Posts Tagged ‘Jason Dill’

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?

Footage Chasms, The Ultimate Answer, And An Alternate Quartersnacks Ballot

October 26, 2019

In Douglas Adams’ cautionary coming-of-space-age ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ series, men at one point design, construct and program a computer powerful enough to deliver the answer to ‘life, the universe and everything.’ The momentousness of the answer upon its final calculation, ’42,’ is undermined by its numerical and rather tingly nature. Their next technological plate of crow was to design, construct and program a computer powerful enough to supply the actual question, though it is unclear whether this strategem saved the ultimate answer-seekers from being torn to bits by an angry mob.

Thug-motivated New York City scene chroniclers Quartersnacks this month asked an only slightly less weighty question: If you were to bury five video parts and five full-lengths released between January 1, 2010 and today under your house for future generations to reference when they discover skateboarding, what would they be? Loaders of the website subsequently were directed to enter the five best video parts, in order, followed by the best five full-lengths, in order.

Mind the gap, gentle reader, as you are swallowed into a gaping chasm of IG footage comps, Thrashermagazine.com web entries and full-length contributions from a constellation of pros, ams and assorted bros that sputtering economic gravity pumps cannot stop from expanding. The Snack Man requests favorites, and so these shall be received. But tweaking the first iteration of the question — burying only a handful of vids for future generations to unearth — exhumes an entirely different answer.

Would such a time-capsule document contain the subjective faves of its stuffer, including subtle but essential variations on Love Park ledge, backside noseblunts, prohibitions against varial kickflips and kids under 16? Or might it objectively map the body of 2010s skating, with all its gasface-inducing ender-enders, its thirsty moneyraking, its aching tragedy, its wonderful stylistic entropy? Which five video parts* could guide some 2050s hardflipper through this expiring decade’s ups, downs and wooly sideways moves? Is it possible to capture a whole decade in a five-part ‘mixtape’ or is this the type of ill-considered subintellectual exercise best left to archaic blogging platforms and their sludge-dripping ilk? Let’s read on.

Tiago Lemos — ‘Press Play,’ 2016

Did any individual person over these past ten years expand and warp the known boundaries of skateboard possibilities more than loose fitted bio-Brazilian Tiago Lemos? The answer is maybe, but they all could be stacked and concrete poured over them and still Tiago Lemos could switch backside tailslide the lot. His godlike pop only is one part of the picture, and in this clip for DC he dishes forth various handrail barges and pants-wrinkling technicalities like the nollie inward heelflip backside lipslide.

Nyjah Huston — ‘Til Death,’ 2018

This long-in-the-making union of Nyjah Huston, Nike and Ty Evans aligned the sector’s highest-powered and most bankable entities to create a relentlessly hyped part that was at once gobsmacking, expensive looking and oftentimes difficult to watch. Nyjah Huston has come to embody a certain kind of moneyed excess, both on and off the board, and as global wallets open and the hoopla machine winds up ahead of the 2020 Olympics, ‘Til Death’ was an apt warm-up act.

Blobys — ‘I Like It Here Inside My Mind, Please Don’t Wake Me This Time,’ 2016

Polar’s rise to prominence in the early ’10s marked the power shift away from the distributor-conglomerates like Crailtap, DNA and Black Box, raised up on THPS-driven largesse in the years before the skate economy’s bottom fell out, and Pontus Alv’s pulsing, frenetic full-length debut for his Nordic board designer cemented the new vanguard. The Polar dudes scattered their shove-its, wallrides and no-complies across Europe, New York and the Pacific Northwest, but if you were to bottle the aged grayscale stone, fast-and-loose street schralps and Continental accents that wielded influence across much of the decade’s second half, you would pour out something like the Paul Grund, Roman Gonzeles and Kevin Rodrigues JV that closed this vid — bashing walls and curbs, early grabbing and disastering through swinging chains and neon glare past midnight in the Paris cuts.

Lacey Baker — ‘My World’, 2017

Fragmentation of skateboarding’s controlling constellations over the past decade, aided by Instagram, canny corporations and the proliferation of screenprint brands, helped throw doors open to any number of comers, importantly including a fresh and focused female generation. Lacey Baker is pushing forward the front lines, dealing in a rapid-snapping brand of tech at home atop SoCal pic-a-nic tables and East Coast monument blocks alike, here flicking impeccably over a bench, there unfurling a noseslide nose manual to flip out combo to the delight of some young Ghostbuster.

