Posts Tagged ‘oilseed processing’

Midwestern Exposure: Rust, Rubble and Rural Decay in ‘Grains’

June 10, 2018

Since fisheyes first were directed toward emptied swimming facilities, skate videos have possessed a flavour of the cultural tourist and voyeur, maybe: initially exporting southern California’s sunbleached concrete and asphalt-sculpted schoolyards, later letting couchbound pipe-packers tag along on late-night Manhattan missions, Europe’s summertime tour circuit and SPoT’s debauched drainage ditch runs. Rocketing board and shoe sales — fuel’d by THPS, Extreme Games and bulk-buying mall stores — bankrolled weekslong filming trips and demo tours to steadily more exotic locales: Watch enough vids from the 2000-2005 period and you’ll swear you know your way around Barcelona; earlier, Brazil got its own full-length and 411 eventually dedicated a series to various other Kenny Reedisms.

The skate industry’s subsequent economic ACL blowout and chronic fiscal pain since then bit deeply into travel budgets and placed a fresh focus on mining domestic urban crust and freshly combing flyover country. The widely shared misery of global economic upheaval and longterm decay have proven fertile, as Alien Workshop’s rekindled squad repeatedly probes Detroit’s sprawling grit and Rick McCrank centers an entire TV show around the concept. “Rural America is the new inner city,” the Wall Street Journal declared last year, pointing up employment scarcity, more people dying than being born, and a deepening pill epidemic. Bucolic visions of pitchforks and ice cream cones and golden-hour little league victories where losers walk away raring for the rematch are fading to the tune of dimestore murals on main street, exposing chipped brick and maybe a coupla shitty tags.

It is this graying canvass that Kevin DelGrosso and Chad Matthews stretch further into the Midwest’s lesser-traveled underbelly. Their video ‘Grains,’ filmed across the soybean belt of Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and Ohio, veers far off interstate arteries and urban sprawls to extract tricks from crumbling loading docks in Joliet, dilapidated stadiums in Gary, polished-stone plaza ledges in downtown Peoria. In between years-dead narrators relaying factoids on corn production and Farm Belt infrastructure, ‘Grains’ picks through abandoned small-town storefronts, creaking trainyards and literal rubble for an hour’s worth of wallies, backside bigspins and rusted-rail boardslides to fakie.

Early on Riley Vaughn boosts a massive no-comply over a barrier and guides some drop-down manuals into an empty fountain, later Patty Barnas flicks a lovely backside flip into a different one; Seth Neetz gets down on some electric boxes and Brian Mangerson whips manual spins onto a pyramid spot that could’ve been ported from the greater NY area. One of the burlier parts goes to Eric Thomas, who brings a Muska-level noseslide and ollies out over a rail to a nervy nose manual to drop. There’s a kind of thrift-store grab bag of spots — plenty of ditches and under-bridge banks to walls but some real gems, like a brick wave in Gary and the dreamy wallride spot in Michigan City. Also some backroad artifacts and anachronisms: a Destructo trucks tee, multiple instances of the heelflip body varial, Blues Brothers graffiti, a pop-shove it to frontside smith grind, Zubaz shorts. The vid’s makers cop to a preference for the old-fashioned and antiquated, from the VX-1000 to the opening recommendation to watch on a TV screen, versus laptop or phone.

Could an influx of summertime spot-seeking pro tours inject a meaningful boost into groaning rust-belt economies, or would all out-of-town funds inevitably pad already-fattened pockets of liquor store tycoons? Will emptying-out rural towns eventually give way to village-sized DIYs, expanding upon the urban foundation spot concept? Will the threat of catching stray bullets at Lockwood come to be replaced by the possibility of a ‘Children of the Corn’ scenario in which bloothirsty tweens in old-school attire capture and gruesomely sacrifice unknowing passers-through to a nameless being that roams the fields?

‘Grains’ can be ordered here.