Posts Tagged ‘peace’

Legacy Maintenance And Mutation In The Days Of Goldfish Focus

November 4, 2018

The time was the early 1980s and in that potent cosmos knowed as Hollywood, stars were aligning so as to align several of music’s biggest stars and birth the greatest musical album ever conceived: Queen frontman Freddie Mercury cowriting operatic party anthems with Michael Jackson, the undisputed king of entertainment. Although their respective musical prowess suggested little beyond certified platinum plaques for days and lofty wages, the artistic chemistry would be fouled by an interloping llama of some description.

According to an interview conducted with the Times of London, Queen’s former manager, Jim “Miami” Beach claims that Mercury called him and said, “Can you get over here? You’ve got to get me out of here, I’m recording with a llama.” Jackson was also reportedly less than thrilled with Mercury’s behavior during the recording session. According to the Hollywood Reporter, “Mercury subsequently fell out with Jackson because the U.S. star objected to Mercury taking too much cocaine in his living room.”

On the surface, it’s just another cautionary tale about U.S. llamas, rival species and greedy excess. More deeply, it is a story of personal collaboration, llamas, and the challenges of building a chemistry strong enough to stand through the years. Like many of the 1980s’ greatest lessons, one can draw a direct line toward Element Skate Boards, which recently released its newest video, ‘Peace.’ Twenty-six years into its branded lifetime, the Twigs parent is feeling itself, springing for the considerable talents of Emerica’s Jon Miner to sort a 60-minute full-length from its deep and diverse benches, theoretically to bolster Element’s mystique and power in the board marketplace, while handing a breezy, wet, and flaming hot baton made of dirt to a new guard.

And what of that baton? By the power of the bankroll, Element’s clung to some clout over these many years, overcoming eyebrow-raising maneuvers such as a Billabong-cobranded Times Square outlet store and major-league fan service to corral a talented but usually incongruous mixture of riders, ranging at various times from Julien Stranger to Jeremy Wray to Chad Muska to Ray Barbee to Dennis Durrant to Terry Kennedy to Natas Kaupas to Kris Markovich to Stella Reynolds. Tracing the OG team to Element’s roster as of ‘Peace’ — it is sure to fluctuate again soon — would require several pages for one of Thrasher’s nerds-only company lineage features, and would rival the Bible’s ‘begats’ for reader patience.

Tenuous as Element’s current iteration may be to the ‘Skypager’ lineup or even the prior decade’s ‘This Is My Element,’ Jon Miner gamely coaxes out a cohesive if unwieldy production, strung together with static long-lens shots and a fair helping of psych-rock pulled from the ‘Made’ bins. Bionic Barley heir Brandon Westgate cranks once more down the SF hills to Operation Ivy’s buzzsaw bounce, rocketing over a king-size street gap and frontside flipping what appears to be an entire loading dock. Granola-grimy Tyson Peterson pulls a shocker of a kinked rail dismount and looks as confident sitting on backside smith grinds as he seems to be copping thrift-store trouser pants. Dominick Walker’s TSM cover footage is bananas, Greyson Fletcher catches one of the season’s most lovely and frightening kickflips, the lanky Madars Apse’s Barcelona board bonk and similar antics read like a Polar tryout, or maybe raised glass. Terminally brolic Mason Silva is positioned as ‘Peace’s’ closer, boosting fakie over the back of a rail to 5-0 and uncorking one of the wilder bump-to-bar wallride combos in a while, but it is starry-eyed wanderer Evan Smith, again, serving as the current Element generation’s spiritual core — beautifully switch backside flipping a bench, helicoptering off that silvery wedge for all the Spanish oldsters, and perhaps most dangerously of all, attempting to break Marsellus Wallace’s cardinal rule after a wallie late-shove gone wrong.

Is Element’s perpetually churning team a strength or weakness? Amid the recent media campaign for ‘Peace,’ Tyson Peterson in Thrasher speaks on his longtime Element fandom in terms of Brent Atchley, a dude off the team 10 years ago — and Bam Margera, whose pickup by Element during his ascent to MTV reality television staple marked one of the more surreal team roster mutations from the Chris Hall and Harold Hunter days, or even Reese Forbes and Kenny Hughes.

Meanwhile over at Girl, a 25-year-old entity that has derived much of its powers from maintaining a direct link to its storied pros and past, the dudes seem like they’re trying to tell us something. “We know where we’re going/but we don’t know where we’ve been,” croon the Talking Heads to Niels Bennett’s pre-intro sizzler in Girl’s crackling new ‘Doll’ vid. “I can change,” bleats James Murphy in the obligatory, sentimental-yet-lighthearted closing-credits number, as those yellowy letters scroll. “We sit back on Malayan islands/sipping mixed drinks out of broke coconut bowls, we wilding” croons Ghostface Killah amid Griffin Gass’ punchy, driving last part.

