Like the cellar door and the Jersey barrier, the miniature picnic tables native to Southern California practically encompass their own subgenre at this point. Across the past say, twenty-five years, you can pick and choose your peaks and choice practitioners — from the ’90s era take Sean Sheffey’s fakie ollie, Kareem Campbell’s 360 flip 5-0, Gino Iannucci’s last trick in “Trilogy,” Keenan Milton’s switch flip, Daewon Song from 1994 to 2000. New millennium you could put in there Justin Case’s switch backside noseblunt, flaring in his DC uniform for a Ghetto Child ad before burning out, later on Alex Olson’s sideways jump and maybe Torey Pudwill’s hardflip. Lucky contestant this decade is Norcaler Matt Miller with a heavier-than-most nollie 180 into a switch backside noseblunt revert. This would be one for the Police Informers or Chrome Balls to adjudicate, but I’m not even sure I’ve seen the more-common half-cab version on one of these lunch spots.
Posts Tagged ‘DC’
Remember being drawn to rewatch this part because of the meandering street lines, especially the ones taped at night. These are the type of clips that capture that free and sorta sneaky feeling that I think Brian Anderson was getting at in the “Modus Operandi” voiceover, but with less soundstage strings attached, just pushing your board down some empty street doing tricks without having to worry too much about cars or pedestrians or cops or running out of pavement. Before this clip I didn’t pay Evan Smith a lot of mind but this is a well put together section that’s judicious about filming a few good rail tricks at good angles and throwing in odd curveball, like the ender. This part is a good bookend to the Zach Funk one in terms of spots and I like to mute the volume and put on “Planet Caravan.”
Second perhaps only to the earth-shaking development that Usama Bin Laden had been discovered and killed in a high-value military operation was last night’s surprise emergence, pictured above, of Krooked Skateboards pro Bobby Worrest as a conservative commentator on Fox News Channel. Worrest, as he publicly hailed the elimination of Bin Laden as a terrorist threat to the U.S. and other sovereign locales around the globe, immediately fueled speculation that he had effectively thrown his hat into the ring to represent the views of extreme/conservative sportists in the coming election cycle.
By anteing up as such an “ambassador” of goodwill and bridge-constructor between the worlds of action sports and Republican thought, Worrest’s move also served to flag a coming generational shift in the role, held for more than a decade by Danny Way who has long embraced traditional family values. Way in the past 10 years has pushed to broaden his brief by traveling to emerging markets such as China, whose Giant Wall he leaped in 2005 to symbolize the converging paths of the Earth’s two remaining superpowers.
Worrest’s high-stakes gambit to situate himself as the prime mouthpiece of “Y” Generation skaters could brew turmoil among conservative ranks, which are seen reluctant to let go of Way, a proven performer who captured the galactic land speed record for skateboarding a few years ago. Worrest’s unshaven appearance is said to have ruffled feathers among senior party officials and he continues to be viewed by many as a classical “beltway insider” since he grew up less than an hour from Washington D.C.
Explaining his views on U.S. military commando operations abroad, Bobby Worrest in 2009 told ESPN Sports that the movie character John Rambo is “a big inspiration.”
Checking in again, briefly, to lob up one of my all-time favorite ads from when Brian Wenning’s ascendancy to East Coast legendhood was happening in the pages of magazines as opposed to Youtube entertainments and DC was continuing to experiment with color-schemes for what was at the time their fastest-selling model to date. Found this by happenstance tonight, searching for some unrelated magazine cover (no luck there btw). Kind of like thrusting your hand deep into the duffel bag of life and pulling out a long forgotten t-shirt that still fits, but is maybe musty and discolored. If I remember right, this appeared in a TWS that featured a 20-questions sort of feature with Wenning where he switch backside smith grinded a little handrail also. Think there was maybe a Rick McCrank article. I remember all this because naturally it is not among the seven or eight or ten boxes of skate magazines littering the basement/garage. Also love the light in this photo. To link this somehow to what’s currently happening we can draw a vague line to Tom Asta’s going-pro video that’s slated to go live on the Black Box website in about 23 minutes and chances are will include some form of switch heelflip at this same locale.
