Posts Tagged ‘Ricky Oyola’

The Great And Secret Show

August 26, 2018

Savor it — the feeling of place, and knowing that one fulfills an important role in this cosmic AD&D 3rd Edition game that continues to unfold like a customized DM screen. In Western Hemisphere cities, the skateboarder takes on the form of an elongated dowel, with a flat head and bristles, a broom pushed across the urban plazas and beneath the highway overpass, shaping DIY transitions and waxing ledges and in the process sweeping aside society’s even less-desirables, the crack addict, the homeless alcoholic. Ocean Howell, in an interview following the inaugural ‘Pushing Boarders’ conference, describes the concept thusly:

The one I was thinking about was Burnside: that’s a classic one. So they started pouring concrete up to the pillars underneath the bridge and then the city (the Oregon Department of Transportation more precisely) comes and says: ‘what the fuck are you guys doing? We’re knocking this down. This is unauthorised.’ And all the surrounding property owners said, ‘don’t you dare! This was an open-air drug market and a big problem. These guys are scrounging, drinking beers and shouting but they’re fine.’ People’s cars aren’t getting broken into, it’s less threatening on the streets because you know the lower rung of people who are really hard up and so therefore commit actual crimes, they’ve been scared out. So that was the rationale by which they allowed Burnside to remain. Not because they were trying to support youth. I mean that was a supplementary benefit.

WH: You think their PR people tried to spin it like: ‘yeah we’re going to help the kids’?
No, it’s to help property value. And that is a tool in the tool kit of urban planners in the United States now. And they know; if you get one alone in a room they’ll be perfectly frank about it. Why do they site parks under bridges? Because that’s always where you get a rung below you, on the social scale… Right? And I mean there’s a good case to be made for doing that though… It’s very complicated because you know what skate culture is like and especially at a park… It’s a supportive community for kids who might otherwise end up in that situation. In Portland there was other places where they were proposing to put parks and the homeless advocates didn’t want it because they knew that that meant moving out their clients. They knew that was a tactic.

Last year, Ricky Oyola described similarly summed up the swapping out of various human classes:

‘If these little kids aren’t scared, why should I be scared; I’m a 30-year-old man coming home from work.’ Once it’s safe for young skaters, it’s safe for young male office workers. Once it’s safe for male office workers, it becomes safer for female office workers, then for older folks, and so on.”

Where does this leave the broom? Once refuse has been satisfactorily brushed aside, research shows that brooms typically are placed inside a “broom closet,” which The Free Dictionary defines as “a small room for storing brooms and other cleaning equipment.” In our day to day lives, we have knowed these “small rooms” as skateparks, safely fenced enclosures in which skills can be practiced in a structured and professionally designed environment, properly zoned, with the appropriate payments made to the planners, designers and contract players. The “other cleaning equipment” can be understood to refer to scooter kids and 2018’s surviving rollerbladers.

A bleak fate, even if bands of skateboarders were to somehow collectively embrace their broominess and enlist themselves in service to municipalities for targeted DIY spotbuilding/undesirable relocation campaigns, compensated with golden doubloons and five to ten years’ worth of footage, photos and good times with the homies. But as with any human endeavour, in the metagalactic sense, this all is only temporary.

Just as we now entrust computers to handle many of the complex and mundane details behind everyday life — processing financial transactions; opening doors for the baggage-laden, the armless and the just plain lazy; milking cows; flying fighter jets — it’s reasonable to assume that machines shall assume more difficult tasks over time, possibly including gourmet meal preparation and navigating crab-fishing vessels. Where this leaves humankind is less clear. Deeply rose-tinted glasses may be required to envision programming and electronic maintenance jobs replacing one-for-one those automated in truck-driving, lumberjacking and salesmaking.

