Posts Tagged ‘Chad Muska’

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

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Has Handrail Skating Entered Middle Age?

April 17, 2015

muska_handrail_help_call

“Nobody pays taxes on Mars,” the old saying goes, and it rings as true today as it ever was. For the astronaut, moustachioed and physically capable of handling several Gs, space travel draws a fat, black dividing line between youth and that which comes after; no man, they say, is the same after penetrating celestial orbit. For the ancient dinosaurs, to enter middle age was a feat accomplished by only the clever and ruthless, and these became chieftans and enriched warlords.

Today little has changed. History barrels forward similar to a kettle of fine fish packed into a barrel and rolled downhill and, come this time next year, handrail skating will be 30 years removed from those nervy days when Mark Gonzales and Natas Kaupas took it in their heads to ollie air up onto safely secured hand-bannisters and chart a bold and zesty course toward best-trick contest purses, ponderous stair counts, bike-lock controversies and the occasional bloody discharge. There was a gawky, turn-of-the-decade adolescence, followed by a coming of age under the dauntless feet of Duffy, Kirchart, Thomas and Muska, and the bigger-longer-taller maturation spree pursued in the early aughts by the Flip-Zero-Baker contingent.

Wither the handrail in 2015? In the last year and a half Transworld has featured just a single handrail trick on its cover, as page counts dwindle and TWS embraces wallrides and assorted transition terrains. Over at Thrasher, which cover-wise years ago threw in its lot with the Wade Speyer side of the tech-vs-gnar continuum, handrail tricks as a percentage of covers each year seem to have plateaued.

handrails_graph1

Is handrail skating becoming engulfed in a midlife crisis, with nollie heelflip crooked grinds widely regarded as passe, 39 stair curvers suggesting some possible upper limit and El Toro gelded? Resurgent bowls, abrupt transitions and even the vert ramp seem to have splintered handrail skating into restless and nomadic tribes, including displaced wallriders, wall-rejecting against-the-grainers, deep-crouching over-the-toppers, body varialing rewinders and a Mariano-bred stripe of small-bar uber-tech.

Recent signals however suggest that a certain purity of the round slanted bar continues to draw admirers, even without a fire-engine red, glasspacked sports car or wallie on. Australian dervish Jack Fardell, in the process of extensively notching some unholy San Francisco skatespot bedpost, commanded Thrasher’s May cover with a rabid 50-50 grind down a kinked beast that had bucked known master John Cardiel more than a decade back. Further south Paul Hart, a Floridian partly responsible for shifting Cliche’s center of gravity increasingly west of the Atlantic, recorded a sit-and-stare worthy nollie backside noseblunt to fakie sequence that naturally occurred also near the end of an Arto-aspiring ‘Gypsy Life’ section.

Is a midlife crisis a healthy and productive exercise for handrail skating generally? When handrail skating begins wearing tight polo shirts with the collars flipped up, pumping weights and loudly quoting Rae Sremmurd lyrics, at what point should a friend intervene? Will people start painting gray handrails black and then denying it? Will photoshopping gray handrails black represent the greatest ethical quandary to confront Instagram accountholders in the years ahead? Could Thrasher re-run this Kasai cover next month without anyone being the wiser except probably Jason Dill?

Enter Ye This Hall of Game

November 21, 2014

chadandtheboys

Controversy and reverence reigned in equal measure over CM902 Fest ’15 this week at Boca Raton Resort & Club.

Delegates packed the pink hotel’s stucco-encrusted event space in what promised to be a dynamic week of thought leadership and networking in this, the 15th anniversary of the famed Muska release by C1RCA.

Standing out among the thought-provoking programme were frank recollections and occasional fireworks courtesy of a panel representing close associates and advisers to The Muska during the period when the shoe was being designed.

“Real talk, it was the one for him, and a moment in time,” said Jurg Jourgensonn, better known by his rap name Rich Rich.

“The Es Muska model was the origination and the CM901 was scripture, but the ‘902 brought the word to the people,” claimed Rich Rich. “Fuck with me.”

“902” was used by many attendees as shorthand for CM902, the shoe’s unique alphanumeric brand name.

Several tents festooned the trade show floor where vendors hawked CM902 related baubles and shirts. Sometimes you would see a bird.

“Please understand that The Muska spoke through the shoe, had something to say,” said Maurice Patrice, the Parisian playboy socialite who spent multiple weeks poolside in St. Thomas with The Muska as the CM902’s design coalesced. Patrice, whose ultimate influence in the final design remains much in debate, spoke on the same panel as Rich Rich.

“Observe the shapes embedded in the upper, squares, just as fear pens man inside four walls, his own self doubt,” Patrice said. “The Muska, you must understand, he wished for us to overcome this.”

Rich Rich scoffed. “Nah son.”

“Windows, with panes, if you will,” Patrice plowed ahead. “Through which a man–maybe broke, maybe subsisting on malt liquor and borrowed joints and sleeping on a beach, but a man–could see his way toward a better future.”

Patrice dragged on a skinny cigarette and made several other remarks about the shoe but many attendees’ focus shifted at that point to third panelist Jeffrey Allen “Skunk” Baxter, former Doobie Brother guitarist and current missile defense consultant, who silently stormed from the stage whilst offering no intelligible explanation.

“Don’t get it twisted,” interjected Rich Rich, known for his time bodyguarding various Muska entourage members and a brief career as an assistant sound engineer affiliated with the MuskaBeatz movement. “He was playful but he was never playing with you. If you can feel me.”

