Posts Tagged ‘Henry Sanchez’

Pontus Alv’s Frenetic Lament for a Scattering Tribe

April 10, 2016

strandbeest

From disused plastic piping, zip ties and empty two-litres, Dutch sculptor Theo Jansen has over recent decades bestowed life upon a new and fearsome form of creature he has dubbed ‘Strandbeests,’ nomadic and dinosauric automatons that draw their power from wind and moisture to restlessly roam frozen Scandinavian shores and, through unwitting human enamourment, sprinkle their genetics globally via our computerized internet. Theirs is a lonesome lot on barren stripes of the earth, but their ramshackle ploddings are not without a certain joy and wonder.

A few Lego bricks and Ikea couches away, by accepted U.S. cowpoke measuring standards, Pontus Alv tinkers among his DIY embankments and bowls and at long last takes his third full-length off simmer, a Nordic dream smearing several decades’ worth of lovingly recollected skate touchstones that uncork themselves as the most ‘now’ vid since Supreme’s ‘Cherry’ and 2016’s pulsating frontrunner so far. Buffeted by larger forces both natural and otherwise, the non-complying bros and their half-seen stand-ins populating ‘I Like It Here Inside My Mind, Please Don’t Wake Me This Time’ place faith in leaps both figurative and actual that send them soaring atop buildings, crunching through shrubs, high diving off delivery trucks and rolling away from frontside noseslides to fakie with arm dropped just so. Beyond the Alien Workshop and Blueprint camps of yore, there’s not a lot who handle their imagery and mix their media as well as is done here.

Dane Brady’s bucolic opener presents most of the elements, simply — here’s his dog, his curbs, his parking garages, his deceptively intense control, skidding from parking bumper to parking bumper or manualing through the grass or jumping a damn swing. Michael Juras and Jerome Campbell wind their way through bricked out European back streets, speed hopping bump-to-bumps and backside tailsliding way out on rugged ledges, seldom any one dude holding the frame too long without somebody else on the team hopping onto the same spot, maybe the opposite way. Hjalte Halberg crushes big blocks in possibly the vid’s best played-straight part, Pontus Alv is in there with his backward hat and his arcing wallrides, luring his followers into snaking doubles lines at Swedish DIYs and Oskar Rosenberg-Hallberg, seemingly growing up before the fisheye here, buoyed beyond the switch pole jam and ride-on smith grind by the best little-kid stylings since Yaje Popson or maybe Kevin Bradley. Aaron Herrington cashes in what look like a couple years’ worth of chips like the double wallie and later on Kevin Rodrigues, who comes with tricks that have no names.

Pontus Alv has talked about a kind of wonderful weirdess and isolation that go with doing his particular take on skating from one of the unlikeliest spots on the map, while also wearily eyeing the constraints and pressures that come with developing a beloved and increasingly successful company.

It’s always the same. It starts like, “Hey, there’s this cool new brand. It’s small. It’s underground. It’s run by these cool guys and we love it because we can’t get a hold of it.” Like when World (Industries) first started it was exactly like that. And then all of a sudden there’s all this demand and then that brings hype and then slowly the companies get their shit together. They get their business model together, the production, the distribution, and everything. And then, of course, when a companies growing, the company’s costs are also growing so it’s like, “Oh shit, now we have to widen our distribution channels to make enough money to supply the riders, team, video production, ads, and all of those things that you have to do. And then all of a sudden people look at it and are like, “Well, it’s kind of big now. I don’t know. It’s not cool anymore.” And then all of the sudden they lose some of that support and all of a sudden it’s like, “Well, we don’t have the core support anymore but we have this massive company with all these bills.” So you widen the channels more and more and more.

Henry Sanchez, who also came up in the Bay area only to part ways with the CA-based industry, questions the cultural cost of broader-based success in an interview discussing his latest return to skating: I see a bigger corporate presence in skating, and it has a stronger foothold in the market. To me, those are indications that skating is a lot bigger now. It seems like they’ve spent enough money campaigning for your heart. We had a stronger defense with a much smaller army.

