Posts Tagged ‘Powell’

Mike Vallely’s One-Minute X-Games Part in the Blue Helmet Is Not the Video Part Your Summer Asked For but the One It Deserves

June 27, 2015

In his tactical 1970s business fable ‘The Lorax,’ Dr. Seuss venerated capitalism’s transformative power via a versatile garment dubbed the ‘thneed,’ a rangy soft thing wearable as a sock, a hat or an overlarge large glove, but also capable of covering bicycle seats, draping windowspaces and carpeting floors. Despite the efforts of various stash-pocket crafting footwear concerns and Foundation’s legendary cinch-shirt, the skateboarding industry has yet to hit upon its thneed. However, when pondering the thneed’s potential further function as grandiose metaphor, New Jersey strongman Mike Vallely has it ‘sewn up’ when it comes to the pro boarding career as a multipronged stepping stool or crowbar toward further pathways and trades, some better explored than others.

Lo, and consider: Mike Vallely alternately over the past 30 years has functioned as the hot-shoe am; deck-shape innovator; Steve Rocco cohort and nemesis in turns; launcher of at least six different board companies; slam poet; pro wrestler; pro hockey player; three-time rider for George Powell; vegan advocate; maniacal tourer; ‘Beef’-style DVD star and vicarious defender of skate honour; Black Flag manager; Black Flag singer; titular performer in Mike V and the Rats; founding father of Revolution Mother; supporting actor to Paul Blart; podcaster; and more recently, streetstyle helmet-endorser.

No longer shall Mike Vallely bear ‘contest-contending pro’ upon his CV, however, declaring the other day that his entry into this year’s X-Games ‘Real Street’ video contest “is definitely the last competition of any kind that I participate in.” Destiny may or may not have other plans in store for the windy and sometimes foggy path it so far has set for Mike Vallely, but for the time being it is hugely fortunate for the planetary public that such a competitive swan song doubles as the most singularly ‘summertime’ video part yet concocted this year – reflecting Mike Vallely’s many and sundry and sometimes peculiar skate-biz travels this section sticks out like a sore vestigial tail from those of his rivals, the oldest of whom runs 13 years his junior and none of whom wear a helmet or have used their physical fists to free the Muska from overbearing security agents.

Bursting with solar wattage, our-street-could-be-your-spot accessibility and curatorially mismatched sneakers, the ‘Real Street’ video makes a big nod back to Mike Vallely’s seismic ’Public Domain’ section using the type of era-specific construction that similarly made Etnies’ World park ‘Skate and Create’ entry one of the best things to come out of that TWS project. It’s been a minute since Mike Vallely put out a more straight-up video part that didn’t also include voiceovers and touring toil footage, which is too bad – trimmed of gravity and seriousness all the street plants and gonzo schrapling make some handrailing and wallie-concerned video parts recorded by comer-uppers half his age look grim and calculated by comparison.

Would a ‘Real Street’ contest win cement Street Plant Skateboards as the last stop on Mike Vallely’s deck-manufacturer endorsement dancecard and help produce a longer part like this? Why has Airwalk been left out of the hazy corporate seance that has attempted to revive nearly all other defunct or culturally comatose skate companies? Has Baby learned anything from his breakup with Lil Wayne that will make him handle things differently with Thugger? Will Mike Vallely be proven right on helmets and thus force future historians to re-evaluate Ryan Sheckler’s tweenage street footage?

Serious As Cancer

June 27, 2009


Ask about our catch of the day

Depending on whom you ask, Powell (was it Powell Peralta again for a shot while there?) is either an enduring monument to the successes and excesses of ’80s skateboarding, a third- or fourth-tier farm team company that’s been home to high-ollie champions and future SOTYs, or a stalwart supplier of blank decks. It has yet to be seen whether the new “FUN!” video will reassert Powell’s seat at the table of board companies people care about or catapult its featured amateurs to, er, am status on bigger/better board companies, but it’s an impressive effort even beyond the skating (which is roundly pretty awesome) – a statement of purpose from a notoriously directionless company, with the only ones that seem to give a shit about the whole affair probably ranking fairly low on the pay scale. Pretty much your classic rag-tag team of misfits taking a shot at the little league title or whatever, in a video that could only begin with a Spongebob song.

Since it’s unlikely that one video is going to turn the Powell ship, which has been floating aimlessly art-direction and team-wise for over a decade now, a more constructive game might be to parse “FUN!” re: the likelihood of different dudes getting tossed lifelines to other teams. Opening dude Josh Hawkins would probably be one, despite some kind of weird body varials out of tricks. He does this immaculate bluntslide kickflip and lands a cartilage-crushing noseblunt toward the end of his part, which features some pretty sizable gap skating. Also the relentlessly rounded Ben Hatchell, spinning a feeble grind whirligig in the shallow end and back-to-back flipping in the full-pipes. He has the crucial Cab cameo and also offers some handrail heroics to and beyond a double-kink feeble grind, crazy tricks that could maybe land him on Real or something; maybe Almost could get some of these dudes when Lutzka’s contract finally, finally runs out.

