Posts Tagged ‘DGK’

John Shanahan, Chopped and Sewed on the Final Frontier

May 28, 2017

Some weeks back a video Youtube link circulated advertising an attempted backside 360 down the famed El Toro stair set, the sort of heart-testing maneuver around which you’d either anticipate a fire-legged professional like Chris Joslin’s name attached, or else some risk-friendly unknown ready to offer up his effort to the world as some type of return on a foolhardy willingness to get uniquely pitched and presumably walk away. It was surprisingly convincing try — they say the last quarter spin is the moneymaker when hurling one’s self down twenty steps or more — and it rolls above a disclaimer revealing that the bros involved “might not go back for this” and various other pink-panted jumps and things.

But is it so easy? Many of skating’s seemingly most harebrained ideas have proven shockingly hard to let go. Duane Peters’ tangles with the fibreglass loop captivated a world-conquering Tony Hawk in his video game-designing prime, and assorted others after its bullring subduing. Jamie Thomas’ “leap of faith” drew Richard King to test his luck before the Point Loma school board took matters into their own hands and constructed a solid platinum elevator in one of this young century’s most stunning acts of baller-blockingism. In test fittings for the MegaRampTM crown, Bob Burnquist discovered that he, like propellerheaded originator Danny Way, could no longer resist the uniquely arousing allure of skating helicopters. Aaron Homoki’s taming of Lyon’s most notorious 25 stairs, 13 years after Ali Boulala charted its glide path en route to part-ending slams, became fodder for a Thrasher mini-doc.

Steeped in early ‘ESTs’, Flexfitted hats and the colour yellow, John Shanahan seems more concerned with resuscitating a specific vibe and era than etching his multisyllabic rhyming surname into history’s annals via big-spot trophy hunting. Bubbling under the DGK umbrella for a minute, John Shanahan this week officially arrives on the DC Shoes payroll via a cracking intro clip that pointedly trots out the bold/less bold/standard font DCSHOECOUSA logo of old along with eastern seaboard spots rinsed and fresh. Between the DC one and a separate LurkNYC VX footage dump, John Shanahan flexes backside nosegrind pop-outs, a slicing 360 flip out of the Kalis school, some tricks outta the modern school’s playbook (driveway wallride, ride-on tailslide kickflip), some flamboyantly retro Droors gear and hubba noseslides. Toeing some blurry line between ‘Photosynthesis’ and ‘The Storm,’ he wields a serious switch k-grind and a judicious use of camouflage, which is rare to see these days.

Like Philly neighbors Kevin Bilyeu and Brian Panebianco, it’s easy and erroneous to pigeonhole John Shanahan’s shared enthusiasm for the numbers 07 and 43 and all their sportsweary accoutrements as retroactivism rooted in personal branding. Just as the Sabotage dudes unearthed, resurfaced and restored an entire scene that had been municipally buried and professionally abandoned, John Shanahan seems to harbour deeper ambitions. Sharpening cut and sew skills, where else, on Instagram, John Shanahan demonstrates enough technical proficiency and stylistic nerve to construct cargo and swishy pants that command triple-digit price tags and earn “levels” hash tags when positioned alongside skaters’ current affection for graphical sweatpants and other sub-waistline achievements. But as he tests his growing powers, is John Shanahan consciously or not flying too close to that blazing sun of skate pants fashiondom, the two-toned pant?

It is a stylistic Leap of Faith that has shadowed previous practitioner Garrett Hill throughout his sponsored career, and one not lightly rolled up to. A year after Garrett Hill’s pants debuted in video footage, Tim O’Connor gleefully went in. Eight years on, the pants’ impression lingered enough that former teammates would bring them up as a cautionary tale of judgment, hubris and star-crossed romance:

Tom Karangelov: But when there’s someone that’s so original and out there, he gets so much shit. It’s crazy. Like with Garrett [Hill], half red half black pants. People are still talking to him about that. But dude, was it really that big of a deal? They are just fucking pants. Aren’t you encouraged to be creative when you skateboard? The dude who tries to go out of the box gets like, so much shit for it.

Jenkem: Have you ever considered wearing “crazy pants” like that?
Ah, no.

Has an Adidas-supported revolution in swishy pants and increasingly garish sweats provided enough air cover for John Shanahan to push pants envelope in ever-more colourful envelopes? Which trick ranks higher in terms of ’90s/east-coastness, the backside 5-0 backside 180 out or the fakie backside nosegrind shove-it? Yall caught that one switch backside heelflip over and down the blocks right? How is the resurrected Alien Workshop not sponsoring at least one of these ‘Photosynthesis’ acolytes? You been keeping an eye on Brian Wenning’s Instagram right?

