Posts Tagged ‘run-on sentences’

A Swiftly Tilting Planet

November 19, 2017

In the 1990s, when skateboarding grew old enough to cadge cigarettes and thrill to petty crime, power derived from personal networks. Such networks were built of blood and bodily tissue, pulsating to the sounds of East Coast rap tapes, testing slang proficiencies and stiff-arming those deemed not ‘with it’ enough to merit tribal admittance. Over time, as these fleshsome blobs ingested hard currency and heaved themselves into shapes resembling semi-functional business apparatuses, they drew the eye of larger, more heavily weaponed entities, and they fought one another for pride of place and insubstantial dollar figures. All the while, their squishy amoebic forms stiffened and sparked, hardening into circuits and coagulating around wifi hot spots.

It’s a story learned by many at a young age, laying down to sleep upon straw piles and inside comfortable caves with natural stalagmite transitions. But power these days is welded to influence, a sword toted only by a certain few — those who earn it through questing, and those bloodthirsty and wily enough to acquire it by force. And, it is always sharp.

Nowadays, ‘moments’ flit by more fleetingly than ever. In our current one, the largest and most fearsome blade of influence is wielded by the Ted Barrow-curated Instagram account ‘Feedback_TS.’ The outlet punches far above its 5,700-follower weight, drawing into its orbit street-skating GOATS who yearn to be down, style magnet pros fresh off this year’s front-running full-length, and countless droves of aspirant comer-uppers lured by those juicy twin carrots, momentary fame and internet validation.

@Feedback_TS is more than a despotic judge, jury and executioner baptized in ‘Trilogy’ and ‘Mouse’ trick selections with a firm grip on format and presentation. Ted Barrow is not a pro, notwithstanding a memorable part in 2005’s ‘Lurkers 2’ alongside Jason Dill and Charles Lamb. He doesn’t get money from the skate industry. Harsh judgement and unvarnished opinion sometimes are served up, but no meanness or bitterness. Similar to the largely self-directed Slap board thralls, to skatepark heroes and strivers and the occasional professional, it is told like it is. To an extent, @Feedback_TS embodies the info-age singularity that has turned the skate biz inside-out, as the internet provides the world’s double-set early grabbers a platform on par with annointed worthies such as switch backside co-practitioner Miles Silvas and loveable oldster Jeff Gosso. Here lie isolated meadows and abandoned box canyons for creatures such as Revive and New Jersey bodybuilding manual regulator Weckingball to mutate and thrive, independent of the well-worn cart tracks, gladhanding and favored bazaars of the established skateboard business. In this turbulent realm, retired blog proprietors function on the same level as Eric Koston.

Is the right analogue to @Feedback_TS that of a wizened older brother, or maybe more accurately that worldly, well-meaning but unapologetically subversive older neighbor who probably smokes drugs and for sure operates beyond the bounds of the established family hierarchy? Between Ted Barrow and the resurgent Brian Wenning, have we entered a head-spinning and somewhat demoralizing era where switch backside smith grind shove-its rank as ‘old guy tricks’? Does the growing influence amassed by this instagram account raise concerns that it has become systemically important, with any deletion or protracted absence leaving impressionable kids adrift and guardrail-less, while parents, significant others and non-skating ass roommates wonder what happened to the deadpan voice dispensing trick terminology and occasional bursts of art history from behind the bathroom door whilst the fan is going?

Who’s Got It For Cheap

September 14, 2013

NightmareOnCanalStreet

In the latest sign that we collectively have abandoned our humbler roots in favor of active sporting trophy cups and lucrative endorsement deals, one of the cardinal learnings of the 1990s seems to have faded from memory. Like so much L.A. confetti pushed before the broom of a blind disco custodian, skateboarders* seemingly have discarded their collective ambition to be like rap singers.

Perversely, more than a decade and a half since the grand fragmentation of street-skating into various splintered genres and jeans fittings, it is the black-denimed and tattooed long-hairs who seem closest to maintaining a form of business mind-meld with the likes of Gorilla Zoe and Charles Hamilton. As the internet buccaneers set sail and pillaged the profitability of compact discs and DVDs alike, urban musicians, many confident in their ability to subsidize any lost musical revenue with the street kind, largely abandoned the blockbuster commercial release ritual in favor of flooding the zone with a steady stream of sometimes tossed-off but generally more interesting and immediate free releases, oriented around building and maintaining a support base rather than trying to squeeze a shrinking number of dollars from an antiquated medium, which requires cutting in any number of increasingly irrelevant corporate interests to boot.

