Posts Tagged ‘Osiris’

Jerry Hsu, The Bitter Dose And A New Support Network For Gap to Backside Nosebluntslides

April 7, 2018

“The payout was sneaker money,” Roc Marciano recently griped over the pittance he received for 3 million streams of 2016’s ‘Rosebudd’s Revenge,’ spurring the Hempstead rap singer to summon a new business model for this year’s sequel: He would offer digital downloads off his own site for $30 apiece for weeks before delivering the album to steaming services and other Web 2.0 branches. Would the steep price deter a generation of musical pirates reared on filesharing platforms, or annoy willing fans who’d see their pricey purchase beamed worldwide to stream subscribers within a month’s time? Roc Marciano suggests enough devotees deemed the project — and the artist himself — premium price-worthy: “This shit is printing money. The return on investment happened in a day.”

A similarly blustery horizon in action sporting commerce came into view this week via the somewhat-anticipated launch of SciFiFantasy.co, an internet Web portal peddling t-shirts, with-hood sweaters and headgear emblazoned with the categorical signifier once relegated to Cloud Strife and Charlton Heston, now synonymous with multidimensional Tilt Moder Jerry Hsu and his defiantly vertical switch hardflips. After dedicating around two decades’ worth of slacker-chic switch heelflips and frontside nosegrind pop-outs to the likes of Osiris, Enjoi, Emerica and Chocolate, Jerry Hsu is flexing. Throwing top-drawer and presumably still-paying sponsors to the wind while vapors of his impeccable ‘Made Chapter 2’ part still linger, Jerry Hsu now tests the brawn of his amorphous and minimalist brand venture with a new product lineup in a range of colors and sizes.

So far, the returns appear handsome. As per Slap board reporting, a recent Sci-Fi Fantasy run rapidly sold through at threadful boutique location Dover Street Market, and the online store’s subsequent debut found hopeful clickers emptying the Sci-Fi Fantasy warehouse and filling web shopping carts, leaving only lesser-loved sizes to be picked over and in a few months resold on digital bazaars.

Sci-Fi Fantasy’s most sought-after products: mainly plain shirts and sweaters, understatedly self-titled in a gentle serif. Fetching though the colors may be and the embroidery no doubt the finest in the realm, it bears pondering what has inspired droves of consumers to fork over $70 per hoodie, with gusto. You’d like to think 20 years of in-street toiling with next to no wack moves plays some role. With the deck sector badly oversaturated and sneaker manufacturing a rich executive’s game, companies such as Jerry Hsu’s solo-project venture could be regarded as a 100% cotton, unstructured investment vehicle through which supporters can directly fund favored pros’ skating, sorta like an ongoing Kickstarter with bright yellow tops as thank-you gifts and any footage or photos considered a longterm payout.

In a Warhol-esque version of a future skate industry where 1% of pros earn lavish salaries and the rest ball for position, will everyone have their own brand, with price-points scaling higher in accordance with gnarliness and footage releases? Will the premium t-shirt reign as the skate biz’s optimum profit center until 3D printing forces the industry to license out its hottest logos and graphics for the purposes of at-home softgoods manufacturing, in custom sizes? Will skateboard users’ long-held resistance to anything beyond the seven-ply hard rock maple deck prove the industry’s ultimate salvation when once-profitable shirts, pants and shoes can be synthetically produced via 3D printing? Will ‘Black Cat’ one day earn recognition as Jerry Hsu’s lesser-loved ‘other masterpiece’?

What Gemstones Remain Undiscovered as Content Miners Pick Clean the Caverns of Skating’s Past?

December 3, 2016

herobrine

As the information age and its college dormmate, the digital revolution, fire up the bong and begin to shake their 1D20s and 1D12s, all becomes clear. In this smartphone-cradled realm, plated armour and halberds are enchanted with mystical powers via every new social media connection, and the currency of the kingdom is not gold pieces, but the minutes and hours that a web site is able to waste for people while they are at work or school. It is a fertile and lush land where ancient treasures lay hidden beneath piles of broken links and half-remembered Geocities pages.

What remains though when advancing into a mine long abandoned by content-hungry Dwarven lords? Torch aloft, our adventurers descend past craters and caverns where long-ago interviews with Fred Gall, Andy Roy and the Muska were extracted; deep pockets still are visible where the Steve Rocco doc and Disposable book once lay, chasms representing the riches of the John Cardiel and Ali Boulala Epicly Laterds, and Gio Reda’s Brian Anderson feature. There still are bits and pieces to be chiseled loose, drawing weekly bands of podcasters to run their fingers across well-worn walls and sift piles of cast-off ore cluttering forgotten crannies.

