Posts Tagged ‘power moves’

Heated Seats And Pants With No Pleats

October 17, 2015

judge_kiss

“There’s been an awakening. Have you felt it,” grumbled the dark lord Sauron in a recent and grumbly voiceover advertising the new Star Wars movie. “The dark side, and the light.” The vibrant world of wookies and hard-partying ewoks again has fallen into strife and discord, lousy with massing storm troopers and crashed spaceships. It represents an extension of what is perhaps the nation’s best-known workplace drama, in which the rigors of toiling under the Emperor’s exacting standards caused Darth Vader to crack and fail to recoup the Empire’s lofty investment in the initial Death Star, then resign his position before construction on the second could complete.

Darth Vader, like so many other career professionals laboring under layers of blubbery bureaucracy, encountered distressors* that occasionally drove him to lash out at colleagues and competitors, employing telekinesis and a lazery sword in equal measure, often illegally. As hinted by the Star Warrior-baiting Santa Cruz decks of yesteryear, Darth Vader’s broiling frustrations may mirror those gripping the skateboard sphere in these, the autumn days of 2015.

Like an incredulous Death Star space welder handed a snorkel, a flathead screwdriver and an unconvincing clap on the shoulder, stakes and requirements for workaday professional bros seem to ratchet ever higher while the constraints of a turbulent global economy seem intent on culling the industry herd. Once high-flying board affairs like Alien Workshop, Zero and Girl are undergoing painful evolutions, while rumors swirl around the future of Dekline shoes and Adio has taken to advertising former team riders in its bid for continued relevance. Signature-model toting professionals increasingly are expected to bear the responsibility of marketing themselves via crowd-courting internet pages, and we live in a time when not only is it unshocking to see a marginally-known amateur break off tricks like Gabriel Summers’ shiveringly gnarly nosegrind, it also is de regueur do it nominally for free. Olympic endorsement contracts would beckon skateboarding’s sobriety-compatible 1%, while remaining ne’er do wells contemplate crowdfunding raisers to sop up medical bills.

Are stress levels within skating’s grand talent pool rising to a Vader level in which colleagues get choked out at sit-down meetings? You hear these things, but it is hard to know for sure. There are signs and siguls, including but not limited to growth in powerviolence-sprinkled parts and graphics, or soundtracks bearing murderer music. Vignettes tucked into ‘Sabotage 4’ and the ‘Our Life’ video, two of the grittier and grottier outputs of recent weeks, feature fights with cops and passersby, recalling a previous industry crunch that manifested itself in part via board-to-drill combat.

Veins of latent but palpable anger burble beneath the overcast surface and betwixt combusting switchstance tricks in Gilbert Crockett’s ‘Salt Life’ video part for the redubbed Quasi, an outfit forged from the wreckage and occasional raw feelings of a highflying corporate adventure gone kaput. Quasi’s initial video look transposes some of the hi-contrast and sharp cuts of their graphical concepts, anchored in a somewhat deeper trench of Gilbert Crockett’s technical skating, including a crunchy switch backside smith grind and one of the more eye-popping switch shove-its in recent memory, and peppered with enraged grunts and a viciously celebratory board beating.

Has the quantity of cathartic, building-slapping wallrides and wallies risen in lockstep with the industry’s general level of fiscal insecurity? Will snapchatted pro boxing matches emerge as a multipronged answer to slackened incomes and late night instagram sniping? May all of it be symptomatic of a divide-and-conquer conspiracy among deep-pocketed sportswear and drink manufacturers? Does the environment grow ever riper for a Bo Turner comeback?

*versus happier eustressors trafficked among those hard-partying ewoks and jawas

9. Louie Barletta – ‘Oververt’

December 23, 2014


Between the grown-out bowl cut, chin duster and mid-40s over-the-hillness Louie Barletta’s shameless appeals toward the Street League/Mtn Dew set nearly are fit to exorcise him from this list. Nevertheless, 15 years on from ‘Tilt Mode’ Louie Barletta is confirmed on some Daewon Song level progression-through-longevity (or vice versa) and his good humor-man sheen probably too often glosses over the real ridiculous nature of the tricks he continues to brew up: casper wallride, handrail wallride, that volcano pogo thing, and other unholy combos that might just as easily have been derived from some inebriated rendition of skate Mad Libs. The dude now does time in industry trenches, and with any luck this will not be his last ‘full-length’ effort, but if so, there’s far more gruesome and horrific methods of exiting an illustrious pro career, and one that amid the ascent of the late 1990s handrail age probably had fair odds stacked against occurring at all.

