Posts Tagged ‘EXPN’

Castiatic Tackle

July 12, 2014

TWSs

Big Punisher the rap singer famously weighed 700 pounds at the time of his untimely passing several centuries ago. This achievement, unequaled by rappers of his time or since then, made true the statement that this onetime government-named Christopher Rios had more heart than would-be rivals in the game because it later was revealed that his heart was three times the size of a normal human’s, a Grinch-like feat that alongside his body of work enshrined eternally Big Punisher’s non-player status.

Would Transworld Skateboarding have enjoyed similar canonization had the Tracker-birthed publication evaporated at the height of its Sears-catalogue engorgement? The future of the past unoccurred is but a shadow out of time and a colour out of space. However, a confluence of worldwide economic tightenings, growths within internet page browsing, and the collective lines of ethernet speed snorted by Youtube uploaders, hard/softgood manufacturers and Pro Spotlight-eligible pros themselves seems over the past decade to have exacted a fleshy toll upon the World’s Number One Skateboard Magazine*.

TWS has hovered slightly above the 100-page mark in recent months, roughly same for The Skateboard Mag. Days when colourful and pro-endorsed hair gels and the dairy industry trade group balled for position alongside Baker boards and decades-old urethane concerns seem to have faded, with some choosing instead to pursue unique clicks and views on Quartersnacks.com and the Slap message-boards, while a new vanguard of more-virtual board outfits slings merchandise straight off white-labeled web blog platforms. It is a departure from the heady days of 2003, when TWS’ 20th anniversary issue boasted four different covers enveloping 408 pages; ads for Seek, Artafact, Germ and Fuze; two separate spreads featuring Toan Nguyen and one with Anthony Pappalardo backside tailsliding a hubba.

In recent weeks, Palace made several ripples for having an ad in TWS at all — which when you think about it is an uneasy look, re: one of the better-selling (and better-conceived) board companies of the day sort of deigning to show up at the party. Elsewhere, magazine ads taken out by Supreme and Fucking Awesome similarly have been seen as a novelty. While the remaining big three mags experiment with placing print content online in various forms, recent jumps from print to digital for Skateboarder and Slap ominously withered on the vine.

Worse, print publications increasingly appear locked in a slow-burning battle against a posse of nimbler websites able to post clickbaitable content willy-nilly without regard for print deadlines, touring schedules and the lassoing of press-ready adverts. In a broadening competition for the thumb-scrolling consumer of skate-related text blocs, this corner of the pasture has earned some coups: Jamie Thomas last month confirmed to Jenkem Mag recent rumors that Zero and Fallen would move to Dwindle, about a week after the site put up a thoughtful interview with recently-out photog Sam Maguire and a few months after they got Paul Rodriguez to run down the model for his board company. EXPN.com some months back interviewed Ty Evans on his post-Crailtap plans and earlier this month got Chris Cole on the record about quitting Zero (though without bothering to call him on press-release linguistic exercises or his statements to the contrary a few months ago).

Transworld the other day did land Habitat treehugger-in-chief Joe Castrucci on the company’s future with a heartwarming video to boot, though Jenkem the same day posted an interview with rider-wrangler Brennan Conroy that featured a shade more industry laundry aired.

The websites do not offer products for sale to coax revenue from lucrative zones such as airport bookstores and the remaining Barnes & Nobles. But they seemingly hold an advantage in being able to regularly crank out buzz/worthy list items. They’re also able to occasionally capitalize on the print mags’ own content, such as Nyjah Huston’s comments regarding girls and skating, which subsequently were walked back. They can freely post up more-lengthy items that don’t readily lend themselves to photo-powered features, like Muckmouth’s endlessly entertaining and entertainingly endless ‘Back in the Spotlight’ series and Jenkem’s Big Brother-worthy interview with ‘Tyler’ the skated-in sock enthusiast, or the more meditative feature on Tony DaSilva’s post-Foundation pursuits.

