Posts Tagged ‘Menace’

9. Fabian Alomar – “Free Fabes”

December 23, 2012

Whatever happened with the DGK video and the fortunes to be gained and lost peddling this generation’s version of the FUCT t-shirt line to rap singers and their suburban admirers, Stevie Williams cemented his position as a skate mogul by using his clout to help put out a video part that a certain segment of the populace had been waiting on for 15 years — a feat that apparently had eluded Kareem Campbell, Steve Rocco, Patrick O’Dell and possibly others. The continued fetishization of mid-90s attitudes and filming equipments can’t recreate the fit of the jeans or the sound of a k-grind across the Venice pit ledges, and Fabian Alomar’s nollie backside flip over the sand gap, the line at the white planters and the tricks off the bump at the end could have run in any of the greatest videos of that era. Tough luck that it took a personal tragedy for this footage to see the light of day, but it would be testing fate to overlook a gift pony internet sites such as this one have been requesting from Santa Claus for so long. DGK’s “Free Fabes” website is here.

Kids

December 17, 2012

knox

Billions of burgers flipped by McDonald’s Corp., five decades’ worth of James Bond movies and the estimated $100 million net worth of Wayne “Mr. Entertainment” Newton bear witness to how consistency and a reliable product can command a loyal clientele and lucrative following, if not adoring devotion and the occasional soiled thong hurled upon a pockmarked Las Vegas stage. Jeron Wilson, Chico Brenes and Mike Carroll seem to understand that there is and likely always will be an audience for specialized heelflips, nollie heelflips and backside smith grinds, even while those such as Gino Iannucci and Anthony Pappalardo can’t seem to bring themselves to keep playing the hits year in and out.

Whereas technology setpieces of “Pretty Sweet” invested heavily in the wow factor, DGK’s full-length debut, arriving after a series of mixtape-like one-offs and features like Kayo’s “It’s Official,” offers few surprises. A DGK customer knows what he’s paying for — although the “Chocolate Tour” as reimagined by Harmony Korine storyline here heaps disdain upon paying for what otherwise can be racked or heisted — and Stevie Williams & co seem to have put years of work into delivering this, an overlong, guest-heavy, ready-made blockbuster willing to elbow aside wimpier videos for a spot as the successor to, if not the culmination of, vids such as “20-Shot Sequence,” “Tantrum,” “2nd To None,” “Ryde or Die Vol. 1” and “Street Cinema.” When 2 Chainz comes on here it is more earnest than when used by dudes hopping bars in Queens wearing twill trousers.

For an hour, DGK’s “Parental Advisory” glories in loudmouth rap music, camouflage pants*, gunfire, cameos from skate-rap touchstones such as Kareem Campbell, Fabian Alomar, Steven Cales, DMX and Beanie Siegel, shoplifting, loose-fit denim, shiny chains and hat-tags fluttering in the breeze, wife beaters, small wheels, graffiti, and some jack moves. For those paying attention there are references to the Menace intro in “Trilogy,” the Bones Brigade in “Police Academy” and even a much-beloved pre-Slap message board pro-skater-dies meme.

No one will look to this video to register on the ATV meter but in the trick department DGK too delivers as promised: Josh Kalis and Stevie Williams skate Love Park; Josh Kalis unloads his monster 360 flip and Stevie Williams cracks some switch heelflips. Wade Desarmo, one of those Canadians who maybe fell a little too far in love with tall tees over the past decade, stacks heavy-lidded picnic-table tech including a hazed-out hardflip backside 5-0 and an alley-oop frontside flip that ranks among the best in a year when Andrew Reynolds put out a video. Marcus McBride turns in a full section that ought to make any pro with a board out for longer than 10 years sit up and prepare an excuse and Rodrigo TX, who has quietly been on a non-stop hustle these past five years, loudly reps the defunct Es shoes company and snaps a terrific looking switch kickflip over a rail. Some of these newer kids with all the “D” names blurred for me, but Keelan Dadd has poise and good runs like the one with the switch kickflip frontside boardslide. Lenny Rivas, who made a serious run at Knox Godoy status himself, has gone grown man and turns a couple new helicopters onto the handrails. My vote for best-dressed dude in the skate game Jack Curtin comes through late in the vid and wrecks shop with some incomprehensible tricks like a switch shove-it 5-0 on a rail up against a wall and his hairball switch backside lipslide down the Clipper ledge.