Do hidden gems still lurk? Yet-untold stories revealing and seminal to know? It is a question of value judged by the many-tentacled beholder’s cursed eyes. Deep, deep within these caverns and shafts, work still is done. In recent years the enchanter MuckMouth, guided by the chaotic-good sages of the Slap boards, set forth on a mission to track down and electronically quiz nearly every half-remembered pro or amateur who contributed footage to company vids or 411s over the past three decades, from Eric Sanderson to Jason King.

The roustabout bard Jenkem, who some believe on a mad quest to put down to parchment each minute that passed during Rocco’s reign in the castle World, this year brought forth from these blasted pits the endearing tale of the World Industries customer service rep, JD, heretofore remembered only in a few thousand novelty trading cards packaged with a magazine printed more than 20 years ago. And last week the leather-armored mercenary HavocTV unveiled a surprisingly engaging 29-minute documentary on Carlos Ruiz, known mainly for backside lipsliding El Toro 10 years ago, around the apex of the hammer era before trucks loosened up, ATVs reignited transition and wallies garnered fresh relevance.

Before the crackling hearth within the Foaming Stein tavern, grizzled warriors deep into their cups will mutter that these mines have been stripped to worthless hulks, that delving into these clean-scraped bowels wastes time and hit points better reserved for still-rising formations charted by Jason Dill, Lev Tanju, Pontus Alv or Alex Olson. But if you find your way to the darkened table in the back, there sits a hooded figure, sometimes spinning a yellowed Nicotine wheel, paying bounties for artifacts he insists still are hidden within this slate and limestone:

The car rental agent who handed over jeep keys to Josh Beagle and Ronnie Creager prior to the filming of ‘Barbarians at the Gate’: Little is known about this rental agent who literally provided the vehicle for what still stands as the best tour video of all time, a document of nudity, crack cocaine abuse and the St. Louis Arch that set an early direction for Heath Kirchart and diminished several farmers’ yields across the U.S. grain belt. Key questions: How did he first get into renting automobiles to people? What were his early encounters with Josh Beagle like? How would he describe the jeep’s condition upon checking it back in? What is life like after renting cars to pro skaters?

The bus driver for Osiris’ ‘Aftermath’ tour: It is widely agreed that anything that ever happened in skateboarding, past or present, occurred on Osiris’ 2001 ‘Aftermath’ tour — and this dude would have been behind the wheel the entire time. Who hooked him up with his first bus? Does he remember where he was when Cliff Burton passed? Which weapons did he use to enforce the legendary ’number one rule of the bus’? Which Osiris pro would he have trusted to take the tiller in the hour of need? If the answer is not T-Bone, why not? Have any subsequent bus driving assignments held a candle to the auspiciously titled ‘Aftermath’ tour?

The investment bankers who managed Big Brother’s $600K sale to Larry Flynt Publications: Jenkem’s highly entertaining 2014 interview with World Industries’ former CFO tugged back the curtain on the financial fence-jumping and knob-cutting that went into World’s sale of Big Brother magazine to the Larry Flynt empire. What other Rocco deals were there? How ugly a mess were Big Brothers’ books? How were valuations calculated for the souls sent in by Big Brother readers responding to an offer for a free World t-shirt in the Andy Roy issue, and did these souls then transfer to the purchaser of World after the $29 million changed hands, or does Rocco retain these in some foot locker within his beachside residence?

Thoughts On The Current State Of Skateboarding But More Specifically The Eternally Springing Hope Brought On By A Recent PJ Ladd Video Clip

June 16, 2013

Wu-wear

Although certain other Boston-area pro acts are as associated with rap music as with nollie 360s in recent times, PJ Ladd’s career may be the one to most closely track the fortunes of the Wu-Tang Clan. Both arrived out of left field, offered something very different than the going thing at the time of their respective debuts and garnered legendary stature amongst tweens fine-tuning kickflips off quarterpipe decks. Arguments could be made that neither one so far has surpassed the bar set for themselves straight out of the gate, though “Forever” and “Really Sorry” had their moments (Inspecta Deck’s human-fly escapade in the “Triumph” video, the fakie frontside heelflip backside 5-0 on one of those notorious window ledges).