Laced with several French profanities and suggestions that attendees should buy the new Rich Rich ringtone, the panel marked an emotional apex for the event, though perhaps not a spiritual one. Magdalena Brycewaite, a helicopter factory superintendent based in Topeka, stunned several onlookers with high-volume raves regarding a vision of the CM902 she said appeared unto her while praying.

“The red color way,” she shrilled.

It remains unclear whether C1RCA may re-release the shoe.

The Beak Is Back, Maybe

January 28, 2010


Can’t be stopped

As you can imagine, even in the freshly minted year of our Lord 2010, the Muska is never far from our minds around here. Whether it was his days pioneering the cargo pant as the Shorty’s team captain, the clear sunglasses-and-headscarf combo of Circa’s heyday or his resurrection as a white-denimed Hollywood nightcrawler, Chad Muska’s legacy looms large. So large in fact that I was gobsmacked no less than twice yesterday during my usual You-Toob clip perusal by the way Muska fulfilled the dream with one of his token moves, the backside noseslide.

I’ve been hard-pressed to keep up with the various “You/U/Eu” video contests and controversies that seem to be constantly churning over at the berrics, but was prompted to click this one because it had an odd name that I incorrectly thought belonged to a single person, and also because it came from Mexico, a land I imagine to be overrun with bloodthirsty druglords toting AR-15s, but actually is home to some bros that do a lot of body varial tricks. The Muska moment arrives at 2:33 with a healthy noseslide through some sizable kinks and taken back to regular which is always a good look with this move.

Elsewhere on the planet, globetrotting Yankees fan Kenny Reed stretches his backside 5-0s to worldly proportions and revisits a few obscure spots en route to a (spoiler alert) truly massive noseslide down something like 50 steps. The sheer length is one thing but what makes this noseslide really classic is how low the ledge is and the never-say-die way that Reed skids it out to the bitter end. Kind of comical but it’s interesting to see a resurgence of these more basic tricks these days. People like Davids Gravette and Gonzales are promoting 5050s again when there’s a gnarly handrail involved, although for years it seemed like that trick had been discarded as too basic* to even consider. If noseslides creep back into the rotation, perhaps there will one day be no need to twist boardslides into feeble grinds.

*disregarding Anthony Pappalardo, in which case that seems like the whole point

Five signposts en route to the grave of 411VM

July 25, 2008

This week brought the long-anticipated but no less vaguely sad news that 411 Video Magazine’s life support was finally pulled by the core bros over at Wasserman Media Group. (Commentary by another recent Wasserman acquisition: “I’m still creatively in control of the site.” Live and learn…)

411 has existed on the fringes now for a good while, and it’s been like a decade since new issues were met with any kind of anticipation. So in a way it’s impressive they made it this far, but wonders never cease when it comes to beating dollars out of dead horses in the skateboard industry. Look at NSS. Shit, look at Duffs.

These days, though, it would probably come as a surprise to your average New Era’ed hardflipper that people used to pay for 411s, much less subscribe to get it in the mail. And among those who do recall 411’s glory days, you’re hard pressed to find anybody wax nostalgic about any issue past 30, with the exception of the Gino/Keenan/Pupecki “Roomies” in 38. I’ll go as high as 39 myself, but you know I stay having low standards.

The point is, 411’s demise has been written on the wall for some time now. A few of the telltale signs along the way:

Es Menikmati released

Fred Mortagne’s biopic/skate epic ushered in an age of blockbuster videos, washed down with a generous helping of slow motion, fancy graphics and generators. For better or worse the Es super team helped raise the bar as far as tricks, lengthy parts and production value, and in a matter of years poor 411 would find it more difficult to source footage of high-profile dudes to sprinkle between the up-and-comers and washed-ups in the Chaos sections.

411 decides to put dudes’ faces on the cover

The Skateboard Mag tried this one too, with the fairly impressive result of making Dave Carnie somehow feel like more of a pervert than he already is. The Stance approach didn’t work for TWS, and even in this age of rock star pro skaters, what self-respecting 14-year-old really wants to look into Muska’s stoned bedroom eyes every time he puts on the Cliche chaos? Note to all those still considering a portrait cover: use artwork.

Lance Mountain stops hosting

The little things, you know? I appreciate Mikey Taylor and his undying devotion to Roc-a-Fella as much as the next guy, but it just ain’t the same. Like when they tried remixing the theme song.

411 911

You know you’re running out of ideas when you start taking cues from ESPN and MTV. At this point it was pretty clear they were getting hard up for money. Speaking of, didn’t 411 also put out that video of Mike Vallely’s fights?

Youtube

Podcasts and Field Logs and Wednesday Woes too. Free, quick-downloading video in tolerable quality has skateboarding on a 24-hour footage cycle now, and whatever scraps Company X might have thrown to a 411 in the past now go to the website, the Youtube channel or the “Special Edition” DVD*. Videographers like Josh Stewart will happily tell you at great length how difficult it is to sell even hotly anticipated DVD releases in this day and age, and although Weiss somehow keeps pumping out Digitals, 411 a couple years ago gave up trying to charge American money for their videos, and in the process turned each new edition into a branding vehicle for this company or that. They’ve made some effort at orienting their site around new clips, as well as something bizarre called 411VS that appears to be some kind of fantasy skateboarding league, but there’s a lot of footage out there now, and only so many minutes in the average skateboarder’s Internet day, in between checking the Slap board, cleansing the browser history of porn links and reloading the bong.

Today 411’s website offers you a look at a flyer for a Krux kickflip challenge. Meanwhile the Berrics has new footage of Sean Malto, Eric Koston, Mike Barker and Erik Ellington. You see where I’m going with this. So long 411.