Posts Tagged ‘God Save the Label’

9. Chet Childress – “God Save the Label”

December 22, 2009

Flameboy to the Wet Willy that was Lance Mountain’s Flip video section, Chet Childress’ hard-luck tale of broken teeth and soggy pinatas teaches us that there’s little love to be found even in a state controlled by aging hippies and home to free skateparks built by harmonious units of best friends. Here we find Childress zipping switch-stance through Burnside’s humps and bumps and crunching coping, but the part also functions as a comment on video production at the height of the Great Recession, keeping the filming trips to a cross-town minimum and saving pennies that wealthier companies might have spent on a color picture. All’s we’re saying is if you’re likely to do most of your business in concrete parks anyway there’s less photogenic locales you could select, and the bent-arm bro’s coping-pop remains at an all-time high.

The Pit and the Pendulum

September 6, 2009

ThrowingStar
Stick it

Belatedly wrapping up our rundown of the Black Label video, a topic that has spanned two months here, by looking back to the imperatively titled TWS production “Let’s Do This!” and specifically, Brian Brown’s part: at the time, watching this section tended to tire me out trying to keep track of the tricks, as nearly every clip was a sequence event incorporating a wallie, wallride, manual or some other shit. Chris Troy, a professional skateboarder for the Label as of last week, is a similar breed, having apparently never met a 360 or 360 shove-it he didn’t like and seeking to incorporate these into damn near every trick he does. It’s a lot to take in, and there are times when he pulls it off super impressively – the fakie bigspin feeble grind is a ballsy move for sure, though maybe not in the same league as skating to a brand-new Rancid song. Other times though it’s cool to see him do a sort of more simple trick, for instance, the crooked grind backside 180 at the Kellen James ledge, a breath of fresh air amongst the bigspins to boardslides to whirlybirds.

Shuriken Shannon tilts things in the other direction, kicking off his last-part performance with two ollies, on flat, in a line. In a couple different ways this dude is helping shift Black Label’s overall aesthetic but he’s doing it via a Lewis Marnell type of solid/frill-free skating (lime grip and occasional ledge combos aside) that gets over mostly on mashing those four little urethane circles to the ground all at the same time in a fairly satisfying way. There are techy moves, like the fakie inward heelflip and the ghetto bird (?) over the rail, but stuff like the 50-50 kickflip, switch frontside 5-0 and backside heelflip are more the rule, and I’d put the ender-ender into this category too – that spot I really like for the purposes of video clips, because it’s naturally occurring, appears kind of scary and tricks look good going down it, especially if people land switch and have to carve it out.

In other vids you’d have to wonder whether our friend the throwing star has the fireworks necessary to close out a feature-length production but one of the things “GSTL” has going for it, like Black Label generally, is the panoply of styles/terrains/archetypes as opposed to six or seven parts of stretch-denimed greasers taking aim at handrails or tall-teed technicians rotating in and out of New Era fits. I don’t carry a huge torch for Black Label or anything but Lucero’s institutional expertise and general viewpoint are as necessary as they’ve ever been (insert comment re: this day/age here), they make good videos, and have aged well as the glam rock wave crested earlier this decade… to whatever extent they owned some of that real estate before the Baker Boys/Hollywood/Pigwood community moved in, and they’re doing a nice job keeping up the neighborhood.