The years since have seen certain Wu members and PJ Ladd trade in various overcast and colonial-constructed eastern seaboard streetcorners for sunnier but less-descript locales of southern California, while combating the dilutive effects of fame and fortune, and inevitably misplacing some intangibles in the process. There are rich message-board seams to mine as to why PJ Ladd has yet to properly follow up the “Wonderful, Horrible” paradigm-shifter, instead offering dribs and drabs of footage across a decadelong shuffle of shoe sponsors and road trips. This latest clip, from the X Games “Real Street” series, is more potent than recent skatepark fare when it comes to resurrecting ghosts of a kid whipping off flatground tricks in lines that most people hadn’t conceived of — here a fakie frontside 180 b/s 5-0 shove-it and a frontside 180 switch crooked grind frontside shove-it out that perhaps have been notched somewhere in the wilds of Youtube, but probably not so well, and another rendition of the floaty sort of revert out of a crooked grind that once helped PJ Ladd defy some parameters of physics on one of those window ledges some 10 years ago. Nice to see the fakie flip frontside noseslide 270 shove-it again.

Pyrex Wrist Vol. 2

April 3, 2013

Birdman_02

It is either fate or some higher-level commentary on the state of the culture that a supernatural-themed company that was itself brought back from the dead has been going around re-animating tricks and concepts forgotten to the annals of time, but here we are. Creature rider and reputed EDM aficionado Ryan Reyes gained gnar levels last year for innovating what is now known as a “railie,” including tickling the muse of Guy Mariano, whose career enjoyed its own second coming. Elsewhere Creature breathed blasphemous new life into that “Storm” era Smolik accessory, the Osiris G-Bag, reimagined as a giant beer koozie.

Now, after rumors of so-called “coping dancing” have percolated among musty corners of the internet for several years, Creature’s re-animator in chief Darren Navarrette in this month’s new “CSFU” project whips the white sheet off a potentially new creation, a combo handplant. As a strict adherent to the straight-and-narrow, meaning generally sidewalks and schoolyards, I’m hard-pressed to brandish the NBD acronym in the transition neighborhood, but the last vert wristwork I recall on this level was perhaps Tony Hawk’s double board spin in “The End.” Does anybody know what Navarrette’s trick is called, and if it already existed before this?

And With Creature’s Sort-Of Update Of The Osiris G-Bag, Things Have Finally Come Full Circle

May 15, 2012

In the years before 2pac died, Norcal soothsayer E-40 occasionally spoke on the importance of timing, while rapping on open mics about industry hype. Fifteen years later everything and nothing has changed as we regard a landscape strewn about with the corpses of hard- and soft-goods brands loved and not, as well as passing specters that sometimes resemble our self-respect, long ago put in shallow graves by the energy drink dollar. The refugees of this once-noble subculture have naturally sought to subsist by eating our own collective tail, giving rise to a new/old breed of 80s ramp revivalists who represent a more innocent time via tattoos, stripey socks and macrobrew-scented breath.

When Creature rose from the dead a few years ago it had all the trappings of classic period Romero zombieism, an organic and fairly gnarly reflection of the times versus some cheesy wink-and-nudge job like that rewrite of “Pride and Prejudice” or the relaunch of Vision Street Wear*. Here you had some guys with a legit claim to the ramp dog way of life, driving around in a hearse, throwing vert jams, putting out graphics with a lot of monsters and urinating in public** versus some of the later, more hamfisted attempts to capture the Anti-Hero wave, like shoehorning bowl kids onto your picnic table/handrail squad.

Recent developments however suggest that longtime Creature mastermind Darren Navarette may have cooked too long in the sun of San Diego, a region of Southern California sometimes blamed for poisoning the autumn years of the 1990s with bulky rave footwear and tasteless technical tricks. Among the glowing product reviews posted at Skatedaily.net is a recent item highlighting Creature’s “Black Box cooler”, a toteable refrigeration unit the size of a sixpack that also offers speakers and a hookup for an Ipod or other digital music device. Fans of “the Storm” will immediately be transposed backward in time toward an era when the Federalz enlivened several sessions via the notorious Osiris G-Bag, which you may or may not know has evolved through the years recently into a unit known as the “Megatron” that earned its own review, and from a Canadian.

The pic on the Skatedaily review features a Van Halen album presumably blasting, but the use of an Ipod gives the came away. Can one credibly cool a sub-$5 sixer within this product? Will Peter Smolik, flush with Blitz cash flow and emboldened by Rob Dyrdek’s recent dealmaking, attempt to merge Sk8Mafia with Creature? Will the Federalz speak on the controversy on an upcoming mixtape? Would Hell Rell endorse this thing? Does this speaker-cooler-box represent a risk of serious eye injury because beers or soda could be shaken up to dangerous levels by heavy bass vibrations from the tunes?

