Posts Tagged ‘Quasi’

Revenge Of The Credits Section

April 11, 2021

Long before the Snapchat-aping IG story, long before the raw files and rough cuts, even further back before the DVD ‘bonus’ menu selection, there was the after-credits section. In those analog days of yore, meat was hunted on the hoof, and pioneers of the range raised sumptuous crops from sheer rock surfaces. At the time, what little skating could be filmed between chores and fighting for survival was mostly siloed: intro, parts, demo section, friends section, slam section, credits. The chaotic and pulsating smorgasbord that often followed — alternate angles, lenses getting smoked, assorted ‘hinjinx’ — were, beyond print mag interviews, among the few unscripted windows into the wild and wooly world inhabited by top-ranked pros and ams of the time, manna to the chattering class then reliant on telegraph beeps and bloops to rumour-monger and psychoanalyze industry players.

But the credits section’s eulogy was written years ago. Any self-respecting death-clock keeper had already been marking time, one eye on the sunset for physical media in this streamy phone dimension, another observing visual media consumers’ shriveling attention spans, and a third on the growing thrum of daily content churn. And by the mid-2010s the credits section sat overripe, and ready to burst.

Like any self-respecting skate trend, it had taken root, been heavily adopted and lustily beaten into the ground for years afterward. H-Street and Plan B impresario Mike Ternasky, a prime architect of the modern video format, set the trajectory three decades ago, placing a generous 8-minute credits/et cetera section at the end of the the 58-minute ‘Questionable’, expanding to a 14-minute, four-song runtime for the credits and everything after in the 52-minute ‘Virtual Reality’ a year later. The comparatively slimmer ‘Second Hand Smoke’ still exhibited a 9-minute credit section, taking up more than a quarter of the total runtime.

Hence it became known: Big videos merited big credits. The Transworld videos under Ty Evans’ steerage knew it, dedicating 10 minutes of the 48-minute ‘Feedback’ to road trip detritus and assorted potpourri. ‘The Reason’ went further with an 18-minute credit section padding out a 65-minute tape, and even as TWS’ video rosters narrowed to a half-dozen dudes or so, the footage spooled out as the credits rolled: 11 minutes in the 36-minute ‘Sight Unseen’, 13 minutes in the 46-minute ‘Free Yr Mind’, most tellingly 15 minutes in the 44-minute legacy burnisher ‘Anthology’. Other era setpieces ‘Menikmati’ and ‘Sorry’ both boasted credits sections running 10 minutes or longer. Ty Evans would ply his generosity to other Crailtap productions, including 14 minutes’ worth in the hour-and-a-halfer ‘Fully Flared’, a generous 10 minutes for Super Champion Fun Zone (plus 32 minutes of DVD bonus material), and in perhaps the most ultimate credit-section flex of all, 10 minutes’ worth in the 26-minute Harsh Euro Barge. Another peak came in 2001, when 19 minutes of credits and mumbo-jumbo followed the 17-minute PJ Ladd’s Wonderful, Horrible Life’, though part of that was another video part’s worth of PJ Ladd footage.

In an era in which filmers but not skaters are namechecked in 10-minute web edits and lineups are relegated to Youtube descriptions, the credits section seems not only buried, but buried beneath the foundation of a building that collapses and afterwards is covered over by an avalanche or lava flow, depending on the biome and/or time of year. Now comes Quasi, the most consistent scroungers of Rust Belt decay this side of the ‘Grains’ franchise, eyes-dilated dredgers of analog-era counterculture, this week uploading to the people the 10K ‘Grand Prairie.’ Oriented around Dane Barker’s distortion-pedal flick and Justin Henry’s professional-grade grace and thundering form — witness the nollie nosegrind — the vid stews post-‘Alright’ Gilbert Crockett manuals and too-rare Jake Johnson tricks with Bobby De Keyzer’s skyscraper block circuits and a solid slug of Dick Rizzo channelling Puleo and Gall among Jersey’s least obtuse brick angles.

Over and done with in 20 minutes, the credits briefly roll and immediately spill into a half-hour drift through alternate angles, pulsating autograph sessions, an ongoing cat-and-mouse game involving Tum Yetoans on tour, a slice of Taco Bell drive-thru life, casting stones at glass bottles, several interludes involving pickup truck beds, slams, lurkers, gas stations, fire, rural pathos, frisbee sessions, blunt passing, doodling and various others. Years now removed from regular and heavy doses of post-credits antics and outtakes, the effect upon the viewer is one of shock and disorientation. Is this the real video? What is a video? Must Quasi, deploying its 30-minute credit section, be recognized as the medium’s new and perhaps final master?