One-off web-centric video parts aside you maybe could draw a thin and blurry line between the decades-old concerns that still insist on a multi-year production process with the requisite release-date pushbacks, monthly ad campaigns and internal deadline turmoil that seem attendant upon such projects, versus the Magentas, Palaces and perhaps Adidases whose trip clips and internet parts skew more toward the mixtape format, without the gravity of a once-per-decade project pervading everything.

Jamie Thomas a few years ago, when Zero was like 20 dudes/dudettes deep, described a certain plan to release annually a video that would tot up whatever footage had amassed over that time period and push it out upon the salivating masses. It sounded logical, but “Cold War” seems to have wound up following the established build-and-release pattern, maybe due to Jamie Thomas’ famous adherence to rigid standards. But now comes Emerica with the first in their “Made” series, this one featuring about one-third of their team, in what’s alleged to be a succession of smaller videos that would appear to harken back to the medium’s optimal runtime of 20-30 minutes, as laid down under interplanetary law by wizened walruses able to communicate telepathically and also with crude grunting sounds.**

Must this be the way of the future for all as TV-stand real estate is ceded to Roku boxes and streaming services? Has Skate.ly already become the unofficial DatPiff.com to the industry, and Quartersnacks its Traps N Trunks? If Mark Suciu has laid claim to the Gucci analog, who is our Lil B? Which company, if any, has the balls to release the skate-video equivalent of the long-feared “all-skits rap album”?

*Or maybe just those that don’t run companies***
**Nike purported to be doing something similar, but with 50 dudes on their team and several years between each video, it winds up being sort of a half-measure.
***That are not DGK or Selfish

Could Rob Dyrdek’s Don King Fantasy Render All Of Chaz Ortiz’s Hard Work Meaningless?

September 25, 2010

Rob Dyrdek’s constantly mutating career has traced a twisty, turny path over the past two-plus decades, from Gordon & Smith prodigy to backpack rap mogul to one-half of an ambiguously extreme duo to a designer of profitable action figurines in a convoluted route similar to that of the Tony Hawk branded rollercoaster. His various “boardroom bangers” have earned him comparisons to hairmonger Donald Trump and the Birdman himself, as well as the titular character in the successful sci-fi romance “The Time Traveler’s Wife’s Husband.”

Like an 80s shark-skin suit, Rob Dyrdek is compelled to continue moving forward and look snappy doing so, yet his most recent venture poses risks of destabilizing the already shaky underpinnings of the competitive contest circuit as we know and understand it today. The “Street League,” alluring to pros for its lucrative prize potential and relative credibility when placed beside the likes of a Mountain Dew-soaked prefab circuses stuffed with Slim Jims and the musings of a Sal Masakela. It’s the tradeoff — an agreed-upon exclusivity of pro participation that involves forswearing other major contest tours — that raises the danger of plunging the
immaculate and hallowed institution of contest skating into the same cesspool of confusion, corruption and chest-beating that has snared pro boxing.

Here, a woeful five organizations with even more woefully similar-sounding names — the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Organization, and International Boxing Organization– vie for the hearts and minds of fans as each purports to lord over the true world title for each weight class, requiring would-be contenders to overextend their personal credit in an effort to acquire houses with enough closet space for multiple gilded belts. Truly it is enough to make a dunce of anyone seeking to master the sweet science.

Even without a gunmetal-gray fright wig and track record of alleged athlete exploitation, Rob Dyrdek’s outsized ambitions may serve to unravel the innocent hopes and dreams of youngsters whose only goal is to be crowned the undisputed world champion over all other boarders, along with all the women and energy drinks and free pickup trucks that such an achievement brings. Between the Gravitron Games, the Dew Tour, World Cup Skateboarding, the California Awesome Skateboarding League and those guys who successfully defended the industry against the blank-deck scourge a few years back, it’s hard to be sure this has not already happened. Is it too late — do we live in a world where the title of “world champion,” even when slurred by John Lydon, carries a qualifier? Will kids need complex flow-charts to properly position photos of their heroes in the proper hierarchy on bedroom walls? Will magazines double their IT expenses replacing keyboards with worn-out shift and 8 keys? Might stage-dads rethink valuable lawn-mowing hours spent coaxing feeble grinds down the park rail?