Posts Tagged ‘Lakai’

Pride Parade

February 27, 2015

TravisProblem

It’s 2015 and despite some generational turnover-style moulting, skateboarding has a lot to feel good about. Tony Hawk’s a millionaire several times over. Rodney Mullen is a snaggle-toothed guru of non-linear thought to Silicon Valley. We got Andy Roy gainfully employed and Fred Gall hitched. Even in the beleaguered independent board-and-shoe biz, growth prospects are good enough for capital formation to have graduated from loan sharks to the gaudily moneyed arena of private equity, placing the Flare and OG logo in good company with assorted interior design firms and taco retailers. The fat tail distribution of the skate-doc curve suggests that within several years’ time everyone who was pro in the 1980s will have had a movie made about them, prioritized somewhat by property-damage totals and conspiracy theorizing. There is a new Bronze vid.

Like a satisfied father, hoarse of voice after lustily screaming through the chain-link fence, watching his sponsorship-bound progeny trudge back up the park steps for another try at the kickflip frontside boardslide, skating seems to be feeling its oats and raring to tell the world — in press release form, as has become the industry’s customary form of communication besides Instagram. Graphical sock firm Stance and their shoe collaborators Vans seemed barely able to contain themselves recently, declaring themselves ‘honored’ to begin selling a group of socks colored to look like famous skateboards. “[A]s much as these legends have redefined skating, they have also reminded us to be true to ourselves,” Vans and Stance socks counseled shoppers.

Medieval theologian Pat Pasquale has been quoted warning that ‘inordinate self-love is the cause of every sin,’ but leave it to the skating biz to thumb nose and/or tail at even the highest of authorities, never mind those Mother Mary sleeves. With the Plan B video looming, Etnies last autumn proudly welcomed Chris Joslin, not long after those Sole Tech tourmates to be at Lakai proudly introduced Jon Sciano and the Fura shoe. Lakai also proudly launched the Spring 2014 Echelon collection, having earlier proudly announced Daniel Espinoza to the team and proudly introduced Vincent Alvarez’s shoe.

Just last month Paul Rodriguez’s Primitive skateboards proudly welcomed double Flip king Bastien Salabanzi, the same month Transworld was proud to grant a posthumous ‘legend’ award to Jay Adams, while Vox shoes proudly hired Victor Garibay and RVCA was proud to offer clothes designed by Elementeer Juian Davidson.

Things slowed down somewhat this month with Street League and SPOT contest supervisors proudly joining forces, and the water company Fred Water proud to sponsor Jamie Thomas and Tony Hawk, among others.

Who retains humility in these heady times? As ever it requires an injection of that fabled 1990s rawness, in this instance, taking the form of JNCO denim pants, those heavily stitched movables with the reliably ballooning seats. Emboldened by its own capital infusion, JNCO pants have reannounced themselves to the world while communicating its investors’ zest for selling unconstrained denim garments without using the word ‘proudly,’ setting an example of understated modesty and grace that other action sport concerns might well emulate.

“JNCO defined a way of life that pushed the limits, encouraged creativity and championed individuality creating the original lifestyle brand that became the foundation of the 90’s youth generation. Presently, the Journey of the Chosen Ones (JNCO) is guided by its main principle: “Challenge conventionalism. Explore the unfamiliar. Honor individuality.” Through this platform, JNCO aspires to bring together the chosen ones – a multitude of like-minded individuals with a shared passion for culture, sports and the arts, on a collective journey that will strengthen their position as the leaders of today’s society.”

TFW You Flip Through TWS and Out Pops a Rick Howard Photo

January 23, 2015

rickhowardpipe
…and the world’s troubles fade ever so briefly

10. Miles Silvas – Lakai Commercial

December 21, 2013


One of the risks in assembling an uber-team and producing an uber-video is that once these projects run their course, the group tends to splinter (see Plan B/’Questionable’-‘Virtual Reality,’ Es/’Menikmati’, Flip/’Sorry’-‘Really Sorry’)*. You could argue that some test of staying power lies in trading off the strength of the great project for the next set of dudes, so it’s been interesting watching Lakai make new acquisitions as they’ve ceded several Fully Flarees to international shoe purveyours. This Miles Silvas reminds me of the five-panel era Mark Suciu and his slate of moves is solid: arms on the backside noseblunt transfer, the rarely-seen backside ‘over-crook’ to backside 180 out, a pleasantly weird-looking flatground hardflip. Even saddled with an ass shot his switch heelflip is burly and the ride-away from the kickflip backside tailslide at the end (still a rail trick with mustard in 2013) rivals Jake Donnelly’s from the Real vid a couple years ago.

*Among the possible rationales for Plan B declining to release a video since its reformation.