TWS and TSM and Thrasher could move similarly and sometimes do; witness Transworld’s own recent scoop, catching up with a fresh-out messageboard darling Jereme Rogers. You’d imagine though that they’re more constrained with the machinations of producing an actual physical product every four weeks, the expenses that go alongside supporting staff photographers, designers, writers and ad-sales officials. It has rightly been said that print magazines’ role these days includes some gatekeeping, and that a photo or interview in a magazine means more and lingers longer in the collective consciousness, and they have maintained as the de-facto locales for hosting and posting serious ‘internet’ video parts. But one worries how long this persists when the every-four-years generational shift skews more and more toward informing itself via mobile phones and whatever vaporous, cloud-infused technology may lurk just over these brave and binary horizons, for instance a floating monocle that allows the wearer to surf a web and look at his or her phone through the other/opposite eye.

Thrasher remains relatively fat and seems kind of insulated to all of this, having harnessed its SOTY award as a magnet for exclusive campaigner video parts, shifting KOTR toward a WWW serial and generally tethering its fortunes to the same winds of extreme whimsy that have lifted the boats and market shares of Anti-Hero, Independent, Spitfire and Vans over the past half-decade. For better or worse, how many TWS or TSM logo shirts do you see on dudes outside the page that bears the subscriber postcards?

What does the ‘culture’ if it can still so be called lose without mags of record, available to impressionable groms as they wander their junior-high libraries and kill time while their moms peruse supermarkets? As the multinational footwear vacuums of Nike, Adidas and Converse briskly hoover up teamriders, should we similarly consider the vision of a future centered upon one or two print mags and a host of bootstrap-pulling, internet-based contenders? How have the dwindling number of skate magazine pages affected the photographer ranks, and will an honest living be makeable should the pendulum of publication shift squarely to the internet? How much do the board/shoe/etc companies themselves, nudging their teamriders toward cultivating flighty Instagram followings, bear responsibility for shifting eyeballs away from the printed page?

*Billed more recently as ‘Skateboarding’s Finest’

Stardate 91361.54: When Shit Got Real In Foz Do Iguacu And Several Other International Locales

October 3, 2013

shutdown

In a true parable of our times, ESPN and the X-Games determined earlier today to slice four international stops from the great vert ramp routine that is the expanded X-Games contest season. After nobly floating ramps in overseas locales to the ticklement of foreign-born action sportsters, the X-Games chickens shall come home to roost in the U.S., just as the world’s largest economy writhes in the throes of a national budgetary impasse and considers chicken-counting of a different sort altogether.

“[T]he overall economics of these events do not provide a sustainable future path,” ESPN said in a statement.

X-Games’ 18-month sojourn abroad, cut short by those unyielding mistresses Dollar and Cents, is a cautionary tale that saw certain ESPN officials subtly ringing alarm bells months ago. Internet website Dead Spin.com last April disclosed an ESPN memo regarding the Brazilian event that characterized the international push’s path to financial success as “extremely” difficult, employing language designed to resonate with network loyalists who brought the world the first ever YOLO flip on a snowboard, Gymkhana GRID and a previous 50-Cent concert.

As per the alleged memo:
Hourly folks – don’t push the OT. If it’s 9:10, take the 9:00 out – don’t push for 9:30. Heck, maybe you’d like to actually contribute an hour or two of your OT to the cause and take a 7:00 out. Trust me – no one’s going to the bank on this one. If this idea appeals to anyone, we can start an honorary wall of contributors in the office.

Were the international X-Games sunk due to the freewheeling and spendthrift ways of folks unable to look beyond the next hour of OT? Did revenues, already under pressure as Brazil succumbs to the twin maladies of soccer and Olympic fever, dribble away like so many bottles of water stuffed into worksite-bound backpacks? Will a failure to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and subsequent dents to the American sovereign credit rating further crunch the performance of the remaining domestic X-Games? Would Bastien Salabanzi have “shut it down” at the French stop and potentially replicated the YOLO flip for a skateboard audience?

A Blog Post Involving Fred Gall And The Antichrist That Is Only Tangentially Related To Lou Metal

November 1, 2010

A decade into its existence as the leaf/animal/aeroplane-inspired offshoot to the comparatively antiseptic Workshop sect, Habitat appears to finally have embraced the chaotic, cannibalistic nature of, erm, nature itself. Beneath the wet foliage and gentle acoustic guitar strums lurks a feral beast as likely to gnaw away its own leg as hop a bump-to-bar, a theme that Midwestern DNA zookeeper Joe Castrucci has chosen to explore through the composition of the team itself.

