Posts Tagged ‘FA Worldwide Ent’

Pusher Man

November 8, 2020

Across his three-decade career, Gino Iannucci has been many things, to many persons: embodiment of detached cool in World’s golden age, skate celebrity roomie, successful hesh-fresh bridger in the gap/rail era, vanguard enlistee for Nike Inc., retail boutique proprietor, graybeard fashion model. Whereas his reputation for yeti-like elusiveness overlooks certain late-period productivity bursts, he remains enswaddled in mystique. In the geometric sum total, Gino Iannucci is the preeminent living example of skateboarding as qualitative versus governance by contest score, ollie height, or NBDs crossed off that cosmic list.

Respective paychecks aside, Gino Iannucci’s subcultural durability has outlasted any number of hot-shoe contest killers, a fact unlost on Nike’s brandwise strategists, who made him one of Nike’s initial signees for the sportswear conglomerate’s final, successful push into board-skating. His enduring presence on the roster helped counterbalance Nike’s pursuit of more obvious Street League contenders and future Olympians. Even if he increasingly leaned upon skatepark one-foots and giving interviews, Nike and other sponsors enjoyed a direct link back to the Gonz backside heelflip, the nollie switch k-grind shove-it out, the Roslyn banks greatest-hits list. As the old Slap message board saw went, “I’d rather watch Gino push.”

The phrase may now face the ultimate test. As Nike and Adidas show signs of culling their skate programs, Gino Iannucci seems to have come to the end of his swoosh-clad run, with recent Adidas-sporting IG story clips earning giddy reposts from the likes of bearded beach kingpin Lucas Puig, and demonstrating Gino Iannucci’s still-considerable clout with bros of a certain age. Almost entirely absent from the FA video output since signing six years ago, he has of late revived his Poets imprint and in recent weeks has posted promotional vids almost entirely reliant on his famed left-foot propulsion technique, in one hopping up a curb and then riding off a sidewalk, in another cruising down a mellow rural road, before the other day including a skatepark pyramid nose manual and pivot fakie.

Could it be that Gino Iannucci is following in the careening, center-line footprints of his East Coast forebear, Mike Vallely? In the 2001 black denim document ‘Label Kills,’ Mike Vallely’s section revolved almost entirely around pushing, an unconventional move later immortalized by Mike Vallely naming his punk band ‘Revolution Mother’*. At a time when professional clout chiefly was measured by stair count, Mike Vallely’s choice to showcase the push and its direct descendants, such as the boneless and no-comply, was to VHS watchers equal parts confounding and inspiring. But similar to the Hot Boys’ 1974 hit ‘Respect My Mind’, it signaled Mike Vallely was thinking bigger and broader, setting a trajectory toward a more malleable ‘personal brand’ and career that would place Mike Vallely variously on hockey rinks, fronting Black Flag, and astride Paul Blart, Mall Cop, in thin air.

Can Poets sink or swim on the strength of Gino Iannucci’s push, or will it require some handrail-assisted Miller flips to ‘seal the deal’? Do you think Gino could take Paul Blart? Could instructional Youtube vids and advanced AI technologies help mechanics-challenged youngsters and career-extending oldsters alike fine-tune their own push techniques? Have the stars already foretold an inescapable destiny in which Gino Iannucci and Mike Vallely join forces on the hockey rink to lead a final showdown against the forces of evil, perhaps with Paul Blart as a stuffed-shirt official?

*Also likely referring to multiple revolutions of the board’s wheels while pushing

Dawn Of The Dead: Anthony Van Engelen, The Zombie Spot, And The Unholy Consequences That Could Follow

October 18, 2020

In skateboarding nothing stays dead for long. Tricks, fits, careers and companies are unearthed, rehabilitated, and marked up for a searching and seldom satisfied tribe whose tastes run fickle and are always averse to any whiff of the stale. The professional class’ collective acceptance and eventual embrace of the softgood-consuming public’s okayness with something less than relentless trick progression helped usher in a nostalgic wave where one-downs are cool, ‘Tilt Mode’ stunts are a cottage industry, and vibe rules.

And yet some things remain beyond the control of mere mortals that direct industry hype, and consumers who rule upon it. Just as generations of advanced deck technologies continually are cast aside in favor of the good ol seven-ply maple stick, the hassle-free concrete pads and ample parking of the skatepark era has failed go temper street spots’ allure. And so when the bulldozer and the excavator loom, scuffed sneakers shuffle into city council meetings, petitions are launched and campaigns mounted; sometimes they work (Tompkins, South Bank, Stalin Plaza), sometimes they do not (Love Park), sometimes the answer remains murky and scary (Brooklyn Banks). But always, the outcome lies somewhere beyond the skaters’ control.