And the brooms? Similar to how homo sapiens has dotingly organized the world’s less-dominant species into a system of parks, preserves and zoos, charitable post-singularity AIs could adopt a similar stance, repurposing established cities’ and towns’ increasingly antiquated infrastructure as free-range habitats for humans. Just as human-run animal parks strive to replicate natural environments, it is doubtless somewhat potentially possible that computers will seek to recreate ‘natural’ human surroundings and experiences such as malls, botanical gardens and monster truck rallies. In this instance, the skateboarder sub-class likely would be released from skateparks’ artificial approximation of real street spots, freed to interact and butt up against various other groups carrying on the roles of property-owners, security guards, the homeless and so on.

With several generations now raised within a ten-minute SUV ride to the nearest municipally funded skatepark, can they or their parents be persuaded to resist the allure of additional professionally poured concrete without corresponding social services and funding directed toward those in need — who may already have been shifted out of sight and mind thanks to earlier spatial realignments? Was Anti-Hero’s ‘eviction’ series a nose thumbed against gentrification or a winking acknowledgement of the company’s own role in the greater scheme? Did Turbo predict the joy, frustration and inner turmoil of such societal brooming in his iconic ‘Breakin’ scene three and a half decades ago?

Rose-Coloured Glasses, Made In Philadelphia

August 1, 2011

Recently while aboard a luxury locomotive I gazed out the window to take in the urban decay and peacefully zoned out on the loading docks and warehouses, snapping to after realizing that it had been several minutes and probably it looked retarded to whatever secular co-passengers might’ve been paying attention. One of those increasingly seldom times when a person can still feel as though these pursuits might set them apart in some fundamental way from the rest of the whoevers, and coming on the heels of the pretty emotionally heavy Oyola “Later’ds,” casts Ricky/Bobby/Traffic and the rest in a whole different light.

I ask you, who but a truly cockeyed optimist looks for and sees potential for good times in a sea of crumbling concrete foundations and pissy public parks and disused traffic barriers? What sort of a person launches a hardgoods affair, in 2011, out of the east coast without Marc Ecko rhino pants money and with a full-time truck driving job? What sort of a person would professionally endorse this company? What sort of person devotes the last decade-plus to filming this stuff for unprofitable video enterprises? Does spot-seeking and those who live the attached lifestyle require a person to be naturally outfitted with rose-colored goggles, or are they earned like a samurai’s blade or a unicorn’s wish-granting powers?

Elsewhere on the east coast, Du Flocka Rant gives the children a reason to believe. (via quartersnacks)

Ricky Oyola Would Like You Lousy Kids To Stay Off The Lawn, Stop Pushing Switch Mongo

July 19, 2011

At a moment in time when our graybeard forefathers are pursuing Hollywood starlets a fraction of their age it’s refreshing and reassuring to see an elder statesman straighten his back, hike his pants well past the bellybutton and deliver a verbal threshing to all deserving whippersnappers out here: witness streetstyle legend Ricky Oyola’s VBS turn, front-loaded with do’s, don’ts, shoulda-beens and topical lectures that come off more bemused than bitter, in this longtime fan’s estimation.

Ricky Oyola has earned his bully porch-seat from which to shout and wave various objects at skateboarding’s wayward youth. He has on film one of the best switch kickflips ever performed (flat gap in the street, Sub Zero vid), did switch backside shifty ollies and for those around at the time it’s not overstating it to say his “Underachievers” section shifted skating’s point of view for some years afterward. So let him say his piece: having to stick up for himself, his friends and town, possibly sometimes all at once, living in the shadow of New York City and California, skating uphill to school in the rain both ways — there may be few better suited to a role as what may be the first post-young skateboarder, righteously rattling his cane at an industry obsessed with youth and not properly thinking out which end of the board they’re going to pop off next when filming their lines.

A certain world-weariness seems to have replaced the belly-fire that prompted vagrant beatings and sober instructions as to how one skated the Love Park ledges, and as an occasional grumbler on various topics beginning with “kids these days” it’s nice to see someone with a legitimate claim comfortably shift into the role of loudly complaining oldster. There is a goal and purpose to growing old and the luxury of righteously bitching is at the top of the list. You’d think this opens up a whole new realm of potential sponsorship deals to supplement Traffic — pro model arch supports or knee braces, stretching videos, Aleve, etc.