David Lee Roth, a noted man of the earth, has famously observed that Van Halen may not have rocked so hard/loudly were it not for persistent tensions between its song and dance man and Eddie VH. Castrucci has learned this secret too and now is exploiting the idea in an effort to produce compelling skate footage and reclaim market share from rivals Element and Organika. Recall the group sigh that emerged from the Lakai camp following the “Fully Flared” premiere, or the hedonistic, RV-powered excess of Osiris’s “The Storm” tour. But post-“Origin,” from the hallows of the Habitat camp there is a primal shriek, gnashing of teeth, maybe some rending of flesh:

Austyn Gillette:
Daryl got on basically because Stefan and I don’t want to talk about that situation. No one is getting harshed to get on anymore. It’s easy nowadays.

At any point during filming, did you get so frustrated watching Silas skate that you wanted to pull a Tanya Harding?
I don’t skate with Silas. I don’t get along with him too well. He’s bitter and I’m not bitter and we don’t get along together. We really don’t work well together and we’ve both accepted it.

Kerry Getz:
I didn’t know Austin and Silas are far from being BFFs.
There’s a lot going on over there. I don’t know; that’s some West Coast stuff, man. I’m so far out of all that stuff like who is fighting with who, who hates who, who is talking about who. I just stay on my side of the campfire and shut up. I just recently heard that Austyn and Daryl don’t like each other and I never knew that. Now you’re telling me Austyn and Silas don’t like each other. Someone has issues over there; just keep me out of it. It’s high school games.

Kerry Getz attained silverback status some time ago and is entitled to grumbling rights but it’s hard not to read some brinksmanship into AG’s commentary, even post-ESPN edit — he worked hard on his two-song second-part and it shows, though this site continues to harbour reservations around general execution (someone wiser equated his aesthetic recently to Apple Computers), he can be reasonably argued as having the best section in Origin between the sidewalk-to-sidewalk frontside flip, the feather-light b/s smith grind b/s 180 and that brick-cracker ollie at the Brooklyn Banks. Then the well-telegraphed alley-oop 5050 run, which I bet Jason Dill cheered when/if he ever saw this vid.

Trimming down probably mountains of footage helped Daryl Angel’s part as this dude to me still makes tricks look so easy as to detract from their actual hardness–thinking here of stuff like the switch pole-jam-wallie and the gap to feeble grind, although you can see dangers in the humongous switch hill-bomb jump and the final handrail jammer. Also a fan of how the nollie backside 180 is moving up the ladder in terms of a power trick, with Dylan Angel launching it down a longish stair-set and Marius Syvanen taking it over a high bar — there’s some Nordic tinges of AVE to that dude’s part and he’s got a related nollie b/s tailslide in there that’s for sure praise-worthy, kind of wish he worked in more of his really effortless and almost bizarre-looking manual stuff like he had in that Canada tour clip.

Notable new guy, Mark Suciu, brings a relaxed-with-some-stink style that sorta reminded me of a young Danny Renaud. All the footage where he’s wearing the five-panel hat is pretty much golden, specifically, the Gideon Choi-slide and the backside tailslide on Pat Duffy’s kinked rail. Al Davis’s part should’ve been longer as well as Tim O’Connor, to whom you can apply that complaint for basically every appearance since Photosynthesis, Steve Durante crushes at Pulaski with no set-up time and a separate switch wallie that threatens to shut down the video right there. This is nearly the best part in the video and had it incorporated some of this footage would’ve been perhaps the best one all year.

IRS scofflaw Fred Gall leads a pretty good delivery from the old bros that includes a bluntslide on a handrail, proving that beer drinking helps you. Danny Garcia’s switch backside tailslide variants are gathering rust but he still sails mightily over a rail, Stefan Janoski indulges his taste for switch k-grinds and nollie frontside flips, Silas Baxter-Neal bounds over handicap ramps and employs a “Welcome to Hell” ender that deeper mines his no-frills brand of solid trick-landing, when he’s not wintering in Illinois or rubbing Gillette the wrong way for whatever reason. Bryan Herman cameos for the ride-out shot.