Torey Pudwill’s Eastern Exposure Moment

May 19, 2011

Is it fitting that this clip promoting an upcoming Torey Pudwill web video feature, set to launch July 4 in honor of the U.S. declaration of independence, could be run through a black-and-white filter and pasted into one of Dan Wolfe’s mid-90s Philadelphia stories? Pudwill’s special meter is a lot of times topped out on hyper technical slide-to-flip-to-slides or whatever but he gets bonus points here for channeling some Forbes/Barley/Oyola power basics with no pushing. The quick set up for the kickflip, height on the smith grind and lateness of the b/s 180 make me wonder if this is the best run Torey Pudwill has done since that one in the DVS “Dudes Dudes Dudes” vid with the rainbow wallride. It would be cool if he made a whole part that was like this.

So I Keep On Buying Porsches

August 5, 2009


Dragonslayer

Apropos of not very much I’m going in for a video clip post because I’m busy as all hell this week. Rather than try and formulate some kind of commentary around this mess, and until I get my act together enough to address the TWS vid and this other shoe topic, I present to you this already-sort-of-old-in-internet-time Tyler Bledsoe clip from Etnies that has kind of a Michael Sieben twang to it. New tricks and I can dig it; it’s like the taller the kid gets the easier it is to watch his skating. The pop out of some of these tricks is sort of ridiculoid (particularly the b/s lipslide to b/s tailslide at the AVE ledge), and can we get some type of You Will Soon poll on the historical equivalent to the A’s fitted that so many youngsters favor nowadays? Make it so…

Kill Yo Self

May 31, 2009


Third time’s the charge

If the rumors are true then I guess this weekend may go down as skateboarding’s parting barrage at SF’s Wallenberg Alternative High School, as officials stand poised to expand the Bulldogs’ kennels down the hallowed four-step, and dash the dreams of gap-minded amateur skateboarders (and razor scooterers, for what it’s worth). Trailblazers Gonz, Bucchieri, Gerwer and Manfre have secured spots in whatever history books keep track of this stuff, and in the end Chris Cole will probably be remembered as the big boss of the Berg, what with his tre-flip vengeance tale and the nonchalance with which he put down the big tricks yesterday. I was kind of shocked he didn’t bring out the switch frontside heelflip, but with all the nonsense exploding down the steps and out of Phelps’ megaphone, probably I would’ve sat down after one switch frontside flip trick too.

But Chris Cole’s quick-draw makes aside, the winner of this weekend’s big-jump hoedown was for sure skateboarding’s nappy boy, the schnozzed-out seventh son of a seventh son* known as Lizard “Mike Plumb” King. Not so much because he landed more tricks than anybody, which he did, but because he spent his 15 or so minutes in the SF air executing some grade-A dork material… and while it would probably be a stretch to hold up a world record backside 180 one-footer as high-level commentary on the whole get-tricks-or-die-trying affair, it added an amazing unpredictable gonzo element to an event so packed with hungry strivers and messageboard mavens checking off boxes on “most likely to be landed” spreadsheets.

Now, a lot of people find the slobbering pursuit of NBD’s that this type of contest produces rather gauche for understandable reasons, and Jake Phelps has taken plenty of heat in the last 24 hours for his usual self-aggrandizing antics, as well as the way he seemed to relish axing dudes and dashing poor Neil Smith’s nollie heelflip hopes. But fair’s fair and hand it to Thrasher for moving the best-trick format forward, and in the process creating one of the few contests that actual people who ride skateboards care about… another being the Berrics game of skate, which you could say has improved upon the don’t-fall-off-your-board-for-60-seconds format. Whereas the Berrics’ warehouse floor democratizes professional skateboarding competitions, Phelps & Co. have successfully set up camp on the other end of the spectrum with shit like the Wallenberg contests, Slaughter at the Opera and so on, don’t-try-this-at-home affairs where, yeah, there’s money, but a shot at a piece of history too.

There’s an argument that packing 11 groundbreaking tricks into one banner-splashed, frenetic afternoon cheapens what it is to do a trick down the Wallenberg stairs, which I can see, but then I think about the legendary Hubba Hideout. In its nth liberation you had dudes flying out to camp there twenty-four hours a day, and yeah it was cool to see Carroll schralp it on the cover of TSM for all the obvious reasons, but that came amid a million web clips, and even legitimately gnarly stuff like Matt Miller’s nollie noseblunt were eventually relegated to the last 60 seconds in that summer’s TWS vid. So, Wallenbergers, get it if you can, while it’s there, make it count, etc etc.

And if there was a best trick yesterday, I think Lindsey Robertson did it. Wow.

*it’s a Utah joke