Posts Tagged ‘Sealab’

Choices 3: Judgment Day

July 30, 2016

bubble.JOSH-KALIS

Thirty-eight years ago to the day, Memphis rap posse Three 6 Mafia uncannily predicted the brassiness and unbridled vamping of this 2016 US political election season in the motion picture release ‘Choices 2,’ an airy farce with a rhetorical title referencing how two people compete to be the ‘People’s Choice’ and win the ‘People’s Choice Award,’ also knowed as the US presidency. Over time the prize has gone to saxophonists, cowboy actors and even enjoyors of post-retirement Jay-Z songs, but many of the heartiest feats of achievement that shall define the 2016 contest still lie ahead.

Several miles below sea level, the deep-pocketed forces steering the skateboarding industry from an underwater base confront their own conundrum. Josh Kalis, he of the nigh-spotless twenty-plus year career, channeled the syrupy spirits of DJ Paul and Juicy J to record his own ‘Choices,’ a satirical short film that alternately bemoans and bellylaughs at the long-armed reach of international sporting equipment companies into skate shops, sweeping less powerful companies’ shoes from shelves and leaving a paucity of options for the toecap-chewing hardflipper.

It can be no coincidence that the messenger for this unhappy fable is Josh Kalis, whose reintroduction of the ‘Kalis Lite’ to a generation of Love Park-fetishizing saboteurs comes as the most important geopolitical shoe event of the year. Despite its hikey sole and lack of air bag, the ‘Lite/LTE’ is the most credible-yet throwback to the puffy shoe era*, boosted by a particularly East Coast persuasion of nostalgia arising out of #skateshoewars and Philadelphia spot paleontology. The Kalis Lites, the most vital release from DC in years, also comes as sporting apparel makers Nike and Adidas try ever so softly to nudge skaters’ sweatstained wallets further ajar, coaxing dollaridoos toward higher-tech footwears that command fatter margins and further cement the big, swinging corporation as the dominant force in skate shoedom, widening the gap between their space-age materials and those lesser peddlers of vulcanized suede.

But a good decade into this slim-shoe era, as the Janoski continues to run roughshod over besocked $150 Kostons and rivals’ new pro models retain slender, suedey templates, the tech shoe increasingly threatens to fall back into its typecast role as a periodic fad. The rubbered-out Airwalks and Etnies briefly ushered in the 90s before Jason Lee and Jim swept the table clear for a generation of grunge rockers, conscious MCs and others to wallow, before DC began slowly turning up the tech with the Boxer and the newly-reissued Syntax. The oft-maligned D3, also recently reissued, arguably represented the apex/nadir of this period, before Nike’s Dunk fanned the Luddite spark struck by Tom Penny’s Accel-boosting Menikmati part, and within a few years the Half Cab ascended to the throne. Es, which never fully relinquished its mantle of Schemes and Logics, entered the cryogenic chamber as the vulcanized sole trampled all comers.

Are the recent techy stabs a sign that the tide finally is turning away from simplicity or just further fodder to an every-ten-years-tech-shoe fad? Could a longterm tech-shoe revival help propel Quiksilver into a new glory age of booze and boardshorts? Is independent shoe company booster Josh Kalis making a bigger and broader design statement when he talks about ‘choices’? Will the fact that Oscar-winners DJ Paul and Juicy J have one up on Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin ever truly sink in with the general public?

*Which perhaps not coincidentally overlapped with the Puff Daddy era

Greg Lutzka Wins The Dew Tour That Is This Earthly Life

January 13, 2009


One Toyota to rule them all

Like many others, my imagination was captivated this week with the revelation that frontside-favoring Milwaukeean Greg Lutzka completed an agreement with Toyota to produce a line of white cars with a drawing on the side. While it may have made more sense for Toyota to go with, say, valley boy Mikey Taylor for this honor given his fondness for street racing and, one can only assume, Tokyo drifting as well, you have to commend Lutzka for his business savvy and sheer ballsiness, managing to convince a struggling car company to adorn the side of a hatch-back with a funny-looking moustache dude pulling his pud.

(Notice to Madison Avenue: This is exactly the type of low-brow, bottom-of-the-barrel approach that I keep trying to tell you resonates with kids today. And this is why those kids are tomorrow’s today’s Toyota buyers.)

Wikipedia (where someone, possibly on the Lutzka payroll, keeps rather close tabs on his trophy-packed contest schedule), tells us that the Matrix is Toyota’s Debbie to the Black Debbie that is the Pontiac Vibe. It has received mixed reviews for safety, much like Greg Lutzka’s trick selection. Yet it also received solid marks for reliability, much like Greg Lutzka’s trick selection. Again, I refer you to the exhaustive Lutzkapedia contest compendium.

Now a lot of people poke fun at Greg Lutzka, or as he’s increasingly known, the Greg Lutzka. Though this is some true pot-kettle-black-calling shit, he does sometimes appear none too bright. There was that embarrassing month-long stint on Krooked, a partnership rumored to have come apart following the revelation that the GL adorned his bedroom walls with his own likeness in the form of Illennium ads or what have you. And one of my great regrets of last year was that I never devoted one of these none-too-precious postings to the kind of amazing Globe section, themed as it was with French techno music and some really sweet “Krazy Kings”-esque special effects.

But the Greg Lutzka’s earnest Midwestern cluelessness is deeply endearing, and puts his finger-snappin’, hat-wearin’, frontside flippin’ spinnin’ in the sort of perspective that you just can’t get when he strolls the club in a leather jacket. Why, just a few years ago the kid needed a sit-down* to learn the proper way to wipe his ass and discard the wasteful, shameful, hateful “tissue glove” method.

Now look at him. His name sparkles proudly on the side of a Toyota hatch-back. He knows Lil Jon and Ryan Sheckler. He sells his own hat made from the skin of synthetic frogs, developed in a secret laboratory owned by Oakley glasses. Australian footwear concern Globe recently approached him to design a shoe, which does closely resemble the Muska’s vaunted Sky-Top, but this is hardly a mark against the Greg Lutzka. As we all know it is nigh impossible to fade the Muska, and one can only hope to follow his lead. Which the GL wisely has done in this instance. So don’t try and tell me the kid hasn’t made it.

*from a Big Brother writer, no less