Posts Tagged ‘Cherry’

4. Dylan Rieder – ‘Cherry’

December 28, 2014


Is this the year Dylan Rieder decided to stop worrying and enjoy being Dylan Rieder? Probably not, but it’s sort of entertaining to theorize the how and why as to this paring-back of his skating in recent years — this is not such a one with 10 tricks to his name, and whereas it would be nice to see those switch backside bigspin flips and backside bigspin outs taken out for a walk now and then, Dylan Rieder appears content to zero in on a few tricks — 360 flips, kickflips switch and regular and frontside, the impossible still — lovingly handcrafted and polished for max oomph and richness in the instant document that was Bill Strobeck’s ‘Cherry.’ Whether a natural sequence of progressions from the course charted within the Gravis section or an outcropping of the fuck-you money he gets from DKNY and whoever else, it’s heartening all by itself to see a dude who would be an alternate-universe candidate for the reality show/energy drink/corporate contest axis not just migrate away from multinational sponsor lordshippery, but continue to hone his tricks in the bargain.

Long Pork

July 23, 2014

crankshaft

Teenage angst is the eternally renewable fuel source upon which the skateboard industry may be said to rise and fall. As a power to be harnessed it can be as tender and benevolent as a caressing summer breeze, or as tormentous and destructive as the most esoterically named tropical swirly. Deck designers for decades have sought to sate teens’ hunger for scary skulls, subversive violence, conspiracy oddments and more recently easily recognizable Plan B logos; while Wet Willy and Flameboy once earned lucrative dollar bills from soccer-mom purses, such gateway graphics hooked several generations’ worth of minimum-wage paycheck earners who later would seek out socks emblazoned with weed leafs and several varieties of T-shirts that explain the veritable black holes of society from which the wearer, now more affluent and bejeweled, once had emerged.

With the notable exceptions of Rocco-sanctioned Wu-Tang album cover riffs, one-off series bowing to the continued influence of professional firepole navigators or the fleshy urethane peddled by the double entendring Hubba Wheels, lust is perhaps among the least-celebrated cardinal sin when set up against the various drill fights, junk-food odes, thirst for bling, militant anti-jealousy campaigns, and strategic piling-out plans, yet there may be plausible arguments that it or one of its derivatives underlies every ledge crooked and nearly all 360s flipped.

Does it reflect lingering prepubescent discomfits or fear of some phantom parent peering over our collective shoulder that Hook-Ups couldn’t make the post-millennial transition, that Stance magazine’s Maxim-aping spreads went unsubscribed to, that Big Brother bizarrely became more family-friendly under the watchful eye of Larry Flint? Are there alternative explanations for the general collar-tugging and furrowed brows prompted by the adult situations featured within Dylan Rieder’s wingtip commercial for Huf this month, which left some viewers breathless and others vaguely panicked, like being caught late at night surveying the more risque precincts of their parents’ vinyl collections?

Dylan Rieder makes a certain subset of his potential customer base self-conscious and frustrated, and rightly so. He has the luxury of turning in Street League runs that come off more like a half-demo, half-commentary on the point-stacking repertoires of Chaz Ortiz and Nyjah Huston; as transcribed within this spring’s immediate classic “Cherry,” his 360 flips, switch kickflips and backside smith grinds are worthy for consideration as works of art. Perhaps seeking inspiration within dog-eared months of Supreme’s early aughts calendars, Dylan Rieder with his shoe commercial seems to have redirected the rhetorical query to his railside admirer in “Cherry” toward the viewing populace at large, with one of the era’s great switch backside kickflips floated in place of a question mark.

Others unearth darker tones to these primal urges. Bronze Hardware Company already demonstrated globally that it owns computers capable of making the best video clips. Yet in Bronze’s latest offering, affectionately titled “Enrons,” Joseph Delgado’s latest Flushing ledge ticklers, an alternate take on the subway gap ollie and an obvious contender for video part of the year from hardflip lifter Jordan Trahan come spiced with smouldering gazes from hair-tossing and moistened vixens, simulated and/or animated mature acts as well as high definition video camera footage. It is obviously an exclusive video, yet Bronze also pays tribute to the wages of death and dismemberment explored in onetime movies made by clothing maker XYZ several decades ago.