The Incomparable Rodrigo TX

June 26, 2016

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The annals of skate history are littered with x-rays, unpaid medical bills, jail sentences and as-yet undiagnosed cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy that would argue against the timeworn slogan that skateboarding is a youthful fountain worthy of Juan Ponce de Leon’s most brutal fantasies. And then, there are those who seem to truly defy age’s gravitational yankings, such as Daewon Song, Louie Barletta and, in the dirtier, ghettoier and kidlike column, Rodrigo Teixeira.

Renowned under his AP Stylebook-friendly acronymical abbreviator, Rodrigo TX is that unlikely child prodigy whose career has achieved not just a second act but a third and now perhaps fourth, as his immaculately curated flippery augurs for the pinnacle, or one of them, in Adidas’ overstuffed tongue of a full-length ‘Away Days.’ Some of these dudes in a few years’ time will rightly be regarded as swishy pant bandwagoners and then there are others, such as TX and Great Yarmouth whirlwind Chewy Cannon, who look born into them, and rarer still is the type of finesse that allows TX to crib ‘Menikmati’-era moves like the nollie flip noseslide and make them look not just crazy good but a welcome alternative to a tenement city’s worth of wallies.

While former roommate Mark Appleyard opted to take years off before repositioning himself in skating’s orbit like he never floated away, Rodrigo TX seems to have redoubled efforts year to year, cranking out video parts while honing his tricks to finely shaped points, such that his fakie flip for Adidas not long ago merited hushed discussion among the alltime greats. Draped in monochromatic stripeyness Rodrigo TX’s ‘Away Days’ clips like the fakie frontside boardslide, the frontside tailslide kickflip out and the one where he does Mikey Taylor’s DVS ender switch bedazzle the watcher in a video chockablock with hyper-clean ledge skating, and then comes with rubbernecker-friendly fare like the nollie inward heelflip backside 180 to make sure everybody’s paying attention. TX’s Muni frontside heelflip rivals Lucas Puig’s for best in the vid and that last backside flip needs to go into a time capsule.

Does Rodrigo TX’s Adidas sponsorship, similar to Bobby Worrest’s Nike deal, rank as one of those rare cases that makes perfect sense for all involved given dues paid, legacy ‘skate’ industry bridges apparently left standing and peak on-board performance capacity still somehow yet ahead? Is it possible to say that somebody else did that backside kickflip or is such a statement impossibly untrue? Are Carlos Iqui and Tiago Lemos together the new Rodrigo TX or is Rodrigo TX the new Rodrigo TX (and also the Rodrigo TX of the Flip years)? What if somebody told you there was a video with Rodrigo TX, Silas Baxter Neal, Nyjah Huston, Bobby Worrest, Rick McCrank and PJ Ladd?

8. Dane Vaughn – ‘Laugh Now Cry Later’

December 24, 2015

Occasionally fitted like Puffy’s Hamptons pool boy and targeting tricks at times like DGK’s answer to Dylan Rieder, swamp threat Dane Vaughn has been one of the more interesting dudes coming up among the company’s third generation, or fourth, or whatever it may be with Stevie Williams piloting nautical clothing concerns, Jack Curtain riding for Staba and Keelan Dadd striking out on his own. The sun is shining on Dane Vaughn, nudging noseblunt slides across sporadically reluctant planters, kickflipping into a frontside noseslide on JKwon’s tall block like it’s a curb, laughing off a nollie inward heelflip to calamity crash and on the ender, defying any type of conventional wisdom as to the smooth handling of a barely imaginable block-top move.

Will the New Transworld Cover Slake Skating’s Quenchless Thirst for Pants Progression?

March 23, 2015

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Like a fire that, once lit, cannot help but to consume an entire bulldozer-built pile of disco records, or a shark that must ceaselessly advance through a sea of Pace Picante Style salsa or face its untimely Picante Style demise, skating since the beginning has been possessed of a need to progress. Alan Gelfand’s ollie wasn’t enough, it had to be did backwards; what’s the point doing a loop when you can turn it switch with a section chopped out of the top? Josh Kalis’ straight kickflip in a Love Park ‘Time Code’ line, immaculate as it is, looks quaint through the Mark Suciu lens.

