Posts Tagged ‘sobriety’

Greco and Bam Inside the Recompression Tank

March 18, 2017

Who fought hippos in the street while the zookeepers ran and hid? What’s left after an appetite for destruction is sated? And is there any place where a man or rogue hippo find a lasting peace?

Sebo Walker, imbued by the Great Old Ones with magic-moving feet and a mobile van, is a man of the people. In a literary and literal way, he lives at the skatepark — catch him on Instagram sporting his banana-yellow Lakai model, bros dozens deep riding the Stoner benches to the side. In this way Sebo Walker is part of a recent Crailtap resurgence fueled by the type of sun-kissed posse cuts that helped carve out a family-tied post-World identity way back when. The Fucking Awesome/Supreme kids, perhaps the tightest-knit team currently, jet together from SPoT to Oz, trailing ‘Fulfill the Dream’ vibes and footlockers of expensive casual clothes in their wake.

Elsewhere in Los Angeles, Jim Greco boils. Alone among anonymous automobiles and bleached avenues gone to seed, he sweats out the days documented in his new short movie, ‘The Year 13’. Sober, seemingly exhausted, Greco’s regimented routine constructs a lonesome, claustrophobic universe within his adopted city of four million striving bros. He sessions faded and decades-old spots with a close cadre of graying pros and celebrity Texans. He spends inordinate amounts of time yanking benches down the street to skate solo, until the bench inevitably gains the upper hand and he’s pitched to the ground. He stolidly accepts the slams. Years of hard living long past, his feet still have spark to dazzle on those brick banks and red curbs. There is a pork chop. Lengthy stretches of lonesome silence leave viewers wondering — is Jim Greco, man of a thousand looks, finding peace with himself?

I wake up every morning, I make my coffee, I go skating—there isn’t much of a deviation around this that’s worth talking about. My life is skateboarding. And waking up and staying sober and skating.”

Joining Jim Greco in skate-centric, substance-free life re-leasing is gothic SSBSTS tipster and flying tree-hugger Bam Margera, who this week described to Jenkem how he has pushed away the bottle to pursue some type of low-profile skate pilgrimage through southern Spain.

“And I just knew the spots in Spain are awesome and I wouldn’t get to bothered at the parks, like at home… Home is ridiculous. I don’t know about now, but four years ago I was like, I’m never going to a public park in America. I mean, if I was ripping it would be a different story. Then I’d know I could show up and rip. But to relearn how to skate in front of these kids with their dumb fucking iPhones filming in every which direction, and me bailing on a blunt fakie on a 4 ft quarter pipe… like, I don’t want this be seen on Earth!”

Bam Margera, who upwardly failed into the fame and influence that Jim Greco seemed once to dream of, now looks to be similarly whittling down his world toward the shape of a less burdened, if still world-weary, boy with a skateboard (and a filmer or two on hand, natch). Occasionally semi-NSFW photobloggings aside, Bam Margera’s new direction suggests a certain monkishness, prostrating in the Church of Skatan’s general direction, though separate from the group pilgrimages that have helped lure other waywards back toward their original sin.

How many comebacks have been stillborn due to self-consciousness? Might aged but still-successful pros pool resources to set up a private TF to facilitate skills-rebuilding for lapsed contemporaries? Like maybe one just for Henry Sanchez? Separately, when the technology exists for Jim Greco to film his movies in a solitary and self-directed fashion, will he? Could Jim Greco’s washed-out pocket of Los Angeles guest-star in an episode of Rick McCrank’s Abandoned?

Now That’s What Boil the Ocean Calls Skateboarding (’00s Edition): 20-11

November 13, 2009

20. “Ryde or Die Vol. 1,” 2001
ryde_or_die

One of the last videos with that 1990s feel, Rob Welsh came storming through with a section that observers and supporters had been waiting on since he popped up in the Mad Circle video. Kind of like the Pier 7 opener, there maybe are flaws to this section, but they’re awful hard to make out amid the crooked grinds and Wu-affiliated musics. Aside from the fade-to-whites, “ROD” also features rare full-length appearances from Kevin Taylor and Clyde Singleton, who floats that monstrous bar ollie, and Joey Pepper comes off all forward-thinking nowadays with his Stooges song and backside nosegrind pop-out 180s; this video also featured a pretty good John Igei part and a Mannie Fresh instrumental, ensuring it a top-20 position.

19. “In Bloom,” 2002
in_bloom

TWS’s first am-boosting video featured two of the most visceral parts committed to DV tape this decade from Trainwreck and TNT, more than balancing out the comparatively humdrum footage from the young Evan Hernandez and Mikey Taylor. Tony Trujillo was at the height of his powers, clinging onto tricks he should’ve bailed and ending with a sort of literal smash. People who don’t skate have watched this part on my TV and termed it poetry in motion, and also tight jeans. Whereas P-Rod stood on the cusp of cashing in his little-kid chips for a spot on Girl and probably should’ve had the last part with all the switch gap stuff, it becomes difficult to logically argue against Slayer and 100-mile-an-hour handrail jumping by the rapidly sleeved and unfairly maligned Alex Gall, practitioner of a truly brutal form of gnar skateboarding. I wish he’d stuck around. Finally, this entry would be remiss not to mention the inclusion of Chris Cole when he started getting more interesting, indulging in the Misfits and the Love Park gap.

