Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Bradley’

A New Gilded Age For Skate Videos

December 2, 2018

There is more hugging in the new Supreme vid than you might think. A heartfelt Tyshawn Jones embrace features in promotional posters tucked into Thrasher and plastered across New York City in the run-up to the billion-dollar streetwear barony’s new full-length, emphasis on the full. Bloby pickup Kevin Rodrigues collects three after one clip, Sean Pablo rolls straight into a businesslike squeeze after successfully stepping to a backside lipslide on the Jake Johnson rail, and Sage Elsesser appears to willingly accept the outstretched arms of Andy Roy. Dudes sitting and watching tricks hug. ‘Blessed,’ which surpasses President Trump’s most-recent State of the Union address in length, freely ladles out the love: These young men bound by the red box-logo are older, better and seemingly tighter than ever, drawn close by their good fortune, high-value boxes, and a tinge of tragedy. Each heavy clip, many slathered in slow-mo, culminates in relief in the trick conquered, exaltation in the accomplishment, and joy in bro-dom. Bill Strobeck’s title, obligatory quotation marks included, says it all.*

This universe is a far cry from headbutts dealt to uppity sneakerheads, but going strictly off the skating, ‘Blessed’ justifies its celebratory vibes. Ben Kadow, he of the thousand-yard stare and latent disgruntlement, hurls himself onto rails and electrical boxes out the gate, but even he eventually succumbs to a satisfied grin by the time he chews through a couple boards on a jagged crescent-shaped lipslide. Rowan Zorilla, who still looks odd decked out in Supreme gear, delivers off-kilter jaw-slackeners including a China Banks nollie flip, another wallie noseblunt for the 2018 tally, and a how-the-fuck nose manual wallride. Sage Elsesser steps to Pulaski’s dishes from another, lower level; Kevin Bradley presses pause on his piling-out campaign to throw a beautiful over-bin heelflip and huck at the Brooklyn Banks. Splindly Blue Steel-worker Sean Pablo flicks a rather mean backside flip to fakie 5-0 at the bank-to-hubba spot while a new generation of tween onlookers man the fence, and elsewhere gets unexpectedly gnarly, backside lipsliding the Jake Johnson rail and taking a picture-perfect line down a three stack under security duress. For goodness’ sake, Na’kel Smith makes slamming look fun.

It is Tyshawn Jones, however, whose curtain-dropper asserts a measure of severity and awe, turning in what must be the heaviest east coast video part since Jake Johnson tore down walls in ‘Mindfield.’ It’s just a handful of clips here that wouldn’t stand as enders for other, lesser pros, and some whose like hasn’t much been seen before — the switch backside 360 over the can, say, or the enormously lofted fakie float over the bar. Bill Strobeck’s lingering and oft-zoomy lens soaks in the pain, struggle and eventual euphoria permeating the last few tricks, and it’s hard to turn ‘Blessed’ off without the feeling that Tyshawn Jones has changed the conversation at some level. (And then there’s the nollie flip.)

The onetime Fat Bill evolved out of the primordial VX-toting ooze to become one of the relatively few videomaking iconoclasts out there, with a fairly set group of muses, a much-derided/much-copied style, and legit classics to his resume. Surely ‘Blessed’ applies to its editor/director as much as any of his leading dudes, and he is savoring their shared moment — but at 84 minutes, he overextends himself, and there are points where ‘Blessed’ drags despite its adherence to a more classical part-part-part structure. Despite all its montages and occasional interludes, ‘Cherry’ kept things moving for a fairly brisk 40 minutes. Here, you’re watching screwed footage of Ben Kadow on a light-up wheeled cruiser for 40 seconds, or waiting as la smoke curls for the duration of Jason Dill’s ‘Trilogy’ part. There’s a lengthy EMB session capturing the crew’s chemistry, but it gets you wondering whether Bill Strobeck’s real aim is to memorialize and immortalize two years of these Supreme kids collectively ‘in the window,’ traveling the world, wearing expensive clothing pieces, and living their best lifes before the vagaries of adulthood encroach — versus constructing a more functional, digestable skate video. His filming, reliably aped here and there by Johnny Wilson, in some cases only obscures any perspective of the trick or spot at hand. There are Madinna and Motley Crue singles, incongruously.

Wave aside for a moment though what ‘Blessed’ is, or is not, and instead slow-mo pan across what it says — at a time when Instagram, Youtube and other FAANG-funded suspects are meant to have brutalized attention spans and left the full-length skate video for dead, we arrive at the end of 2018 with a bushelful of projects, some ranking among the decade’s most vital. Quasi, Polar, Bronze, GX1000, Element, Foundation, Primitive, Alltimers, Cons, Vans, Girl and Transworld all put out meaty and worthwhile video releases this year; even Etnies saw fit to offer its first in 23 years. The bloat of ‘Blessed’ itself can be celebrated, in that its frenetically collabing, billion-dollar benefactors believe in not just the concept of an hour-plus vid but will support the dude with the vision. Years after ‘Pretty Sweet,’ ‘Stay Gold,’ ‘Fully Flared’ and other big-ticket productions were declared in sotto vice to variously be ‘tha last video ever,’ a bumper crop of great videos, worth revisiting as a whole or in parts — the opening Portland tear in ‘We Blew It,’ Jake Johnson’s uphill roof flip for Converse, Buggy Talls’ switch 180 manual impossible out on the big block in ‘Its Time,’ Jeff Carlyle’s vein-pumping arms-down descents in ‘Roll Up,’ etc — suggest a new gilded age of skate videos at hand.

With internet users reportedly cutting back on Facebook pokes and youngsters formulating fewer Tweets, is it too early to declare the World Wide Web ‘totally over’ and with it, mouldering and half-sensical blogging outlets? Would there have been more hugging in the GX video if dudes weren’t moving so fast? Does Sean Pablo’s extended middle finger segment suggest he’s embraced Richard D. James as his next stylistic touchstone? Will Bill Strobeck’s use of ‘Birthday Boy’ boost Ween sufficiently in the skate video music supervision power rankings such that kids next year will soundtrack IG clips to ‘Touch My Tooter’ and ‘Poop Ship Destroyer’?

*Also, weed

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?