20. “Ryde or Die Vol. 1,” 2001
One of the last videos with that 1990s feel, Rob Welsh came storming through with a section that observers and supporters had been waiting on since he popped up in the Mad Circle video. Kind of like the Pier 7 opener, there maybe are flaws to this section, but they’re awful hard to make out amid the crooked grinds and Wu-affiliated musics. Aside from the fade-to-whites, “ROD” also features rare full-length appearances from Kevin Taylor and Clyde Singleton, who floats that monstrous bar ollie, and Joey Pepper comes off all forward-thinking nowadays with his Stooges song and backside nosegrind pop-out 180s; this video also featured a pretty good John Igei part and a Mannie Fresh instrumental, ensuring it a top-20 position.
19. “In Bloom,” 2002
TWS’s first am-boosting video featured two of the most visceral parts committed to DV tape this decade from Trainwreck and TNT, more than balancing out the comparatively humdrum footage from the young Evan Hernandez and Mikey Taylor. Tony Trujillo was at the height of his powers, clinging onto tricks he should’ve bailed and ending with a sort of literal smash. People who don’t skate have watched this part on my TV and termed it poetry in motion, and also tight jeans. Whereas P-Rod stood on the cusp of cashing in his little-kid chips for a spot on Girl and probably should’ve had the last part with all the switch gap stuff, it becomes difficult to logically argue against Slayer and 100-mile-an-hour handrail jumping by the rapidly sleeved and unfairly maligned Alex Gall, practitioner of a truly brutal form of gnar skateboarding. I wish he’d stuck around. Finally, this entry would be remiss not to mention the inclusion of Chris Cole when he started getting more interesting, indulging in the Misfits and the Love Park gap.
18. “Man Down,” 2001
Everything that “Tilt Mode” was and more, except a little less, since there was no Juvenile and Steve Cab didn’t take another run that one crazy handrail, perhaps on sound advice from his lawyers. Saying that the Tilt Moders re-injected “fun” into things misses the point and can make the sayer sound embittered for his or her own bizarre and unfortunate reasons, but videos such as “Man Down” did seem to make a point to encourage drinking, indulging in peculiar fantasies, and generally taking things less serious than the pros who stare at handrails, or wap themselves over the head with their boards for instance. Marc Johnson’s last trick in this video was a switch hardflip backside tailslide, which Rodrigo TX did for his last trick in the Flip video last month. Marc Johnson also skated to the disco Rolling Stones and if you slow-mo certain tricks you can see him bludgeoning seal pups for fun and profit.
17. “This Is Skateboarding,” 2003
Retroactively the Emerica video with the kinda-silly title gets lumped in with the leather-jacket-and-basic-handrail-trick movement from the early part of the decade, which it was part of sure, but “TIS” had a lot more depth than that thanks in part to the crack production squad of Miner and Manzoori. Opening on a dismal/dour note with a subdued Heath Kirchart section, they meander through the noisome world of Ed Templeton and his ollie impossibles, the most legitimately urban Tosh Townend part, and the last major effort from Chris Senn who did that crazy f/s pivot. Kevin Long roared onto the scene here, spinning both switch and frontside, and the Reynolds closer has that opening line for the books and some serious left-field tricks like the switch backside shifty.
16. “The DC Video,” 2003
DC’s vaunted debut video was notable for a few reasons, including Rob Dyrdek seeming to make a sincere effort, Josh Kalis making some of the first miscalculations when it came to choosing tricks, and Colin McKay skating to Jimmy Buffet while foreshadowing the rise of the Geico insurance lizard. The video as a whole though gets over on three parts: Anthony Van Engelen’s blistering crooked-grind melee, Brian Wenning doing less than five tricks regular-footed throughout his other great video part, and yea, the Danny Way. A generation in skateboard-years later the mega-ramp is a known commodity, with its own X-Games designation and related baggage, but seeing the iron man jump and twirl and soar over that thing for the first time was a very, very nutty thing to see, and the victory lap with the rainbow rail sealed the deal.
15. “Mind Field,” 2009
Reminding us what a video can do aside from whomping you over the head with unending ledge combos, “Mind Field” returned Alien to form in time for the decade to close out after a few years of soul-searching brought the company to Burton’s doorstep. Purists will quibble about putting on Arto and distribution strategies but in the end-results department “Mind Field” was a triumph, dragging AVE back out of the gutter, putting a match to the incendiary Omar Salazar, letting Jason Dill do as he must and anointing Jake Johnson as a new standard-bearer for New York City – before Heath Kirchart blows through and wipes out everything. Maybe if we were doing this list five years from now, this video would be higher.
