Posts Tagged ‘road tripping’

In Which We Discuss The Potential For Stacking Some American Dollars Via Spot Profiteering

January 25, 2012

When Josh Kalis talks about a growing shortage of organic skating and tricks in current videos and magazines he’s mostly talking about how filming has come to be oriented around missions rather than documenting whatever progression is coming out of an existing scene or spot or crew, and he has a point — the idea that the possibly most-recognized/followed spot is a California warehouse done up in shades of gray probably says something about the state of the union/kids these days/etc. But the discussion around Mark Suciu’s States-spanning video part throws out some broader questions about what constitutes real or genuine skating, amid explosive charges of what one friend termed “pseudo-east coasting.”

Oh? It’s hard to recall eastern-borns skating Southern Californian schoolyards being derided as west coast carpetbagging but let’s go with it here. Authenticity counts, or it used to. In the days of yore, like the 80s, “poseurs” served as shorthand for wannabe types looking to co-opt the image of skateboarding without paying the various tolls, such as being branded a loser/misfit/outcast in zones outside of California, as well as physical injuries and legal reprisals in all locations generally, or possibly owning Limpies. Shoulder chips were earned by those who slaved over hot asphalt in pursuit of a flip trick destined to go unloved by all but a handful of local peers. Or even more dire, skating a vert ramp.

The knock against Suciu (ten years ago you could maybe slot in another Habitat employee, Danny Garcia, in a similar fashion) I think is that he’s looking to mint an image by taking some California skatepark show to hallowed East Coast spots and thereby earn valuable blog-points that are redeemable* for blog-cred on widely observed messageboards, a surefire plan to reap riches and piles of endorsement goods. This type of NIMBY brainwave has forced young’ns in days past to pay respects to their forebears and earn respect in old-fashioned ways, in some cases by stepping up to the same shit they skated. An argument could be made that kids build more character skating Love Park nowadays in its more-illegal state versus the ’99-’00 heyday. But what would be an acceptable penance for growing up in California, indulging in some “Forecast” ledge combos and not bombing enough hills? At what point would it be cool for such a bro to take his shot at the Fred Gall ledge-to-handrail? Should Jake Johnson have taken heat for tilting at the Astor Cube? Were hard feelings harbored after Bob Puleo tried his hand over in London?

There’s legitimate gripes to be made when up-and-comers seek to launch their personal brands upon your El Toros and your Hubba Hideouts and your Macba 4s, especially if they’re foolishly snarling traffic for the builders of Burnside or the flag-planters at Embarcadero. Maybe the Love Park holdouts still feel this way when they look at the Mark Suciu part. I’ll grant that part of it is down to the dude involved — much less slack would be granted to, say, Ryan Sheckler if he concocted some video part that stitched together beloved Eastern seaboard plazas and a bunch of spots in New Jersey and whatnot. But I don’t get the impression that Mark Suciu is bereft of street cred, and if this is a calculated get-rich quick scheme on his part I think he’d do better to log hours on Google Earth looking for teeny stair sets to jump up, or figuring out where Elijah Berle shops for his outfits, or recording some private skatepark antics.

*but non-transferrable

Mark Suciu Pens “Photosythesis” Fan Fiction, Has Hudson News On Smash

January 17, 2012

What with the standalone physical-release full-length video production gradually scaling back to the more occasional “event” that they were up til the late 1990s, we’ve got some of these one-off web parts taking on a bigger profile and developing their own little hype cycles — the Dylan Rieder “Laterds” coinciding with his landmark statement of purpose for Gravis, Nyjah Huston’s biographical/career turning point as promotional peg for his Element clip last fall, Thrasher handing its website over to Plan B and Torrey Pudwill over the summer in the run-up to his midyear footage dump, and so on. Drama and promotion seem to be part of the effort to rise above the Youtue/Hellaclips/message-board footage din, which makes it notable in a different kind of a way when Mark Suciu and his Atlas store buddies show up and run the WWW table for a three-day weekend with very little fanfare or notice ahead of time.

It’s hard to overstate how good this part is but we’ll try here. Gone is the five-panel hat, but otherwise Mark Suciu and his collaborator Miguel Valle strip away the floppy hair, overwrought ledge combos and assorted other little kidisms from the already-good “Origin” section and double down on stuff like the rail ollie to backside lipslide on the block, and all those flip tricks atop the narrow curb. These dudes seem to work like a good musician/producer combo and are smart about how they put hard tricks in the frame here, like the backside noseblunt up against the wall or the backside tailslide pop-out at Pulaski Park in Washington DC which seems like the type of trick that’s been crying out to be done by somebody. No egregious slow-mo, or even any slow-mo. And some of these tricks and runs are way out of hand.

But past all that you get the feeling that this dude almost is working with a kind of plan. Jake Johnson talked a while back about messages. Not knowing a lot about what he was going for with this section, or Mark Suciu in general except that he comes out of the Bay Area and he’s a fan of vintage Pappalardo and he heeds advice from Brennan Conroy as to footage gathering, it lets you project or theorize a little bit as you oooohh/aaaahh through this footage for the eleventh time. A blurb in Transworld not long ago put him in Philadelphia on some for-the-fuck-of-it road trip that apparently netted the switch feeble grind and probably a lot of the other local stuff as well as the Occupy clip. Looking at the way he’s skating now and the places him and his friends choose to hit, you can put together some picture of a kid who’s getting a chance to put his own spin on a “Photosynthesis”/”Ryde or Die Vol. 1″/”Element World Tour”/”EST” — carving his initials into spots next to Anthony* Pappalardo, Josh Kalis, Fred Gall, Ricky Oyola, Tim O’Connor, Kevin Taylor, John Igei, etc.

People are out there talking about this part in the same fashion as PJ Ladd’s debut, and there’s one similarity as far as how the heaviness of the tricks and lines here** are balanced out by a general low-key approach. No costumes, the whole time you’re basically watching a dude in a t-shirt flipping his board down the street, neither him nor the dude with the camera tripping too much on the angle of the sun in the picture or a little blurry footage or a wayward backpack. Also the fakie b/s nosegrind shove-it in that last line gave this mid-90s torch-bearer goosebumps.

*Possibly my favorite Pappalardo photo of all-time, so it was awesome to see Mark Suciu flip the script at the same spot
**Did he seriously do all those tricks in SF on the same night..