibility of a Marc Johnson-esque reign of terror set to a suite of Just Blaze instrumentals… or maybe a Daniel Dumile approach that would see him parcel out multiple parts over the course of a year in a bid for SOTY status or Nike pro shoedom.

*I know, I know
**who’s good and all but should thank his stars he has powerful people watching out for him

Bobby Worrest: Time to Die

August 8, 2009

stop_or_my_mom_will_shoot
Bobby Worrest had buddies who died face-down in the muck so that you and I can enjoy this internet blog website

Not so long ago, I went a-shopping and came up on a copy of the old PitCrew video “Where I’m From” being offered for the princely sum of $5, so I figured, what the fuck–pretty awesome DC effort with parts from Jake Rupp and Darren Harper, not as good as “Pack a Lunch,” but what is. What hit me most about this vid was that Bobby Worrest was in full-on snotnosed fashion, a skinny little kickflippin’ handrailin’ SOB that I barely recognized, accustomed as I am to the macrobrew-swilling tattoo merchant nowadays beloved by the Gonz and strippers alike. It was sort of like wandering into the corner bar in your hometown and seeing the little neighbor kid all puffed up and red-faced, nursing a tequila sunrise, except if you were in the nation’s capital and possessed a functional time machine along with some flannel.

The modern day Bobby Worrest has many advantages. He can dress. You know, he’s got that tech ability but there’s restraint too, when you talk about taking the switch 360 flip to noseslide back to regular. The dude has an eye for overlooked ledge tricks (b/s 180 to switch k-grind), skates at night a lot and has balls enough to do a fakie hardflip on flat, and not even the Bryan Herman-approved kind of hardflip which is all the rage these days. Old(er) school rap is becoming kind of a safe move for skate parts these last couple years but it’s a good look here as there’s a lot of actual street skating in this part, by which we mean longer lines than you’d normally see, which stray beyond the generally accepted format of b/s tailslide 270 shove-it, nollie 360 flip, front blunt bigspin or whatever the Forecast generation’s version of the b/s tail-nollie flip-nosegrind 411 line may be.

Sort of like Silas Baxter Neal, probably Bobby Worrest is at some point in his career where he can keep cranking out parts like this and be good for years, as long as he stays away from those chicken-scratcher grinds on banks. It’s hard to guess at what his ultimate motivation might be. If it’s strippers and beer and weed then his longevity may be secure, as it seems to have worked wonders for Fred Gall, who is rich and famed and well-beloved, in addition to being from New Jersey. Hopefully Worrest’s sponsors will steer his career around stereotype potholes filled with Coors Light and Rambo and shit, but God knows it’s a tough economy out there.

Brian Wenning Is The Best Skater Alive

May 2, 2009


Rich off cocaine

Dovetailing nicely with the Plan B focus this week comes the inevitable news that Brian Wenning has been let go from the Danny/Colin hardgoods dream team, shortly after being handed his walking papers from Droors Clothing Shoe Co USA. Given Wenning’s lack of footage these last few years, mostly underwhelming photo output and recent Youtube antics, it maybe isn’t super surprising that these eventualities have inspired a flood of “don’t let the door hit ya on the way out” commentary across the skate-related interwebs, but it’s disappointing, because what people are overlooking is the fact that career collapse or no, Wenning will come to be seen as a hugely influential figure in 00’s skating, and if he is flaring out, it’s in proper 1990s party-spiral fashion.

Personally I think Wenning’s on some Henry Sanchez trip; the “over-it”-ness he aired toward DC in his recent Skateboarder* interview and, er, fireside chat video are only a prologue to what surely will be a blaze of sour grapes toward the likes of Ryan Sheckler and Jereme Rogers. More people used to name names, now everybody’s got business interests, but Brian Wenning is from New Jersey and seems to prefer drinking with his low-life buddies and skating a shitty pre-fab park that his little brother gave up on years ago.

Whether or not Wenning achieves or even attempts a comeback I think is totally beside the point in a post-Fully Flared/Sorry age, where legends are unearthed, outfitted in fresh sponsorship deals and New Eras, and set about writing sequels and prequels to stories that were basically holy scripture. I saw that Timberland video, Wenning’s still got it I think, but what’s the upside for him? A part in a soon-forgotten Axion promo? A spot on Element**? (I think he’d need to have a real rock-bottom Oprah awakening before Fred Gall could make a convincing case to put him back on Habitat.)

Probably the smart move for Wenning would be to drop off the map more or less completely, make random solo appearances in New Jersey, maybe grow his hair real long and not really skate. (The Timberland thing was possibly premature in this way.) If Bill Strobek is kind he could delay dropping his video for another year, at which point skateboarding will have forgotten the Brian Wenning of the two-inch scratcher slides at those alphabet ledges and people will trip out anew on the Photosynthesis era – while PJ Ladd’s video part had a bigger impact on actual tricks I think Wenning’s Photo part remains one of the most influential sections style-wise over the last ten years, and I shudder to think where, say, Ronson Lambert would be without it today. The Henry Sanchez comparison again – Brian Wenning was doing the hottest tricks at the coolest spots, looking like nobody else at the time.

So we’ll see. Maybe in a couple years he can mount a comeback part, get a board offer from say Zoo, figure out a way to get kicked off within three weeks and quickly slide back into obscurity. You almost hope he does – in a lot of ways it would be preferable to seeing him dried out and born again in time to chase pole-jam variations and waxy ledge combos. Or Scientology.

*Keep your head up, Source Interlink employees
**Baker probably a more realistic prospect, but with the economy in the toilet who really knows anything about anything