Posts Tagged ‘Transworld’

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March 10, 2019

Perhaps Pat Canale called it 20 years ago, bemoaning in Big Brother the ‘rave’ that was Transworld’s latest Ty Evans-helmed video. Pat Canale’s ‘rave’ critique became the subject of debate and scorn, most notably upon Ty Evans’ ‘FUCK CANALE’ grip job featured in ‘Chomp On This’ and also among certain rave circles. But, on the eve of Transworld print magazine’s passage into shadow, a man may take his moment to reflect on change, loss and techno raves. When the night grows darkest, when the lightless hours stretch out like yearsold sweatpants of blackest cotton, who remains? The premiere acts’ fans have gone, the dilettantes tucked in to sleep, the drug devotees scattered to their dens; those left are the true believers, or maybe just lost track of time. Sooner or later, the rave can no longer sustain itself, the party ends and everybody goes to Denny’s.

All that’s already been said is true: In those days of yore, before informational freedom and global connectivity enabled navel-gazers to signal boost and flatten medium access to sub-pancake levels, Transworld stood among a very few and precious portals to a then-exotic subculture. A glossy wormhole accessible from junior high libraries and Texaco magazine stands, through which a Midwestern middle schooler or Euro teen could peer into fantastical ramp configurations, learning tribal lingos, tracing fingers from the coping over the channel, circling in blue ink deck-graphic thumbnails that could sharpen anticipation to unbearable heights while those rectangular cardboard boxes inched their way from California.

But even when Transworld was running flatground flip trick covers and experimenting with non-static layouts, the platform Tracker built already was laying the foundation that would allow TWS more than any other legacy skateboard media property to expand and enrich itself in the 900/X-Games/THPS era: Reliably, its swears hunkered down under relatively safe font-size limits; it became the default venue as the Girl/Chocolate and World camps settled into grown-up LA apartments, cut-and-sew tops and luxury sedans, while Thrasher was fucking with Pete the Ox. Throwing open its pages to much-maligned ads for deodorant, hair gel, consumer packaged goods and the US military helped swell Transworld’s page count to Sears catalog levels and bankrolled video equipment that Ty Evans and his successors would use to revolutionize the skate video. Ramped slow-mo, meticulous editing cuts and Gap-ready techno singles were woven into top-shelf skating from both coasts — and even Thrasher standbys — into an incredible string of annual releases running from ‘Feedback’ to ‘The Reason’ to ‘Modus Operandi’ to ‘Sight Unseen’ to ‘IE’ to ‘In Bloom’ in a streak that now seems impossible to match.

While Thrasher survived its years in the wilderness and middling video efforts by building up its SOTY franchise and positioning itself for the great genre-mooshing ushered in by the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ tour, TWS too-comfortably oriented itself around steadily fading Xerox copies of its golden-age video format — the voiceovers and interludes stuck around way too long and the caliber of skaters struggled to rise to the old, iconic levels as pros proliferated and video projects ballooned into multi-year, pan-global money-losers, hoarding footage and photos as they went. Transworld’s VHS/DVD-driven powers began to ebb around the same time that digital storage costs began to fall and broadband internet powers proliferated, shifting the center of the coverage universe away from company- and magazine-backed full-lengths and toward content-farm online platforms and eventually where it is today, Instagram and Thrasher.

Losing the mobile video battle to its longtime NorCal rival helped to seal Transworld’s fate, and surely is ironic given Transworld’s prowess within VCRs and DVD players for a good decade or so. But it is too easy to count Transworld among the newsstand bodies piled high by advertising’s shift to screens, even with its steadily shrinking pagecount and shift to bimonthly publication schedule putting the magazine in danger well before its print plug got pulled in the same game of corporate-asset hot potato that took out Alien Workshop and sunk Zoo York.

