Posts Tagged ‘Night Prowler’

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.

Night Fever

December 21, 2009


We know how to do it

Despite the continental-sized chip on its shoulder, one of the things that made the 2004 Lordz wheels video “They Don’t Give A Fuck About Us” great was the exotic nature of these amazing spots the dudes were skating… wide-open and untouched plazas, old timey-looking buildings in the background, enough grime caked into the cracks on the sidewalks to make it interesting, cops who didn’t seem ready to draw down on four-wheeled miscreants, et cetera. The new “Night Prowler” video out of Japan has a similar thing going on but in a way that’s a lot more claustrophobic, like these walls and buildings are pressing in on the camera’s field of vision or something.

Flannel shirts, Vans and ski caps have fully taken over in Japan and Hiroki Muraoka is pretty exemplary of what’s going on for the next half hour: tall 50-50s, fast ollies, speedy lines and urban transition, all that. The mini-backside tailslide he does is great. Traffic’s Rich Adler makes an extended guest appearance, and there’s tricks from Soy Panday, Emanuel Guzman as well as the never-seen-enough Mike Manzoori of all people. Akira Imamura does a zany backside flip wallride thing and Deshi performs some Natas spin moves amid some sketchy 50-50s.

It might have something to do with the type of skating that’s going on, with a lot less gap-sailing and more of jamming the boards up, onto and over various obstacles and things that creates almost a constant clattering of urethane on stone, cement, steel and whatnot. I don’t know if there’s some kind of superior Japanese technology at work here but beyond the collage of streetlights, wallrides and transfer grinds what I took away from this vid was the sound of wheels rattling and skidding from surface to surface. It sounds interesting here, different from other videos it seems like, and you could picture ripping this to an mp3 and laying on your newly acquired rug, eyes half-closed with headphones on, listening to the sounds until yet another interloper cracks you across the jaw.