*BTW, when is somebody going to float the idea of bringing back Prime?
**I’m assuming

Bus to Beelzebub

January 7, 2009


It was smelling like a locker room, there was junk all over the floor/We’re already packed in like sardines, but we’re stopping to pick up more – look out

Despite what my mellow demeanor and musky odor may lead you to believe, I was not a part of the Love Generation, though I do consider myself an old soul and a friend to all animals (excepting the toucan for reasons of my own). For this reason I, like many skateboarders, missed out on seminal 60s experiences such as grooving, turning on, or tripping on the magic bus. Indeed my earliest memories of buses tended to be filled with dread and foreboding, as I associated them with school and the untimely deaths of (analog) guitar heroes.

All that changed of course in the late 1990s when a storm rolled into town. You know the one I’m talking about:

Yes, Osiris’s “Aftermath” tour reinvented the very concept of the skateboard demo tour complete with swishy pants, hip-hop DJs and Josh Kasper. This was an era of excess fueled by multifaceted ledge combo tricks and shoes that incorporated untold bucketfuls of technology to protect the tootsies of Peter Smolik and Brandon Turner as they playfully pelted one another with paintballs. But really it’s pointless for me to try and describe it when New Jershian Chris Nieratko lived it:

I was blue collar, used to touring in cars and small vans, paying for my own meals, smelling of someone else’s ass and being forced to read and reread magazines and books over and over to pass the time on long stretches of road. Suddenly I’m on a tour bus complete with 12 bunk beds, two large-screen TVs, Playstation 2, stocked refrigerator, cable TV, SVD and VHS players and anything else one would need to take on the American highways and feel like king of the world. It was like culture shock. I didn’t know which movie or video game to play first, I wanted to sleep in all the bunks at the same time, I wanted to take advantage of the occasional free meals by ordering everything on the menu.

Flash forward the better part of a decade, and tour bus glory is a thing of the past for those without luxurious Bagel Bites endorsements. And while Osiris continues to defy the odds and stay very much in business, it fell to Circa’s unlikely “Combat” subsidiary to revitalize the tour bus concept for the late aughts. David Broach details in this month’s Thrasher how a former schoolbus was transformed by way of white spray paint and a certain amount of elbow grease, but only after discarding an ambitious scheme to airbrush the vehicle with “a chick with like a big laser, like protecting it”:

We loaded the bus with the essentials before we hit the highway. The first upgrade was a new stereo system: four big speakers mounted in the back. Normal van seats were welded down in a U shape around the back of the bus, and a cooler was purchased to sit in the middle so you could put your feet up and have a drink. Cup holders were taped by every seat and lighters were superglued in every corner. The lighters were all attached to retractable strings – you could pull them down to light whatever needed and then, when let go, they’d snap back into their resting position. Portable ashtrays fit in the cup holders, and magnetic bottle openers were always stuck to the inside in the event you couldn’t open your beverage with the lighters.

A small trash can was installed (wedged) in the front, as well as a couple of clips in the back that held a mop and a broom.* The van came with two small fans in the back for airflow, plus one on the roof that sucked air out. It really felt like you were rolling around in your living room.

Of course similar to the “Beauty and the Beast” situation the Combat bus (dubbed “White Lightning” at one point) eventually succumbs to the power-suckage of various BlackBerries and Blueberries and other nefarious vine-growing fruits, and Broach leaves it unclear as to whether or not it will eventually ride again. But the article does wrap up with a pretty entertaining story of Frank Gerwer overindulging on Britney Spears and evading Johnny Law all at the same time, which is a happy ending for everybody except the other two guys who went to jail.

*Assuming he meant to type “mug” and “bong”

Working For the Weekend

November 28, 2008


Ain’t trickin if you got it

If I had a nickel for every skateboarder done wrong by the industry I could probably save deck merchants from the scourge of blank boards, bail out PacSun and have enough left over to take Dave Duncan and Fred Gall out for buffalo wings (not even on 5 cent night). However, on rare instances I get to wondering what’s lost when the industry effectively closes the door on some former hot shoe’s career, for what are usually pretty subjective reasons. The fickle tides of footwear choice and waistlines, etc.

I got thinking on this recently when two Wisco boys, Brian Emmers and Aaron Snyder, popped up in various media via The Skateboard Mag – Emmers with the pic above in the photo issue and Snyder with this “Mag Minute” video feature a couple weeks ago. While as far as I know neither one’s got any kind of major-league sponsors backing them right now (or anytime since the turn of the century if you don’t count S-One [which maybe I should]), both clearly remain ready and willing to skate up to and possibly beyond current standards. Which is cool from a soul-brah-pure-love-of-skateboarding perspective of course and interesting as far as their willingness to continue pushing their personal trick envelopes.