Now we find ourselves in a tingly season when spirits rise, and sometimes, the dead walk again. Jason Dill and Anthony Van Engelen, that Dr. Frankenstein and Igor of the early World vibe, this week affected a minor act of spot resurrection. Possibly using the Necronomicon but in a cool way, their FuckingAwesome imprint — itself a revived and broadened onetime ‘streetwear’ concern – plucked from the ‘Mosaic’ and ‘DC Video’ period the curved metal bench hit early on beside a building by Kenny Anderson before Dill and AVE and possible co-conspirators transported it to the downtown LA wasteland spot alongside a miniature pic-a-nic table, a makeshift jump ramp and other detritus of the time. After Eric Koston anointed it at the height of his powers in ‘Yeah Right’ it seemed to pass into shadow, until returning as the surprise guest for a host of tricks by Anthony Van Engelen and Guy Mariano in FuckingAwesome’s excellent three-banger ‘Dancing on Thin Ice.’

But like the cat brung back to this earthly realm by the haunted and poorly maintained ‘Pet Semetary,’ what lies ahead for the revived bench is unclear at best. Defying the laws of nature, and unspooling the mortal coil, can have unintended consequences that even the most learned computers are not able to accurately calculate. Hubba Hideout’s third and final act saw a truckload of glory-hound tricks that affected less and less as names and moves were hurriedly tacked on to the bottom of that storied list. Plan B’s revival seems to have been a commercial success, if carrying little of the company’s 1990s impact. Alien Workshop’s reboot has put on some worthwhile talents, but otherwise coasts on 25-year-old graphics and varied success in recapturing the singular audio-visual presentations of its past. After respawning from a Mike Carroll break, the pink board from ‘Yeah Right’ quit skating and instead seemed ready to take up surfing.

Is the curvy metal bench officially ‘back from the dead,’ or with AVE’s last trick in the vid is it now officially ‘killed’? Does it stagger around at night, seeking to feast on miniature schoolyard pic-a-nic tables? With some love, tenderness and bravery related to the roving police, could the Brooklyn Banks rail return? Could DNA be extracted from the tile in Josh Kalis’ garage to eventually re-grow a new Love Park, and could it be safely skated long enough to film a new ‘Sabotage’ entry before it runs amok and destroys the idyllic tropical island where it was placed?

Has Handrail Skating Entered Middle Age?

April 17, 2015

muska_handrail_help_call

“Nobody pays taxes on Mars,” the old saying goes, and it rings as true today as it ever was. For the astronaut, moustachioed and physically capable of handling several Gs, space travel draws a fat, black dividing line between youth and that which comes after; no man, they say, is the same after penetrating celestial orbit. For the ancient dinosaurs, to enter middle age was a feat accomplished by only the clever and ruthless, and these became chieftans and enriched warlords.

Today little has changed. History barrels forward similar to a kettle of fine fish packed into a barrel and rolled downhill and, come this time next year, handrail skating will be 30 years removed from those nervy days when Mark Gonzales and Natas Kaupas took it in their heads to ollie air up onto safely secured hand-bannisters and chart a bold and zesty course toward best-trick contest purses, ponderous stair counts, bike-lock controversies and the occasional bloody discharge. There was a gawky, turn-of-the-decade adolescence, followed by a coming of age under the dauntless feet of Duffy, Kirchart, Thomas and Muska, and the bigger-longer-taller maturation spree pursued in the early aughts by the Flip-Zero-Baker contingent.

Wither the handrail in 2015? In the last year and a half Transworld has featured just a single handrail trick on its cover, as page counts dwindle and TWS embraces wallrides and assorted transition terrains. Over at Thrasher, which cover-wise years ago threw in its lot with the Wade Speyer side of the tech-vs-gnar continuum, handrail tricks as a percentage of covers each year seem to have plateaued.

handrails_graph1

Is handrail skating becoming engulfed in a midlife crisis, with nollie heelflip crooked grinds widely regarded as passe, 39 stair curvers suggesting some possible upper limit and El Toro gelded? Resurgent bowls, abrupt transitions and even the vert ramp seem to have splintered handrail skating into restless and nomadic tribes, including displaced wallriders, wall-rejecting against-the-grainers, deep-crouching over-the-toppers, body varialing rewinders and a Mariano-bred stripe of small-bar uber-tech.

Recent signals however suggest that a certain purity of the round slanted bar continues to draw admirers, even without a fire-engine red, glasspacked sports car or wallie on. Australian dervish Jack Fardell, in the process of extensively notching some unholy San Francisco skatespot bedpost, commanded Thrasher’s May cover with a rabid 50-50 grind down a kinked beast that had bucked known master John Cardiel more than a decade back. Further south Paul Hart, a Floridian partly responsible for shifting Cliche’s center of gravity increasingly west of the Atlantic, recorded a sit-and-stare worthy nollie backside noseblunt to fakie sequence that naturally occurred also near the end of an Arto-aspiring ‘Gypsy Life’ section.

Is a midlife crisis a healthy and productive exercise for handrail skating generally? When handrail skating begins wearing tight polo shirts with the collars flipped up, pumping weights and loudly quoting Rae Sremmurd lyrics, at what point should a friend intervene? Will people start painting gray handrails black and then denying it? Will photoshopping gray handrails black represent the greatest ethical quandary to confront Instagram accountholders in the years ahead? Could Thrasher re-run this Kasai cover next month without anyone being the wiser except probably Jason Dill?