Posts Tagged ‘Jason Adams’

Could Tiago Lemos’ Incredible Switch Backside Tailslide Also Reflect Ledge Skating’s Shrinking Middle Class?

June 4, 2017

In what has come to be knowed as the ‘switch backside tailslide heard ’round the world,’ this week Tiago Lemos hopped on his board backwards, got up the high way on the long MACBA block and slid the length of a full-grown crocodile before rolling away to cement one of those increasingly rare, culture-unifying moments. “Ok. [Tiago Lemos] is a beast,” remarked Josh Kalis. Drake Jones figured “this could be the biggest,baddest switch backtail ever done!” “Amazing,” commented Mike Sinclair. Transworld, which once elevated Eric Koston to diety status, declared that Tiago Lemos hereby “is a god.”

Yet as Andy MacDonald and others understand all too well, one day’s lifted bar soon becomes the next day’s hurdle to be ollied, and later kickflipped, and eventually kilty mcbagpipped for an after-credits clip set to a whimsical indie-rock tune. Just days before Tiago Lemos seized the switch back tail crown, Antonio Durao had the internet agog at his own back to back assault on waistline-topping planters in Numbers’ second video drop, to the delight of Miles Silvas and Rodrigo TX and the vacant-eyed indifference of unnamed cell phone lookers. This all arrived a few days after Dylan Rieder’s birthday reminded how he once lifted a backside smith grind onto a Thrasher cover-meriting ledge.

Across history’s compendium of burly ledge tricks, these have been cause for celebration. But concerns have arisen among musty academic circles over a perceived ledge disparity that some experts fear may be growing. As anointed ones such as Tiago Lemos and Antonio Durao hoist their trucks and tails onto ever-higher blocks, planters and hunks of raw cement, there are separately signs that many others appear to be making do with less and less. According to the emerging theory, a slappy revolution, once conceived as a reclamation for the common man, is showing troubling signs of becoming instead a cage, a ceiling which grows ever more difficult to penetrate. While powerhouse pros claim more and more available ledge inches via high-altitude feats, increasingly curb skating is celebrated, stylized and fetishized for the world’s remainder, a disparity that grows more troublesome as ‘middle-class’ ledge spots like Love Park and JKwon increasingly face the bulldozer.

Do Boston’s Eggs, Paris’ Republique, and Los Angeles’ Swoosh-reconstituted LA Courthouse represent sanctuaries for ledge skating’s increasingly squeezed creamy middle? Could some type of social engineering be attempted via plunking cinderblocks on top of red curbs, and meanwhile chiseling down ledges deemed by ivory-tower eggheads to be ‘too high’? Is concentration of ledge height inches in the hands of a smaller few part of a broader ‘trickle-down’ theory under which smaller ledge-oriented masses will be inspired to seek out larger ledges and ultimately add inches to their own frontside crooked grinds and backside smith grinds? Is Tiago Lemos for real?

As A Service To Readers We Are Not Employing Any ‘Kid’-Themed Puns In The Subject Line For This Post About Jason Adams Confronting Some Weighty Grown-Up Issues, Even Though We Could Have Without Thinking About It Real Hard

June 18, 2012

There are hard truths in this world that prove themselves out over the course of time: kids grow up, things fall apart, sponsored tweens will land the 900 on a skatecamp vert ramp and graduate to a lucrative soft drink endorsement deal. Perennial kid Jason Adams underscores that first one recently in a sprawling, sometimes dark interview with Paradigm Magazine, in which he paints the rather bleak picture of confronting adult responsibilities as a kind of misfit toy set adrift from the island of misfit toys, partly thanks to the global economic collapse and also some general frustration with the cliquish nature of the skate biz.

He also, towards the end, gets around to challenging one of the most-flogged cliches to grace a TWS Pro Spotlight (or equivalent) — that old chestnut, “skateboarding saved my life.” There’s some hardscrabble substance black-hole stories where you’re inclined to take this as literally true, but there’s far more instances where you read a line like that and wonder well, would Skater X really have wound up in a burial plot had that Variflex not come into his life at just the right time, or would he instead have found a BMX bike, Magic the Gathering, a book on ventriloquism, gone off to pursue a liberal arts education at a public state university, gradually left off skating after moving off to land an entry-level job and secure a domestic lifestyle, etc.

In this interview, Jason Adams puts a pessimistic spin on the old phrase, wondering whether that lifelong muse, creative outlet and source of personal fulfillment may have left him with a body full of aches and a limited means with which to support his family, as the industry looks to cull pro ranks and veterans are expected to continue jumping through various hoops.

There are times I would have said skateboarding, or punk rock saved my life. To be honest, now I wonder if it saved my life, or ruined my life. It’s an inspiring thing and I think people make it out to be bigger than it was, but it’s no different than good art or good writing. If you think of it as a social clique, I would never jive with it, just like I didn’t jive with a lot of skaters all of the time. You can look at it two ways. It can be this beautiful inspiring thing that gives you hope. Or these things can be distractions, and that’s the negative way to look at it. I’m going back to life is shit … We need distractions. Is it a distraction, or a beautiful inspiring thing? To me it’s an inspiring thing, and it’s different to every person; it could be like their religion. It’s our religion basically and we can take it as seriously, or as lightly as we want to. It’s really dramatic to say it’s saving your life, or it could save your life. There’s a lot in that statement.