The wood-chippering of this once-mighty subcultural tentpole is sad and symptomatic of a broader entropy at play across skating, which has splashed board companies and screenprint brands across the scene like stars in the evening sky. There now are lanes, and lucrative ones, for Swedish H-Street devotees, head-tatted French gutter punks, runway-walking guitar strummers, Andy Roy, first-billing Soundcloud rappers, Saturday morning cartoon breakfast cereal bowl-drinkers. Transworld’s print magazine has not only become superfluous — the big-tent middle that was the magazine’s strength has been hollowed out and scattered across dozens of smaller camps. The East Coast/EU/underground surge that Transworld commendably, maybe calculatedly, but too late tried to harness for its new core unfortunately wasn’t enough, even with a Bronze champagne drip. As Transworld continues, in some respect, as a lower-cost online entity, the watch now is on to see if they update their own list of deceased print mags.

How many lunar cycles shall pass before Transworld’s current owners recognize and reap nostalgia for the magazine’s golden period via limited-edition, expensively priced hardcover books and photographic prints, or find new owners who will? Did Transworld’s video golden age end with ‘Sight Unseen,’ ‘Free Your Mind,’ ‘Subtleties’ or ‘And Now’? Will Thrasher offer any heartfelt send-off for its southern nemesis in the next ‘Trash’ column or will they take the opportunity to twist the knife? Can you find and identify all of the outdated technologies referenced in this blog posting about Transworld as an outdated technology laid low by its reliance on other outdated technology? Is it ironic in the traditional sense that this post itself comes in a years-out-of-fashion weblog format, or just in the Alanis Morissette sense?

Juicy J Is The Josh Kalis Of Rap Music

February 17, 2019

Jenkem, the Web 2.0 endeavour currently bidding to outlive its by-decades forebear TWS, recently saw fit to challenge social media’s persnickety algorithm-twiddlers with a Ride Channel-worthy list feature matching up pro skaters with celebrity rap singers, an exercise in debate-stirring that stirred obligatory debate in comments sections and other corners of our web-0-sphere. As a throne-sitting timekiller it functioned reliably, ranging from the defensible (Stephen Lawyer/Lil Pump) to the deeply incongruous (Dylan Rieder/Tupac), while overlooking obvious parallels such as Terry Kennedy/Terry Kennedy and, most criminally, Josh Kalis/Juicy J.

For several decades now Josh Kalis and Juicy J have lived out curiously concurrent career and life paths, a few of which this here blog technology will explore with immediate effect. Both are widely admired veterans of their respective crafts, wisely sticking to their lanes and rising above fickle and frothy trend-tides to maintain clout and even elevate their statures in what would otherwise be considered their professional autumn years. Both will forever be associated with mark-making as part of iconic crews, formed in their respective home bases: Josh Kalis burning Philadelphia onto the map with Stevie Williams, Anthony Pappalardo, Brian Wenning, Kevin Taylor and others among the Love Park squad; Juicy J in Memphis with DJ Paul, Project Pat, Lord Infamous, Crunchy Black and Hypnotize Minds. It’s possible that Juicy J recorded his famous song ‘Slob’ around the same time Josh Kalis 360 flipped the can for ‘Photosynthesis.’

The sometimes-knowing cartoonishness of Three 6 Mafia’s peak era, similar to the Love Park era-height swishies and bulk boots, remains respected for its honesty and has come to be celebrated, convincingly aped and at times even transcended by a generation that at best twinkled in their parents’ pupils when the original shit was going down. Josh Kalis and Juicy J, after staying loyal to their original outfits probably longer than they needed to, both wound up signing with their proteges. Sensing a niche for a codeine-guzzling, pill-swallowing elder statesman figure, Juicy J looked upon a young guard of doom-draped devil-worshippers not as competitors or pretenders to be squashed, but as fresh energy for collaboration, legacy-burnishment and money getting:

“Them guys are like family members, man. I was on Twitter and everybody was hitting me [like], “Yo, yo yo, you gotta check out these guys, man. $uicideBoy$, their music sound like y’all. It sound like old Three 6 Mafia.”

Josh Kalis too has embraced his uncle status among the Love Park-resuscitating Sabotage crew, risking Pennsylvania’s tax-dispute statute of limitations to contribute a part to volume 4, and helping put them and newly pro-decked John Shanahan on with DGK:

A lot of these guys, Shanahan specifically, are at the forefront of creating a new look with the old stuff. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s his own interpretation of how he makes the mid-to-late 90’s-style look for him and that puts him in a lane of his own. He’s not copying me; he’s doing what John Shanahan likes. It’s taking some of the stuff we did or looked liked to the next level—-the John Shanahan level. His skating is like a better, more-modern twist of ’90s skate. Obviously he’s got way more pop than I’ve ever had.