14. “Vicious Cycle,” 2004
For an outsider this Zoo-backed production signaled a sort of generational torch-passing as far as high-profile New York types – you had Vinny Ponte yelling at people and Robbie Gangemi doing those frontside blunts and Danny Supa, sans Supa-suit, with a bigspin-flip higher than a regular person’s head. It’s hard to ignore Zered Bassett though, seeings how he comes through and switch heelflips over a house or something in basically every section, and all the then-young guns have pretty amazing shit: Charles Lamb, Eli Reed, Brian Brown and most especially Lurker Lou, whose low-key opener features many colorful varieties of the Etnies Rap, and Aquil Brathwaite, who was on some serious Lavar McBride in “Trilogy” and who I would’ve bet the farm was gonna be huge. Live and learn..
13. “Mosaic,” 2003
People bemoan Habitat’s westward shift in terms of personnel, but the squad might have been at its strongest when it struck a balance between coasts. Featuring the dirtbag debut of Danny Renaud, with Brian Wenning and Anthony Pappalardo at the height of their relevance and Jason Dill’s planned/unplanned all-line section, all differentiated the first Habitat vid and realigned things for everybody else to a certain extent over the years to come. One of the few videos where either of the last two sections could’ve closed it, but it’s hard to think of any other moment in time when poised Peruvian Danny Garcia could’ve dropped the curtains, and nollieing a gap to k-grind remains a pretty crazy thing to do even years later.
12. “Baker2G,” 2000
The video that launched a thousand apparel companies centered on black stretch denim. This video shocked upon arrival, first and foremost with the foul-mouthed Knox Godoy, second with the skating, and to a lesser extent the assorted antics and guest appearances from Brad Hayes, Hoops and Chad Fernandez. Greco’s backside noseblunt and Reynolds’ nollie noseblunting ascension to Koston heights aside, the influence of “Baker2G” was felt just as heavily off the board, and it’s to their credit that the bros have stuck to their niche in and out of 12-step programs while finding new ways to heft a middle finger toward, for instance, the Olympics.
11. “Real to Reel,” 2001
A Bay Area classic in the spirit of “A Visual Sound,” “Sick Boys,” and “In A Major Way,” Real’s early ’00s entry is still the best case for Nate Jones’ elevation to flower-child style icon, and watching this video again is kind of disappointing when you wonder how much further he could’ve taken things, what else could’ve been, etc. But “Real to Reel” also launched Hensley revivalist JT Aultz and the barnstorming Dennis Busenitz, with Mark Gonzales refocused on street lines and Cairo Foster at or approaching some sort of peak. Max Schaaf on the money board and shit, even this video’s credits section approaches classic status.
Couldn’t walk a mile off in my air forces (via Fuse Gallery)
Confronted with shoe walls awash in vulcanized soles and increasingly minimalist silhouettes I can’t help but wonder if we’re seeing the skate shoe business, known to some as the last and final bastion of early-00’s profitability for the industry, on the verge of commoditizing itself like what happened with hard-goods. Despite noble efforts from PJ Ladd and TK to goose footwear pricepoints – a bold move in the shadow of a global recession monster – the market seems to dictate that kids basically want $50 Vans, or close approximations thereof, heel bruises and short life spans be damned.
Of course sooner or later tastes will change and tongues will puff up once more, but you have to wonder if technological innovations like the space-age materials currently being pushed by Gravis dude above, or Sole Tech’s shoe lab, or DC’s continued efforts to promote its Super Suede material, are doomed to become the shoe version of carbon fiber decks and air-core wheels. Concaves and dimensions come and go but the skateboard deck hasn’t changed much in the last 18 years, even though the hammer era saw kids of all weight classes snapping boards faster than ever. Who’s to say that the current generation, who don’t remember the armoured tanks we used to push around in, don’t see shoes the same way now?