It is maybe too easy to see the rising and receding industry tides gently lifting the wallriding Mary Poppins of ‘Don’t Wake Me’ across grassy hilltops, blowing him into spiky trees, or at other points holding the magical umbrella just out of reach in various times of need. But with ever-larger commercial interests alternately supporting Polar’s trans-Atlantic bonelessing and bank-building, while harbouring threats of spiky contractual strictures and molding future generations from Olympic bully pulpits, how much longer does Pontus Alv’s idyllic Polar dream go on? Could a ‘Really Sorry’ type quick follow up serve as a sort of cosmic snooze button? Was the vid’s lengthy gestation period at all related to scheduling difficulties in securing the Rover cameo? What was going through Kevin Rodrigues’ head when he seen that rail? Are all the H-Street references actually subliminal signals from Pontus Alv to the Polar team that they should abscond together for some upstart board company in a few years, thus easing the crushing pressure on Pontus Alv to follow up this video and allowing him to pursue an Evol-like reboot at far lower stakes for all involved?

Excerpts From “Trash” In The June 1993 Issue Of Thrasher

July 16, 2012

HARD TIMES

Henry Sanchez, Mike Carroll, Julien Stranger and Tobin Yelland had a run-in with some mini-mobsters in the Mission District of SF. After a brief altercation, the young hoods shattered the windshield of Tobin’s car with a pipe. Ten minutes later, cops pulled them over for no windshield. Tobin had no license, so he was promptly issued a two hundred dollar fine.

Meanwhile in LA, Ron Chatman’s car got stolen with all his and Mark Gonzales’ skate gear in it.

John Cardiel and Mike Ranquet went off to Japan for some snowboard deal. Cards told the tale of being ripped off by the contest promoters to the tune of $2000. When he finally got back home, he was starving.

Contrary to rumors, John Lucero’s Black Label is not out-of-business. His team is still intact, but Jason Dill jumped ship just as the finishing touches were being made on his model. Former Blockhead rider Jeremy Wray has hooked up a deal with a new company called Color Skateboards.

HALL OF NAMES

Brian Ferdinand is still unattached and unbelievable. Gravedigger Ross Goodman has been seen skating the vert ramp in Sacramento. Shawn Martin is back in the City after a brief stint in Sac.

Seen skating around SF: Alfonzo Rawls, Eric Koston, Chris Senn, Barker Barrett, Greg Hunt, Joey Suriel, Fabian Alomar, recently departed NHS rider Andy Roy, Danny Way and Mike Ternasky (who was filming for guess what?). Not one to be underdone, Pat Duffy kickflip noseslid the well-lathered Hubba Hideout. New kids taking the blocks at EMB by storm include Sean Young, Greg Hunt, Dan Drehobl, Erik Pupecki and Jamie Thomas.

Guy Mariano and Tim Gavin have been living in the redesigned World park. On a recent afternoon, the topic of discussion was Dae Won’s apparent fakie pivot grind 360 kickflip out. The new World facility format is sans mini-ramp and under four-feet tall. Rodney Mullen liked it so much that he moved his whole office there.

WHICH HUNT

Which major team manager/owner recently held a team meeting to discuss “tight money?”

Which one-time mega company’s manufacturing complex was surrounded by a battalion of North American Van Lines moving trucks in the ultimate down-sizing exercise?

Which Philadelphia, PA homeboy was chased from EMB by Jovontae Turner and Don Carey?

Which world’s biggest skate factory owner announced in the newspaper that he’s been forced to sell said facility? Did the same guy also lay claim to industry leadership in the same article? Did he additionally pose for Action Sports Retailers, that geriatric journal of consumerism, riding a box scooter?

MOLD TIMES

Rick BLackhart is doing his own line of trucks straight outta San Jo.

The Master of Disaster, Duane Peters, has sworn off drinking and started a new band called The Exploding Fuck Dolls. Members include Art and Steve Godoy, a guy named Ricky and another called Goatfucker.

FULL BLEED

Todd Swank has become so hands-on oriented that he now thrives on screening all his four-color sublimations himself. Artist Larry Clark has worked to create some fine art skates. The boards depict female genitalia and sell for $3500.

Natas Kaupas was seen in San Fernando hanging out with Guess? super-model Anna Nicole and Adam McNatt. Following that, the trio did a multi-media deity in the desert.

