Posts Tagged ‘Stay Gold’

The Functional Baker Boys

June 5, 2015

fabolous_baker_boys

The true glory in growing old and finding one’s self with little or nothing left to prove is that it carries wealth in options. Bill Murray, that graybeard vanquisher of ghosts and pro jock to the Dalai Lama, honored fellow oldster David Letterman last month by leaping out of a secretive cake chamber and proceeding to take shots to the dome. Jack Palance, that silver fox of the US prairies, saw fit to parlay his time at the Oscar podium into boasts about the size of his bowel movements and several one-armed push ups. Betty White this week joined Instagram.

So too in the skate biz, where pro careers now offer second and third acts, there are elder statemenships to be carved out, with Jeff Grosso lovingly hollering at the collective industry to get off his lawn, French Fred Mortagne pulling back the veil on the early years of Barcelona paradise, and Tony Alva donning a puff-ball stocking cap to level-set the Vans video.

Andrew Reynolds and Mike Carroll still have a few miles in them but the heavy retrospecticus vibes and general grown-manning going on when the frontside flip impresarios deposited themselves upon the Crail Couch the other day suggested some pondering toward whatever roles await them as full-time company-runners, number-crunchers and talent-pickers. At this point Andrew Reynolds has been on the sober straight-and-narrow longer than his service under the Pissdrunx, and in interviews he’s been steering kids clear of drugs and drinking for a while now, but it is nevertheless a bit jarring to hear him take shots at Migos:

Advice for the youth?
AR: Don’t smoke weed. Don’t listen to whatever they’re saying in all this trap music, whatever that shit’s called.
MC: MOLLY!
AR: That music, I listen to it in the skatepark and people play it, nonstop, the same song over and over. And I like hip hop. But that new shit though is like brainwash, Migos and all that, like fuck. That’s like, and I see on Instagram, the kids, their little statement about them, is like ‘skateboarding and weed.’ It’s like, alright. And the music is just like ‘disrespect women, money, drugs.’ That’s pretty much it. And if they’re not listening to anything else besides that then that’s just pounded in, all day long.

Andrew Reynolds never has attempted to whitewash his past or foist his teetotaling on his riders, and one must assume that for now his official stance toward Migos music is the same.* It’s not clear whether Dustin Dollin owns ‘Rich Ni**a Timeline’ but the sometime devil’s spawn in the ‘Propeller’ divulges that he holds down the other end of the Baker spectrum, apparently the last bleary-eyed pro standing from the Warner Ave 7-day weekend after his assorted bendermates fell out over the years:

Thrasher: [A]re you the last Pissdrunk?
Dustin Dollin: I cannot confirm that rumor. Pearcy still drinks. Dancer still drinks, I’m sure. But yeah, out of the celebrity skateboarders in the public eye, I may be the last. I may be the last of the OG Pissdrunks, but there are thousands of them out there now. Thousands and thousands. And growing! But yeah, Jim doesn’t drink. Ali doesn’t drink, Elissa doesn’t drink, Andrew doesn’t drink, Erik doesn’t drink.

T: Can you still get tricks hammered?
I mean, every day that I go out skating I’m usually drinking and I try to get a trick if my body’s able. So I guess it’s every time I go skating.

Part of Andrew Reynolds’ legend status no doubt flows from about two decades’ worth of steady output that’s managed to consistently raise the bar, whatever his personal circumstances. But there’s a statistical argument to be made in favour of Dustin Dollin’s boozy functionality, previously revealed through his self-appointed role as KOTR footage logger/point tallier/stunt motivator and the staying power of the dudes he’s helped put on, but mainly via his own skate tricks themselves. A review of assorted Youtube clippings and Digital Versatile Discs from Baker2G’s Y2K release to the present indicates that among the named Pissdrunx, Dustin Dollin is the second-most productive in terms of minutes’ worth of video parts released, coming in ahead of now-dry peers Erik Ellington, Jim Greco, Ali Boulala and Elissa Steamer:

pissdrunx_chart

Does Dustin Dollin’s statistical outlier status reflect genetic advantages possessed by Australians in the barroom? What of New Jersey, and might Fred Gall similarly skew averages when stacked against peers less beloved of Sambuca, Ozzy concerts and plunging headlong into burning buildings? Would Andrew Reynolds take genuine offense to the ‘Better than the Beatles’ meme? Will legitimate musicals finally earn Migos the respect they deserve?