Alien Workshop — TWS ‘Cinematographer Project,’ 2012

Josh Kalis was off the team for like three years and it still got him emotional! It goes without saying that the skating, music, lineup and aesthetic here in this, last part in Transworld’s second ‘Cinematographer’ outing, held up as the decade ran its course. Alien Workshop stood at its eleventh hour apex with Dylan Rieder wrapping one of his impossibles over a picnic table, AVE tackling the Heath Kirchart hubba backside, Tyler Bledsoe threading a backside tailslide across a tight top step, some screwball Omar Salazar stuff — and then Gilbert Crockett and Jake Johnson rising to the pro ranks, that switch kickflip, the nollie backside wallride with all four wheels, the switch front blunt. It’s hard to imagine one video part touching ten years’ worth of heights, tragedies, power shifts and stylistic milemarkers, but this one set up an awful lot of them.

*Naming five feature-length videos that capture the era is relatively easy. They are, in no particular order, all of the Bronze videos.

Oh So We’re Good Now With Fakie Frontside Shove-Its Fam?

July 28, 2019

The ancient Egyptians, knowed as a people sprung from the intergalactic union of slender dog-headed humanoids and architecturally inclined space aliens, based their centuries-long dynasty upon advanced mathematics and in particular, the power of three. Just as star-guided numerologies dictated the design of pyramidal tombs and, later, the sport trike, so too can these be drawn upon to identify and analyze a prickly and little-foreseen situation confronting ‘the culture’ in 2019: the unlikely normalization of the fakie frontside shove-it.

Lo, the pathway to this current state of affairs was laid equally by the ascendance of Polar, where an early vid nodded to and propelled the shove-it, and the broad rejection of ’00s kickflip culture, characterized by thirsty ams balling for position by adding toe-centric flip tricks into or out of various other activities, or clamoring for ever-larger parking lot gaps. The frontside shove-it, notoriously difficult to photograph, in recent years has offered both a reprieve from the switch frontside bigspin, largely discarded as a gap-chomping tool, and the backside bigspin, thoroughly rinsed as a line-ender as the current decade limps to its unknown conclusion.

Where does this leave hot shoes hungry to differentiate their video part/montage slice/IG post from the footage glut’s deafening roar? There are few untouched trick deposits of years past left to be mined, and those still remaining can be treacherous — enter verbose career risk-taker Jason Dill, whose Vita-shod stairstepping became an instant rewind in the VCR age and has rightly become the stuff of legend. The current generation, though, holds up this rare gem and turns it topwise, gazing beyond the set-top dismount and fixating instead on the mostly forgotten trick preceding it, a fat fakie frontside pop shove-it over a barrier.

Beyond the frontside pop shove-it, the nollie pop shove-it for years has been a standby for popping over fences and blocks, the regular pop shove-it has enjoyed a resurgence recently as a kickflip alternative over bumps-to-cans and -bars, and switch versions continue to have their place in lines and down gaps. Whereas the nollie frontside pop shove-it might remain too near a relative to the unfairly maligned nollie backside bigspin, the fakie frontside pop shove-it, not much better aesthetically, is finding unlikely traction. Austyn Gillette, still fleet of foot despite life’s heavy wear, threw one over a bench and down a drop in his ‘Radiant Cure’ part last year. John Shanahan, cut-and-sew curator of the late-90s movement who also has assisted in the debatable reclamation of mustard-coloured tees, pulled from Dill’s ‘Photosynthesis’ archives for his Thoro ender. And last week, Skyscraper City Quasi flowee Nick Matthews hopped perhaps the best-looking recent example at Flushing’s recently hot gap, pristinely popped and whip-quick spun.

Is the fakie frontside pop shove-it’s rise an offshoot of the ‘dad trick’ movement, the tip of a ‘Brutalist’-minded stylistic school centered on ugly tricks including but not limited to varial flips and wallride nollie outs, or something far more weird and outlandish? Which would score higher in a Street League impact section, a fakie frontside pop shove-it or its more successful cousin, the fakie heelflip? Who’s gone one over the big wall at Pulaski?

