Posts Tagged ‘Tim Gunn’

John Shanahan, Chopped and Sewed on the Final Frontier

May 28, 2017

Some weeks back a video Youtube link circulated advertising an attempted backside 360 down the famed El Toro stair set, the sort of heart-testing maneuver around which you’d either anticipate a fire-legged professional like Chris Joslin’s name attached, or else some risk-friendly unknown ready to offer up his effort to the world as some type of return on a foolhardy willingness to get uniquely pitched and presumably walk away. It was surprisingly convincing try — they say the last quarter spin is the moneymaker when hurling one’s self down twenty steps or more — and it rolls above a disclaimer revealing that the bros involved “might not go back for this” and various other pink-panted jumps and things.

But is it so easy? Many of skating’s seemingly most harebrained ideas have proven shockingly hard to let go. Duane Peters’ tangles with the fibreglass loop captivated a world-conquering Tony Hawk in his video game-designing prime, and assorted others after its bullring subduing. Jamie Thomas’ “leap of faith” drew Richard King to test his luck before the Point Loma school board took matters into their own hands and constructed a solid platinum elevator in one of this young century’s most stunning acts of baller-blockingism. In test fittings for the MegaRampTM crown, Bob Burnquist discovered that he, like propellerheaded originator Danny Way, could no longer resist the uniquely arousing allure of skating helicopters. Aaron Homoki’s taming of Lyon’s most notorious 25 stairs, 13 years after Ali Boulala charted its glide path en route to part-ending slams, became fodder for a Thrasher mini-doc.

Steeped in early ‘ESTs’, Flexfitted hats and the colour yellow, John Shanahan seems more concerned with resuscitating a specific vibe and era than etching his multisyllabic rhyming surname into history’s annals via big-spot trophy hunting. Bubbling under the DGK umbrella for a minute, John Shanahan this week officially arrives on the DC Shoes payroll via a cracking intro clip that pointedly trots out the bold/less bold/standard font DCSHOECOUSA logo of old along with eastern seaboard spots rinsed and fresh. Between the DC one and a separate LurkNYC VX footage dump, John Shanahan flexes backside nosegrind pop-outs, a slicing 360 flip out of the Kalis school, some tricks outta the modern school’s playbook (driveway wallride, ride-on tailslide kickflip), some flamboyantly retro Droors gear and hubba noseslides. Toeing some blurry line between ‘Photosynthesis’ and ‘The Storm,’ he wields a serious switch k-grind and a judicious use of camouflage, which is rare to see these days.

Like Philly neighbors Kevin Bilyeu and Brian Panebianco, it’s easy and erroneous to pigeonhole John Shanahan’s shared enthusiasm for the numbers 07 and 43 and all their sportsweary accoutrements as retroactivism rooted in personal branding. Just as the Sabotage dudes unearthed, resurfaced and restored an entire scene that had been municipally buried and professionally abandoned, John Shanahan seems to harbour deeper ambitions. Sharpening cut and sew skills, where else, on Instagram, John Shanahan demonstrates enough technical proficiency and stylistic nerve to construct cargo and swishy pants that command triple-digit price tags and earn “levels” hash tags when positioned alongside skaters’ current affection for graphical sweatpants and other sub-waistline achievements. But as he tests his growing powers, is John Shanahan consciously or not flying too close to that blazing sun of skate pants fashiondom, the two-toned pant?

It is a stylistic Leap of Faith that has shadowed previous practitioner Garrett Hill throughout his sponsored career, and one not lightly rolled up to. A year after Garrett Hill’s pants debuted in video footage, Tim O’Connor gleefully went in. Eight years on, the pants’ impression lingered enough that former teammates would bring them up as a cautionary tale of judgment, hubris and star-crossed romance:

Tom Karangelov: But when there’s someone that’s so original and out there, he gets so much shit. It’s crazy. Like with Garrett [Hill], half red half black pants. People are still talking to him about that. But dude, was it really that big of a deal? They are just fucking pants. Aren’t you encouraged to be creative when you skateboard? The dude who tries to go out of the box gets like, so much shit for it.

Jenkem: Have you ever considered wearing “crazy pants” like that?
Ah, no.

Has an Adidas-supported revolution in swishy pants and increasingly garish sweats provided enough air cover for John Shanahan to push pants envelope in ever-more colourful envelopes? Which trick ranks higher in terms of ’90s/east-coastness, the backside 5-0 backside 180 out or the fakie backside nosegrind shove-it? Yall caught that one switch backside heelflip over and down the blocks right? How is the resurrected Alien Workshop not sponsoring at least one of these ‘Photosynthesis’ acolytes? You been keeping an eye on Brian Wenning’s Instagram right?

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Let’s Stay Friends

February 8, 2010


Hold on to your genre

Once upon a time there was a band called Ween, two brothers in blurred vision and fractured humor who made cheaply recorded records full of bizarre and beautiful ditties dedicated to squelching weasels, juicy trees, Mexican restaurant menus and persons called “Jilm.” Born of hotboxed bedrooms in that fabled decade of the 1980s, the Ween bros for years beckoned listeners to follow as they stumbled sidelong into new nooks and crannies of their aural rabbit-hole, until at a certain point they decided to try their hand at actual songs – cleaning up the rattling fuzz, taking the delirious helium out of their voices and scaling back on the copious chemical consumption that fueled the fever dreams of their early days. Few begrudged the evolution and broader success followed, but that beloved loopy spark was diminished.

Try as I might to shrug it off I’m having a hard time not feeling similarly wistful re: Blueprint’s annexation of U.S. amateurs in recent years, most recently highlighted in this “Make Friends With Marty (Murawski)” clip teasing the hotly anticipated “Make Friends With the Colour Blue” vid. There’s nothing much wrong with the skating of Murawski or his Bostonian brother-in-boards Kevin Coakley, who preceded his entry to Blueprint’s ranks, though Coakley sometimes has left me nonplussed and Murawski’s manual madness in this most recent clip didn’t particularly move me, with a few exceptions including the manual to f/s 180 to switch manual to revert.

Aesthetically these two guys are fine and all but you kinda wonder to what purpose they’re seeking out these US dudes, overlooked by domestic operators either fairly or not; I suppose you can’t blame Blueprint, particularly in these tenuous economic times, for trying to be more than “just” a British concern. They’ve earned a seat among the top-tier outfits of the world by virtue of output, progression, very nice graphic design and general staying power over the years, etc. But I recall putting on “Waiting for the World” and cocking an appreciative eyebrow at the meticulously constructed intro, like a TV-shaped portal into an empire of overcast skies, decrepit ledges and red phone booths where the “unique vision” of the thing, in the earnest parlance of a Tim Gunn, more than made up for tricks that weren’t necessarily 411-opener flashpoints. The rather ripping Brady/Jensen footage in the “Make Friends” clip is a good/current example, and fuck, their approach got these dudes into the biggest vid of the past five years, so they’re doing something right.

This is all sounding kind of “you know, when I was a kid…” and whatnot, which is true, but Blueprint’s got some global heft to its name and the hope is it’s put to good use, as opposed to loading up the new BP holo-vid in ten year’s time and seeing a load of the same Arizona ditches and San Diego handrails that recently appeared in the 20th-anniversary SK8Mafia video for instance. Keeping it gutter, and so on. Probably I’ll be proven wrong on multiple fronts when “MFWTCB” arrives, and I’ll buy it regardless, but in the meantime I’ll continue to wonder why you’d fish overseas when there are bass like this to be boated in your own backyard.

Addendum: Do you think Brady frontside flips into that thing for the video? Holy fuck.