Through it all the shoe has come to be regarded as the most immediate extension of the seven-ply-trucks-and-urethane configuration, but the past decade’s footwear fetishization mainly serves to obscure a decades-long struggle with pants. After clamoring out of pools and associated surf trunks the story of skating and pants has reflected that of mankind’s tortured grappling against his very own nature, occasionally overreaching, failing, burning piles of disco records, and starting anew. In the 1980s Limpies and Vision offered chaotic and unpredictable* print varieties for those zestful spirits unsatisfied by blue jeans or more-pedestrian sweatpants with skeletal rats ascending outseams; vert soon gave way to street these fell back while multicoloured and flapping denim advanced, several years passing before the East rejuvenated woodland camo and more adventurous spirits embraced snow and urban variations.

While the aughts saw style magnets such as Dylan Rieder and Nick Trapasso alternately fuck with pinestripes and pajama pants, this period of war and economic turmoil mainly reflected itself in darkened indigo denim and brown cords, the re-embrace of printed patterned pants not arriving until well into the 2010s when all-over print shirts primed a newly emboldened consumer base to throw wide the camo floodgates for increasingly esoteric prints. Thanks partly to relentless boosterism within DGK vids, the movement eventually demanding notice by the mass-market media: “It’s the one pattern that pretty much every guy is down with. What other pattern has a macho angle to it?”

Masculinities aside, the door now lies kicked down for pants makers — Thrasher offers a SAD sweatpant among several options, and now comes Fucking Awesome heavyweight Na’kel Smith on the cover of Transworld, gapping out in Tokyo within a pair of florid leggings that seem to also have crossed the Atlantic in recent months. In his numbers-taking, asses-kicking process over the last two years, Na’kel Smith seems to have taken it upon himself to push back the pants pendulum to a level of intricate and flowery detail not seen in probably about 25 years, no small undertaking when considering the intense internet flames stoked beneath noted 360 flip 50-50er** Garrett Hill, daring to step out in a still-notorious red-and-black combo.

Has Na’kel Smith doomed himself to a Sisyphusian task, destined to be squashed by a heavy and oblong fashion boulder that will waver under the weight of resurgent dad jeans, or is his pants choice more conservative than it may first appear when laid alongside a freely purchasable array of similarly floral hats, shirts, shoes, and obviously weed socks? Are authorities overlooking an emerging form of camo that now clothes newly militarized toughs hired to defend a booming US marijuana industry? Are scarfs next? As it thins has Transworld on the low had the best covers of the last year?

*particularly for Cali4nia Cheap Sk8 clientele
**And backer of 360 flip 50-50ers

7. Boo Johnson – ‘Blood Money’

December 25, 2014


Habitat last winter may have synthesized the premium combo of YouTube-era runtime and full-part gravitas in ‘Search the Horizon,’ comprised of 2.5 real-deal video parts and some team montageness; DGK ran the same format this year to similarly potent results, unveiling their own newly minted pro duo and a smattering of tricks from the rest of the Kidz, including this bloggosite’s vote for most accomplished use of skuzz in an original production, Dane Vaughn. ‘Blood Money’ ends with Boo Johnson, boasting the most impeccablest arms in the game, espousing various casual comforts to be had olleing up ledges or hopping over the back of massive handrails, hardflipping over bars, and also a boss backside heelflip. Frontside 360 shove-its suggest he paid attention during Devine Calloway’s second career arc and you can tell he thinks about his tricks with how he jumps out to regular from a lot of his frontside tailslides, like the one across the long flatbar.

8. Stevie Williams – “Parental Advisory”

December 24, 2012

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Stevie Williams to me never really exuded rap-star decadence, but maybe I’m looking at it all wrong — here he is, tapping spots across three continents for a relatively slim three-minute part, stopping through the old Philadelphia stomping grounds because he knows how a far a couple tossed-off tricks will carry. It seems like Stevie Williams isn’t regularly mentioned among the all-time style slayers, even though his old Chocolate commercial inevitably bubbles up in any meaningful discussion of the best lines ever done, but his first run through the Barcelona blocks here reminds of a gap when he’s not out skating. The fakie hardflip, white tees, waist-high switch frontside noseslides and switch heelflips remain in effect but he still seems to be making an effort when it comes to clips like the switch front blunt and the switch varial flip nosegrind revert (a new spin on one of the all-time Lockwood classics). He keeps his ledge combos Satva and Lucas tasteful and finds a couple angles on the MACBA ledges that I haven’t seen before. Between the show-closer status, heavy Jay-Z tune and his first full part in years Stevie Williams sorta has this section tracking towards a ‘moment’ but does himself a favor by not overextending it toward the five-minute/two-song zone, whether by judicious editing or lack of actual tricks filmed.