Josh Kalis has only a handful of tricks in DGK’s new ‘Thoro’ vid, but his and Stevie Williams’ fingerprints are all over it as Dylan Sourbeer, John Shanahan, Kevin Bilyeu, Justin Adeniran and others stomp through Muni and assorted other Philly spots in an HD ‘Sabotage Lite’ masterminded by Brian Panebianco. The steadily sprawling DGK team here is distilled into an East Coast subdivision that occasionally veers into Washington and Chicago’s similar-looking inner-city plazas but never stays too long from those wax-smeared white benches and jumbo-sized board game pieces. Dylan Sourbeer goes end-to-end on an unbelievable backside nosegrind; Kevin Bilyeu deals out a meticulously flicked over-bin nollie flip that’s a QSTOP10 shoe-in; Justin Adeniran bangs a slow-twirling nollie hardflip into a bank and John Shanahan shove-its into various k-grinds and finally the pro ranks, for what seems like his third video part in six months or so.

Does Josh Kalis’ recent reunion with Michigander photog Mike Blabac presage a long-deferred and much-needed resumption of Juicy J’s musical partnership with DJ Paul? What does it say that Josh Kalis has got a brand-new pro model shoe out and not, say, Eric Koston? Will the kids right now in diapers and sock-shoes, who will inevitably one day revive John Shanahan and Brian Panebianco’s own retro stylings, be able to 3D print new Lynxes and Boxers or will they be forced to face off with laser swords at midnight in some Love Park replica to claim the handful of remaining deadstock pairs?

Two Wrongs, A Right, And The Gargoyle’s Secret Formula

December 9, 2018

At a time when so much of what we know seems in flux — meat grown from animal cells, NASA robotically probing risky asteroids for humankind’s own graven purposes, rampant varial flips — there is a reflexive urge to set things in order. Ledge skating’s tenure-track man of letters Mark Suciu made his own offering this month, creating exclusive content with Thrasher that set out a number of aesthetically acceptable ledge combinators and warned impressionable yung booger-sliders away from a few others, including the oft-maligned crooked grind to backside lipslide.

Among the regimented rules of skateboarding, where ‘no rules’ is the ruling rule among many other unofficial rules, the crooked grind to backside lipslide’s longstanding pariah status stands out, maintained even as similarly ill-advised ledge combos ran rampant across copiously waxed blocks following ‘Fully Flared.’ Born of those spastic curb cauldrons in the early 1990s, the crooked grind to backside lipslide lay low for a certain number of Earth years until Bastien Salabanzi donked one down a semi-legit handrail in ‘Sorry,’ drawing immediate reprisals in the shallow backwaters of the early message-board days and inspiring several other related atrocities over the years to come. It was a time of war, girth and widespread musical pirating.

Yet even as aesthetically middling ledge combos (see the 5-0 to switch crooked grind) and clearly ugly ones (see any that begin with a boardslide) remain part of 2018’s conversation, the crooked grind to backside lipslide still is taboo, even after stylistically endowed persons including Silas Baxter-Neal have tiptoed up to it via the crooked grind to backside tailslide and ruffled relatively few internet feathers in the process. Weighed against the lipslide to switch k-grind that arose from the Guy Mariano/‘Fully Flared’ school or the twirly lipslide spinaround to frontside bluntslide, the crooked grind to backside lipslide on paper appears to have just as much to recommend it, if not more — there is no greasily scooting of wheels from one position to another; it involves the backslide lipslide, one of the better-looking tricks on either rail or ledge; and properly executed, it returns to the preferred regular-stance rollaway rather than to fakie.