Scenes From The Spring 2005 DNA Distribution Catalogue

April 15, 2018

Term Limited

September 24, 2016

old_muppets

Aging may be the great skate industry adventure of the ’10s, as grizzled pros test the tolerance of weathered ligaments and brittling bones in an ongoing quest to avoid that unholy wyrm, the Real World, and its most loathsome prison, the Day Job. There are a few who two decades ago may have seemed obvious candidates if one were to choose a moon-shotter capable of stretching a pro career into a third decade, like Eric Koston or Daewon Song or Marc Johnson. There are are others whose misadventures with substances and the US legal system made them less obvious picks, such as Jeff Grosso and Fred Gall and Guy Mariano. Yet here we are.

Jason Dill, a veteran who never really warmed to half-measures when it came to things like video part construction, socks height or New York City nightlife, appears to have embraced old age as lustily as any slot-playing, shuffleboard-pushing thee-time divorcee. Witness his silver fox persona, his grayed and thinned hair, his floral shirts, the Britannicesque recollections of days gone past and concepts ripe for resurrection. As he raises a brood of young street urchins with life partner Anthony Van Engelen, Jason Dill also has honed an ability to emotionally wound that appears as needle-eager as any sourpuss granny. From his recent Playboy interview:

I’m now past my third year of FA. I’m proud of what we’ve done. If you are a company making stuff, you need to have it in the back of your head that, hey, I might have to kill this thing one day for the greater good so it doesn’t look like a bunch of bullshit. Imagine if Mark Gonzales got to end his skate company, Blind. How would we look at it today? Imagine if Mark had made some deal with Steve Rocco, the owner of his distributor, early on, like, “I’ll totally do this, but when I think it’s time that this is done, I get to put out an ad that says, ‘It’s done. We killed it. It’s over. Thank you.

Jason Dill didn’t have to take it there. For skateboarders ‘of a certain age,’ Blind’s last 15 years or so as a stable for a Canada-heavy lineup resembling a Digital Video Magazine board team will always take a back seat to the ‘Video Days’ lineup and, later, the Ronnie Creager and Lavar McBride-led ’Trilogy’ generation. Nowadays, you’re hard-pressed to place your hand on a Blind board outside the Tech Deck assortments cradled within the boxy bosom of Walmart. In fact, they’re outlawed. But with his reminder that Blind’s heyday now lies a beagle’s lifetime in the past, Jason Dill’s prodding of old sores is an exercise in discomfort matched only by grouchy grandmothers’ bitter questions over the fate of hand-knitted blankets long ago vomited upon, washed and relegated to life’s basement closets.

Time’s grinding passage has yet to reveal whether Jason Dill or Pontus Alv — another long-in-the-tooth owner of an insurgent board company that lies under his control, and who has expressed similar sentiments — will avail themselves of a Hunter S. Thompson exit strategy, rather than some much-later forced transfer to a mall store-ready nursing home. Do they possess the financial and testicular fortitude? The skating mind seems wired for Quixotic pursuits that can batter the body, plague the mind and sometimes, sear the soul — literally throwing one’s self down a set of stairs over and over again, sometimes for days on end. Quitting while one is ahead, whether in the sense of a sound body or arrest-free permanent record, may not pay dividends in the form of shoe contracts and soda-pop endorsements. For every Heath Kirchart and Scott Johnston showing themselves the door rather than be escorted out by younger, abler-bodied teammates, there are multiples of beloved pros whose ratio of video footage minutes to pro deck graphics looks increasingly lopsided.

Can pros turned board company proprietors be relied upon to serve as judges and executioners weighing the street cred of their own enterprises? Should company owners freely discuss the concept of forced euthanasia, for will this only perplex the Dutch? Does Darren Harper’s trick-trying persistence make him more likely to seek revenge for a five years-old board to the head, or vice versa?

Point/Counterpoint: Should We Make Republique Great Again By Remembering The Lessons of The Most-Famed 1990s Drill Fight?

March 13, 2016

basrutten1

The discoloured and rapidly bubbling kettle that is the 2016 presidential election season offers a warped prism through which nearly every event, from the ho-hum to the oh-damn, can and must be viewed. Skateboarders long have spurted and spouted political pontifications, from Jason Lee’s stance against military force in the advancement of hard rock interests to Fred Gall’s tale of heavy-handed police force during one drunken and star-crossed Ozzfest and others bluntly going “fuck Donald Trump” in print and online media formats, as well as Lenny Kirk’s sober warning that the US government is plotting an ‘internal war’ to ratchet up control on computer-savvy citizens and various other sheeple.