Is the latest Bronze video file truly actually an elaborate metaphor the exhibitionism rampant in today’s extreme sporting industry, and the self-inflicted gunshot clip near the end a Ouija-like premonition of Pacific Vector Holdings’ game-over bankruptcy filing that was then yet to come? Is it solely a matter of days and/or weeks before Alex Olson ups the fleshy ante with clips of unclothed, poorly lit men festooning Bianca Chandon web promos? Would this be biting Pontus Alv’s post-Cliche time in the wilderness? Was Nelly right? Will the inevitable skate video parental rating system top out with 56K, and will Ian Reid ultimately mount a legal challenge that rises to the Supreme Court?

Reality Rap f. Galactic Magnetar (Prod. by DJ Cattywampus)

April 5, 2014

garfields

In a testament to the reliable if rickety supply chain logistics tenuously connecting video-makers with skateshops, “Cherry” hardcopies now are safely installed upon brick and mortar shelves and therefore the real sport concerning Supreme’s not-quite-so-long-awaited inaugural offering can begin: guessing and tabulating what will ultimately become the video’s most-copped moves. Bucket hats, wrist casts and tucked-in beaters all are obvious contenders, as these must be. But of head-to-toe zoom-pans, Baker2G/Screw-mo interludes and the amorphous front-to-back montage-collage edit, a tantalizing prospect for aging pros who may wring more mileage from 38 seconds of footage by sprinkling it intermittently throughout a lengthier production, and potentially pulling another five seconds of screen time by tacking on a bailed flatground trick to the end of a line?

It is a dense movie. Toward the end of the video there is a clip that encapsulates the whole deal pretty well, wherein Tyshawn Jones and Nakel Smith, two amongst the new vanguard offered here by Supreme, chitchat briefly before Tyshawn Jones slides down his pants and bends over a Citi bike in pursuit of a clandestine whiz, while Nakel Smith runs, jumps on his board and gaps out to a beefy feeble grind, thereafter cheered from nearby benches by among others a pigtailed Alex Olson, apparently mid-cell phone call. Elsewhere the vid meanders through apartmentsful of idle kids, a fistfight, adolescent come-ons, an irate vagrant shouting and slapping himself repeatedly in the face and again Alex Olson, heated and manhandling an oldster who ignores a plea to scoot himself off a prized spot.

Alex Olson, who maintains one of industry’s more transparent pro regimes, recently broke down the episode and expressed some remorse, in what’s probably a reasonable manner for a subculture that is currently fumbling its way toward a place that has room for gay and transgender participants and even former rollerbladers. In some ways Olson’s Tumblr mea culpa was a far cry from the comparatively more sterilized walking-back statement that Nyjah Huston disseminated after his remarks that girls shouldn’t skate courted a certain amount of PC backlash. One could argue that for Alex Olson, who maintains his own sponsorship ties to international corporate concerns, the stakes were similar to whatever Nyjah Huston may have believed he faced, given that Alex Olson’s former Nike coworker Peter Hewitt was reportedly booted from his position for recounting a graphic and similarly un-PC poop scenario in an interview.

Dylan Rieder, who shares billing with Alex Olson to open the third act of ‘Cherry,’ ponders the conventional-wisdom concern with regard to ‘big’ companies’ intentions in skateboarding in an interview in this month’s TSM, namely, that said big companies may be fairweather profiteers that duck out the back door at the first sign of an early-90s style collapse:

”I appreciate everything Adidas and Nike do for skateboarding, and they pay some of these dudes really good money where they’ll be retiring off it, but how long is that going to last? They’re going to be in skateboarding until skateboarding is not cool anymore and then what is it?”

Alex Olson and “Cherry” impresario Bill Strobeck can speak from some experience here, given how Quiksilver’s abrupt exit from the skateboard-threads program freed both up to work on Supreme’s vid. The track record though suggests that the recent economic typhoon engulfing the industry has sunk more skateboarder-run ships, ranging from DVS’ bankruptcy, Es shoes’ apparent hibernation, the diminished status of players such as Adio, Ipath, Elwood, Vox, Circa, etc. (It can be debated elsewhere whether Gravis, whose skateboard footwear effort also is defunct, counts as an “independent” shoe outfit.)

Dylan Rieder’s shoe boss Keith Hufnagel, in a separate recent interview, ponders a more interesting question: Rather than exiting when times get tight, what if the big ones instead remain and consolidate their position, strengthening their hands for when economic sunrays again deign to shine on the biz and expanding their status as content/cultural gatekeepers?