Rushing Elephants

August 31, 2009

pink_elephants
The psychedelic Walt Disney reference so nice we used it… again

There was, and probably still is, a certain breed of skateboarder that works second-shift assembly line jobs, uses their deck to clean weed as often as skating it, and gets evicted from cheap apartments. They’re not the best dudes skating the spot, but maybe they buy liquor for the best dudes, and you could say these types remain a crucial part of the skating DNA as far as flying the high school dropout/”office job never” flag. I’m pretty sure this demographic still exists – I hope it does – and would like to think of future “buy a vowel” T-Eddy contender Ben Skrzypek as a sort of standard-bearer, because he totally looks the part. I’m pretty into this guy’s section in “God Save the Label,” because he skates different from most of the others and somehow ups the sleaze factor, no small feat in a Black Label vid, whilst generally skating much faster than you’d expect with a dude who looks like his off-board time is spent dealing bammer weed out of a single-wide trailer and flipping a butterfly knife around. There is validity to the Rob Welsh comparison on some of these ride-aways (like the fakie flip b/s nosegrind) and it’s always nice to see a dude on the make who’s not caught up in the outfit wars. We are partial to the switch frontside heelflip over the rail of course, the backside flip over the hydrant, and the cracked ender that looks like it took some balls to ride out.

Whereas Skrzyp6qrxpek rarely shifts from his black tee motif, Adam Alfaro continues the rich history of in-the-public-eye pros aligning themselves (read: dressing up as) members of their favorite band. On its face this practice may be considered uncreative and/or laughable, but I sort of thought Alfaro had something going with his desert-dweller GY!BE deal. So in some ways it seems like he’s lightened up for his part in this video: colorful socks and some loopy spots with a comparatively bouncy song and those effortless kickflips. The carve-around ditch kicker thing looks like a snowboard spot, and pretty fun.

But if you’re short on spots, or buy into Chet Childress’s sob story about a bad recession ruining his scheme to frontside grind the Taj Mahal, you could do worse than film a one-spot video part at the ever-mutating Burnside, and the harebrained hillbilly is probably among the better-suited types to pull such a thing off. He’s claiming Portland as a hometown of sorts now, and while he could possibly claim Canada after pushing a Wu-Tang sample for his song, the Label benefits from the thematic push forward I think. And the part’s good, full of trademark Chetisms such as the bluntslide pop-out, the 5-0 revert, as well as an eyebrow-raising switch drop-in and some weird disaster sorta stuff. It is also mostly free of ebonics, for those of you who A. watched the NBTT skits and B. reacted negatively. Personally I rank Chet Childress among the better skate video actors, up there with Tony Ferguson, Keenan Milton and Lance Mountain, but it’s all about the script innit?

Veni Diddy Vici

August 30, 2009

VDV2
Render unto John Lucero…

Haven’t heard a great deal of buzz over the new Black Label video, which debuted a few weeks back, something that could be chalked up to people being busy tearing up obsolete Berrics brackets, downloading any of the other 40 videos that came out this summer, or still watching “Debacle” which is high in this blog’s personal running for top five vids of the year (maybe). Whatever the case it’s kind of a shame because the venerable Black Label spirit is very much intact through this new production, despite dumping half the team and making some questionable additions over the last couple years. Not that it means much, but when they put out that preview clip a few months ago, I didn’t know who half the dudes were, and this is coming from somebody who recently went out of their way to read a Slap board topic listing all their flow kids.

Scraggly speedster Vince Del Valle I had heard of, and mainly associated with that one Adidas ad where he’s doing a backside tailslide shove-it on a ledge above a set of stairs – it made a more interesting ad than usual because they’d gone with the still shot instead of the sequence, well-timed with the shove-it halfway to his feet, which probably incited a few arguments amongst the current crop of driveway kickflippers as to what trick it was supposed to be really. When Vince Del Valle popped up as the first elephant on parade in “God Save the Label” I was hoping to see how it turned out, since that maneuver wasn’t in his “Diagonal” clip… alas, not. But there’s plenty of chicken-fried flavor to this part, which includes tricks over pieces of trash and a proper 90’s-style switch` hardflip into a ditch – on a related topic VDV also packs one of the more classical 360 flips in a world gone mad with Brian Boitano flare-foot*. Also nice: the underpass escalator backside lipslide, pictured above, the tailslide to regular on a rail, cruise control on the multicolored bank and the horns chiming in for the helicopter ender.

*We’re blogging at you, Josiah Gatlyn