Guru Khalsa’s spaced-out quiet storm is the real ender ender though, completing one of the best-looking SSBSTS’s of this new decade and incorporating maybe the most outlandish “psychadelic” image in “Origin” by way of an uncredited appearance from Christian Slater. It took me some years but feels like I’ve fully warmed to this dude’s sometimes off-kilter, sometimes classically ’90s boarding (the big b/s 5050, vs the frontside tailslide ahead of the f/s blunt). When do you see dudes jump up on a switch 5050 like that, when do you see dudes push eleven times for a trick but still not seem in a real big hurry.

Bookending all this discord and occasional moments of quiet tranquility is archival footage that reminds of the talent that slipped away for one reason or another (Renaud, Raymond Molinar with generally impeccable trick choices) and others like Ed Selego or Mark Appleyard where you could forget they were on at all. Still not sure what the thinking was here, beyond vague celebration of Habitat’s inaugural decade-long offering — there were things said like they wanted to re-use footage to music where they could get the rights, or incorporate clips from dudes like Wenning or Pluhowski that maybe don’t rate as #habitat for the current generation, but do a couple montages do the trick, or is this a further, more glorious-er mess left for us to unravel, akin to the mysterious spaghetti squash.

Fat Lady Sings

September 22, 2009

kalisstevie
Techneat

Well, I suppose we’re obligated to ramble on a little bit more on the Kalis/DGK/Alien situation, but believe it or not, I’m kind of at a loss* since this whole deal seems like it should be a bigger issue than it is. Maybe it’s team-hop hangover from Koston-Nike, or maybe it’s like Kalis himself implied in the EXPN interview – he saw it coming, Alien saw it coming, nobody was too broken up over the whole thing. There is a vague end-of-an-era feeling I guess, but AWS has moved a space pun-worthy light year or two from where they were back in 1995 (throwback graphics notwithstanding), whereas Kalis, bless his heart, hasn’t changed his approach too much (brown cords and Rolling Stones notwithstanding).

There’s been talk of unused Spanish footage collecting dust on Greg Hunt’s cutting room floor, the stunted career ambitions of one Marquise Henry**, and the increasingly divergent path of Alien Workshop from its hallowed backpack rap roots, which was one of the things that perhaps made Kalis a more interesting part of the mix in “Mind Field” than “Photo” and for sure “Time Code.” Is it ‘better’ that Josh Kalis reclaim his gold link-wearing past and steer clear of stretch denim and coloured-frame Wayfarers, probably yes. It is a bit sad though, since one of AWS’s great strengths was bridging the gap between the weird, cerebral shit the Ohio brain-trust had going on, and the dudes cracking tricks and fighting bums in the piss and dirt at the Brooklyn Banks. I thought Josh Kalis’s section in “Mind Field” was one of the proverbial fresh-air breaths with its abrasive rap music and baggy jeans, but as long as they hold onto Jake Johnson and Grant Taylor, they should be good riding the Dyrdek/Berra reality TV revenue into Jake Burton’s good graces.

As far as DGK goes we’ll stick with yesterday’s headline, in that there are far cheesier and more cold-blooded mercenary moves to be made than joining an old buddy and putting your remaining video footage and photo output toward promoting an independent outfit. Despite coming up in the golden age of profiling Kalis has never really stopped producing, and DGK could probably benefit from his focus as they gear up for a new video. You know Stevie Williams in particular is psyched to have him on. Old compadres back in the saddle again, etc, plus reports have the DGK chieftan forgoing his next multi-zero shoe deal in favor of filming the best section of his career, a tall order on or off Philadelphia public space.

Far more interesting than any of this is that Jackson Curtain is rumored to be sitting on an alleged 30+ minutes of video footage for the DGK project, raising the possibility of a Marc Johnson-esque reign of terror set to a suite of Just Blaze instrumentals… or maybe a Daniel Dumile approach that would see him parcel out multiple parts over the course of a year in a bid for SOTY status or Nike pro shoedom.

*I know, I know
**who’s good and all but should thank his stars he has powerful people watching out for him