‘Pussy Gangster,’ Bill Strobeck’s latest outing for Supreme and so far his longest dwelling upon the FA kids beyond US borders, from the jump throws a dripping and still-wet beefsteak to the ravenous hounds of political punditry whose bellies remain some seven months away from filling. In an ominous and threatening setup to Sean Pablo’s 50-to-50, Sage Elsesser’s channeling of Jereme Roger’s ‘Harsh Euro Barge’ hubba achievement, Kevin Bradley’s incredible flip-and-turn-and-catch and K-Rod’s fakie early grab to wallride, a butcher knife brandishing hobo pokes and swipes at our surrounding heroes, rasping and growling before Paris’ finest execute a textbook and grammatically accurate bum’s rush to extinguish the situation.

For crooked-grinding observers on both ends of the political spectrum, the much-buzzed sequence evoked immediate comparisons to ‘Virtual Reality’s’ famous drill fight, wherein Colin McKay and co pitted boards against bit in defense of Vancouver’s New Spot. The passage of two decades, and marked disparity in physical violence doled out, prompts diverging views on what this confrontation with an earbud-challenged threatener says about skating in this year of our Lordz Wheels, 2016:

Point (liberal): The clip is important because it shows the progress skating has made in the eyes of society’s most basic institutions. Here, government is functioning on our behalf, following years of foot chases, biting canines, verbal dressings-down, tickets and arrests — policemen in this instance act, forcefully, to protect a long put-upon class. This is the system functioning the way it’s meant — rather than handcuff Tyshawn Jones for hitching a bus ride after his tall-can backside lipslide, the powers that be neutralize a real and present danger skaters didn’t invite. By taking him into custody there is some chance the bebearded slashmaker will receive any help or counseling he may need, versus a beat-down via truck and deck that leaves him to nurse his fractures and ruptures with inexpensively priced French wine.

Counterpoint (conservative): Oh please. This clip, larded with more indulgent and excessive zoom, is only the latest and saddest sign that skateboarders have lost their collective edge, cowed into domestication by the steel barriers and security-guard shepherds of Street League, and loathe to rumple limited-run t-shirts and sweaters that could fetch lofty bids on Ebay. In the era that birthed citizen militias such as the Red Dragons and inaugurated James Kelch as EMB mayor, when Ricky Oyola and the Sub Zero locals took it upon themselves to regulate and enforce upon Love Park riff raff, skaters had far less to lose and weren’t hung up on concepts like even numbers or, perish the thought, help from the police or more esoteric taxpayer-funded agencies of Big Government. And before our friends on the other side of the aisle attempt to dismiss and diminish it all as American headstrongisms, let the record show that the drill fight was a Canadian affair.

3. Anthony Van Engelen – ‘Propeller’

December 29, 2015

In a just and honourably logical world there are two sorts of Skaters of the Year: Those undeniable destroyers whose up-and-comingness has already established them as power forces and for whom the Thrasher nod bestows gravitas and permanence of place that the honoree bears out through photos, video footage and survivability over the ensuing years; or, a recognition of plants aligning and a moment arriving for those understood to have achieved all of that except the award itself already.* Anthony Van Engelen, that early embracer of body art, hard living and Jason Dill’s fractured and improbably profitable take on popular culture, falls squarely into the latter compartment with a blistering burn of a closing-section in Vans’ ‘Propeller’ video that refurbished some already-patented AVE tricks, such as the backside nosegrind and the switch frontside crooked grind, broke out new ones, like the switch backside smith grind and switch frontside 180 nosegrind 180 out, and drew recommendations to wipe the blood from his teeth upon floating that ollie off the volcano and barely hanging onto the fence frontside 5-0. On the strength of always-quality production and wack trick avoidance AVE a long time ago registered as a consummate pro but between the Vans part, which also placed him alongside Bobby Worrest in a class of aging dudes who still fuck with handrails, and the equivalent of three video parts (across the Vans vid, the associated raw footage (above) and tricks strewn across various Bill Strobeck and Jeff Kutter productions) cement his status as forevermore.

*Danny Way’s mega reinvention aside, maybe, repeats suggest lack of imagination

Trisect

January 17, 2015

lobsterz

“Jim Jones,” intoned Cam’ron on the intro to his 2007 comeback release ‘Public Enemy #1.’ “That was my partner, that’s my friend. He ran with me over ten years, he deserves all the success he gets, he worked hard to get it. But what you all motherfuckers got to realize is ain’t nothing lasts forever.” The Harlem Wolf, as several resources have termed him, was responding to rumors of a private falling-out with Jim Jones amid a seemingly broader disintegration of the Diplomats, with Freaky Zeaky jailed, Juelz Santana pursuing blighted collaborations with Lil Wayne, Cam’ron sparring via his two-way with 50 Cent and Jim Jones innovating basketball influenced dance crazes.

