Posts Tagged ‘Mean Ween’

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

Were Things Better When Habitat’s Logo Was Busier?

May 15, 2013

stuck truck

In these topsy-turvy times a bro can be forgiven for wondering if we are witnessing some wholesale collapse of ‘the industry.’ One day it’s Jason Dill and AVE leaving Alien Workshop, the next it is rumored to be Grant Taylor, then the Holy See that is the Slap board would have Austyn Gillette, Brian Anderson and Alex Olson all flying their respective coops en route to greener pastures and possibly other mixed metaphors further afield. Meanwhile footwear developers have uniformly failed to achieve, leaving no alternative for Chaz Ortiz to secure sponsorship suitable for his skills than a new shoe company invented by Lil Wayne*. Perhaps most confounding is the news, reported last week by Quartersnacks, that Fred Gall got married (believed to be pictured above, with wedding party).

As we cast about for certainty and stability we look not to flighty teamriders or faddish deck technologies or the shifting cuts of cotton t-shirts, but to the graphic designs crafted to withstand the ravages of time and various silk-screen appliques. Faced with chaos and corporate identity crises, the beleaguered consumer still can safely plunk down funds for hard and soft-goods bearing a Ripper, Oval, Bighead, Flare, or OG of the Blind or Girl persuasion. So it is with Habitat’s famed and beloved ‘Pod’ logo, winner of the best new graphical design by a deck concern for the year 1999; however, a close review demonstrates a subtle shift over the past 13 years. Harken back to the original iteration of the Habitat logo, pictured herewith.

old_hab

In the winter of 1999-2000 the planet was similarly on the cusp of change. Yellow shirts were commonplace and a presidential election approached a fine froth in the U.S., while computer scientists stayed up late searching for a digital harpoon with enough 1s and 0s to slay the fearsome Y2K bug. The Habitat logo as then envisioned offered safety and security, calmly explaining that Habitat was issued under the Sovereign Sect and that the company was focused on coexistence. The hand, leaf/wave and buildings represent ancient hobo hieroglyphs used by Fred Gall to indicate places of safety and prices for lap dances at certain New Jersey strip clubs.

habitat_vinyl_decal

If we skip ahead several chapters to the year 2013 much has changed, and the Pod logo no longer is adorned with horizontal lines and explanatory dialogue. What the Pod has gained in versatility, now shot through with camo, plaid and other patterns, it has shorn off in complexity, occasionally leaving off the H part on the left altogether and just having the circle and leaf thing. The viewer in such instances may be left to fend for his or herself, squinting and gritting teeth to recall aeroplane series, Mr. Dibbs instrumentals and the follow angle on Brian Wenning’s switch backside smith grind at Love Park. With so much now in question across the industry, should Habitat consider adding back some hot new glyph action to the logo? Have companies generally simplified their logos to shave weight from t-shirts and hopefully secure more X-Games medallions? Is Habitat only following the minimalist trek of technology hardware developers, rumored to be developing a new mouse with one button that does not click or connect to any computer?

*Perhaps more troubling is the growing realization that Trukfit and Spectre could ultimately dilute the already-established market for Hot Boy Wear.