Posts Tagged ‘kangaroo courts’

Josh Kalis Throws Himself Upon The Mercy Of The Camo Court

May 22, 2022

The great grit pendulum creaked further toward the Jersey industrial swamps this week, as Mark Suciu, he of the coffee cup and the dog-eared classic, was spotted on IG skating shirtless in a tropical ditch wearing camo pants. The digital video footage was notable, as even cynics no longer can cast such moves as so much Thrasher-pandering given Mark Suciu in 2022 is at last a SOTY laureate, suggesting something bigger is going on here. Do we head into this bold and burblesome summer of 2022, knowed to some as the dos-oh-deus-deus, with Mark Suciu a convert to the camo pants set? Only the mountains know, and some secrets they hold deep in their chilly, immobile embrace, like the legend of Shock G’s gold.

There can be little argument that this current epoch ranks as a kind of camouflage golden age. Freely available and often correctly spelled, the Rothco-or-white-labeled-equivalent camouflage cargo at once both a rank-and-file staple a la Dickies and Levis, and a reliably bankable premium product, regularly surfacing via collabo activities including but not limited to the likes of Huf, RealTree, MossyOak and Vans. Supreme has developed its own realistic camo prints, and Palace too.

The path of ‘the culture’ toward this place of diverse and varied camo patterns n’ prints has been a long and winding one since Matt Hensley podiumed the cargo short varietal in the late 1980s. Despite making appearances across the Brooklyn Banks, EMB, Love Park and Lockwood over the course of the 1990s, the camo pant frequently was sidelined at various points in favour of designer jeans, swishies, cords, and on certain feverish after-hours road trip stops, nothing at all. The road has also been potholed with wrongheaded choices, most notoriously Stephen Lawyer’s day-glo mash-ups that looked like something vomited up by a blotter-addled army surplus store.

All of these different things lead us to the unlikely scene of Josh Kalis, longtime endorser of DGK’s enlarged woodland print and one whose camo bonafides have been the subject of little question since at least ‘Time Code,’ preemptively asking his Instagram following this month to absolve him of what, in 2022, may nevertheless remain a camo faux pas to a decades-deep camo classicist. Donning a snow camo jacket, designed to help soldiers launch surprise attacks in frozen tundra environments, with traditional woodland printed pants, best suited to temperate deciduous forest combat or stylish hiking, Josh Kalis acknowledged the unconventional combo in the IG caption: “and yea.. I have woodland Camo pants and white urban Camo jacket on. Who cares.” The apparent transgression cannot outweigh the camouflage cred that Josh Kalis has banked since being among the few to successfully pull off snow camo shorts in the 1990s, though the textual shrug belies his (accurate) view that such a duo wouldn’t have flown back then.

Was Josh Kalis, seemingly throwing together whatever was around to turn wrenches on his beloved sports cars, in fact quietly testing the waters for a late-career bucking of long-held camo norms? Who’s gonna be the first to skate in ghillie pants? Has Stephen Lawyer, bored with pushing the dimensions and possibilities of camo combos, moved on to fashion prints and cartoon dinosaur scenes?

A Swiftly Tilting Planet

November 19, 2017

In the 1990s, when skateboarding grew old enough to cadge cigarettes and thrill to petty crime, power derived from personal networks. Such networks were built of blood and bodily tissue, pulsating to the sounds of East Coast rap tapes, testing slang proficiencies and stiff-arming those deemed not ‘with it’ enough to merit tribal admittance. Over time, as these fleshsome blobs ingested hard currency and heaved themselves into shapes resembling semi-functional business apparatuses, they drew the eye of larger, more heavily weaponed entities, and they fought one another for pride of place and insubstantial dollar figures. All the while, their squishy amoebic forms stiffened and sparked, hardening into circuits and coagulating around wifi hot spots.

It’s a story learned by many at a young age, laying down to sleep upon straw piles and inside comfortable caves with natural stalagmite transitions. But power these days is welded to influence, a sword toted only by a certain few — those who earn it through questing, and those bloodthirsty and wily enough to acquire it by force. And, it is always sharp.

Nowadays, ‘moments’ flit by more fleetingly than ever. In our current one, the largest and most fearsome blade of influence is wielded by the Ted Barrow-curated Instagram account ‘Feedback_TS.’ The outlet punches far above its 5,700-follower weight, drawing into its orbit street-skating GOATS who yearn to be down, style magnet pros fresh off this year’s front-running full-length, and countless droves of aspirant comer-uppers lured by those juicy twin carrots, momentary fame and internet validation.

@Feedback_TS is more than a despotic judge, jury and executioner baptized in ‘Trilogy’ and ‘Mouse’ trick selections with a firm grip on format and presentation. Ted Barrow is not a pro, notwithstanding a memorable part in 2005’s ‘Lurkers 2’ alongside Jason Dill and Charles Lamb. He doesn’t get money from the skate industry. Harsh judgement and unvarnished opinion sometimes are served up, but no meanness or bitterness. Similar to the largely self-directed Slap board thralls, to skatepark heroes and strivers and the occasional professional, it is told like it is. To an extent, @Feedback_TS embodies the info-age singularity that has turned the skate biz inside-out, as the internet provides the world’s double-set early grabbers a platform on par with annointed worthies such as switch backside co-practitioner Miles Silvas and loveable oldster Jeff Gosso. Here lie isolated meadows and abandoned box canyons for creatures such as Revive and New Jersey bodybuilding manual regulator Weckingball to mutate and thrive, independent of the well-worn cart tracks, gladhanding and favored bazaars of the established skateboard business. In this turbulent realm, retired blog proprietors function on the same level as Eric Koston.

Is the right analogue to @Feedback_TS that of a wizened older brother, or maybe more accurately that worldly, well-meaning but unapologetically subversive older neighbor who probably smokes drugs and for sure operates beyond the bounds of the established family hierarchy? Between Ted Barrow and the resurgent Brian Wenning, have we entered a head-spinning and somewhat demoralizing era where switch backside smith grind shove-its rank as ‘old guy tricks’? Does the growing influence amassed by this instagram account raise concerns that it has become systemically important, with any deletion or protracted absence leaving impressionable kids adrift and guardrail-less, while parents, significant others and non-skating ass roommates wonder what happened to the deadpan voice dispensing trick terminology and occasional bursts of art history from behind the bathroom door whilst the fan is going?