Roberto Puleo, Dear Leader And Skate Spot Colonialism In The Video Age

February 26, 2011

Two things got me excited to load up and sit down for the 35-minute entirety of this Converse China video a while back — watching a carful of bros I’ve never heard of embark on a cross-country shred vacation through a spot on the globe that’s sort of a blur for me. There’s a vicarious sorta thrill to be drawn from vids filmed in far-flung corners of the earth that you’re not likely to visit or have board to hand if you do — new and weird cityscapes harbouring giddy potential in wide-open plazas with lemony fresh ledges, cement that waves and curls, befuddled cops that keep moving, etc. There were reasons besides Luy Pa-Sin and Alex Carolino and JB Gillett that I watched “They Don’t Give A Fuck About Us” so many times even in spite of that Kool Shen song.

Trick-wise the “Ni” video is short on your after-black hammers but watching them rail it from town to town and dig into spots like that ice-slick bank at 14:30 or the QP buffet at 30:30 gets the wheels turning when you wonder what else is lying around that 3.7 million square miles, where fishing villages get juiced into 10 million-bro metropoli over the course of a couple decades. All of which can turn quick into tongue-clucking and head-shaking with China’s foothold as the new Barcelona finding our West Coast video heroes jetting halfway around the world to eat at train station McDonalds and film clips at the same dozen or so spots. One particular bummer is that the spot-as-trick-benchmark means that the pros can get over k-grinding a previously unseen hubba that may or may not have seen the same move from a local years before, while those dudes’ own video parts end up Youtube fodder, absent “Night Prowler”-type productions that splash on the overseas radars.

Bobby Puleo, among the more spot-minded people out there, touches on this topic briefly in a enjoyably rambling/ranting interview that went up on his site last month.

“I do know a lot of people go and film their parts in far off places like China and Europe instead of trying to find their own shit in the places they actually live in or operate in. It seems like a lot of kids just simply don’t use their intellect or imaginations enough any more.”

Puleo’s stance is heavily defensive toward his home turf of New York and the rugged/gritty/urban brand it now carries thanks in no small part to his own efforts to highlight that aesthetic, alongside other like-minded bros such as Josh Stewart, Ricky Oyola, Chris Mulhern, Kevin Coakley, sometimes Jason Dill, etc. California kids carpetbagging their way through Manhattan in a bid to offset palm trees and concrete transition raise the hackles of jaded/bearded ones such as Puleo, who I personally would put on the far end of the spot spectrum from those who might hop a plane to film manual tricks several time zones over — fetishizing spots/surroundings to the point that the trick itself is like an afterthought or even a distraction from the attractively deteriorating warehouses or bridge-pilings, catching the smog-tinted sunset rays just so. Ricky Oyola, who interviewed Puleo, at one point seems to suggest this:

“I know nowadays, it looks like kids try too hard to find those type of spots, I think it comes out looking contrived most times.”

Puleo soon resumes his attack on VX-bearing career-builders trampling all over his town, but I think Oyola has a point here — there’s a clip in “This Time Tomorrow,” a generally totally awesome movie, where (I think) a dude ollies up one curb, then another one quickly, then has to make a tight turn and hops up on a rail to do a frontside boardslide down, like, four stairs. Hard, yes, could I do it, probably definitely no way, but there are hard questions you ask yourself when allotting video-part real estate and with a certain subset of skating very much shaped by aesthetics-minded landmarks like “Static 2” it’s clear that sometimes the clip is more about the spot than whatever trick happens to go down there.

And we now flip open last month’s Transworld, or alternately click here, to witness the ongoing fruits of a career built partly on this idea — Kenny Reed 360 flipping in North gosh-darn-it Korea, a jurisdiction with enough mystique and cache and well-fed military personnel such that the bar is lowered to the point that a flatground trick earns full-page photo status. A more exotic riff on an idea that still plays at home, which is when you’ve got a brand-new rail it doesn’t matter that Mark Appleyard kickflip backside tailslide bigspinned out on some other rail 10 years ago, because the slate is clean and a veteran pro can get in his frontside crooked grind or backside 5-0 before the amateurs come along and fuck it all up by kickflipping into everything, or worse, going up it.