Is the credit section ‘back’ or is this the last, massive nail of tribute to seal its casket forevermore? Did those dudes go with the lesser of the two angles for some of these tricks on purpose, like how putting Guy Mariano’s switch frontside shove-it k-grind in the ‘Mouse’ credits helped seal the ‘official’ part’s classic status? How come Alien never made a video with alternate-colored magnetic tape? Could Quasi, probably better right now than any other production house as far as surfacing unrinsed music supervisory choices, run a respectable consulting business for video makers cursed with basic song instincts?

2. Nick Matthews – ‘HUF Welcomes Nick Matthews To The Team’

December 30, 2020


Imagine having committed to longterm body memory the exact combination of torso contortion, forefoot balance, ankle flick and split-second timing such that you now possess Pupecki grind kickflips out on command, the way Chicagoland’s Nick Matthews seems to have done. No longer the most feared flow dude in circulation, Huf became the first big operation to take the increasingly obvious step of elevating Nick Matthews to its formal team and presumably mailing out the first of what ought to be years and years of cheques. These and other payments are required to formally recognize the sheer difficulty of the things he repeatedly has done over the past couple years and continued to do here — ranging from a gargantuan street gap, the incredible block-to-block backside lipslide, to a fakie blunt to fakie and switch heelflip frontside blunt, in a line — Steve Durante level. Nick Matthews’ laser-eyed gaze is a smart match for any of the companies supplying him with equipment, but especially Huf, which consistently has delivered some of the best-constructed* videos in recent memory.

*if lazily titled

Summertime Mixtape Vol. 8 – Justin Henry, ‘Mother’

July 3, 2020

Jazz-funk acolytes Psychic TV used their sunny, swinging ‘Godstar’ to smuggle a dark and conspiratorial fable of Rolling Stones member Brian Jones’ untimely death onto blithely unaware mass media platforms. Justin Henry, Ohioan, drapes an easy grace over otherwise jarring and scary tricks in his big introductory part for Quasi’s 2018 classic, making it easy to gloss over the fact that he somehow didn’t catch a wheel in the corrugated dumpster cover on his backside nosegrind, or slam facefirst into the irate, phoneless SFer’s house on the frontside wallie to frontside wallride, or crush his ribcage dropping from a kinked round bar to another one in the midst of a backside 50-50, and so on. He is here much in the beginning of his arc, a young power with a blue collar name from a blue collar state, shuffling through half the tricks in the book across spots from coast to coast, getting yelled at, yelling back, leaving you to wonder what the hangtimewas on the double rail ollie, or the Mike Maldonado measurements on the hop up and over the tall Florida block. When he pushes you can feel the world at his fingertips.

After Tyshawn Jones And Tom Snape, Who Will Pen The Switch Inward Heelflip’s Next Chapter In 2020?

January 1, 2020

Ten more
Dom Henry, ‘Cottonopolis’ — an artist working mainly in the medium of switch nosegrinds and fakie frontside noseslides
Tiago Lemos, ‘Encore’ — nollie over the back, as the fella says, hits different
Tyler Bledsoe, ‘Huf 003’ — backside tailslide drop down to backside noseblunt, what is the world coming to
Brian Peacock, ‘Fellas’ — like a swishies-dripped Gustav Tonnesen, frontside flip switch manual to switch frontside flip back
Kauwe Cossa, ‘Chrystie Chapter 1’ — sterling command of the switch backside heelflip
Nick Matthews, ‘Pavement’ — young in the city with Pupecki grind fakie flips out on lock
Yaje Popson, ‘Untitled 004’ — a top 10 Muni line contender
Wilton Souza, ‘Your World Don’t Stop’ — beating on the Brazilian blocks
Miles Silvas, ‘PLA x Thrasher’ — a mirror line with shock value
Nick Michel, ‘Lotties Must Be Stopped’ — the year’s most fearless frontside half-cab

10. Dane Barker – ‘Welcome to Converse CONS’

December 22, 2019

Among the many and varied appeals of Quasi’s newly signed crust-grating contraption Dane Barker is the rough alchemy mingling his spindly and focused poise with the brutal lacerations he womps upon various spots, in the case of this Cons vid certain So Cal cuts, elsewhere Virginia’s wilds and an awfully good heater in downtown Chicago. The ollie up and then out to binride in this vid and the staircase noseblunt slide are exacto-precise, the bannister transfer and years-in-the-waiting bar hop to pipe smacker at the New Spot are twofisted machete swipes; his ride-on 50-50 to legitimately popped ollie out maybe the most vertigo-inducing clip since Clint Walker’s stories-up bailed nollie heelflip.