Mastermind Behind These Teams With Green

July 11, 2013

Imagine you are Mike Carroll. You are beloved for your backside tailslides and feeble grinds. You appeared in “Questionable,” were the skater of a year and you sponsor the Gonz. The company you own with Spike Jonez just turned 20 and you are free to don oversized fuzzy hats when the mood strikes you.

It is a charmed life, and so you give back. You record footage, care for your pet and when possible, improve your employees’ lives, but this is the objective of any boss. The mystique and chest hairs of Mike Carroll are of the sort that can boost the morale of current and former staffers alike, and defuse a potential internet lynch mob with the stroke of several keys.

Six days ago, Marc Johnson revealed to the Chrome Ball Incident a disputed video part meant for inclusion in the “Bag of Suck” video by Tilt Mode compadres Enjoi, but withheld following objections from Crailtap’s then lensman Ty Evans, concerned with focusing all planetary energies on completing the Lakai vid. Marc Johnson five years later still harbours bad feelings about the episode, a Slap board rebuttal on behalf of Ty Evans suggested there was more to the story, and meanwhile messageboard pitchforks and torches were gathered.

Then the weekend rolls around and Carroll shakes loose a few moments to to go onto Instagram to ease Marc Johnson’s troubled mind, absolve Ty Evans of alleged memory hole stuffing and ignite joy among the general populace:

Does this type of internet power maneuver jump Mike Carroll to the pole position in the race for TWS Business’ coveted BOTY award? Did this episode have the internet going nuts? is Nick Trapasso still technically an am boss while Carroll is a seasoned pro?

2. Vincent Alvarez – “Hard Times But Good Times”

December 31, 2012

Lines are some dudes’ friends and a natural enemy to others, meaning that during the space between tricks you get to see the subject navigate the board, push, potentially tug at his trousers or swivel his shoes to get set up for the coming gap, ledge, rail or come what may. Vincent Alvarez is one of those dudes where a healthy chunk of the appeal is absent without the swerve of his trucks, like in the run here that starts with the switch bluntslide, or the switchstance slalom between the cars. Vincent Alvarez skates fast and loose and sometimes like he’s flailing to hang on, and some of these tricks here like the switch frontside bigspin wallride and the hasty follow after the nollie flip into the bank are presented with all their rough edges intact, backed by a meandering jazz tune. A lot of this footage reportedly is drawn from the years around when he got onto Chocolate and filming with buddies afterwards, and to me what elevates this part is how you can see that this is a dude running his own roster of tricks, zooming around some well-traveled labyrinth of alleyways and ditches, facing down traffic and big hills. It is one of the shortest eight-minute parts ever.

A Brief Interruption To Our Annual Year-End Programming Because Anthony Pappalardo Gave This Rather Frank Interview On 48 Blocks Today

December 28, 2012

pappalardo_pizza

It was a curious thing to observe the responses when, a couple weeks ago, you had in New Balance the umpteenth major-league footwear company announcing its late entry into the SB club. Time was, a couple pros would cobble together some investment group and foist upon the beleaguered consumership some new truck company or shoe company and be met with a round of harrumphs and annoyed sighs, whereas lately an entry one by one of the multinational shoe companies tends to get a subset of the culture atwitter over the prospect of being catered to with theoretically better technology and construction backing another vulcanized, low-top sneaker bearing a logo recognizable to principals, moms, the captain of the football team, etc.

Curiouser has been the justification offered up for backing new corporate competitors, usually centered on allegedly poor quality of the shoes manufactured under skater-owned outfits. When it comes to the extremely basic designs that have generally forced some equilibrium across the shoe landscape and the fixation on suede, canvas or leather as the material, quality seems like a red herring, but that may be just me. What seemed gnarly was a certain willingness (in some cases eagerness) to reject the “grassroots” players that, whatever their warts, are our own creations in favor of these larger and more powerful entities that until 10 years ago were not much thought of, except for some disdain when it came to various hamfisted efforts to push their products. At this point we part ways from veering into another circular referendum on Nike versus the Don’t Do It movement.

Now we have a telling from Anthony Pappalardo, to 48 Blocks, on how he was allegedly fucked over by Converse, which wooed him away from Lakai despite his apparent misgivings, made him a pro-model shoe and then abruptly shifted into some bare-knuckled contract fight that seems to have severely dented Pappalardo’s already fragile-sounding self-esteem. Some of the story as Pappalardo tells it is confusing — already barely making ends meet, the breakdown in talks with Converse saw him homeless within months and later selling scrap metal to survive, kind of like some 60-to-zero shift from “pro-skater-with-shoe-deal” status with no in-between option like seeking a different sponsor, moving in with friends or family, or getting a day job. Pappalardo describes a sort of catch-22 in which Converse is not supporting him, forcing him to hustle to survive, which makes him unable to skate, so Converse (and later Chocolate) doesn’t support him. It isn’t clear what happened to any royalties from his shoe model, which seem to have sold briskly, or why he stayed committed to this apparently abusive sponsorship arrangement, when several years earlier he quit Alien Workshop with no safety net whatsoever.

