Posts Tagged ‘feelings’

A Brief Interruption To Our Annual Year-End Programming Because Anthony Pappalardo Gave This Rather Frank Interview On 48 Blocks Today

December 28, 2012

pappalardo_pizza

It was a curious thing to observe the responses when, a couple weeks ago, you had in New Balance the umpteenth major-league footwear company announcing its late entry into the SB club. Time was, a couple pros would cobble together some investment group and foist upon the beleaguered consumership some new truck company or shoe company and be met with a round of harrumphs and annoyed sighs, whereas lately an entry one by one of the multinational shoe companies tends to get a subset of the culture atwitter over the prospect of being catered to with theoretically better technology and construction backing another vulcanized, low-top sneaker bearing a logo recognizable to principals, moms, the captain of the football team, etc.

Curiouser has been the justification offered up for backing new corporate competitors, usually centered on allegedly poor quality of the shoes manufactured under skater-owned outfits. When it comes to the extremely basic designs that have generally forced some equilibrium across the shoe landscape and the fixation on suede, canvas or leather as the material, quality seems like a red herring, but that may be just me. What seemed gnarly was a certain willingness (in some cases eagerness) to reject the “grassroots” players that, whatever their warts, are our own creations in favor of these larger and more powerful entities that until 10 years ago were not much thought of, except for some disdain when it came to various hamfisted efforts to push their products. At this point we part ways from veering into another circular referendum on Nike versus the Don’t Do It movement.

Now we have a telling from Anthony Pappalardo, to 48 Blocks, on how he was allegedly fucked over by Converse, which wooed him away from Lakai despite his apparent misgivings, made him a pro-model shoe and then abruptly shifted into some bare-knuckled contract fight that seems to have severely dented Pappalardo’s already fragile-sounding self-esteem. Some of the story as Pappalardo tells it is confusing — already barely making ends meet, the breakdown in talks with Converse saw him homeless within months and later selling scrap metal to survive, kind of like some 60-to-zero shift from “pro-skater-with-shoe-deal” status with no in-between option like seeking a different sponsor, moving in with friends or family, or getting a day job. Pappalardo describes a sort of catch-22 in which Converse is not supporting him, forcing him to hustle to survive, which makes him unable to skate, so Converse (and later Chocolate) doesn’t support him. It isn’t clear what happened to any royalties from his shoe model, which seem to have sold briskly, or why he stayed committed to this apparently abusive sponsorship arrangement, when several years earlier he quit Alien Workshop with no safety net whatsoever.

It seems like there’s several pieces missing from this whole story, and while resisting the game of diagnosing Anthony Pappalardo’s potential issues via an interview apparently pecked out on a mobile phone, you wonder about the other side of all this — during the time period in question Pappalardo was not exerting a Lil B-like flooding of the market with coverage and his career arc wouldn’t yet seem to afford him the coasting abilities of someone like a Fred Gall. But at a time when shoe companies like Es and Gravis have rolled out of the frame, not hearing out a dude like Pappalardo, even given these past few years of traipsing down a path toward his trick minimalism and urban recluse profile, against a giant corporate entity feels off in some way.

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Stevie Williams: Feels Nothing For You, Enjoys Southern Rock

April 9, 2010


How do you like me now?

Beyond a masterful switch heelflipper and dodger of Ivory Spring as a youth in Philadelphia, Stevie Williams is an entrepreneur. Similar to business leaders including Howard Hughes, H. Ross Perot and Scrooge McDuck, William’s singular vision, expressed through cartoonish t-shirts and deadstock Reeboks, has made him by definition a man apart — different from the rest of us whose ventures are limited to the occasional sale of a gently used deck or running confused blog sites.

So it comes as little surprise to find that Stevie Williams’ odyssey into the skateboard business zone has left him feeling adrift, bereft of role models and disconnected from his fellow man. More interesting is that, possibly due to his taking up residence in Atlanta, he has found solace in southern-fried radio anthems. All three revelations are contained within the new Daewon TWS where he offers up these “Last Words” among others:

LAST Person You Looked Up To:
I don’t look up to people too much anymore.

LAST Time You Felt Empathy For Someone Else:
I don’t really feel empathetic no more.

LAST Song You Listened To:
“Closer” by Kings Of Leon.

Kings of Leon play southern and blues influenced songs that have caught on in the U.K. But owing to his new home in the seat of the peach-tree state and certified outsider status, you have to imagine that Stevie Williams eventually will (or maybe already has begun to) gravitate toward the brawny stadium-swagger of Toby Keith. A rough-around-the-edges maverick who plays by his own rules and isn’t afraid to show it, Keith and Williams are startlingly similar. According to a pretty long Wikipedia page, Toby Keith also found his calling at a young age, grew up on the outskirts of society* and is almost 50 (even though Stevie Williams is 30 he sometimes seems a lot older/wiser). Sample this Toby Keith lyric if you would.

It ain’t no thang, I already know how it feels
Same ol’ pain, a different deal
So if it looks like rain, I’m gonna let it rain
‘Cause I know , it ain’t no thang

Another Toby Keith song here:

The implications for the DGK video in my opinion are far-ranging and out of focus but worth pondering, at length, in darkened bars while being haunted by memories past. But as long as a man has a cold beer, a few companions and a healthy sense of self, it’s hard to keep him down. See below video clip for ultimate reference.

*Oklahoma FYI

Anthony Pappalardo, This Is Your Life

January 8, 2009


You went away but now you’re back

In the interest of full disclosure, I tended to roll my eyes when people told me how they teared up the first time they watched Guy Mariano’s part in the Lakai video, with the emo music and slow-mo door opening and all. Also, while I’m for sure a fan, I did not get particularly misty-eyed watching the later, more inspirational chapters of the John Cardiel “Epicly Later’d.” And even though I’m desperately going to miss it (and the Big Push which I meant to commentate on last year but got too lazy), my cheeks stayed dry as I accepted that Document magazine has indeed gone gently into that good night. What I’m trying to say here is that I’m a tough guy. A tough cookie. A hardcase.

But goddammit all, if this Pappalardo “E L’d” turns into a mumbly bro-huggin’ reunion between APO and Brian Wenning, well, I don’t know. Fuck. Shut up.