Probably there always will be like-minded dudes out there doing it like Brandon Biebel but the clarity of purpose Stevie Williams puts to “Parental Advisory” sometimes makes it seem like he’s carrying a whole subset of the 1990s on his back here — nods given to all these little-seen skaters and rappers, a lengthy skater-on-skater-crime narrative that picks up where the Menace video that would never come left off in “Trilogy,” even going so far earlier this year as to deliver a Fabian Alomar part time-capsuled in from 1996, and then achieving the seemingly impossible by getting Kareem Campbell to commit to a skate project**. Coming out a month after “Pretty Sweet” secured DGK an underdog status they probably relish, and the fact that every dude on the team managed to turn in more or less a full section can be read as an endorsement of any number of those motivational platitudes embroidered onto DGK baseball hats, but it’s probably too much to ask this company to cop to now-certified overachiever status.

*of several persuasions
**no knock on the work that went into that song but the Crailtap dudes might’ve just happened to catch him at the store

The Medium-Sized MNC Star T-Shirt Is The Message Dudes

December 7, 2011

Image

Quartersnacks the other day posted up this deep dive into Sect adherent Jake Johnson who sounds like he’s spent the better part of the last year pondering ponderous thoughts on a skate-oriented pilgrimage to Pittsburgh as part of a broader effort to reconnect with his inner dirtball. The idea wins kudos at this blog webpage, where such concepts are prized above sponsorship by big-box retail chains. One of Jake Johnson’s ponders involves the “message” that underlies skateboarding, a potent smoothie of rebellion, aggression, creativity, pain and escapism, some of which might be lost on a generation coming up with parks aplenty and tweet-ready reality idols straddling the primetime viewing hour. There’s a separate message though for which Jake Johnson feels more personal responsibility, transmogrifying his board into a ball-point pen and the streets to an 8.5×11″ piece of white printer paper:

“My sponsors give me a lot of freedom. For the most part, they understand that me developing a concept, message, and my style of skating is the most important thing for their company. They’re willing to do whatever it takes for me to skate my best, and they trust me that I know how to do that. A lot of companies don’t.”

Thinking back on “Mind Field” Jake Johnson from what I recall worked hard to root the footage in his working frame of reference which was mostly New York at the time, setting up kind of a contrast to Josh Kalis’ various beefs about Greg Hunt not incorporating enough of his Barcelona tricks, but whatever. The comment (and whole interview really) signal that Jake Johnson found an early grasp on what somebody can do with the career opportunity he was handed and seems to be thinking hard about what he wants to do with it.

Who else thinks in terms of this “message” thing? I think Leo Valls and the “Night Prowler” guys definitely have an aesthetic that they’re looking to promote with their skating, built on what Ricky Oyola and Bob Puleo developed, a sorta homesteading purity for the streets. When Jamie Thomas cued up that clip of himself skating over that bridge in Chicago at the beginning of his “Welcome To Hell” section I think he had an idea he wanted to get across, same with Jim Greco and Stevie Williams a couple years later. Jason Dill is a dude who you can imagine looks at his message as a malleable and mutating thing. Mike Vallely’s career arc cast him into a spot now where you could say that “message” is nearly all he puts out, versus skate tricks.

There’s some comments made in the (too) long-gestating “Epicly Later’d” on Menace along the lines that Pupecki, Valdes, Suriel et al were at the time some assortment of castoffs and misfits corralled by Kareem Campbell to fill out his allotted corner of the Rocco empire. Maybe that’s partly true, but you gotta think that the mastermind behind our still-beloved “mNc” star logo had his own type of message in mind, having to do with communicating through vaguely scary hand-signals and 360 flipping through sidewalk cafes. If all he wanted was some square pegs he could’ve got Adam McNatt and Ryan Fabry.