It seems like there’s several pieces missing from this whole story, and while resisting the game of diagnosing Anthony Pappalardo’s potential issues via an interview apparently pecked out on a mobile phone, you wonder about the other side of all this — during the time period in question Pappalardo was not exerting a Lil B-like flooding of the market with coverage and his career arc wouldn’t yet seem to afford him the coasting abilities of someone like a Fred Gall. But at a time when shoe companies like Es and Gravis have rolled out of the frame, not hearing out a dude like Pappalardo, even given these past few years of traipsing down a path toward his trick minimalism and urban recluse profile, against a giant corporate entity feels off in some way.

Snuh

August 26, 2012

Not a lot to say here, other than that this was one of those photos where you’re flipping through the magazine (TSM, Jaws cover) and you stop and say “damn.”* Marc Johnson has nearly a Mumford eagle-is-landing thing going on with his arms here and I like his hat. White tee, blue jeans and a kickflip backside tail, these components could have equated to a photo 20 years ago.

*Another one from the same issue is Jon Dickson’s nollie backside flip

Technology Rolls Steadily Forward, And As We Contemplate The Coming Girl/Choco Video, We Contemplate Also The Idea Of Being Steamrolled Or Jumping Into The Steamroller’s Cab Alongside Ty Evans

July 9, 2012

The 1990 “Brady Bunch” reunion/reboot is recalled as a triumph of broadcast television, surpassing lofty expectations set by the artistry of the original series and hauling in ratings that shamed and embarrasses the Superbowls and Little League World Series of that day. The fog of time and extremely singular nature of the event have obscured though the massive risks taken by the artisans and business hounds who plotted it all, with plenty of chewed fingernails and nervously cracked knuckles early on as decades-deep devotees feared and fretted whether that long-ago magic could be rekindled or whether the whole endeavor would amount to so much bodily fluid sprinkled atop a beloved legacy, never again to be un-sprinkled.

Did the Crailtappers pluck Ty Evans from the TWS camp with the knowledge that he would over the next decade bear on his shoulders the burden and associated emotional message-board baggage of carrying forward a video franchise regarded as helping to set the high bar for the 1990s’ great video rethink? Only Rick Howard’s personal psychic knows for sure, but pluck they did, extending into the 00’s a second rethink driven not by any particular evolution in craft, such as the embrace of the streets as an ipecac-like reset button following the excess of the neon-and-spandex drenched vert era, but instead by the gradual availability of cheaper/better technology and software that within a few years erased much of the distance between Jamie “Mouse” Mosberg and any hometown heroes dredging their local skatepark hip for Youtube-ready NBDs that can involve front-foot impossibles.

Ty Evans’ output suggests a subscription to the school of thought that says “what got you there will keep you there,” in this case referring to a deep, loving embrace of the newest camera models, rigged filming gizmos, lots of effects and filler shots and emotive techno music. Transworld’s Evans-helmed productions had all these in spades of course plus some other tricks including the sometimes-attempted but never well-advised fast-forward/rewind motion in Danny Gonzalez’s “Reason” part, as well as the voiceovers, an interesting innovation that somehow wore out its welcome after 10 years. Going with Ty Evans was an intriguing look for Girl/Choco at the time, given that vids like “Mouse” never had much in the way of slow-mo (perhaps because they’d seen the lackluster results elsewhere at the time) but also cuz somebody reading between the lines could take the old pogo-stick skit in “Goldfish” as an indictment of the high-pressure, high-production regime that dudes in “Fully Flared” wearily recounted after it came out five years back.

Around 2000 though you could say Girl was shopping for a new identity, putting on the gap and rail-minded youngsters who would constitute the torch picker-uppers of “Yeah Right” and “Fully Flared.” It’s tough though, for someone who saw the influence wielded by Carroll/Koston/Howard/Mariano/et al in the 1990s to have felt the same impact from the next-genners with the possible exception of Paul Rodriguez or Rick McCrank, and efforts to extend the super-team rep into the tech-gnar era brought on a mixed spread of amateurs through the Torrance offices that included Jereme Rogers.