Sparks Plus

April 21, 2019

Provocative graphics in the post-shock age are hard to come by, when Natas Kaupas’ salute to the Beast is sold as a nostalgic hoodie item and wistful treatises are penned on black-bagged World decks of yore — to say nothing of all the grisly deaths, esoteric pr0n and freely performed varial flips lurking mere keystrokes away in HD video whilst riding the bus, or in the comfort of one’s own barn. Truly, as Pharrell Williams stated on Jayne Mansfield’s major-label debut mixtape, “nothing is shocking bro.”

To be sure, board graphics continue to test the gross-out bar and do their best to nose-thumb in civilised society’s general direction; French subcultural chroniclist Seb Carayol compiled for Vice a memorable graphic rundown that included one recent board with multiple Disney Co. trademarks involved in a very sophisticated, adult and exceedingly complex scene. FA’s ‘coke dad’ was pretty gnarly. Grasping and rattling the deck-glimpser on a deeper level generally remains a harder trick, though, partly because the mutual rejection once relished between skateboarders and the rest of the world grows muddled by municipally sanctioned corrals, high-dollar endorsement arrangements and the recent adulting trend that increasingly is believed to extend career expectancy by an average of 2.5 video parts.

Rust-belt psych merchants Quasi Designs managed a rare one this week, blurting an ugly, all-caps assessment of the US youth condition, situated below two bits of Americana. On the provocation spectrum it lands somewhere around Jim Thiebaud’s ‘hanging klansman’ and Guy Mariano’s ‘accidental gun death,’ jolting the spirit, versus jabbing the uvula or leeringly stroking the libido. Whereas artistic critiques are better left to pedigreed knowers, this graphic may have been equally memorable as a sort of nihilistic cipher, with no real clue as to the maker’s feelings on the subject. But Quasi makes clear they plan to donate 50% of profits toward March For Our Lives, which funds gun violence research and seeks stricter firearm laws.

Is the mark of a truly provocative board graphic making parents sit up straighter and wrinkle their noses, versus rolling their eyes or wearily raising their brows? As company owners and graphic designers age into those perilously overlapping Venn circles of marriage, mortgage and children, does their ability and willingness to stab at societal norms wilt? Are basic logo’d board series such as Plan B’s actually super risky and challenging via courting indifference or outright contempt among would-be deck buyers, thereby putting the company itself in fiscal peril due to an unwavering commitment to its artistic vision of stylized logos?

2. Dick Rizzo — ‘Mother’

December 30, 2018

Add to the list, under skipping over the top step and triple-tapping walls — self-consciously counting eye blinks, after Dick Rizzo’s hard-wrestled and finally successful backside nosegrind backside 180 into the Grant’s Tomb chute, captured in minute detail for Quasi’s compulsively rewatchable full-length debut last summer. The thumping, dusty East Coast that Dick Rizzo rips top to bottom and day to night in ‘Mother’ threatens with drill-bit flatbars, blood red cellar door clangers and irate, self-appointed Arguses of the Mason-Dixon region who foolishly try and hate on Dick Rizzo and his switch 180s. Whether or not he compulsively blinks twice before his other tricks, like the look-out-below nollie wallride, or while switch powersliding between his back-to-back handrail 180s, remains a matter between Dick Rizzo and his priest. However, some type of uncommon grace infuses this dude straight through his tiptoe ride-aways, like on the ollie out to 5-0 or the bluntslide cab out in ‘Mother’s intro. All dieties are hereby urged to direct healing properties toward Dick Rizzo’s ankle following Bam Margera’s recent blow-out, and deliver unto him an overdue professional board for 2019.