Like many of Cam’ron’s escapades this one offered a lesson to the skateboard industry, if only it had been wise enough to listen. Not a year after Cam’ron described his internal feelings, Nike began selling the Red Lobster dunk (no relation to the restaurant) to rapturous acclaim from east coasters and crustaciophiles both. But it was not all gravy within the house of the lobster shoe, as a year later the competing Blue Lobster dunk (also no relation) surfaced, effectively dividing the market for footwear inspired by succulent shellfish and likely cannibalizing certain revenues. Just as the ancient clay tablets foretold, further fragmentation struck when Nike put forth a Yellow Lobster dunk (still no relation to the seafood restaurant enterprise), cementing division not as a passing phase but rather a permanent state of affairs for such shoes, and few have heard tell from them since.

Is an upstart Green Lobster shoe inevitable, or has the door been thrown wide for pretenders to the shellfish shoe throne such as the Crawfish dunk? Perhaps, but one wonders whether Jason Dill, AVE, Chris Carter, Mike Hill and Rob Dyrdek listened and/or learned from Cam’ron and his friends, where the lobster shoes so clearly did not. About 18 months since the first cracks appeared in the Sovereign Sect’s geodesic dome, it now appears to have splintered into three factions, each seemingly genetically superior and limitless by design. Yet in the torrid and dismembering flesh-chiseler that is the board-and-wheel biz, which if any will survive to issue a Bo Turner guest board? Boil the ocean internet site takes a bleary-eyed look.

Fucking Awesome
The Supreme-scented, occasionally active t-shirt project of Jason Dill was dusted off and promoted to a full-fledged deck and t-shirt entity following Dill and AVE’s joint Workshop defection in spring 2013, following a game of corporate hot potato with AWS as the overcooked stem tuber in question. FA Worldwide Entertainment, as it is known when parents, teachers or big-box friendly magazine writers are about, stole a march on rivals last year by commandeering much of the ‘Cherry’ runtime as well as its follow-ons, ‘Joyride’ and ‘Illegal Civilization 2.’
Special Moves: Bill Strobeck, DKNY, Vans money, comparisons to early World Industries, all those ams, Gino Iannucci somehow
Vulnerabilities: Key man risk in Jason Dill, already-sprawling team, potential for further dilution via alleged sister company ‘Hockey’

M(other)
Strip-teased via Gilbert Crockett’s Instagram account of all places, this supposed Alien offshoot flecks at Pentium-powered graphic design with plenty of woodgrain; said to be headed by former AWS business minds Chris Carter and Chad Bowers, this entity also seems to have effectively abducted the remainder of the post-FA Alien team, including Tyler Bledsoe, Gilbert Crockett and Jake Johnson.
Special Moves: The most-productive limbs of the Alien Workshop corpse, several of whom seem true believers in the vision out of Dayton; well-sized team to deliver a 15-minute optimum timeline video; clean slate
Vulnerabilities: Staking out distinct visual-arts real estate, Jake Johnson making good on his subliminal threats of quitting the biz, possible crosstown beef with…

Alien Workshop
In retrospect perhaps a no-brainer given its established brand value and the American dollars sunk into it on non-consecutive occasions by television persona Rob Dyrdek, Alien Workshop officially is in reboot mode, recently unveiling boards and shirts via a Habitat-esque Tum Yeto tie-up. The Slap boards have this effort helmed by Dyrdek, former G&S silkscreen necromancer Mike Hill and a TBA team that’s been alleged to potentially include everyone from former Alien flowee Paul Liliani to twice-named Cosmic Vomiter Rob/Bert Wooten to late-shove it hoister Lee Yankou and, er, Johnny Layton?
Special Moves: Those visuals, recognition amongst mall-shop purchasing bishops, a stout backcatalogue
Vulnerabilities: Rob Dyrdek’s thirst for recouping invested capital, some 13-plus size DC Lynx for any new inductees to fill, the evil banality of series graphics

In an already overgrown forest, can three yung shoots tap the life-sustaining sales nutrients and social-media followers required to sprout and grow in the shadow of a wilted giant? Are Heath Kirchart’s affections currently being vied for? Which among these newly anointed tribal leaders can look upon his erstwhile competitors and speak Cam’ron’s magnanimous words for Jim Jones: “I wish that man nothing but the best of luck and success and I hope he goes all the way to the motherufcking top and has a great career. Best of luck beloved.”