For a company whose founding principles included not taking themselves or their skating too serious the post-Modus presentation sounded a little off-key too–the Jonze/Howard sensibility was still there in some of the skits, but especially come “Fully Flared” that stuff took a back seat to high-definition cameras, elaborate filming contraptions and slow-motion explosions. Myself I never had any real gripe with the recorded skating material, but the sanctimonious way it got put together — behold, I give unto you this trick, slowed down and then sped up and then slowed down again; below these bros, with a follow-up high-five and/or running and throwing down the board as a segue to the next clip — seemed miles away from powersliding down the yellow lane-divider lines. Here we will submit that it was no coincidence that the technology-embracing, filler-friendly and emotion-emphasizing directorship of Ty Evans dovetailed with a high-water mark in technical ledge skating that’s inspired some of the current wave of “power” skating by way of backlash, and the Crailtap camp are fans like the rest of us, investing in tall-sock wearers Raven Tershy, Elijah Berle, Alex Olson and Vincent Alvarez over the last couple years.

How then does this dynamic, call it Pappalardo-Flared vs Mariano-Flared, inform the cobbling-together of the coming Girl/Choco feature “Pretty Sweet”? The recently released preview suggests the answer is, not much, or maybe not much different than before. We are previewed some HD video, solid bro-ing footage*, some real painfully slow mo, some emotive techno music** and, if past performance is any future indicator, a release date that is prone to being pushed back. Interestingly, though, if Ty Evans continues to stick to what got him here the likely complainers such as myself will face an interesting conundrum similar to those who wish for “The Simpsons” to be cancelled in defense of the first nine seasons’ legacy — the era of Ty Evans-led Crailtap video productions at this point would at least in terms of years far outstrip what old-timers regard as the classic age, steadily shrinking in the rear-view mirror..

*Major fan of the doubles action, btw
**Bear in mind that while we grouse about emotive techno music, and with good reason, blanket criticisms of Crailtap video productions fronted by Ty Evans were rendered null and void forevermore after “Fully Flared” included a song from the Mannie Fresh solo CD.

Summertime Mixtape #5: Lucas Puig “Bon Appetit”

June 8, 2012

As the Mediterranean breezes, expansive vineyards and reported peccadilloes of Dominique Strauss-Kahn suggest, France can be an easygoing place, illustrated herein by the major-production video debut of the nation’s favorite four-wheeled son in Cliche’s “Bon Appetit,” set to a freewheeling Zappa jangler. Back when this came out–not that long ago really, but seems like a while ago–people began drawing comparisons between young Puig and Mouse-era Mariano, and while these comparisons haven’t borne out over time given both dudes’ eventual embrace of tricky ledge combos, they did wind up endorsing the same kind of shoes, so the possibility remains that some of those original comparison-drawers were psychic. I was and remain ‘psyched’ regarding a lot of the relatively simple but well-chosen moves in this part, namely the kickflip backside shifty, the fakie frontside flip off the wedge, those backside noseblunt variations on the little banked ledge, the spin on the switch 360 flip over the channel and the smattering of dork tricks in the middle. Lucas Puig tapdances across sculpture gardens and sunny public spaces, plus there’s a JB Gillett feature, without which no summer can really be complete. In closing, we hope you have enjoyed this rare run of several posts across consecutive days, or at least the video clips.

Live At The BBQ (f. Vincent Alvarez)

June 5, 2012

Nuff respect to solstices and the relative positioning of the star Sol from the North and South poles, but the true starting gun for summer can be benchmarked to Memorial Day weekend in the US, an occasion dripping with waterskis and barbecued pork that gives way to a solid three months of potential sessions, slams and progression (and if you live in the south or midwest, heatstroke). Some while back this web space dumped on the fall season as a harbinger of cold temps and muscle amnesia, so in the interest of fair play we’ll take the next several days to offer up some odes to summer via the original form of poetry, the skate video part.

This fantastic Vincent Alvarez section was being buzzed up a few months back but so far as i can tell just hit the WWW in the last week or so. It’s well timed with a late-August schoolyard kinda haze that could’ve been transposed from “Video Days” or maybe applied with that washed-out filter they used for the Slave video. Across the various switch frontside pop-shove its, jazzy horns, bluntslides, bank to bench, baggy chinos and what appears to be Guy Mariano’s old traffic guardrail, the point has been made elsewhere that this section is likely to be more classically chocolatey than Vincent Alvarez’ probably slower-mo’d turn in the upcoming Crailtap feature production. Most of this thing seems to have been recorded in and around LA County and these lesser-loved little chunks of town, where VA jumps driveways and zips through ditches, give off whiffs of heated asphalt and diesel fuel. Still not a fan of switch boardslides to 270 out on ledges but this dude is coming up real nicely and that backside 180 up to abrupt fakie frontside flip down should get some kind of award that would ideally be presented by Daewon Song.


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