Now this isn’t my usual sepia-toned spiel about how we all need to go back to the good old days and skate only painted curbs so I don’t feel so horribly insecure. Paying nearly twice as much for shoes that were harder to skate in and only marginally more comfy is a bargain only a fool or a well-paid masochist like TV’s Steve-O would entertain. But I kind of wonder if the shoe companies aren’t painting themselves into a corner here, profit-wise. Meanwhile you’ve got deck conglomerates pushing and shoving to get into the footwear business, and with companies like DC white-labeling the Lynx to shops or whoever, what’s it even mean to be a skate shoe company anymore? It’s like they’re tiptoeing toward blank deck territory, which recently obliterated professional skateboarding forevermore.
But even though there’s so many skate shoe companies now all basically pushing the same product relatively cheaply, nobody really wants anything else right? So how is this different than boards? Most kids don’t give a shit if they snap a board in two weeks versus a month, cuz that’s how boards are. Or, kids don’t care enough to light a sales fire under those Almost disc-decks. The Arto shoe purportedly lasts six weeks longer than a comparable shoe*, but are kids that now buy six pairs of shoes per year going to flock to Gravis so they only have to buy shoes four times per year? People used to a regular turnover maybe don’t want their shoes to last longer, like how you want a fresh board every so often and aren’t trying to ride the same deck for 12 months.
Shit, I don’t run a shoe company, maybe the simple-shoe revolution of the 00’s is all part of their master plan to move more shoes faster. It just seems like it could wind up biting them in the ass, the way all the deck manufacturers are hustling to diversify into clothes and whatnot. Consider: with next to nothing in the way of construction advancement (slicks aside) deck prices have stayed roughly the same for almost 20 years, or at least seriously lagged the inflation rate. (Ye olde inflation calculator puts a $55 board in 1992 at $75 in 2008 dollars.) Skateboard economy, heal thyself…
*however they calculated that one
All set about with fever trees
I would like to begin this week by welcoming back one of my favorite shoe color schemes of years past, the gray/white/black/dark green combo that I personally trace back to the first run of the original Kalis model on DC, released in 2000 or so.* (Try as I may, Google turns up nothing helpful and unlike certain Canadian blogs I don’t have vast expanses of frozen tundra on which to stack boxes of old sneakers into fun igloo shapes.) Basically, the upper (?) was gray, with dark green detailing; the midsole (??) was white and the bottom of the sole was black. In a time of kaleidoscopic D3 color-feasts I remember marveling at the relative subtlety of the whole deal and, upon purchase and wear, even earned a personal thumbs up from the best skateboarder in town at the time. These were charmed days to be sure.
Anyhow, I got a very bizarre but also disturbingly welcome sense of skateboard shoe deja-vu when I spied this new color of Lakai Telfords on deck for release sometime this year (below), and only a month or so later saw a pair of Adio shoes (above) in Thrasher that tapped pretty much the same palette.
Now, I thought I saw a similar color of Etnies Raps somewhere recently, which would make this color a certified trend and also certify me as a footwear trendspotter, all but assuring my escape from WordPress skid row and onto one of those street fashion websites that Lupe Fiasco or the Cool Kids name-check in their conscious-but-not-really-conscious hip-hop songs. (I assume I also would get rich at a certain point.)
*Probably the idea predates this, but I haven’t any clue at all.
Sad news from Listen today:
First of all thanks to everyone who has supported us for the past 4 years. Due to the unforeseen economic downfall and obstacles beyond our control, we have collectively decided to take these next two months to restructure our company financially and operationally in order to bring you a new and improved Listen skateboards and Listenskateboards.com, in January 2009.
Man. First of all, let’s hope that’s two months in calendar time and not “Fulfill the Dream: Coming Soon” time. Either way, hopefully these dudes can hold it together, because right now skateboarding could do with more Listens and less multinational conglomerate hard/softgood concerns.
Speaking of, those guys aren’t doing so hot either…
Foot Locker Inc.
Citigroup Global Markets analyst Kate McShane describes shares in the new owner of CCS as “beaten down” and ripe for buying after FL lost 30% of its value over the past month. It hurts, like a shinner or seeing the words “Core Shop Exclusive!!” in a $102 million mail-order company’s catalog. McShane telegraphs what may be positive news for Es, however: “Over the longer term, we think Foot Locker is well positioned to capitalize on a healthier consumer & a technical athletic footwear trend.”
Globe International Ltd.