Boxcar Sled Dogs In The Mood

July 22, 2018

With Oedipal vibes, Quasi’s inaugural full-length at long last arrived last week, spiced with temptation. As ever, messageboard banditos probed and hunted for stray links ahead of the official online release. Shortly after it finally hit, an electronic threat from former Throbbing Gristle frontperson Genesis P’Orridge of all people torpedoed the original Youtube link. This forced resourceful computer-rippers to seek out alternate hosting capacity via sites specializing in sophisticated adult entertainment of a different stripe, and left the rest of the world pondering what air cover their web caches and private-browser settings might provide in their pursuit of ‘Mother.’

For those ponderous unfortunates cursed to read between life’s lines and leave no Magic Eye poster unstared upon, it has been tougher still. DNA analysis obligates any video historian to place Quasi’s first full-length within the same creative lineage as ‘Photosynthesis’ and ‘Mosaic,’ citing teamrider and darkman resumes, Ohio geospatial data and the winking juiciness of the Pappalardo hamburger.* It is easy, upon the seventh or eighth watch of this excellently put-together video, to speculate idly as to any nods or winks involved with soundtracking an intro to ‘Band on the Run,’ hailing the heady freedom and risk of escape and liberation — this from the company that announced its emergence from the Alien Workshop/Pacific Vector meltdown with the declarative “no more corporate blues,” and wind up this vid with some oldster stating that he’s “looking just to get away.” The rorshach-test qualities of many Quasi graphics invite similar ponderings: Do all the race cars, motorcycles and fast-running dogs similarly speak to themes of speed and escape? What about the Dale Earnhardt tributes and those drippy sculptures? How much of this is designed mainly to befuddle deck consumers who may feel on sturdier ground with pizza-themed art or endless iterations of a stylized letter B?

Whatever cipher is to be found in Quasi’s graphics, on maple or judiciously sprinkled amongst the footage in ‘Mother,’ probably serves best as a vehicle or backdrop to the team and its skills – all of which ‘go,’ in the parlance of our times. What really merits those mysterious VHS tapes’ positioning alongside the earlier yellow, gray, orange and white cassette ancestors is the video’s careful crafting and exquisite tricks. Forestalling much of the talented flow squad gets ‘Mother’ under the critical 30-minute bar, even with timeless-feeling intro and credits sections. There’s a parallel universe somewhere with full Jake Johnson and Al Davis sections, sure, but their material here is presented in the most resourceful fashion possible, and the efforts of the other bros and ams — especially the ams – more than get the video over besides.

Justin Henry, latest of the Ohio torchbearers, delivers on years’ worth of early promise, gliding and jamming his way over spots on both coasts, fusing otherwise disparate moves into weirdly smooth alloys like the bigspin backside lipslide to firecracker out, or the wallie leap to noseblunt slide. The Grant’s Tomb backside noseblunt is there. Beltholder for greatest hair in the industry, Josh Wilson, blasts multisyllabic flip tricks over various bars and dangerously dings some other ones, along with an intense ollie out of a tall wallride. There is Tyler Bledsoe’s most recent addition to the backside tailslide canon, an almost painfully good Jake Johnson flowerpot backside kickflip, Al Davis thundering switchstance down a cascade of mountain peaks.

Gilbert Crockett, who seems yet to let up from a string of heavy parts following 2015’s ‘Propeller,’ constructs a throbbingly manual-heavy closer that includes an unhinged fakie flip switch manual to switch frontside shove-it out and the rather intense kickflip nosemanual over the guardrail and down the embankment, plus other crazy shit like a scary fence jump and a switch backside nosegrind at the JFK bank to ledge. But it is Dick Rizzo with the most pumping, vital section, cracking over bars and banging down on fire-engine red cellar doors with a weirdly fluid grace, or jumping catlike over the boulevard after half-spinning switch into some griping grayhairs’ beloved banister. There are lovely dips on the backside smith grind and switch backside 5-0, the sounds of the under-bridge wall blast deeply satisfy, and the backside nosegrind revert to GT rollercoaster makes good on the pain and leaf-diving required to reel it in.

Does Quasi have the bench-depth and belly fire to come back in six months’ time with another vid showcasing Drake Johnson, Justin Drysen, Dane Barker and all those Justin Henry tricks that didn’t make it into this one? Is Bobbito back to reclaim his spot after being displaced by Shadoe Haze? Will this year reunite the Dayton diaspora in video releases if Fat Bill completes the new Supreme/FuckingAwesome one and the now three-years revived AWS brings the Joe Castrucci-helmed release described by now deservedly-pro Frankie Spears?

