For many downtrodden and disillusioned teens in the 1990s, the famous “skateboarding is not a crime” bumper sticker offered the kind of all-caps catharsis that can only be had by blaring your opinion from the rear of an auto. Those were idealistic times, but with the turn of the century came the dot-com bubble bursting and the terrorist attacks of 9/11 that sparked a nervier, more fearful era. In southern California, this new anxiety manifested itself in Shorty’s 2001 cautionary tale “Guilty,” which laid bare the real-world consequences that come from challenging the land’s law. According to unconfirmed rumors, the central storyline was inspired by Rodney Mullen’s brutal takedown and jailing of Shiloh Greathouse, whose time behind bars caused him to become a born-again step-hopper.
A decade later there are signs and siguls that the narrative may change again. DGK’s late-2012 release “Parental Advisory” reveled in lawbreaking of all shades, perpetrated by juveniles and presented in high-definition video format. Weeks later we have the Philadelphia-created video “Sabotage 3” that comes like a thrice-dubbed “Faces of Death” bookend to DGK’s “Saw,” with an illegality quotient that nears previous high-water marks such as the drill fight in the Plan B video, or Muska brazenly spray-painting his own name on a wall in “Fulfill the Dream.” As far as grit, “Sabotage” guys Brian Panebianco and Ryan Higgins have bags. Across 35 minutes, within the general timeframe of ideal video length, viewers are treated to bums taking shits, street brawls, public consumption, graffiti tagging high above street level, various hustles, police raids and a dude bearing the name of “One Finger.” As if disobeying municipal and state statutes was not enough, several skate-video taboos are broken, including poached pro moves, drum-n-bass music and the execution of the “ghetto bird.” There are a couple clips of Brian Wenning, skating Love Park.
These are some committed dudes, down to link up trick combos on the Philadelphia city hall ledges even after they’ve been cracked to pieces in the process of a tear-down. They blast over the Love Park steps and cans and run from the neon-jacketed cops the same way Tony Montgomery and Kevin Taylor and Matt Reason used to do, but they have figured out some new ways to navigate not only the big ugly planters but also the tiles, propping up two at a time and skating them like a hip. And they mostly operate in the classic East Coast mode. Jon Hadley runs a stringy weed-dealer frame, black tank tops and a tough switch backside heelflip. Brian Panebianco maintains a stash of aged DCs and puts down nollie 360s similar to PJ Ladd. Tore Bevivino is on the Steve Durante tip with switch frontside blunts and switch heelflips out of switch b/s tailslides, plus some long ledge tricks over those planters. This video puts Ishod Wair back onto some East Coast spots that I always thought represent his skating the best, like the pop-out lines he does on the fountain ledge, and footage recorder Mark Suciu does a pretzel trick not seen before down one of those black micro rails.
Love Park is skated more than any other locale in this vid and between the runs up and down the fountain steps and the number of clips featuring day-glo EXP decks makes this probably the closest to a 2012/13 “Photosynthesis” that the market has to offer. They sell the DVD here for $15.