Globe caught a tough one last month when they closed out fiscal 2007/2008 with a $24.6 million net loss, but they’re keeping an Australian stiff upper lip judging from their annual report, which looks more like a booking catalog and is probably the only shareholder document to feature beardmaster Chris Haslam gooning it up in a Slayer shirt. Do you think he gets photo incentive for that?
Also, important facts to bear in mind when considering GLB.AX: Major competitors would be other apparel-related businesses providing the same services to the general public through its shops or on-line. Customers are the general public who are fashion conscious.
Billabong International Ltd.
Australia-based surf clothier and owner of Element finds itself pitched on the fickle waves of teen consumerism, and while Billabong hasn’t been hit as hard as some of the other guys, one of their top executives last month unloaded a quarter-million shares just prior to the credit crisis kicking into high gear. It’s never really a good look when one of your top dogs trims his personal stake in the company, but by selling when he did our boy avoided losing $500,000 or so, which speaks to brains of a sort at the helm.
ZQK has had a tough run of things, trading this week to a one-year low as debt balloons and investors flee the DC parent like so many Lakai riders. The plunging chart pretty much tells the tale, but why not give the last word to messageboard advice-dispenser “giveitup4muffinz”… “ZQK DEBT NOW = 150% OF MARKET CAP this turd is sinking fast!!! this company is f*cked!!! do not invest in this company. you’ll be broke. it’s going under!! no future for ZQK.
Built to shred
The paper of record has skateboarding on the brain lately–witness their somewhat puzzling eulogy for Van Wastell the other day, mining blogs including our good friends at You Will Soon for reaction to the sad news. (Is that better or worse form than lifting man-on-the-street comments from message boards? Not sure…)
A few weeks prior to that, in a lighter take on the woodpushing realm, the Gray Lady turned her gaze toward the still-lucrative skate shoe industry, pursuing the question of why skateboarders gravitate toward easily destroyed footwear.* Which is of course an offshoot of the bigger question, are skateboarders really just a pack of idiots?
(BTO advises against pondering this question whilst perusing the TWS messageboards or watching that ESPN show where they show slams for a solid half-hour.)
NYT fashion/style reporter Justin Porter takes a meandering path through the usual fashion/function argument, and he’s sophisticated enough to note the structure of Etnies’ corporate umbrella and the business nuances of flow programs, while staying inclusive enough to take the obligatory editorial stab at articulating trick physics to the Joe Plumbers of the world: “The skateboard revolved slowly under his feet and seemed to freeze for a moment, waiting for gravity to catch up. Then the skater’s back foot flicked the board, and again it spun. He landed with a satisfying thump and rode away.”
I promise one (1) satisfying thump to the first person who can identify what trick Mr. Porter is describing there. Shove-it late back foot flip? Those hot at Thompkins this summer?
Anyway, later in the article none other than Mike Vallely shows up to flex flower-child poetics: When skateboarders looks down at their feet, “they need to feel a vibe there.” “[T]here had to be a way to move away from a subculture within a subculture.” (?)
Meanwhile industry sausage-makers weigh in on the import of the Lupe Fiascos and Pharrell Williamses of the world in financing DC execs’ boat payments, and eventually we return to the story’s central point–in Mr. Porter’s words, “Skateboarders know that they will quickly destroy their footwear, but still don’t always seek shoes that are indestructible.”
And here, in the final three paragraphs, Mr. Porter pretty much nails it: “Indestructible” shoes, which have been tried before, tend to look like shit. And despite the best efforts of the worlds’ mightiest shoe minds, such an indestructible shoe has yet to be devised, much less devised in any kind of aesthetically pleasing way.
I don’t know if function vs. fashion is the right way to look at it anyway. I mean, the Yosiris-led tech shoe era produced unmatched innovation, as Peter Smolik and Scott Pazelt proved once and for all in “The Storm.” Jerry Hsu skated D3s for crying out loud. And God knows, I’m living proof that vulcanized soles don’t come with coupons for switch 360 flips.
So while Emerica and Vans battle for the most minimalist silhouette on the runway, we’ve got Reynolds in the lab working on a better mousetrap and Es nervously hoping the pendulum swings back toward the moon boot. And maybe in another five years we’ll be shaking our heads, wondering how we took those 30-step drops clad only in stretch denim and waffle soles, while we Shoe Goo up some new $120 space-age Rodney Mullen construction.
*Note the Softrucks on the board in the mini-ramp photo accompanying the article.