I’m still a fan of Brian Emmers’ part in Plan B’s “Revolution” and remember being blown away by the nollie cab backside lipslide shove-it out, which still isn’t a trick you see done much at all today. Aside from some style quibbles the part holds up pretty well, as does his contribution to the rag-tag group of misfits Evol video, which anticipates the rise of Brian Wenning minus the Yosiris ender. The question on my mind: in an age where camera-ready park pros wax poetic on their frontside feeble grinds, would Emmers’ “respect the skills” transgression still get him drummed out of the industry?

Likewise, when dudes up to and including a skater of the year can get away with fudging a sequence and Photoshopping is par for the course, you wonder whether Aaron Snyder’s fiasco with the Big Brother sequence would be such a big deal. Spilled milk aside, the dude hasn’t lost many steps with the TSM clip, arm-flappiness on the manual pads aside. His last two tricks are genuinely insane.

Whether these dudes belong back in regular circulation is a question best left to industry dark men and the free market. But I wonder if it bums out pros on the slide or come-up kids, seeing dudes like Snyder and Emmers busting legit stuff on current spots like that. I imagine it’s probably the same way strippers feel when somebody’s drunk girlfriend leaps out of her chair, onto a pole and starts working it for free. Those bags of blow don’t pay for themselves, after all.

The Savvy Consumer

October 19, 2008


Built to shred

The paper of record has skateboarding on the brain lately–witness their somewhat puzzling eulogy for Van Wastell the other day, mining blogs including our good friends at You Will Soon for reaction to the sad news. (Is that better or worse form than lifting man-on-the-street comments from message boards? Not sure…)

A few weeks prior to that, in a lighter take on the woodpushing realm, the Gray Lady turned her gaze toward the still-lucrative skate shoe industry, pursuing the question of why skateboarders gravitate toward easily destroyed footwear.* Which is of course an offshoot of the bigger question, are skateboarders really just a pack of idiots?

(BTO advises against pondering this question whilst perusing the TWS messageboards or watching that ESPN show where they show slams for a solid half-hour.)

NYT fashion/style reporter Justin Porter takes a meandering path through the usual fashion/function argument, and he’s sophisticated enough to note the structure of Etnies’ corporate umbrella and the business nuances of flow programs, while staying inclusive enough to take the obligatory editorial stab at articulating trick physics to the Joe Plumbers of the world: “The skateboard revolved slowly under his feet and seemed to freeze for a moment, waiting for gravity to catch up. Then the skater’s back foot flicked the board, and again it spun. He landed with a satisfying thump and rode away.”

I promise one (1) satisfying thump to the first person who can identify what trick Mr. Porter is describing there. Shove-it late back foot flip? Those hot at Thompkins this summer?

Anyway, later in the article none other than Mike Vallely shows up to flex flower-child poetics: When skateboarders looks down at their feet, “they need to feel a vibe there.” “[T]here had to be a way to move away from a subculture within a subculture.” (?)

Meanwhile industry sausage-makers weigh in on the import of the Lupe Fiascos and Pharrell Williamses of the world in financing DC execs’ boat payments, and eventually we return to the story’s central point–in Mr. Porter’s words, “Skateboarders know that they will quickly destroy their footwear, but still don’t always seek shoes that are indestructible.”

And here, in the final three paragraphs, Mr. Porter pretty much nails it: “Indestructible” shoes, which have been tried before, tend to look like shit. And despite the best efforts of the worlds’ mightiest shoe minds, such an indestructible shoe has yet to be devised, much less devised in any kind of aesthetically pleasing way.

I don’t know if function vs. fashion is the right way to look at it anyway. I mean, the Yosiris-led tech shoe era produced unmatched innovation, as Peter Smolik and Scott Pazelt proved once and for all in “The Storm.” Jerry Hsu skated D3s for crying out loud. And God knows, I’m living proof that vulcanized soles don’t come with coupons for switch 360 flips.

So while Emerica and Vans battle for the most minimalist silhouette on the runway, we’ve got Reynolds in the lab working on a better mousetrap and Es nervously hoping the pendulum swings back toward the moon boot. And maybe in another five years we’ll be shaking our heads, wondering how we took those 30-step drops clad only in stretch denim and waffle soles, while we Shoe Goo up some new $120 space-age Rodney Mullen construction.

*Note the Softrucks on the board in the mini-ramp photo accompanying the article.