Posts Tagged ‘static’

The Medium-Sized MNC Star T-Shirt Is The Message Dudes

December 7, 2011

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Quartersnacks the other day posted up this deep dive into Sect adherent Jake Johnson who sounds like he’s spent the better part of the last year pondering ponderous thoughts on a skate-oriented pilgrimage to Pittsburgh as part of a broader effort to reconnect with his inner dirtball. The idea wins kudos at this blog webpage, where such concepts are prized above sponsorship by big-box retail chains. One of Jake Johnson’s ponders involves the “message” that underlies skateboarding, a potent smoothie of rebellion, aggression, creativity, pain and escapism, some of which might be lost on a generation coming up with parks aplenty and tweet-ready reality idols straddling the primetime viewing hour. There’s a separate message though for which Jake Johnson feels more personal responsibility, transmogrifying his board into a ball-point pen and the streets to an 8.5×11″ piece of white printer paper:

“My sponsors give me a lot of freedom. For the most part, they understand that me developing a concept, message, and my style of skating is the most important thing for their company. They’re willing to do whatever it takes for me to skate my best, and they trust me that I know how to do that. A lot of companies don’t.”

Thinking back on “Mind Field” Jake Johnson from what I recall worked hard to root the footage in his working frame of reference which was mostly New York at the time, setting up kind of a contrast to Josh Kalis’ various beefs about Greg Hunt not incorporating enough of his Barcelona tricks, but whatever. The comment (and whole interview really) signal that Jake Johnson found an early grasp on what somebody can do with the career opportunity he was handed and seems to be thinking hard about what he wants to do with it.

Who else thinks in terms of this “message” thing? I think Leo Valls and the “Night Prowler” guys definitely have an aesthetic that they’re looking to promote with their skating, built on what Ricky Oyola and Bob Puleo developed, a sorta homesteading purity for the streets. When Jamie Thomas cued up that clip of himself skating over that bridge in Chicago at the beginning of his “Welcome To Hell” section I think he had an idea he wanted to get across, same with Jim Greco and Stevie Williams a couple years later. Jason Dill is a dude who you can imagine looks at his message as a malleable and mutating thing. Mike Vallely’s career arc cast him into a spot now where you could say that “message” is nearly all he puts out, versus skate tricks.

There’s some comments made in the (too) long-gestating “Epicly Later’d” on Menace along the lines that Pupecki, Valdes, Suriel et al were at the time some assortment of castoffs and misfits corralled by Kareem Campbell to fill out his allotted corner of the Rocco empire. Maybe that’s partly true, but you gotta think that the mastermind behind our still-beloved “mNc” star logo had his own type of message in mind, having to do with communicating through vaguely scary hand-signals and 360 flipping through sidewalk cafes. If all he wanted was some square pegs he could’ve got Adam McNatt and Ryan Fabry.

Skateboard Cinematographers Ready Casting Call For Seagull’s Replacement In Artsy-Fartsy Media Up/Downgrade

October 25, 2011

Ever since Henry Sanchez rendered street progression largely impossible by doing every trick in the mid-1990s, skating has been forced to put apply a new spin on old ideas, sometimes with a kickflip out. The advent of cheaply consumable home electronics ten years ago initiated the extension of this idea into the living room editing bay, where a new generation now has revitalized and celebrated the shitty quality that one can only achieve by filming on a clunky shoulder-ready VHS camcorder and the dual-VCR master tape compiling process. Two-liters of Shasta optional, but if Neon Indian and the chillwavers can mine cassette-tape hiss for bloggable revenues, why can’t VHS be the new super-8?

With the requisite ironic fist bump offered to Sam Salganik’s “Naughty” I really remember this idea hitting with the landmark “hello” clip from Palace that they’ve since evolved and hopefully are wringing out over some type of full-length, but in the meantime Atlanta bros Matt Swinsky and Matt Creasy have fetishized the static lines and tracking indicator (even if the 8-bit graphics are a little higher fi) to ground their generally awesome VHS Tape movie. Ryan Cooper’s heroin chic is a major highlight with ripping parts from Dan Plunkett and Chris Burns but the found/archival footage they weave in tinges the whole vid with a feeling of decay in several of the technological and cultural meanings you might imagine. Sort of like “Gummo” on a dying TV but with more Swooshes and with that one black/white checkerboard ledge spot as a key locale.

They maybe overdo the “tracking” thing by the end but the skating and wise soundtrack navigation keeps the concepts from getting too stale and it seems like one of the better videos to come out this year, for sure. Also wondering if the aesthetic will get plopped into more otherwise straight-ahead projects like last week’s barge through the Philly edition of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. Keep the faith bros but I think the Philadelphia Stock Exchange sits a few blocks down Market St and now goes by the zesty acronym PHLX.