*Until the Slap boards divulge otherwise

3. Brandon Westgate – Emerica Part

December 28, 2011

Ancient cavemen surfers were known to coin a phrase, which went something like “when you catch a wave, ride it as long as you can.” Flip knew it, Plan B knew it, Powell for a while knew it and now Bay Stater Brandon Westgate. These past couple years Westgate caught a hell of a wave that may or may not have crested yet, depending on his next moves and how you personally rank homestyle hammers such as tiling a bathroom. For a few different reasons I responded more to this Emerica part released just three or four months past his vast and crushing opener for the “Stay Gold” vid, maybe because it was shorter, more condensed and potent, maybe just because of the last trick. He’s still got his teeth sunk into the San Francisco hills and I think this is some of the most impressive skateboardering this year from a physics perspective, partly cuz you never see a car or motorcycle pulling him up to those bump/bars. Also do we agree at this point to elevate the 360 flip over the bar to the Hall of Kings where it can sit alongside Josh Kalis’ one at the end of “Photosynthesis”?

Is Brandon Westgate’s New Emerica Video The Career Equivalent Of Ollieing Over The Back Of A Rail And Grinding It Uphill? Switch??

January 19, 2011

Now that everybody can do all tricks and caballerial kickflips are a prerequisite for post-roshambo strategy I kind of have no idea whether restraint as a concept is still in play. Probably not the time or the place to have the conversation about whether or not the bro going for the kickflip frontside blunt down the park handrail can do it consistently on a curb but maybe there’s some similar elements. Pretty sure that Spiderman explored some related themes of power and responsibility in his new off-broadway production, I think it’s called “U Do U And I’ll Do Me: Turn Off The Dark While I File This Workman’s Comp Claim On U” or something.

Speaking of responsibilities young Zoo Yorker Brandon Westgate has professionally designed footwear to sell and name recognition to build ahead of a potential retirement gig as an “extremely” informed home renovation specialist on HGTVX. Your more seasoned pro might get his companies to pony up for a mini-ramp jam in a strip club and let the blurred web-only footage do the heavy lifting, but instead you’ve got handyman Westgate continuing to push the old boulder uphill with a whole new video section after an teeth-rattling entry in the Emerica vid a couple months ago.

To me this one’s way better — half the length and zeroes in on the more dramatic aspects of his skating, bombing down those San Francisco hills like he’s riding a snowboard* and the ungodly pop up onto some of those bars. The run where he 50-50s the fence off of the sidewalk bump is the kind of clip you want to watch every day, all the time, one of those little slices of what skating is perfectly captured on a digital video-making machine. The nagging reservations I harboured around his sort-of weird-looking flip tricks in the past are basically washed away here with not a lot of complex moves — Quartersnacks and Platinum Seagulls are riding for the giant kickflip but over here I’m promoting the 360 flip over the rail that seems like a totally ridiculously long distance to launch that particular trick. Later on the ender quietly asks the world at large how much better they can do with the up-rail movement in 2011, the answer could be some time coming.

*in a good way, dudes

8. Justin Figueroa – “Stay Gold”

December 24, 2010

Looking back I wouldn’t have figured I’d be at the point where seeing a longhaired kid in tight jeans pilot a straight-up frontside boardslide down a rail would be refreshing, nor would I have picked Justin Figueroa to record one of the more rewatchable sections in the long-awaited Emerica vid, but here we are. Many of the thumbs-up to this dude’s section (begrudged or not) focused on the central line through the apartments, and I was on board there too, but the more times I rewatched “Stay Gold” the more times I wound up skipping Szafranksi and Spanky and even Marquise` Preston and sticking on this part, marveling at one of the very few to make nollie frontside feeble grinds and nollie backside 50-50s seem cool. Justin Figueroa’s got some drama to his frame when he comes off the handrails and looks relaxed at speed, rare for your greaseball hessian type and like Bryan Herman a validation of Reynolds’ choice in rail skaters. I like the switch backside flip, the nollie frontside boardslide and the 5-0 backside 180 out, which seems mighty scary on a big rail.

You Won’t Have Heath Kirchart To Kick Around Anymore, Except Maybe On His Bicycling Blog

October 21, 2010

Hushed whispers and anxious talk these past weeks that California’s Heath Kirchart may have won skateboarding. Whether such a thing is possible, or even within the tremb-ly bounds of reality, matters little to them who speak of web-winged horrors in the night and terrible, elder gods whose names are better lost to fabled memory. We find ourselves confronting a post-‘Stay Gold’ gap that fits like an abyss and is that much more perplexing for its almost welcome appearance.

It’s maybe wrong to say Heath Kirchart went out “on top” as he didn’t really wear the hungry contender hat — Rob Welsh once notoriously described himself as your favorite skater’s favorite skater, and probably that isn’t really the right hat to put on Kirchart either, but maybe something closer to your favorite skater’s most feared specter. His shadow was a long one, stretched by negative vibes, bushes-hiding and the occasional bout of physical violence, and it will grow with time. And perhaps the completion of certain American biking challenges.