18. “Man Down,” 2001
man_down

Everything that “Tilt Mode” was and more, except a little less, since there was no Juvenile and Steve Cab didn’t take another run that one crazy handrail, perhaps on sound advice from his lawyers. Saying that the Tilt Moders re-injected “fun” into things misses the point and can make the sayer sound embittered for his or her own bizarre and unfortunate reasons, but videos such as “Man Down” did seem to make a point to encourage drinking, indulging in peculiar fantasies, and generally taking things less serious than the pros who stare at handrails, or wap themselves over the head with their boards for instance. Marc Johnson’s last trick in this video was a switch hardflip backside tailslide, which Rodrigo TX did for his last trick in the Flip video last month. Marc Johnson also skated to the disco Rolling Stones and if you slow-mo certain tricks you can see him bludgeoning seal pups for fun and profit.

17. “This Is Skateboarding,” 2003
this_is_skateboarding

Retroactively the Emerica video with the kinda-silly title gets lumped in with the leather-jacket-and-basic-handrail-trick movement from the early part of the decade, which it was part of sure, but “TIS” had a lot more depth than that thanks in part to the crack production squad of Miner and Manzoori. Opening on a dismal/dour note with a subdued Heath Kirchart section, they meander through the noisome world of Ed Templeton and his ollie impossibles, the most legitimately urban Tosh Townend part, and the last major effort from Chris Senn who did that crazy f/s pivot. Kevin Long roared onto the scene here, spinning both switch and frontside, and the Reynolds closer has that opening line for the books and some serious left-field tricks like the switch backside shifty.

16. “The DC Video,” 2003
DC_video

DC’s vaunted debut video was notable for a few reasons, including Rob Dyrdek seeming to make a sincere effort, Josh Kalis making some of the first miscalculations when it came to choosing tricks, and Colin McKay skating to Jimmy Buffet while foreshadowing the rise of the Geico insurance lizard. The video as a whole though gets over on three parts: Anthony Van Engelen’s blistering crooked-grind melee, Brian Wenning doing less than five tricks regular-footed throughout his other great video part, and yea, the Danny Way. A generation in skateboard-years later the mega-ramp is a known commodity, with its own X-Games designation and related baggage, but seeing the iron man jump and twirl and soar over that thing for the first time was a very, very nutty thing to see, and the victory lap with the rainbow rail sealed the deal.

15. “Mind Field,” 2009
mind_field

Reminding us what a video can do aside from whomping you over the head with unending ledge combos, “Mind Field” returned Alien to form in time for the decade to close out after a few years of soul-searching brought the company to Burton’s doorstep. Purists will quibble about putting on Arto and distribution strategies but in the end-results department “Mind Field” was a triumph, dragging AVE back out of the gutter, putting a match to the incendiary Omar Salazar, letting Jason Dill do as he must and anointing Jake Johnson as a new standard-bearer for New York City – before Heath Kirchart blows through and wipes out everything. Maybe if we were doing this list five years from now, this video would be higher.

14. “Vicious Cycle,” 2004
vicious_cycle

For an outsider this Zoo-backed production signaled a sort of generational torch-passing as far as high-profile New York types – you had Vinny Ponte yelling at people and Robbie Gangemi doing those frontside blunts and Danny Supa, sans Supa-suit, with a bigspin-flip higher than a regular person’s head. It’s hard to ignore Zered Bassett though, seeings how he comes through and switch heelflips over a house or something in basically every section, and all the then-young guns have pretty amazing shit: Charles Lamb, Eli Reed, Brian Brown and most especially Lurker Lou, whose low-key opener features many colorful varieties of the Etnies Rap, and Aquil Brathwaite, who was on some serious Lavar McBride in “Trilogy” and who I would’ve bet the farm was gonna be huge. Live and learn..

13. “Mosaic,” 2003
mosaic

People bemoan Habitat’s westward shift in terms of personnel, but the squad might have been at its strongest when it struck a balance between coasts. Featuring the dirtbag debut of Danny Renaud, with Brian Wenning and Anthony Pappalardo at the height of their relevance and Jason Dill’s planned/unplanned all-line section, all differentiated the first Habitat vid and realigned things for everybody else to a certain extent over the years to come. One of the few videos where either of the last two sections could’ve closed it, but it’s hard to think of any other moment in time when poised Peruvian Danny Garcia could’ve dropped the curtains, and nollieing a gap to k-grind remains a pretty crazy thing to do even years later.

12. “Baker2G,” 2000
baker2g

The video that launched a thousand apparel companies centered on black stretch denim. This video shocked upon arrival, first and foremost with the foul-mouthed Knox Godoy, second with the skating, and to a lesser extent the assorted antics and guest appearances from Brad Hayes, Hoops and Chad Fernandez. Greco’s backside noseblunt and Reynolds’ nollie noseblunting ascension to Koston heights aside, the influence of “Baker2G” was felt just as heavily off the board, and it’s to their credit that the bros have stuck to their niche in and out of 12-step programs while finding new ways to heft a middle finger toward, for instance, the Olympics.

11. “Real to Reel,” 2001
real_to_reel

A Bay Area classic in the spirit of “A Visual Sound,” “Sick Boys,” and “In A Major Way,” Real’s early ’00s entry is still the best case for Nate Jones’ elevation to flower-child style icon, and watching this video again is kind of disappointing when you wonder how much further he could’ve taken things, what else could’ve been, etc. But “Real to Reel” also launched Hensley revivalist JT Aultz and the barnstorming Dennis Busenitz, with Mark Gonzales refocused on street lines and Cairo Foster at or approaching some sort of peak. Max Schaaf on the money board and shit, even this video’s credits section approaches classic status.