1990s Antique Roadshow: Piece of an Actual Real-Life Menace T-Shirt

March 15, 2010

This is on some “design on a dime” shit where I had the bright idea of framing some skate T-shirts of yesteryear, or more likely remembered hearing about somebody else trying it. To those still holding out hope for an Eric Pupecki comeback, fear not, as the shirt wasn’t otherwise wearable in its pre-chopped condition and definitely wasn’t seeing much action at the bottom of a box in the garage anyway. This was among three Menace shirts owned. There also was the traditional MNC star, a heather-gray number that remained in good-if-90s-sized condition until it vaporized while moving house sometime in the early 00’s. Then there was a more nontraditional navy one that had the MNC block-type logo printed on both sides, vertically under the sleeves… if that makes sense. Now that one never fit right and I tried in vain one time to trade it to a chick at a sweaty nightclub for an MNC star logo shirt she was wearing, the one with the plaid-patterned star, but no dice.

1990s Antique Roadshow: Sony Boombox With World Stickers

March 8, 2010

Conceived one morning while pondering the 15-year-old sticker on an electric shaver, here we have the first in what surely may become a gripping and emotional saga of valuable items from the internet’s favorite decade that have managed not to get thrown out in the last 10-20 years.

It is either a miracle or sad state of affairs that this thing has lasted from around the release of “Love Child” to the present, especially with its wonky (and loud) 6-CD loader mechanism. But it’s still going and continues to pull double-duty advertising one defunct skateboard company and another that may as well have been for a period of time, Creager and Craig’s dedication notwithstanding. Time and listless brand management have tarnished the Gonz’s baby but I can still occasionally look at the OG Blind logo and get all wistful for the Trilogy period, and few companies have ever matched the aesthetics of the MNC star, all subsequent Kareem efforts especially included.

Skateboarding Changed For Old Guys Today

April 8, 2009

javier_nunez
Stay Old

…But you don’t have to take BTO’s word for it. The supreme Javier Nunez in the new Transworld, arriving on newsstands whenever that shit usually goes down.

Perhaps now would be the time for him to leverage his “Kids” credit; the Javier “Java” Nunez IMDB page has registered a 14% bump in traffic this week, no doubt owing as much to his taking out Rick McCrank as that star turn on NYPD Blue. Anybody remember when Newsweek had a big article on that show because they showed a naked ass? Ah, the 90s.

So yeah, I don’t know if Javier Nunez technically counts as an old guy really, but since he came up under Kareem in the Menace era I feel like he sort of fits the bill. Plus he continues to hold a stake in the top five tricks busted over both the Brooklyn Banks wall and the Flushing Meadows grate-ledge deal. Also he skated the Berrics, but at this point who hasn’t. (Possible answer: Jovontae Turner)

From switch crook grinds to switch tailslides, I rise

May 19, 2008


Word, ya heard

Getting old is kind of a mixed bag. On the one hand you can buy alcohol and pull tabs with impunity, but at the same time you get bitter about certain things, like politics and bills and shit, and for some of us, the fact that for a whole generation of skateboarders, their first impression of Joey Suriel was some behind-the-wheel freestyling and bullshit funbox tricks. Most of his part in City Stars’ Street Cinema (7:20) wasn’t even that bad really, and not too far removed from his mid-90s peak (funbox tricks notwithstanding).

But aside from a couple cursory viewings to see what the old dudes on the message boards are all heated about, his clips in Trilogy, 20 Shot and Paco probably won’t have much of an impact on the goddamn youth of today. Which is too bad, because a good decade before he was slinging Odyssey backpacks and $50 Diamond t’s, Suriel had been hooked up by Stacy Peralta, anointed as pro by the Gonz and skated for a company that was repped by pros who weren’t even getting paid to wear the shirts. Meanwhile he filmed one of the hottest lines ever, containing a serious contender for the top 5 switch heelflips of all time (20 Shot, 7:00).

I just called the Menace Mastermind hotline and it’s disconnected, so until Kareem hooks it back up here’s the Joey Suriel interview on 48 Blocks, which is still pretty great:

You got to realize that Paulo was doing switch ollies and nollies over tables well before it was ever suppose to evolve to that… and I’m talking with authority too.. not just barely making it over. So to witness that and actually live it, to me, is hands down the illest ever, for that time.