Which is maybe one way long-suffering photogs could help make rent every month — hoarding the latitude and longitude of virgin spots and holding out for the highest bids put forth by dudes needing to justify royalties from their sixth pro sneaker. Style points on a backside smith grind go further when you’re not standing in the shadow of last month’s nollie backside noseblunt and if the message boards are paying attention said pro could possibly even add “spot seeker” to his online rep. Maybe people already are doing this?

Midsummer Video Roundup: Moving in Traffic

August 14, 2008


To a deluxe apartment in the sky

A lot of people will talk about the whole rap-rock era and condemn the Limp Bizkit/Korn/Linkin Park movement as a load of horseshit, and you know I’d have to agree. But some of those people will be quick to add “except for the Pharcyde” or “except for Rage Against the Machine,” a couple groups who I guess could be considered the originators of the genre, if you want to call it that. The point is that the creators shouldn’t be blamed for whatever watering-down and bastardization followed, which I guess is fair, but rap-rock can stay dead and buried as far as I’m concerned.

Except maybe for those scary clown guys who named their album “Iowa,” cuz they seemed like they were onto something.

Anyway, the same general concept can apply to this new phase of urban/weird spot/”creative”/cellar door skating we’re in right now, and bearded munchkin Bobby Puleo, who set the stage in La Luz way back in 2002. Even those who’ve had it up to here with the pivot fakie craze will tip their hats to Puleo, being as he’s the one who came up with a lot of these moves.

It makes a certain kind of sense that Puleo ended up with the Traffic/Static set, and his BDP-powered opening part in the new “Moving in Traffic” promo is to me his best skating since La Luz or maybe even the Infamous promo, possibly because it came as a surprise to me that he put aside his internet conspiracy theories and aggressive indifference to skating in general to, you know, make a serious effort. He’s fleet-footed as ever and his style, to invoke probably the most overused word on this blog, is looking smoother than it has in years as he noseblunts and nosegrinds and manuals all over the place. The spots of course are like the Rust Belt’s greatest hits, and Rich Adler’s rapid-fire editing is right on time. If he wants Puleo can go back into hiding for a couple years off this part, it’s seriously that great.

Later on Oyola grinds some steps, Pat Steiner breezes some lines and Damien Smith wipes down an SUV with his black tee. Oh, and Dan Plunkett (I think it’s him) sails a big ollie out to nosestall to pop back in fakie on a bank-ledge, which is wild. Rich Adler rips and chooses good tricks to do but I have a hard time dealing with his midget style, sorry. He does hook up some pretty inspired music choices for the parts though.

The other anchor of the video is Jack Sabback who cranks his backside nollies and low-rides long nosegrinds and always seems to rotate into or out of tricks in the most eye-pleasing direction available. You know? He’s looking like a young Egon Spengler and skids the sickest nollie frontside noseslide pop-over to fakie. This is the part that myself and, I can only assume, billions of others have been awaiting since the Ipath promo a few years ago, and it satisfies through the final fucked-up switch frontside pop-shove it.

On a side note I don’t know why more companies aren’t going the Tim & Henry route in this age of the 24-hour filming cycle. Jamie Thomas was talking about putting out a Zero video every fall that would basically be edited around whoever had the most/best footage at the time, which is an interesting idea. Either way, the Traffic promo comes out to the perfect length for a pre-skate viewing and hopefully more companies try this approach. It seems to be translating into board and softgood sales, since Oyola can now apparently afford to put titles for different skaters’ parts and pay street cops to wear Traffic merchandise.

They had this video up at the Traffic website for a while, but now I can’t find it. The site is however home to quite possibly the gulliest news update in some time, check it out.