It is the sound of Girl breaking with its past, to some extent; eight minutes of ‘Doll’ unspool before there’s any tricks from a pre-9/11 rider, and then, it’s second-genner Brandon Biebel. The OGs skate for only about 30 seconds in the vid, and whether or not that’s OK is moot in 2018 — the ravages of time and adult living make anything else unrealistic, and Girl’s new hair relaxer-rejecting brood proves more than capable of carrying the half-hour ‘Doll.’

The dozens-deep pro rosters and overwrought theatrica of preceding Crailtap productions mostly are shunted to the side, allowing viewers to marinate in Niels Bennett’s sand gaps line, bounding fakie over one of Venice’s fat ledges, Tyler Pacheco’s loosey-goosey nollie heelflips and frontside bluntslides, Griffin Gass’ brawling rampages through alleys and fountains, and that one kickflip backside noseblunt. There’s winks and nods to past bits like Rick Howard’s dawdling rodent and Keenan Milton’s Rick Moranis moment, but the generational shift at work benefits even the skits — session screenwriter Colin Read, of ‘Spirit Quest’ fame, captures Spike Jonze’s brand of winking creativity using basically a board and a camera for a worthwhile entry in Girl/Choco’s anthropomorphic board series.

As the human attention span shrinks to rival the goldfish’s, ’tis it better, in pursuit of longevity and countercultural heft, to regularly shed teamriders every few years or hold to the original foundation of dudes as long as can be? Did everybody take note of Tyler Pacheco’s fakie flip in this? What about the alternate ending for the board revenge skit? How come nobody ever coined the nickname Matt “Miami” Beach?

The Peace Which Passeth All Understanding

October 25, 2009


Burpin’ and gurpin’

Those who are products of the 1980s will recall “Transformers the Movie” as an emotional tour de force that involved entire planets being consumed by the pesky Unicron, with tears shed at Optimus Prime’s death but somehow no bullshit teenage romance, and a Weird Al song also. The film taught many truths about this human life (imparted by giant warlike robots no less) but the one that really hit me was when Soundwave, Starscream and the Constructicons had gathered after some time apart and were trying to chop it up over a few energon cubes like it was the old days… but their stilted conversation and uncomfortable silences said it all: times had changed and the Decepticons, like all of us, were holding too tightly to something that had long since transformed. Or maybe it was the world that had transformed around them? Or maybe Unicron ate everything. My memory is not what it used to be but I believe the movie won a thousand Oscars.

Now, I don’t know enough about Flip or the various personalities involved to try and cast Ewan Bowman or Jeremy Fox or Geoff Rowley as the hometown-bound friend who can’t, won’t, let go of the past. Maybe it’s none of them, but more so than the labored claymation and boring little kids and brow-furrowing musical choices this is what sort of ends up sinking the “Extremely Sorry” vid for me, the fact that it walks and talks like “Sorry 3” when pivotal dudes have moved on and the planet has gotten a half-decade older. Respect is due the three musketeers and their one-for-allness after so many years, and both Glifberg and Penny do deliver to a far greater extent than they’re generally getting credit for out there in internetland, but we’re left with a bloated production that’s generally treading the same water as five years ago, except with more skippable parts, a heavier weight to bear and yeah, that music.*

(We would like to here make a semi-major detour and get into Luan de Oliveira’s section for a minute, which is actually kind of hot and offers one of the few reasons for optimism re: this next generation of multinational young Flippurs, alongside Nordberg. His switch frontside heelflip means business and if he can keep away from those humdrum switch boardslide to TKTKTK ledge combos he will do well – fast skating, decently built lines and an eye for tricks that are hard and look cool, for instance the very first ledge jam.)

Not sure if it was the best-best, but for sure the most interesting part in this Flip video is Shane Cross, he of the headbands and Hawaiian shirts, whose posthumous part gets some heavy stylizing and ghostly effects that harken back to Arto Saari’s Penny dream sequence in the first Flip video – another one of those Bones Brigade type of moments. It might be reaching to interpret the edit here as an indication of where they hoped Shane Cross might’ve taken things eventually, but the tricks are intense – the side view of the nosegrind makes all the difference and the execution generally is top notch. To me the effects didn’t detract from the skating so much as broaden the universe of the sort of things we might be able to see when putting in a new DVD, quite a bit different than a lot of what’s come before and heavy skating to boot. The biggest bummer is that Shane Cross has gone, and the Flip dudes did right by him with this part, but it’s too bad they didn’t save a few more of the genius pills for the rest of the video.

*The editors of Boil the ocean will ride for the Pink Panther song, however