*Note: Boil a Ocean Weblog briefly considered registering @PappalardoBurger on Instagram, and using this to make several humorous posts relating to various video parts in the voice of the burger itself, but ultimately chose instead to leave it to parties who could do more justice to such a concept, rather than linking back to a meandering and partially thought out internet screed

The Power of the Deck-Buying Dollar, and the Promise of the $30 T-Shirt

July 16, 2017

The internet’s cultural side-loader washing machine swirls. What once was, is again, sometimes faded and sometimes pinked by rogue red garments. In the civilian world, tragedy plus time equals comedy; in skateboarding, fashion and hardware trends plus a period of years divided by the internet’s recyclatory properties (which are a constant), factoring the quotient by the strength of the counter-prevailing fads of the day, equals attractive brand-building opportunities that can help to finance electric cars with an auto-pilot option.

Santa Cruz, whose venerable skate dynasty doesn’t preclude opportunistic chintz-grabs, this month has revived its early 1990s technology breakthrough, the Everslick, presumably upgraded to avoid the sogginess that turned so many back toward conventional decks by the turn of the half-decade. As skaters nationwide discovered low-cost ledge lubricants to be had in the supermarket’s canning section, Alien Workshop, World and others abandoned slicks, relegating the technology to the same hardware-fad dustbin as Bridgebolts, Rip Grip, copers and Gullwing’s incredibly heavy plastic-coated hangers. But with deck shapes then already well on their way toward a homogenized popsicle shape, shelving the slick also marked a fateful step away from one of the few deck innovations that briefly commanded a premium price from penny-pinching skateboard consumers — and provided a fleeting glimpse into a future where peddling decks could be something other than a low-margin, efficiency-maximizing commodity business.

In this year of our lord 2017, the deck buyer’s dollar has never been more powerful. Through the 20/20-enabling hindsight view afforded via the internet’s continually expanding archives, skateboard purchasers can gloatingly look 25 years into the past to see mailorder clearinghouses hawking decks for $45 apiece. Adjusted for inflation, those same objects ought to change hands for about $76 at current rates, but U.S. shops, internet portals and even the lowly mall asks only around $55 as the industry has failed to provide a justification for lifting prices incrementally skyward over the years. The world has not stood idly by; wages, logistics and other costs grew while the skateboard business repeatedly cast their votes for Ulysses Grant as their preferred candidate for boards. This has lead deck makers and distributors to move manufacturing overseas to cut costs, whilst chipping away at shop margins, and diversifying into shoes and clothes to subsidize deck enterprises in the grand quest for profitability or its less attractive sibling, break-evenness.

It did not have to be this way. The wooden baseball bat —- derived from hardwood trees and among the sporting world’s closest kin to the seven-ply deck —- has not been subject to the same price-point stagnation. Despite occasional mutations in shape and diversification away from ash into maple and birch, the wooden bat has changed relatively little over the past 30 years, if not the past 130. A basic wood bat retailed for around $20-$35 in 1992; similar models today fetch $30 to $160, scaling upwards based upon pro endorsements, premium wood selections and high-tech processing techniques to command enlarged dollar piles from wood-shopping baseballers.

The same embrace of that unbottleable qualitative that produced Natas Kaupas’ hydrant spin, the Fucked Up Blind Kids, and Gou Miyagi is at play here: The visceral pleasure to be milked from sliding silkscreened Canadian hard-rock maple across concrete or stone cannot be replicated through aluminum or synthetic hybrids, probably to the detriment of performance enhancements that might put more balls into end zones or players on base in other, more regimented pastimes. And the same frugal Ludditism that has fueled the past decade’s revival in low-profile vulcanized shoewear translates to a collective “meh” towards innovations such as Almost’s “Impact” decks, corrugated bottom plies and unique wood mixes.

Should board makers dreaming of fatter profits look to the cotton T-shirt, where token shifts in construction and fit allow those with the strongest graphics and market position to nowadays ask $30 or more for an otherwise commoditized garment? Has the remarkably visionary Jason Dill already been applying this concept to boards? Was the riser pad the air bubble of hardware? Do Paul Schmitt and Rodney Mullen possess a secret storehouse of advanced board technologies long-shelved due to fears the seven-ply maple-worshipping would never accept them?

In Lieu of Some Longwinded and Semi-Coherent Blog Post Here’s a Bunch of Justin Henry Tricks

June 11, 2017