“Yes, there are some pros these days that are able to make a great living off skateboarding, which is amazing, but it’s a sad day for skateboarding when skateboard footwear and the industry in general is becoming more and more controlled by these big corporate companies. The more accepted these big corporations become in skateboarding, the harder it is for the smaller, independent brands to compete and maintain a voice, which unfortunately results in the corporations having a large influence on the direction and shape of skateboarding.

…When skateboarders get kicked off teams for smoking weed, getting too drunk or just doing one stupid thing, then things have changed. With skateboarding becoming so commercialized, there are sacrifices to be made on both ends. The big companies have to realize what subculture they have gotten involved with and deal with everything that comes along with it. But skateboarding has also changed as it has become more mainstream. For better or for worse it’s just not what it was before. This discussion is for the older crew and maybe some of the young guys, but I don’t think most people care anymore or even understand.”

One could ponder whether Supreme, wielding its renowned reputation as a vibe-heavy tastemaker, played a meaningful part in Nike’s third and successful attempt to develop a “skate footprint,” paving the way for various of its multinational rivals to follow suit and wage blistering combat for shoe-wall real eatate and market shares? It’s debatable, similar in fashion to the true origin of time itself, but it’s interesting to look at the unvarnished street scenes afoot in “Cherry” from this perspective, especially since it isn’t like Supreme had to do a video, much less what will for sure be one of the great ones of the year that lingers over the raw and illegal, same as “Sabotage3,” the House video and so on.

Will “Cherry” inspire a shop-video dynasty in the pattern of the hallowed FTC vids? Has Bill Strobeck achieved the to-date pinnacle of HD skate videomaking? What cards may Anthony Pappalardo have yet up his sleeve? Who will be the first to lampoon the inset image with something like a grinning Fred Gall in place of Camille Row? Is Fucking Awesome off the hook as far as videos go for a minimum of four or five years?

Alex Olson’s Braids Go Hard Dudes

March 6, 2014

fred_grandy

Time was, a young man headed west to probe the frontier, seek fortune and treasure, and just maybe discover a small piece of the American Dream along the way. This was the inspiring tale behind such 1980s computer game franchises such as ‘Tha Oregon Trail’ and 1990s escapades in skateboard distributorship involving chiefly American Dream Unit, but the ensuing years have seen several stars realign and scripts flipped such that Alex Olson, heir to a Dagger dynasty and budding entrepreneur, leaves the Southern California desert basin that raised him in search of a more-inspired industry pathway to be had in New York City, known to some as the City of Lights.

Of a piece with the ‘classic era’ tricks and sensibility that helped land a young Alex Parker Olson on the cover of that now de-funked Skateboarder mag, the breakaway Crailtapper’s brand vision involves pushing skating outside its corporate and cultural comfort zone. However, a couple decades removed from the racially/sexually/violently charged graphics of the World heyday, Alex Olson’s personal vision quest seems to revolve in large part around some of the few remaining industry taboos to be had: the Italian tongue, rave music and a more malleable view of sexual orientations that earned him a ‘Skate or Bi-Curious’ T-Eddy award. Is he or isn’t he? What’s up with the phone number? Will the market continue to bear premium prices for fancy t-shirts? Is Bianca Chandon what’s hot in the streets?

Alex Olson recently divulged some of the venture’s spiritual touchstones when crafting the company with raw mindpower.

AO: I think I had mentioned to Brian (Anderson) before 3D was thought up that it would be really cool to name a company after a boat.

Belying Alex Olson’s beguiling cat-and-mouse branding game is a quiet assertion of aggression via his recent hairstyle, as captured within some Thrasher photos. The embrace of pigtail braids not only pushes the grand Alex Olson envelope that much further, it also harkens back to 1990s rap hairstyles sported by game-related legends ranging from Snoop Doggy Dogg to Wish Bone, Ice T and that other redheaded stranger, Willie Nelson. Alex Olson is challenging the industry to keep pace with his assertive moves, even as he challenges up and comers to match his vertically oriented wallrides, absorb his rave sounds and sport spotless white linens on tough city streets.

AO: I wonder if pigtails will come in as the new style.

TWS: You launched it bro.

AO: It would be funny if everyone had pigtails (Laughs.)

Is the onetime APO nonchalantly carving out his own lane or risking a multi-car pileup by shifting gears on fickle hard- and softgoods consumers one too many times? Will the Supreme vid answer all or just unspool further questions, like an unhelpful Cheshire Cat that is also bearing coveted Scott Johnston clips? Will Bianca Chandon’s party line grow in stature to one day rival They Might Be Giants’ ‘Dial-a-Song’ service for domestic phoneholders?