Posts Tagged ‘Josh Kalis’

Ishod Wair, Roaming Wide Open Spaces Of Brick And Leaf

October 8, 2012

Next to Luy-Pa Sin, JB Gillett, Bastien Salabanzi and Henning Braaten, the hot shoes of Lordz Wheels’ 2004 production “They Don’t Give A Fuck About Us” shared billing with this pretty dizzying array of amazing spots that a lot of us in the US had yet to see at the time, when the domestic pro wave had at that point fully crashed into Barcelona and France but had yet to wash over the rest of the continent. Situated amongst the rickety handrails and cluttered run-ups that you’d come to associate with old-world skating was a whole smorgasbord of expansive, new-looking plazas drenched with marble and strewn about with all manner of ledges and steps and banks and wedges. At various times it was almost like it didn’t matter which dude was pushing through or what he was up to exactly, you could sit back and let your imagination go.

Into the annals of spot pr0n now comes Ishod Wair, human American, pictured above tooling through this carnival of brick that reportedly can be found in Hamburg, Germany. Some time back we linked up an old Tom Penny section that amounted to a couple one-off tricks in a skatepark and then one long, meandering line down a street on a sunny afternoon, with some commentary stapled onto it to the effect that such a line summed up certain shit about the appeal of this beloved action sport. The spot in the Ishod Wair clip gets to some of those ideas in the same way as the great ‘plazas’ of yesteryear, like the Santa Monica Courthouse, EMB, Pier 7, Love Park, Sants station and so on — these big blank canvasses where a dude, possibly feeling his oats, could pull trick after trick until his batteries give out like Mike Carroll in “Goldfish” or he runs out of space like Josh Kalis. No need to X off rail or gap tricks from a finite list and enough room on the benches over to the side for cultural spillover, this is where Josh Kalis’ “organic” tricks can be sewn. Extra bonus points awarded to Ishod Wair here for inserting a flatground kickflip into the mix here, no sweat.

Upgrading To ‘Conviction Buy’

May 13, 2011

Wound down the evening tonight skipping through EST 4 for a long-lost Josh Kalis line at Philadelphia city hall that ends in a switch b/s lipslide down a fabricated handrail. Eventually found it and clicked back to watch it a couple more times before letting it play through and then confronting this. Blinked a few times, wasn’t sure how to respond. Still not sure to be honest

Josh Kalis: The Sentamentalist

April 9, 2011

Not sure how many folks celebrate or even remember Black Label’s Jim Gagne, a blue collar street-and-transition man known to pack a keg into the back of a truck to ratchet up the awesome factor in a given session. Don’t necessarily recall tricks in particular but the dude always got a thumbs up on general principle because of how he saw and embraced his “small-town mentality,” as per an old interview in Thrasher that detailed the keg scenario. It was not on the level of a Fred Gall interview but pretty close.

Around that same time Josh Kalis was gathering momentum for what would be a decade-long run of pretty much unparalleled video/photo coverage, arguably peaking with the “Photosynthesis” video section, pretty much every trick difficult and snappy and done well at eye-pleasing spots and sometimes in swishy pants. Like the coyote or famous zebra mussel he has proven able to acclimate to and thrive in the most metro of zones across New York, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Barcelona, as detailed in mostly chronological year-order over a recent “Epicly Laterd” broadcast. Probably you wouldn’t call 200,000-person Grand Rapids, MI a one-horse town but by comparison you maybe wonder if Kalis is on some level the same sort of small-town sentimental type as Jim Gagne.

Case in point, the sepia toned recollections of Love Park days gone by in the “Laterd” and revelations of how Kalis has since chased the meetup-spot vibe to other venues with what sound like gradually diminishing results. In the Toy Machine Thrasher that’s out now he discusses the Embarcadero era.

When you watch a video part with those guys, you see them slapping fives with everyone and having fun. I loved that time when you could just be all together at a spot, egging each other on. Everyone’s feeding off each other. Nobody wants to punk out, ’cause their friends over here might make fun of them. I like that stuff.

Kalis believes the organic vibe of a session bleeds through into whatever photos or footage wind up getting produced in between the smoked cigarettes and cracked jokes and musings on theoretical physics traded with local hobos. As per the “Laterd,” Kalis values honesty both in terms of how tricks come to pass and what’s presented in any finished product, opting to put forth the last year’s travels and daily routines as opposed to stacking DV tapes in a garage somewheres.

Kinda worried about Kalis, not because this all isn’t a worthy effort that other dudes could/maybe should follow. Concerned though that we’re seeing a cowboy slowly fenced in. Hassles from the man plus proliferation of skateparks times glorification of private warehouse training facilities makes me wonder how many organic scene/spots are bound to be left in five/ten/forty years, if Kalis is holding to the phantom of a dying vibe or some equally chilling concept. Wonder if the torch he’s carrying is going out, or turning into a plastic flashlight, or maybe even a more bizarre and ominous analogy like it’s actually the headlamp of an oncoming train and the Mayans were right and we shouldn’t really be worrying about any of this.