I Am the Street Dream!

October 11, 2014

gino_jason dill

In classically rambling and semi-coherent fashion Jason Dill seems to have confirmed the messageboard-melting news that Gino Iannucci, that much-beloved train station tour guide, 360 shove-it bringer-backer and Chocolate graybeard, dipped from his tourmates of nearly two decades in favour of the ankle- and belt-bearing set at Fucking Awesome, sending several seismic waves across sectors of the internet that continue to draw valuable kilowatts from loose-fit denim, Youtube renderings of VHS video and also RZA productions. To interested observers, the transaction resembled Tumblr acquiring AOL, or perhaps Bronze Hardwares absorbing Prodigy*.

Among moneyed old-guard deck men, dark talk is afoot of Jason Dill’s potential next power move, after scooping Dylan Rieder from the smearily dissolving chambers of AWS and seeming to have taken in a number of additional former teammates with an eye toward soon launching his own Chocolate-esque sister company that may or may not be named for that violent and longtime side hustle of Gino Iannucci and graphical subject for one of his first Chocolate boards, ice hockey. Speculation has mounted, as it is wont to do, around just how much of a kick in the pants this may be for the Crailtap camp and/or a late-career left turn for Gino Iannucci, who recently booked his most productive 14 months ever but nonetheless still is hard to imagine as more than a spirit-guide, sipping Starbucks and grinning and shaking his head from a nearby bench as Dill and AVE’s floral-printed progeny publicly urinate and shoot their mouths off at the spot.

Beyond a collegial relationship at 101 two decades ago** this may not all be so weird, however, when one considers Gino Iannucci through the prism of the Guns’N’Roses music, the birdie tattoo, and various engagements involving bleached hair and vests. You can imagine a trick sprinkled here and there into Bill Strobek Vimeo uploads, which may be a positive thing for a dude whose past video entries occasionally have exhibited signs of too much baking soda in the pot, and an endorsement of GZA’s “weak rhymes/mad long” advice to youngsters.

Whereas acquiring Dylan Rieder went some ways towards reconstituting the Dill/AVE axis as it had arisen in Dayton, signing Gino Iannucci may alter Fucking Awesome’s outwards profile and raise thorny queries. Can Fucking Awesome credibly still claim underdog status, or is this an organic progression of the current wave of small companies flexing their developing fiscal muscles to acquire name-brand pros from established rivals? To what extent is this an endorsement of Jason Dill’s fractured and frizzy vision versus a no-confidence vote in the anti-heroic stylings of Crailtap in recent years? Or is it strictly a dollar thing? Perhaps most crucially does this move set the famous 1990s Doomsday Clock closer to or further away from midnight?

*The rapper and or the web portal
**Which continued to persist into 2012, as pictured above.

Reality Rap f. Galactic Magnetar (Prod. by DJ Cattywampus)

April 5, 2014

garfields

In a testament to the reliable if rickety supply chain logistics tenuously connecting video-makers with skateshops, “Cherry” hardcopies now are safely installed upon brick and mortar shelves and therefore the real sport concerning Supreme’s not-quite-so-long-awaited inaugural offering can begin: guessing and tabulating what will ultimately become the video’s most-copped moves. Bucket hats, wrist casts and tucked-in beaters all are obvious contenders, as these must be. But of head-to-toe zoom-pans, Baker2G/Screw-mo interludes and the amorphous front-to-back montage-collage edit, a tantalizing prospect for aging pros who may wring more mileage from 38 seconds of footage by sprinkling it intermittently throughout a lengthier production, and potentially pulling another five seconds of screen time by tacking on a bailed flatground trick to the end of a line?

It is a dense movie. Toward the end of the video there is a clip that encapsulates the whole deal pretty well, wherein Tyshawn Jones and Nakel Smith, two amongst the new vanguard offered here by Supreme, chitchat briefly before Tyshawn Jones slides down his pants and bends over a Citi bike in pursuit of a clandestine whiz, while Nakel Smith runs, jumps on his board and gaps out to a beefy feeble grind, thereafter cheered from nearby benches by among others a pigtailed Alex Olson, apparently mid-cell phone call. Elsewhere the vid meanders through apartmentsful of idle kids, a fistfight, adolescent come-ons, an irate vagrant shouting and slapping himself repeatedly in the face and again Alex Olson, heated and manhandling an oldster who ignores a plea to scoot himself off a prized spot.