First Spike Jonez moved into a luxury power office high atop the La Brea Tar Pits. Then he moved into Howard Hughes’ old sun-lit sex palace apartment. Now Spike’s been seen hanging in San Diego.

NO BONES

Stacy Peralta, who left the skate scene to pursue his interest in films, was seen in South Carolina hanging with NASCAR racing legend Richard Petty. Peralta filmed numerous hot laps with Petty for an undisclosed future project.

Jay Adams was recently spotted on Oahu’s North Shore consoling Ty Page over the recent death of Ty’s wife. Mark Bowden and Tony Jetton were also in effect. Jetton is said to be opening a step aerobics clinic in Hawaii. Jay continues to surf and skate unabated.

Details were sketchy regarding a pro street contest in Daytona Beach, Florida, during spring break. The site changed at the last minute but East Coast locs Tom Boyle and Lance Conklin took second and first respectively. Other highlights included Jen O’Brien on MTV in the Beauty and the Beach contest at the parking lot of wet willie’s Daiquiri Bar.

UTTER NONSENSE

“I’m number one now and I’m never gonna slip.” –Keith Cochrane

“You can only be angry everyday.” –Todd Swank

Brian Wenning Is The Best Skater Alive

May 2, 2009


Rich off cocaine

Dovetailing nicely with the Plan B focus this week comes the inevitable news that Brian Wenning has been let go from the Danny/Colin hardgoods dream team, shortly after being handed his walking papers from Droors Clothing Shoe Co USA. Given Wenning’s lack of footage these last few years, mostly underwhelming photo output and recent Youtube antics, it maybe isn’t super surprising that these eventualities have inspired a flood of “don’t let the door hit ya on the way out” commentary across the skate-related interwebs, but it’s disappointing, because what people are overlooking is the fact that career collapse or no, Wenning will come to be seen as a hugely influential figure in 00’s skating, and if he is flaring out, it’s in proper 1990s party-spiral fashion.

Personally I think Wenning’s on some Henry Sanchez trip; the “over-it”-ness he aired toward DC in his recent Skateboarder* interview and, er, fireside chat video are only a prologue to what surely will be a blaze of sour grapes toward the likes of Ryan Sheckler and Jereme Rogers. More people used to name names, now everybody’s got business interests, but Brian Wenning is from New Jersey and seems to prefer drinking with his low-life buddies and skating a shitty pre-fab park that his little brother gave up on years ago.

Whether or not Wenning achieves or even attempts a comeback I think is totally beside the point in a post-Fully Flared/Sorry age, where legends are unearthed, outfitted in fresh sponsorship deals and New Eras, and set about writing sequels and prequels to stories that were basically holy scripture. I saw that Timberland video, Wenning’s still got it I think, but what’s the upside for him? A part in a soon-forgotten Axion promo? A spot on Element**? (I think he’d need to have a real rock-bottom Oprah awakening before Fred Gall could make a convincing case to put him back on Habitat.)

Probably the smart move for Wenning would be to drop off the map more or less completely, make random solo appearances in New Jersey, maybe grow his hair real long and not really skate. (The Timberland thing was possibly premature in this way.) If Bill Strobek is kind he could delay dropping his video for another year, at which point skateboarding will have forgotten the Brian Wenning of the two-inch scratcher slides at those alphabet ledges and people will trip out anew on the Photosynthesis era – while PJ Ladd’s video part had a bigger impact on actual tricks I think Wenning’s Photo part remains one of the most influential sections style-wise over the last ten years, and I shudder to think where, say, Ronson Lambert would be without it today. The Henry Sanchez comparison again – Brian Wenning was doing the hottest tricks at the coolest spots, looking like nobody else at the time.

So we’ll see. Maybe in a couple years he can mount a comeback part, get a board offer from say Zoo, figure out a way to get kicked off within three weeks and quickly slide back into obscurity. You almost hope he does – in a lot of ways it would be preferable to seeing him dried out and born again in time to chase pole-jam variations and waxy ledge combos. Or Scientology.

*Keep your head up, Source Interlink employees
**Baker probably a more realistic prospect, but with the economy in the toilet who really knows anything about anything