Meantime former Element-For-Lifer Dallas Rockvam gets his AVE weight up on a fat wallie to backside 50-50, the gap-to-rail lovin’ Aldrin Garcia hops a fence to a puffer-fish landing and scores a sweet look-back after a big backside flip. John White, previously a paralegal and in close competition with Mike Anderson for most boringest name in skating right now, is working with a new light-footed technique that isn’t bad and skids a sick backside noseblunt at the Crailtap electro-box ledge. On the topic of names, Derek Elmendorf has thankfully dropped one of the lamer nicknames around, and winds down a hammer-ready section with a bizarro fakie ollie to switch feeble grind and that 50-50 that must be seen to be believed.

Flarey ledge combos in this video include a noseslide to back noseblunt, nose manual to b/s noseblunt and f/s boardslide spin-around to noseblunt, but all things considered it’s a pretty big guns-focused affair that sees Wallenberg varial heelflipper Jordan Hoffart emptying the clip to “Panama,” stepping right up to the Staples Center hubba as he generally gets his Muska on. Noseslide shove-it transfer on a beefy block, a double-set jump to 5-0, long cranked-out k-grinds and gapping out over some stairs that I’d been waiting the whole vid for somebody to do. He goes and gets his Billy Marks on a little later with that Slap “Curtains” curtains trick, and there’s a finishing move that surely resets some type of bar. It would be impressive if Hoffart and everybody else refused all offers in favor of mutinying the Powell ship, stuffing old George in the brig and pointing the prow toward glory and treasure, but there’s a time to fish and a time to cut bait, and you gotta think that with these kids’ buckets full of freshly heaving lunkheads it’s time to see what kind of price they’ll fetch on the open market. And so ends this extended deep-sea fishing metaphor.

Hail to the Chief

November 26, 2008


If Boil the Ocean had an art budget (and an artist) the photo above would be some combo of this and this with the letters “SOTY” underneath, but, yeah. Budgetless art courtesy of Erik; thanks also to YWS Eeen for his offer.

Much like the U.S. o’ A, Thrasher done fucked around and put a fresh-faced, left-leaning young buck in the number one spot, largely untested and with a rather unlikely three-name combo. Perhaps a sign of change, elevating young breakout types with similarly thin resumes – five years ago Barack Obama’s a state senator, and Silas Baxter-Neal was Powell flow trash. Perhaps an indication of no better candidates. But as far as reaching the top of the heap early on in their careers, SBN and BHO are in there with JFK, TR, BA and, er, Cardiel.

Like the big O, Baxter-Neal is well-suited to his term for the reason that he seems to capture the current zeitgeist: open to new ideas (noseslide to switch nosegrind transfer), respect for classic form (Thrasher Th13rteen cover) and shaking up established schools of though (frontside flip wallride revert). Also both have smoked weed.

But unlike the Pres-elect SBN comes to SOTY with a noticeable absence of flash, lacking the superhuman skill set of a Chris Cole, Daewon Song or Marc Johnson, and the hellbent-for-leather risk appetite of a Danny Way or Geoff Rowley. He’s definitely no slouch on the board but to me it seems Baxter-Neal succeeded via elbow grease, a workhorse attitude and probably a lack of serious injury. It’s hard to imagine a hardertoiling skateboarder in the last couple years, with the obvious exception of Wade Speyer.

It’s possible that Obama, too, has picked up on his inner Baxter-Nealness, with the politisphere ablaze with news that he plans to name Tim Geithner, NY Fed honcho and alleged skateboarder, to head the Treasury department. The early reports proved premature however, as the Federales quickly took it upon themselves to clear Geithner’s name of any thrashing of the four-wheeled variety:

A skateboarding Treasury secretary would indeed be something special. However, a Fed spokesman said yesterday that, in fact, Mr. Geithner doesn’t actively participate in skateboarding.

There are some theories as to why surfers and snowboarders have outdone skaters in seeking political office. Surfing and snowboarding tend to cost more, and this may act as a social filter.

Also, a lot of people start surfing and snowboarding in middle age. It’s certainly possible to pick-up skateboarding later in life, but few adults can stomach the time and pain commitment that learning skateboarding requires.

So it seems skaters will have to wait a bit longer for the first skateboarding Treasury secretary. Change can only happen so fast.