Alex Olson, who maintains one of industry’s more transparent pro regimes, recently broke down the episode and expressed some remorse, in what’s probably a reasonable manner for a subculture that is currently fumbling its way toward a place that has room for gay and transgender participants and even former rollerbladers. In some ways Olson’s Tumblr mea culpa was a far cry from the comparatively more sterilized walking-back statement that Nyjah Huston disseminated after his remarks that girls shouldn’t skate courted a certain amount of PC backlash. One could argue that for Alex Olson, who maintains his own sponsorship ties to international corporate concerns, the stakes were similar to whatever Nyjah Huston may have believed he faced, given that Alex Olson’s former Nike coworker Peter Hewitt was reportedly booted from his position for recounting a graphic and similarly un-PC poop scenario in an interview.

Dylan Rieder, who shares billing with Alex Olson to open the third act of ‘Cherry,’ ponders the conventional-wisdom concern with regard to ‘big’ companies’ intentions in skateboarding in an interview in this month’s TSM, namely, that said big companies may be fairweather profiteers that duck out the back door at the first sign of an early-90s style collapse:

”I appreciate everything Adidas and Nike do for skateboarding, and they pay some of these dudes really good money where they’ll be retiring off it, but how long is that going to last? They’re going to be in skateboarding until skateboarding is not cool anymore and then what is it?”

Alex Olson and “Cherry” impresario Bill Strobeck can speak from some experience here, given how Quiksilver’s abrupt exit from the skateboard-threads program freed both up to work on Supreme’s vid. The track record though suggests that the recent economic typhoon engulfing the industry has sunk more skateboarder-run ships, ranging from DVS’ bankruptcy, Es shoes’ apparent hibernation, the diminished status of players such as Adio, Ipath, Elwood, Vox, Circa, etc. (It can be debated elsewhere whether Gravis, whose skateboard footwear effort also is defunct, counts as an “independent” shoe outfit.)

Dylan Rieder’s shoe boss Keith Hufnagel, in a separate recent interview, ponders a more interesting question: Rather than exiting when times get tight, what if the big ones instead remain and consolidate their position, strengthening their hands for when economic sunrays again deign to shine on the biz and expanding their status as content/cultural gatekeepers?

“Yes, there are some pros these days that are able to make a great living off skateboarding, which is amazing, but it’s a sad day for skateboarding when skateboard footwear and the industry in general is becoming more and more controlled by these big corporate companies. The more accepted these big corporations become in skateboarding, the harder it is for the smaller, independent brands to compete and maintain a voice, which unfortunately results in the corporations having a large influence on the direction and shape of skateboarding.

…When skateboarders get kicked off teams for smoking weed, getting too drunk or just doing one stupid thing, then things have changed. With skateboarding becoming so commercialized, there are sacrifices to be made on both ends. The big companies have to realize what subculture they have gotten involved with and deal with everything that comes along with it. But skateboarding has also changed as it has become more mainstream. For better or for worse it’s just not what it was before. This discussion is for the older crew and maybe some of the young guys, but I don’t think most people care anymore or even understand.”

One could ponder whether Supreme, wielding its renowned reputation as a vibe-heavy tastemaker, played a meaningful part in Nike’s third and successful attempt to develop a “skate footprint,” paving the way for various of its multinational rivals to follow suit and wage blistering combat for shoe-wall real eatate and market shares? It’s debatable, similar in fashion to the true origin of time itself, but it’s interesting to look at the unvarnished street scenes afoot in “Cherry” from this perspective, especially since it isn’t like Supreme had to do a video, much less what will for sure be one of the great ones of the year that lingers over the raw and illegal, same as “Sabotage3,” the House video and so on.

Will “Cherry” inspire a shop-video dynasty in the pattern of the hallowed FTC vids? Has Bill Strobeck achieved the to-date pinnacle of HD skate videomaking? What cards may Anthony Pappalardo have yet up his sleeve? Who will be the first to lampoon the inset image with something like a grinning Fred Gall in place of Camille Row? Is Fucking Awesome off the hook as far as videos go for a minimum of four or five years?