Posts Tagged ‘Jeremy Klein’

Bring Hither the Fatted Calf and Kill It

February 13, 2016

how_now_apocalypse_now_cow

As the blind oracles foretold, Lennie Kirk is proving to be the guiding touchstone for skateboarding in 2016, with his devotion to hammer-handy fish multiplier Jesus Christ’s ’33 resuscitation and Lennie Kirk’s own unlikely rise from beneath that Pac-Bell van foreshadowing the timely return of top-shelf talents to the turbulent and beery pool that is skating in 2016.

Paul Rodriguez, he of the multi-sponsor fitted and long-distance switch 360 flips, already rolled away the stone and commanded the grave-cloths removed from the pro career of French double-flip enthusiast Bastien Salabanzi. With the Christian season of Lent upon us, Paul Rodriguez would play at the Lazarus legend again, this time bringing out onetime fellow City Star Devine Calloway for what by some poorly considered blog webpages’ count would be his third go-round with the skate biz, after his initial City Star twinkle, his Chocolate grown-up resurfacing some years later and post-‘Pretty Sweet’ bonus footage low profile. Nothing’s changed, it would seem, and besides his apparently mostly successful kicking of a costly New Era habit, he could’ve popped out the fakie flip 5-0 and that Crisco-smooth bigspin immediately following his still-impressive TWS part nearly a decade back.

Days later on the other coast, long-lost Tompkins wunderkind Yaje Popson officially moved his 64-Crayola wardrobe into Alien Workshop’s radiation-proof geodesic dome, itself recently restored to life via Rob Dyrdek’s Street League and television show dollarydoos. Despite what sounded like dual knee injuries, a somewhat dispiriting parting of ways with the Crailtap camp amid the heightened and heated ‘Pretty Sweet’ filming campaign, and the bucolic pleasures of small-city life in Brazil, Yaje Popson’s tricks remain super on point (switch backside smith grind, that pyramid ledge trick) and as suited as any to the worthwhile project that is refurbishing the Sovereign Sect, though maybe a little bit less surprising than Devine Calloway’s rebound given last year’s Sk8Rats turn and how he plainly spoke of missing it all. A TWS interview promises heavier hitting yet to come.

The limited economic prospects, increasingly crowded competition for unique eyeballs and impressions, and ever-present risk cocktail of age and injury raises questions around the logic of gone-once pros and bros returning for further bites of the industry cherry. Yet return they do, from Tom Penny’s bleary trip back in ‘Sorry’ to Guy Mariano’s wristguarded tech triumph in ‘Fully Flared’, the Muska’s single-gloved victory lap with Element, Christian Hosoi’s post-prison bid adventures, Supreme’s Paulo Diaz exhumation, and the extended post-Shorty’s go-rounds enabled by Sk8Mafia. More curiouser may be how such prodigal sons typically not just are welcomed but cheered back — witness last year’s outpouring of support after Kevin Spanky Long’s return journey to Baker put him again astride a pro board and back in the proverbial van.

Is the skate sphere unique in its tolerance for such wilderness years, spent consuming substances, recovering from blown-out joints, pursuing alternate careers or raising families? In the parlance of major-league team sports, comebacks usually are intra-game affairs, with some allowance for those rare talents drawing sufficient investment to bide a season or more in physical therapy, but clawing one’s way back into the professional universe after years away seems a rarer feat still, whether fueled by Kenny Powers-level moxie or some other chemical reaction. But even with a decade or more off magazine pages, digital video discs and relevant social media mobile networks, it’s difficult to imagine an increasingly fragmented and nostalgia-shaped boarding industry turning its collective nose up if long-faded lords like Sean Sheffey, Alex Gall, Scott Kane, Mike Maldonado, Billy Valdes, Pat Channita, Tim O’Connor, Jon West, Ted de Gros, or Gideon Choi turned up with a video part approaching their respective primes and the gumption to keep at it.

Does skating’s willingness and seeming zeal to re-embrace its wandering prodigals flow from the same spiritual mountain spring that nurtures tendencies to stockpile decks skated beyond any reasonable use, pack grocery-store boxes full of even lean-year Transworlds, and scour Ebay auctions to expensively recapture some spark first kindled in a long-lost CCS catalogue? As skating is lassoed, saddled, broken and eventually led head-down and besequined into that great Olympic rodeo, replete with floodlights and sad clowns, will lapsed pros resurface more often or must all spare dollarydoos shower down upon the podium-bound few? Has the YouTube age made it harder or easier for pros to recatapult dormant careers? Is Brian Wenning at Love Park right now? Yall saw Jeremy Klein’s kickflip bench stall in the Greco movie right?