Sorta related to all this, wonder whether the question Kalis raises with regard to what footage inspires him (or vice versa) points back to all those dudes occupying benches and taking mounting hardware off broken boards and rolling joints in the handful of seconds before or after a trick goes down on the screen–like whether a video clip’s improved by its background noise, the suggestion of good times being had in the sun at some ledges around the corner and how it plays off all the potential inside the deck/trucks/wheels setup and even the street in front of your house. Stopping here before we hit Marc Johnson in “Operandi” mode.

Joe Krolick Chases Away This Blog-Site’s Case Of The Mondays

January 24, 2011

The burgeoning web 3.0 endeavor “Already Been Done” nets a gimme mention on our web-space today by posting up some 411 industry section-era Josh Kalis footage that has the Love Park ledges, DC Lynx and wind pants you might expect, but also spices things up some with a few lesser-used arrows from the Kalis quiver (switch frontside crooked grind, reverse Pupecki) and some of that urban camo with the dark red blotches. A cursory search of Wikipedia’s camoflague page has revealed little as to the technical name of this camo persuasion. If anybody (such as the camo professors of Quartersnacks maybe) should know the identity of the black/white/dark gray/dark red camouflage pattern please chime in below so I can avoid looking so silly next time some good footage pops up that somehow incorporates this pattern.

Fat Lady Sings

September 22, 2009

kalisstevie
Techneat

Well, I suppose we’re obligated to ramble on a little bit more on the Kalis/DGK/Alien situation, but believe it or not, I’m kind of at a loss* since this whole deal seems like it should be a bigger issue than it is. Maybe it’s team-hop hangover from Koston-Nike, or maybe it’s like Kalis himself implied in the EXPN interview – he saw it coming, Alien saw it coming, nobody was too broken up over the whole thing. There is a vague end-of-an-era feeling I guess, but AWS has moved a space pun-worthy light year or two from where they were back in 1995 (throwback graphics notwithstanding), whereas Kalis, bless his heart, hasn’t changed his approach too much (brown cords and Rolling Stones notwithstanding).

There’s been talk of unused Spanish footage collecting dust on Greg Hunt’s cutting room floor, the stunted career ambitions of one Marquise Henry**, and the increasingly divergent path of Alien Workshop from its hallowed backpack rap roots, which was one of the things that perhaps made Kalis a more interesting part of the mix in “Mind Field” than “Photo” and for sure “Time Code.” Is it ‘better’ that Josh Kalis reclaim his gold link-wearing past and steer clear of stretch denim and coloured-frame Wayfarers, probably yes. It is a bit sad though, since one of AWS’s great strengths was bridging the gap between the weird, cerebral shit the Ohio brain-trust had going on, and the dudes cracking tricks and fighting bums in the piss and dirt at the Brooklyn Banks. I thought Josh Kalis’s section in “Mind Field” was one of the proverbial fresh-air breaths with its abrasive rap music and baggy jeans, but as long as they hold onto Jake Johnson and Grant Taylor, they should be good riding the Dyrdek/Berra reality TV revenue into Jake Burton’s good graces.

As far as DGK goes we’ll stick with yesterday’s headline, in that there are far cheesier and more cold-blooded mercenary moves to be made than joining an old buddy and putting your remaining video footage and photo output toward promoting an independent outfit. Despite coming up in the golden age of profiling Kalis has never really stopped producing, and DGK could probably benefit from his focus as they gear up for a new video. You know Stevie Williams in particular is psyched to have him on. Old compadres back in the saddle again, etc, plus reports have the DGK chieftan forgoing his next multi-zero shoe deal in favor of filming the best section of his career, a tall order on or off Philadelphia public space.

Far more interesting than any of this is that Jackson Curtain is rumored to be sitting on an alleged 30+ minutes of video footage for the DGK project, raising the possibility of a Marc Johnson-esque reign of terror set to a suite of Just Blaze instrumentals… or maybe a Daniel Dumile approach that would see him parcel out multiple parts over the course of a year in a bid for SOTY status or Nike pro shoedom.

*I know, I know
**who’s good and all but should thank his stars he has powerful people watching out for him

Hey, At Least It Wasn’t Plan B

September 21, 2009

dgkalis

Am I right, guys

This Is Our Land/We Got A Right

March 5, 2009

Oh you better believe this is required viewing around these parts. I wonder what else he’s got.

Nants Ingonyama Bagithi Baba

February 13, 2009


What happened to that boy

As Sir Elton John famously sang through the mouth of an orphaned cartoon lion, the circle of life is evident in all things, even or perhaps especially the Alien Workshop skate video. New careers are launched, even as others film a handful of low-impact ledge lines on their way toward that inevitable twilight. We could jawbone about professional obligations and numerically stack pro model shoes against tricks in the video, but that won’t get us any further than a Brian Wenning alphabet ledge trick (to keep it vintage DNA for ya’ll) so let’s focus on some of the “Mind Field” veterans who, ahem, showed up for work.