9. Fabian Alomar – “Free Fabes”

December 23, 2012

Whatever happened with the DGK video and the fortunes to be gained and lost peddling this generation’s version of the FUCT t-shirt line to rap singers and their suburban admirers, Stevie Williams cemented his position as a skate mogul by using his clout to help put out a video part that a certain segment of the populace had been waiting on for 15 years — a feat that apparently had eluded Kareem Campbell, Steve Rocco, Patrick O’Dell and possibly others. The continued fetishization of mid-90s attitudes and filming equipments can’t recreate the fit of the jeans or the sound of a k-grind across the Venice pit ledges, and Fabian Alomar’s nollie backside flip over the sand gap, the line at the white planters and the tricks off the bump at the end could have run in any of the greatest videos of that era. Tough luck that it took a personal tragedy for this footage to see the light of day, but it would be testing fate to overlook a gift pony internet sites such as this one have been requesting from Santa Claus for so long. DGK’s “Free Fabes” website is here.

Kids

December 17, 2012

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Billions of burgers flipped by McDonald’s Corp., five decades’ worth of James Bond movies and the estimated $100 million net worth of Wayne “Mr. Entertainment” Newton bear witness to how consistency and a reliable product can command a loyal clientele and lucrative following, if not adoring devotion and the occasional soiled thong hurled upon a pockmarked Las Vegas stage. Jeron Wilson, Chico Brenes and Mike Carroll seem to understand that there is and likely always will be an audience for specialized heelflips, nollie heelflips and backside smith grinds, even while those such as Gino Iannucci and Anthony Pappalardo can’t seem to bring themselves to keep playing the hits year in and out.

Whereas technology setpieces of “Pretty Sweet” invested heavily in the wow factor, DGK’s full-length debut, arriving after a series of mixtape-like one-offs and features like Kayo’s “It’s Official,” offers few surprises. A DGK customer knows what he’s paying for — although the “Chocolate Tour” as reimagined by Harmony Korine storyline here heaps disdain upon paying for what otherwise can be racked or heisted — and Stevie Williams & co seem to have put years of work into delivering this, an overlong, guest-heavy, ready-made blockbuster willing to elbow aside wimpier videos for a spot as the successor to, if not the culmination of, vids such as “20-Shot Sequence,” “Tantrum,” “2nd To None,” “Ryde or Die Vol. 1” and “Street Cinema.” When 2 Chainz comes on here it is more earnest than when used by dudes hopping bars in Queens wearing twill trousers.

For an hour, DGK’s “Parental Advisory” glories in loudmouth rap music, camouflage pants*, gunfire, cameos from skate-rap touchstones such as Kareem Campbell, Fabian Alomar, Steven Cales, DMX and Beanie Siegel, shoplifting, loose-fit denim, shiny chains and hat-tags fluttering in the breeze, wife beaters, small wheels, graffiti, and some jack moves. For those paying attention there are references to the Menace intro in “Trilogy,” the Bones Brigade in “Police Academy” and even a much-beloved pre-Slap message board pro-skater-dies meme.

No one will look to this video to register on the ATV meter but in the trick department DGK too delivers as promised: Josh Kalis and Stevie Williams skate Love Park; Josh Kalis unloads his monster 360 flip and Stevie Williams cracks some switch heelflips. Wade Desarmo, one of those Canadians who maybe fell a little too far in love with tall tees over the past decade, stacks heavy-lidded picnic-table tech including a hazed-out hardflip backside 5-0 and an alley-oop frontside flip that ranks among the best in a year when Andrew Reynolds put out a video. Marcus McBride turns in a full section that ought to make any pro with a board out for longer than 10 years sit up and prepare an excuse and Rodrigo TX, who has quietly been on a non-stop hustle these past five years, loudly reps the defunct Es shoes company and snaps a terrific looking switch kickflip over a rail. Some of these newer kids with all the “D” names blurred for me, but Keelan Dadd has poise and good runs like the one with the switch kickflip frontside boardslide. Lenny Rivas, who made a serious run at Knox Godoy status himself, has gone grown man and turns a couple new helicopters onto the handrails. My vote for best-dressed dude in the skate game Jack Curtin comes through late in the vid and wrecks shop with some incomprehensible tricks like a switch shove-it 5-0 on a rail up against a wall and his hairball switch backside lipslide down the Clipper ledge.

Probably there always will be like-minded dudes out there doing it like Brandon Biebel but the clarity of purpose Stevie Williams puts to “Parental Advisory” sometimes makes it seem like he’s carrying a whole subset of the 1990s on his back here — nods given to all these little-seen skaters and rappers, a lengthy skater-on-skater-crime narrative that picks up where the Menace video that would never come left off in “Trilogy,” even going so far earlier this year as to deliver a Fabian Alomar part time-capsuled in from 1996, and then achieving the seemingly impossible by getting Kareem Campbell to commit to a skate project**. Coming out a month after “Pretty Sweet” secured DGK an underdog status they probably relish, and the fact that every dude on the team managed to turn in more or less a full section can be read as an endorsement of any number of those motivational platitudes embroidered onto DGK baseball hats, but it’s probably too much to ask this company to cop to now-certified overachiever status.