Advertisements

You Won’t Have Heath Kirchart To Kick Around Anymore, Except Maybe On His Bicycling Blog

October 21, 2010

Hushed whispers and anxious talk these past weeks that California’s Heath Kirchart may have won skateboarding. Whether such a thing is possible, or even within the tremb-ly bounds of reality, matters little to them who speak of web-winged horrors in the night and terrible, elder gods whose names are better lost to fabled memory. We find ourselves confronting a post-‘Stay Gold’ gap that fits like an abyss and is that much more perplexing for its almost welcome appearance.

It’s maybe wrong to say Heath Kirchart went out “on top” as he didn’t really wear the hungry contender hat — Rob Welsh once notoriously described himself as your favorite skater’s favorite skater, and probably that isn’t really the right hat to put on Kirchart either, but maybe something closer to your favorite skater’s most feared specter. His shadow was a long one, stretched by negative vibes, bushes-hiding and the occasional bout of physical violence, and it will grow with time. And perhaps the completion of certain American biking challenges.

So maybe better to say he left* on his own terms, though the Kirchart of the Thrasher interview might try and argue the point — saying more like forced out by tougher competition or something. But compared to a slow, five-year slide through fourth- and fifth-tier shoe sponsors and cashing elastic cable accessory checks, it could have been much less dignified. And it was without a blaze of sour grapes, or grabbing for some Hollywood brass ring, as interesting as that concept may have been.

Possible knocks on Heath Kirchart: A Career On Four Wheels? With counter-knocks
-Skated for Birdhouse during the height of the cartoon graphic/Tony Hawk deification era
—Was in “The End,” among the best 90s videos; damaged property and lit fires with future “Hater’s Ball” honoree Jeremy Klein; ate shit skating a bus stop

-For much of his tenure, a “handrail skater”
—Unless I’m wrong, was the first dude to backside noseblunt such a handrail; christened El Toro; that lipslide shove-it from the Foundation vid

-Turned in a half-dozen tricks for his last video “part”
—Jumped the mega-ramp/set a higher bar for “street dudes” taking the plunge; told everybody they could stop paying him afterward

Others?

*Barring a comeback, which would inevitably bring comparisons to Jereme Rogers which nobody wants

And to everything, turn turn turn

June 6, 2008




Seems weird that there’s this big pro-board shuffle right smack between the ASR’s, but what the fuck right? Summer’s here. Time for the young bucks to live it up while they’re young, time for old dudes like Klein to have their “Summer of Klein” complete with cheese block and fridge chair before… well I guess before going back to the same shit he’s been doing for these past 10 years that hasn’t really involved much skating.

The big news of course was at Girl, where every day’s a party in this post “Fully Flared” era. They throw you a surprise shindig for getting on the team, Guy Mariano skates with you all the time, and you get to go on vacation with Frank Gerwer. I mean, Jesus Christ. So what to do, what to do, with three super-ams that are no doubt getting offers left and right, two of them already opting for bigger shoe paychecks, all fresh off video parts… bite the bullet and turn em all pro at once I suppose. Kareem, in his infinite wisdom, pulled the same shit with P-rod and Mikey Taylor, if you’ll recall, and they were kind enough to sell a few City Stars boards before jumping ship. So hopefully everybody over at the Crailtap camp enjoys the hugs and rainbows while they last.

Turning in his pro board is Jeremy Klein, and let me tell you, this news shocked me to the core. For a few years there I was mad that Klein still had a board out. “He’s milking it!” I would seethe to myself late at night, fingers clutched tight around some issue of TWS. And it was true! How many years did he ride that terrible “Destroying America” video, which stretched his and Heath’s brilliant “The End” part to an interminable length? And he barely skated in that. Now, I understand he’s got a part in the Birdhouse video that came out last fall, which I haven’t seen because nobody saw it. (Quote from Tony Hawk at the premiere: “We’re still here.”) Which is partly why it’s such a surprise, this retirement. You’d think with a new video part, he’d have justification to keep his board on shelves for another five years, at least. And shit, he didn’t even need justification. If Jeremy Klein, your favorite asshole pro’s favorite asshole pro, can’t milk a video part for 10-plus years, who can? In a way, I gained far more respect for Klein in the last few years than I ever had for him when he was ripping in the early 90s, simply because he was pushing the envelope so much further than anyone else in terms of keeping his career running on fumes.

Anyway. At DLX there’s rumblings of Van Wastell getting a board this fall, which is kind of overdue in a Pappalardo-Wenning sort of way, when you look at Bobby Worrest. I mean, I’m a big Worrest fan, but I can see why a Van Wastell fan would be bummed that it’s taken so long for the dude to get the pro nod. In sadder news it appears Flip may retire Ali’s board next fall. I won’t moralize on that one, other than to point out that Flip had Penny’s back through all those years in the wilderness, but nothing’s certain yet I suppose. Flip site says Boulala’s up for parole in two years, at which point he’ll hopefully be back in some kind of skating form. In the meantime, here’s what I imagine Australian prison is like.

Addendum: Here’s Alex Olson’s part in “Gnar Gnar” which to me is still the best shit he’s put out.