Unlocking the value of this much-derided trick maybe requires a much-derided skater. It is Chad Fernandez, so belittled by his onetime Baker Boys bros and a prime actor in Osiris’ greatest ‘Storm’-era excesses, who retains the best on-film execution of the crooked grind to backside lipslide. A novice beerbuyer’s age in the past, the future gargoyle wrassler closed out his part in Transworld’s little-recalled ‘Interface’ vid with a ten-second clinic on the necessary ingredients for a successful run at this trick. Filmed long-lens from the side, Chad Fernandez picks an elongated and mostly flat rail that allows for the crucial nuance — a lengthy crooked grind, rather than the brief tap that sets other renditions up for immediate and pathetic failure — before dropping back to a backside lipslide that’s just long enough to make the point before landing back to regular. This skater-trick intersection, counterintuitive to the hilt, reveals the best in each — and also the sadly ingrained prejudices still allowing both to be too-easily dismissed, 20 years on.

Does this clip negate the long-held notion that two wrongs do not make a right? Would this one be harder or easier switch? Could Mark Suciu prove his willingness to accept an intellectual and stylistic challenge by filming one, perhaps up and then across the chunky red kink-ledge at Manhattan’s Columbus Park, which he combo’d in his Adidas shoe video earlier this year?

20 Years of Ty Evans’ Musical Supervision Genius, Which Also Has Included MuskaBeatz

December 17, 2017

Ty Evans has a sprawling new skate Film and this week sat for a similarly sprawling interview with the Nine Club, which helicoptered among his many career high points as well as satellite dish fetishization vehicle ‘Transmission 7.’ In it, Ty Evans discussed at some length his enduring and roundly criticized love for ‘electro’ and ‘drum-and-bass’ music, an unfortunate fondness that brought him closer to the Muska yet banished permanently some otherwise sterling video parts to the mute button or remix treatment.

Across a towering catalog spanning more than two decades, many of Ty Evans’ musical missteps are immediately apparent: the teeth-aching tweeness of ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,’ for instance, or an out-of-tune indie rock band jangling their way through a Schoolboy Q number. Also, Moby. But these barrel-swimmers obscure rarer and more precious fish, such as the mysterious coelacanth, which are Ty Evans’ sporadic yet undeniable feats of music-supervision genius, deserving recognition as we gird for another techno-slathered opus.

‘Genesis’ – Stereolab, ‘Three-Dee Melodie’ (Richard Angelides)
After learning the ropes of basic video construction making Planet Earth’s ‘Silver,’ Ty Evans stepped out on Rhythm’s excellent ‘Genesis,’ turning up to the Chemical Brothers’ block-rockin’ beats and introducing an MTV-esque hyperactive editing style. But he also indulged a partiality toward atmopheric indie rock that played well off Richard Angelides’ spindly tech, for a sort of soothing/reassuring stoke that stands up two decades on.

‘The Reason’ – Fugazi, ‘Smallpox Champion’ (Matt Mumford)
Fugazi stands alongside Dinosaur Jr, the Rolling Stones, Public Enemy and Gang Starr as a skate video staple, and 1999’s TWS entry exposed a rapidly growing skate video audience to ‘Smallpox Champion’ for Matt Mumford’s El Toro-taming curtains-closer. At a time when Ty Evans’ deepening technophilia already was testing the patience of VCR owners worlwide, he was not prepared to abandon a standby that had earlier soundtracked Arto Saari’s ‘Feedback’ part and several in ‘Silver.’

‘Modus Operandi’ – MuskaBeatz, ‘Master B’ (Brian Anderson)
Ty Evans’ resume shows an affinity for nurturing and promoting young up-and-comers through his Films, a generosity of spirit that also extended to electrical techno music. In addition to Atiba’s credits-scoring bleepers of the early aughts, Ty Evans also prominently featured several MuskaBeatz productions, a bold move that helped to document a singular and surely weird era in skating that, despite revivalists’ best efforts, never will be replicated.

‘Yeah Right’ – David Bowie, ‘Fame’ (Chocolate montage)
With Ty Evans behind the lenses and handrails much in front of them, Girl’s ‘Yeah Right’ may as well have come from a different planet than the soulful schoolyard lines of ‘Mouse’ and ‘Paco,’ but David Bowie’s lightly psychadelic funk stroller would’ve slotted in seamlessly alongside Herbie Hancock, Cymande and Bob James.

