Posts Tagged ‘One In A Million’

Slap’s “One In A Million” Web TV Show Dishes Out Tough Love, Bro Hugs With An Ominous Message Dudes

February 25, 2012

When the U.S. economy crashed in the 1970s it was time for Americans everywhere to look in the mirror and face up to some home truths about the way folks were living at the time. Giant, luxurious ghetto sleds guzzled up gas by the boatload. Reams of cloth were being squandered to create extravagant disco pants and cocaine residue encrusted every tattered scrap of U.S. currency plunked down to see expensively produced Hollywood blockbusters including “Airport,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Hugo the Hippo.”* Now too, following a decade of excess that saw Rob Dyrdek perversely create the world’s largest skateboard, Danny Way construct the “Mega Ramp” and rumours of a mega picnic table from the Axion team, onetime City skateboards star Alex Klein holds up a reality TV-shaped mirror to depict the harsh state of the modern day industry.

Whereas last year’s OIAM focused mostly on fun-but-competitive-but-still-fun seshes at famed Bay spots, when it wasn’t focused on the Forrest situation, this year’s edition uproots the premise and casts it into warts-and-all New York City where urban grime is dressing for producer Klein’s mixed-greens salad of rotting values and wrongheaded challenges that function as a take-out version of the movable feast for corporate interests that Klein believes the activity has become in ’12. In one man’s tormented vision of this business, which sort of resembles the storyline to one of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater Playstation games, hungry up-comers literally live in a company-sponsored skatepark draped up with product placement, giving thanks when showered with a meager offering of sponsor-branded woodgoods and denim. In this OIAM, prefabricated and local government-approved sk8 facilities are the destination of choice just as often as your cellar doors and organic stair sets, and survival depends on split-second acts of self-promotion and stepping up to trade show-style physical challenges.

“You should know that a big part of skateboarding is learning to market yourself,” declares 5boro’s Steve Rodriguez, the words crashing down with all the condemnation of a convicting judge’s gavel. Contestants born into a seasonal rotation of series graphics sheepishly offer sharpie scrawls and Sears catalogue castoff collages, daring the viewer to recall an era when the likes of Jeremy Wray and Neil Blender arted up their own boards. A more faint of heart storyboarder may have dreamed up a Hollywood hogwash ending that sees the youth rise up and rebel, robbing the warehouse of decks and shoes to sell for dirt-weed funding and rave entry fees. But Alex Klein has seen the industry eat up and spit out too many eager ams to fool anyone with false hopes for a better future yet to come. The winner of this contest will immediately shift into filming/demoing/promoting mode for his new clutch of sponsors, resolutely sporting multiple logos on his New Era as he places respectably upon Dew Tour podiums and, in time, thanking his country for the honor of donning a red-white-and-blue uniform for the Olympics after testing free of some illicit substances.

*Spoiler alert, the hippo did it

Is Forrest Edwards The Reality-TV Villain We’ve Been Waiting For?

December 22, 2010

Pity the eventual winner of Slap Magazine’s “One In A Million” contest, for this lucky young man will forever be doomed to push in the long, unsmiling shadow cast by Forrest Edwards, the switchstancer from Riverside who almost immediately cemented a position as the breakout character from what has become a sort of “America’s Next Top Flow Kid.” Aged 18 or 19 years and already a master of the lefthanded compliment, Forrest Edwards is estimated by scholars to have come of age right around January 8, 2004, when a younger and more tender U.S. populace met and introduced itself to a onetime political consultant named Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, villainess of Donald Trump’s initial run of “The Apprentice.” A lesson told in nine weeks: negative attitude, abrasive behavior and “not here to make friends” mindset buys notoriety that is worth its weight in American Idol text-messages.

Mango, the free-spirited ditch skater with the bad haircut, does not make Forrest Edwards laugh. Switch backside heelflipping a solid set of stairs does not crack his lips into a smile. Cigarette dangling dangerously from his mouth, Forrest Edwards broods and bides his time on those occasions when a handrail, double-set or ledge is not within reach. He’s not sorry that he broke Daryl Angel’s deck and transition is for old people and those intent on wasting an opportunity to carve out a piece of the lucrative sponsorship pie. He knows the names of the forgotten reality TV gods like Puck and Richard Hatch who long ago painted on television’s cave-walls the arcane lore, if you are not on-screen, you at least ought to be spoken of, and damn the consequences.

The web-evolution of the “One In A Million” contest has birthed a camera-ready series that, with a bit more coverage of after-hours chill/party sessions, could stand alongside all your “America’s Next Top Models” or “Real World Road Rules Challenges” in terms of painfully earnest moments of self-realization, product placement and shoehorned-in celeb cameos. In Forrest Edwards they have an Omarosa figure in spades, as he explains how he makes it all look so easy while making a run at being skating’s most divisive figure of 2010 — a tall order against the likes of Jereme Rogers, Brian Wenning, Antwuan Dixon and Shane O’Neill.

But do our times call for a Forrest Edwards? Following a decade marked by the rise of the Tilt Mode, Daewon Song’s goofy genius, assorted Jackassery and the Odd Couple stylings of Rob and Big, might Forrest Edwards’ unshakeable discontent be an antidote for too much fun? Dead-eyed and silent, Forrest Edwards seems to look upon a skateboard as a tool useful for proving his worth Mark Whiteley, his OIAM rivals and the world in general, comfortable with the sexual orientation of his go-to tricks and equally at ease when doling out quotables or bigspin-flipping stairs. Our nation’s economic house of credit cards in shambles and the prospect of a long economic slog ahead, Forrest Edwards’ single-minded fixation upon the prize serves to remind us that none of this is a game, that he is not playing around, even when brazenly choosing not to skate at any given time and instead offer advice on personal conduct or a balanced diet.