Jason Adams doesn’t come off as bitter in this interview, more circumspect and defiant and maybe tired. He talks about approaching life on his own terms and some consequences once you come out the other side a grown-up with heavy responsibilities. Another old skate-interview cliche he doesn’t challenge though is the one about the soul-crushing office job being just maybe slightly better than being boiled alive in hot lead, in spite of any fiscal antidotes to money problems, etc.

I remember being a kid watching my dad go to work and thinking, no fucking way dude, he’s a miserable man, I can tell. I’ll never be my father, I’ll never do that, I can’t do it.’ Sometimes I question whether it’s hurt me to go so against it. Maybe I should have just sucked it up. I’ll admit at my weak moments I do think that, but that’s just because I’ll be stressed. I’ll look at my kids and think they deserve better, but what does a bigger house mean? Everyone has weak moments; it’s whether you give into them.

Whenever I read the “rather die than work in an office” I used to think it was a bit rich for a pro skater to say, since they enjoy the talent to have the option, whereas the rest of us don’t have that luxury. It carries a little more weight when Jason Adams reiterates the point in this interview, though, since the way he describes it now his choices are more limited and his need to put food on the table a lot more real. His comments regarding disillusionment with the functions of the industry makes you wonder, though. Is working a white-collar job really the living hell it is sometimes described as? What are the most viable paths for transitioning out of the pro ranks as the autumn years approach? Should Jason Adams’ boards on Elephant also bear the nickname “the Adult”? Is this whole topic ‘too heavy for Transworld’?

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 Lews 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.

*BTO’s college word of the day for you

Tiltmode’s “Bonus Round”: A False Ballad of Hateful Courage

August 24, 2009

rojo_runs
In “Bonus Round,” the faster you run, the faster fate seems to find you.

There is a kind of base truth at the center of “Bonus Round,” a red-eyed tale of warring factions, deceit and wholesale sexual potency, but the viewer has to work for it. Spanning eight continents and untold centuries, the story opens with Nestor Judkins (“Nestor Juarez”), a wet-behind-the-ears anteater dawdling on his first day of anteater school. Waylaid by a hangjaquer with a horizon’s worth of quiet storms in his eyes (Jerry Hsu, “Tim’s Boat”), Judkins is thrust into the center of an interstate intrigue that sees him matching wits against Tommy Lasorda, the famed weight analyst with a new idea that involves anteaters. The dice roll. Hsu is valiant here as Lasorda’s confidant and sometimes lover (spoiler alert) but makes plenty of room for Nestor’s nollie frontside flips – he lets it all hang out in a way that shows he really spent a lot of time with anteaters getting ready for the role.

Meanwhile, back in the 1650s, Louie Barletta (“Oglethorpe”) prepares for a surprise. It is the morning of his 21st birthday, and while doing his normal morning race to the top of Volcano Mountain (“Volcano Mtn”) he uncovers details of a hidden plot against the Egyptian Pharaohs Bank. Barletta gets mileage from his bowl cut and whimsical ways as he pals around Europe with an increasingly volatile band of political perverts (Jon Ngyuen, Jon Choi in TVOTR grandma spectacles, Screaming Lord Halba) who have the kinds of problems regular people dream about. Tiltmode affiliate Julian Quevado logs some nice switch ledge time alongside the sometimes-bearded Jesse Erickson, whose footage is dearly missed from the “Black Cat” days. Barletta soon finds himself in a pickle but is delivered by a bumbling sheepherd (Tam T. Taylor, “A Jason Adams Xmas Joint”) with a secret so awesome it cannot be kept.

At various points the ensemble cast stretches to include Cairo Foster and Paul Sharpe, Siamese twins who run an advertising agency in the big city and moonlight as private detectives; Foster’s appearance here in many ways rivals his shit in “Fully Flared” and the gifted Sharpe continues to sport a moustache in a lot of tender situations. Enjoi newcomer Zack Wallins will turn heads this award season as an abusive pimp, but his acting here as a mute clergyman who claims to have ghostwritten the Ten Anteater Commandments will turn heads in movie theaters – toward the screen.

Ultimately though the storyline wends its way toward two men – Jose Rojo and Led Zeppelin’s Caswell Twilly, here in his acting debut – who hold the keys to an eternal anteater mystery, along with a blue Maserati that everyone just calls Bo. They play off one another jarringly well in the final scenes, with Rojo’s established big-and-tall grace countering Twilly’s greasy-haired spaz power, and the occasional pearls of wisdom dispensed by Bo (college roommates with Snoopy FYI) keep you guessing who the real killer may be. Until it is revealed to be Steve Cab (also a spoiler). Likely to be the movie of the season and eventually earn a position in our hearts and video shelves alongside “Rum Tum Tugger’s Jealous Bounty” and “Forrest Gump,” add “Bonus Round” to your must-watch list and beware the wiles of wealthy anteaters, known as the largest oceangoing mammal.

Rated R for love handles, intense animal adventure scenes and adult situations. Jesse Erickson is nude for the entire film.