In Jason Dill of course we have somebody who’s been in the skateboarding business for about two-thirds of his life and has actively given a shit about his contribution to the whole ball of wax for at least half that time, if not longer, little shit status notwithstanding. He cares to the point of calling people out on shit that the rest of us would probably let slide, or at least silently simmer until some drunken industry function spills onto a post-bartime sidewalk; he seems to have a very definite idea of what skateboarding can be and puts no small amount of consideration into what he does, how he does it and when. Whether it’s lifestyle factors or some new less-is-more inclination (which I can get down with to some extent) Jason Dill’s video parts and coverage in general have gotten more spare in the last few years, putting whatever tricks he has into sharper relief – I think I like his “Mind Field” part better than his shit in the DVS video, if nothing else because there a noticeable absence of Cass McCombs droning, but also due to the fact that he seems like he was going for it a little more on this one. Clarity of vision, or the whole trying-harder-for-the-Alien-dudes thing. Lots of feeble grinds in uncomfortable places, updating the Photo-era 180 to 5-0 sequences to contemporary abrupt transition spots* and generally weirding up Pappalardo’s non-Flare minimalism. I want to believe there’s some deeper symbolism behind letting the phone float away at the end of the section. Something to do with Chris Carter taping him, right? Or maybe he lost his phone?

For Josh Kalis it seems simpler – he’s laid out his philosophy of professional-grade skating several times, likening it to a ladder, or staircase to heaven, or, god help us, a 12-step program. First you get the flow… then you get the pro board… then you get the women. Or, shoe deal. Pro model shoe. Video game. Reality show (or not). Like that. Learn new tricks along the way, take the tricks you know to different spots, do them faster. Not real complex. At this late stage in the game Kalis probably could get over cycling through tricks from parts that Kids Today haven’t even seen (kickflip noseblunt/411 Alien industry section, frontside flip nosegrind/411, switch backside noseblunt/”Sixth Sense”) peppered with the usual 360 flips, switch backside tailslides and so on, but darn it if he doesn’t keep on trying. He’s been talking up the possibilities of the bigspin for years but really pushes it in “Mind Field,” with fairly dazzling results, and when he turns up the heat after Marquise Henry’s cameo the general badassness of the entire affair makes it easier to overlook how some of his tricks don’t flip as fast as they once did, and how the classic eagle swoop form is missing more often than not. But with all the bigspin tricks, the taller-than-a-building switch backside flip, the 360 flip off the Barcelona bump, this might be the best Kalis part of the white cap era. And he’ll have more of course.

Anthony Van Engelen, I have no clue whether he thinks in these terms or not – you want to think his skating is totally visceral and from the gut, the way it translates on video, an idea (or not) and then a full-speed charge. But who knows. He does seem to have gone through some shit during his years in the wilderness, so maybe he’s been plotting, but his new voracious appetite for big rails and off-the-wall tricks (I’m thinking like the fakie f/s 50-50, and the spin-around ledge stuff) kind of seems like he’s shooting first and asking questions later when it comes to mapping this stuff out. I’m not sure if this time around quite matches the platinum standard AVE set with his blazing debut in “Photosynthesis” or the refined and elevated “DC Video” part, time will be the judge I guess, but it’s awesome to see him so hungry again. Depending on the day, this is one of my favorite three parts in the video. That fuckin’ switch frontside noseslide. Ollies straight onto rails = the new nosegrind pop-outs.

*I enjoy the phrase “abrupt transition” and plan to use it often – thanks Deer Man of Dark Woods

From The Muddy Banks Of The Great Gray-Green Greasy Limpopo River

February 3, 2009


All set about with fever trees

I would like to begin this week by welcoming back one of my favorite shoe color schemes of years past, the gray/white/black/dark green combo that I personally trace back to the first run of the original Kalis model on DC, released in 2000 or so.* (Try as I may, Google turns up nothing helpful and unlike certain Canadian blogs I don’t have vast expanses of frozen tundra on which to stack boxes of old sneakers into fun igloo shapes.) Basically, the upper (?) was gray, with dark green detailing; the midsole (??) was white and the bottom of the sole was black. In a time of kaleidoscopic D3 color-feasts I remember marveling at the relative subtlety of the whole deal and, upon purchase and wear, even earned a personal thumbs up from the best skateboarder in town at the time. These were charmed days to be sure.

Anyhow, I got a very bizarre but also disturbingly welcome sense of skateboard shoe deja-vu when I spied this new color of Lakai Telfords on deck for release sometime this year (below), and only a month or so later saw a pair of Adio shoes (above) in Thrasher that tapped pretty much the same palette.

Now, I thought I saw a similar color of Etnies Raps somewhere recently, which would make this color a certified trend and also certify me as a footwear trendspotter, all but assuring my escape from WordPress skid row and onto one of those street fashion websites that Lupe Fiasco or the Cool Kids name-check in their conscious-but-not-really-conscious hip-hop songs. (I assume I also would get rich at a certain point.)

*Probably the idea predates this, but I haven’t any clue at all.

American Apparel

December 10, 2008

In skateboarding’s post-2000 pants sweepstakes, Kalis in brown cords has to be some kind of milestone. Pitch-perfect switch smith grind from the new Transworld, which has a lot of good photos, including one that sooner or later will likely end up poached for the header of this page. Try and guess which one. Alien video less than two months away…