*of several persuasions
**no knock on the work that went into that song but the Crailtap dudes might’ve just happened to catch him at the store

Supra Has Stevie Williams Riding The Bench

July 29, 2012

Incendiary click-bait topic title aside, not a great deal to see here other than a much fantastic photo of Stevie Williams in this ad for his Supra signature model footwear. Enjoy that this photo doesn’t clonk you over the head with a big fisheye angle showing how high the bench is, kinda like Stevie Williams’ strictly basics attire here, the whole idea seems to be take it or leave it. A dude cracking an awesome trick as he goes down the sidewalk, on his way to wherever. The Hollywood squares sidewalk kind of threw me at first but this is a worthwhile entry in this internet site’s long-running love affair with the switch frontside noseslide and from a veteran practitioner. There are plenty pro-types whose off-board months and years carry the whiff of wasted time but Stevie Williams always has seemed to be genuinely operating in the background, to whatever end, and really looking forward to his section in this long-discussed DGK video.

Josh Kalis: The Sentamentalist

April 9, 2011

Not sure how many folks celebrate or even remember Black Label’s Jim Gagne, a blue collar street-and-transition man known to pack a keg into the back of a truck to ratchet up the awesome factor in a given session. Don’t necessarily recall tricks in particular but the dude always got a thumbs up on general principle because of how he saw and embraced his “small-town mentality,” as per an old interview in Thrasher that detailed the keg scenario. It was not on the level of a Fred Gall interview but pretty close.

Around that same time Josh Kalis was gathering momentum for what would be a decade-long run of pretty much unparalleled video/photo coverage, arguably peaking with the “Photosynthesis” video section, pretty much every trick difficult and snappy and done well at eye-pleasing spots and sometimes in swishy pants. Like the coyote or famous zebra mussel he has proven able to acclimate to and thrive in the most metro of zones across New York, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Barcelona, as detailed in mostly chronological year-order over a recent “Epicly Laterd” broadcast. Probably you wouldn’t call 200,000-person Grand Rapids, MI a one-horse town but by comparison you maybe wonder if Kalis is on some level the same sort of small-town sentimental type as Jim Gagne.

Case in point, the sepia toned recollections of Love Park days gone by in the “Laterd” and revelations of how Kalis has since chased the meetup-spot vibe to other venues with what sound like gradually diminishing results. In the Toy Machine Thrasher that’s out now he discusses the Embarcadero era.

When you watch a video part with those guys, you see them slapping fives with everyone and having fun. I loved that time when you could just be all together at a spot, egging each other on. Everyone’s feeding off each other. Nobody wants to punk out, ’cause their friends over here might make fun of them. I like that stuff.

Kalis believes the organic vibe of a session bleeds through into whatever photos or footage wind up getting produced in between the smoked cigarettes and cracked jokes and musings on theoretical physics traded with local hobos. As per the “Laterd,” Kalis values honesty both in terms of how tricks come to pass and what’s presented in any finished product, opting to put forth the last year’s travels and daily routines as opposed to stacking DV tapes in a garage somewheres.

Kinda worried about Kalis, not because this all isn’t a worthy effort that other dudes could/maybe should follow. Concerned though that we’re seeing a cowboy slowly fenced in. Hassles from the man plus proliferation of skateparks times glorification of private warehouse training facilities makes me wonder how many organic scene/spots are bound to be left in five/ten/forty years, if Kalis is holding to the phantom of a dying vibe or some equally chilling concept. Wonder if the torch he’s carrying is going out, or turning into a plastic flashlight, or maybe even a more bizarre and ominous analogy like it’s actually the headlamp of an oncoming train and the Mayans were right and we shouldn’t really be worrying about any of this.

Sorta related to all this, wonder whether the question Kalis raises with regard to what footage inspires him (or vice versa) points back to all those dudes occupying benches and taking mounting hardware off broken boards and rolling joints in the handful of seconds before or after a trick goes down on the screen–like whether a video clip’s improved by its background noise, the suggestion of good times being had in the sun at some ledges around the corner and how it plays off all the potential inside the deck/trucks/wheels setup and even the street in front of your house. Stopping here before we hit Marc Johnson in “Operandi” mode.