So maybe better to say he left* on his own terms, though the Kirchart of the Thrasher interview might try and argue the point — saying more like forced out by tougher competition or something. But compared to a slow, five-year slide through fourth- and fifth-tier shoe sponsors and cashing elastic cable accessory checks, it could have been much less dignified. And it was without a blaze of sour grapes, or grabbing for some Hollywood brass ring, as interesting as that concept may have been.

Possible knocks on Heath Kirchart: A Career On Four Wheels? With counter-knocks
-Skated for Birdhouse during the height of the cartoon graphic/Tony Hawk deification era
—Was in “The End,” among the best 90s videos; damaged property and lit fires with future “Hater’s Ball” honoree Jeremy Klein; ate shit skating a bus stop

-For much of his tenure, a “handrail skater”
—Unless I’m wrong, was the first dude to backside noseblunt such a handrail; christened El Toro; that lipslide shove-it from the Foundation vid

-Turned in a half-dozen tricks for his last video “part”
—Jumped the mega-ramp/set a higher bar for “street dudes” taking the plunge; told everybody they could stop paying him afterward

Others?

*Barring a comeback, which would inevitably bring comparisons to Jereme Rogers which nobody wants

Me And Braydon Szafranski And The Yithians Down By The Schoolyard

September 21, 2010

If you’ve read the new and excellent Emerica Thrasher you may already be familiar with the idea thrown around therein, that “Stay Gold” could be the Last Video in this bold age eaten up with web content, narrowing promotional budgets and wildly fluctuating gasoil prices. The point might be worth debating had it not already been obliterated some eight decades ago via the short historical work “The Shadow Out Of Time” which informs of an ancient race of body-borrowers who plied their trade across the respective ages of dinosaurs, men and certain beetleoids, among others. Which is to say that when the last of our fragile, flesh-toned number pass beyond this earthly realm, enough copies of 411 will survive in various vaults and fortresses to inevitably inspire the next rulers of this planet to at least try and learn to ollie and later maybe film it.

Leo Romero, my SOTY choice again this year, sure skates like he rules the planet, but no moustache is long enough nor any hat-brim wide enough to fend off the forces of technology that are even now consuming the profitability of any and all media, forcing the RIAA to target grandmas and whatnot. Initiatives to pack DVDs with bonus features are met with chapter-specific “PM plz”es as all the world either lives in some backwater country where mailorder costs $60 or their mom’s a hardcase who won’t drive them to the shop, and criminy, it hasn’t even shipped from the warehouse yet.

“Stay Gold” is probably nowhere near the last video, if only because Habitat and Krooked and Real and Toy Machine are all slated to put out productions of their own in the months ahead, and even as overwrought as it was, I doubt Ty Evans will stop with Lakai’s slow-motion fireball for TWS. But maybe it is fair to openly wonder, as others have done before Burnett and Szafranksi this month, how long the five-year film/video/coast hype cycle can sustain itself, or any sort of going enterprise. Even scaling back production to a credit crunch-friendly U.S./Mexico/Canada touring circuit, there are hotel rooms to be rented (/repaired), gasoil to be pumped into rental vans, Funyons and extra rental van insurance to be purchased, cameras and lights and bolt cutters and other Inspector Gadget shit to facilitate a four-second clip that may or may not make the b-roll footage on a poorly selling DVD because it got too stale or a bro got a different hair cut.

But despite an industry awash in drop-outs, drunkards and leering pirates, it’s hard to imagine the whole process hinging upon even the old bait-and-switch move of selling first the normal vid and then the “deluxe edition” with the bonus shit. If that was the case you could maybe buy the idea that the full-length video concept is not long for a world where the conversation moves on before the physical product makes it inside the shop’s glass countertop. The big video release generally aims to ramp up stoke levels, re-situate the company and get the products moving but that’s just the payoff — in the run-up to a proper video premiere/release there are several hype cycles involving ad campaigns, some sloganeering, magazine articles, throw-away clips (formerly the realm of the 411s), at least a couple soul-crushing deadline pushbacks, random team shuffling to up the drama, etc etc.

All of which builds character for everybody involved but more importantly (maybe) gives direction to these companies, and maybe more weight to whatever skating’s gone on. You wonder like if Danny Way’s mega-ramp debut would’ve issued the same shockwaves had it been pushed onto DC’s tiresomely advanced website as a 10-minute promo thing, or if he would’ve even tried some of those stunts if there wasn’t a fearsome deadline looming. There’s the long-play format too that you have to imagine will continue to lure in would-be auteurs with “Memory Screen” ambitions, money-losing format be durned.