‘Hot Chocolate’ – Andre Nickatina, ‘Ayo for Yayo’ (Mike York)
As Alien Workshop has produced Dinosaur Jr pro models, and Zorlac Metallica ones prior to the Gulf War, so should Crailtap have bestowed a pro model on the onetime Dre Dog. Here, Ty Evans nods to both Mike York’s Bay heritage as well as Andre Nickatina’s prior inclusion in a Chocolate vid, while further setting the stage for some other inspiring audio songs about selling cocaine in future videos.

‘Fully Flared’ – Mannie Fresh, ‘Real Big’ (French Connection)
Lakai’s landmark 2007 full-length is generally and correctly regarded as the peak of the Crailtap/Ty Evans partnership, and song-for-song is probably the strongest in terms of musical accompaniments earning his blessing. This urgent, shouty Mannie Fresh anthem, a sort of primal materialistic scream from within a sumptuously appointed mansion, stands as the best song in any Ty Evans-helmed Film to date; paired off Lucas Puig’s luxury-brand tech, it makes a strong argument for the greatest song in any video ever. Hearing it gives one the sense something important is happening, and the repeated, blaring synthesizer line at the end is one instance where Ty Evans’ careerlong overindulgence in slow-motion makes perfect sense.

‘Fully Flared’ – Tear Da Club Up Thugs, ‘Triple 6 Clubhouse’ (Mike Carroll)
On this week’s ‘The Bunt,’ Alex Olson recalled — with some disappointment as a fellow techno devotee — Ty Evans’ rap fixation during this period, including a taste for Three 6 Mafia’s classic flip on the chipmunk soul era, ‘Stay Fly.’ Mike Carroll’s Lakai section, which remains a career top three, wisely avoids such an on-the-nose pick and breaks for the more menacing ‘Triple 6 Clubhouse.’ Built around an erudite theme about killing people, the song includes enough cinematic transition to appeal to Ty Evans’ dramatic leanings, and the hardheadedness required to get viewers through the mewly Band of Horses sounds to come.

‘Pretty Sweet’ – Beastie Boys, ‘Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun’ (Alex Olson/Mike Carroll/Brian Anderson)
This combo Girl/Chocolate Film was pitched partly as a transitional feature focused on Crailtap’s newer generation, such as the Trunk Boyz, with many veterans relegated to shared parts. Orienting one of those around Alex Olson was sensible, since he comes off as sort of an old soul, making it worthwhile to throw back via the Beastie Boys, who soundtracked a seminal MC part in ‘Questionable’ and got money with Spike Jonez on several nonconsecutive occasions throughout the 1990s.

Rob Pluhowski Left Skating and Never Looked Back. Should More Ex-Pros*?

May 8, 2017

Former feather-footed kickflipper and current furniture hand crafter shocked and unnerved a freshly scrubbed generation of Instagramming careerists by summing up a decade’s worth of top-shelf sponsorships, parts in seminal videos of the time, and third-world nation touring under the steady navigation of Fred Gall, using a nonchalant trio of words that stripped the English sentence to its barest, basest components: “It was cool.” Further cows sacred to various strivers and Thrasher down-for-life aspirants soon trotted out for electric stunning and captive bolting: Being shown the door from an established career in skating was for Rob Pluhowski a good thing, he doesn’t skate anymore, and he doesn’t seem to miss any of it:

“I was 27 years old, I didn’t have a fucking board at 27 years old! And, I had a fucking kid. It was just a wake-up call. My daughter was probably only a year old and I was like what the fuck am I gonna do with myself? Like what am I gonna do. If figured I’d just like sever it, end it there, end on the highest note you can possibly end at without being one of those dudes like, what the fuck are you doing? Like why is he on a skateboard? I don’t want to look like a tired old man. That’s why I don’t skateboard today. I can’t do what I used to be able to do. I don’t want to be that dude. you know what I mean. Just leave it where it was.

Now that I look back at it, it just seemed right. I got out, and now where I’m at in life, I’m fucking happy, a pig in shit. That would’ve just taken this much longer, 32 years old, riding for Zoo York or something, like some hokey shit.”

Rob Pluhowski’s unsanded, unvarnished assessment of pro contemporaries, the skate biz in general and his former place in it attracts the same sort of grinning car-wreck rubbernecking in readers that any decent interview inspires, and for the time being helps to shore up that ever-eroding barrier between skating’s outlaw flavourings and what may lie ahead. But Rob Pluhowski’s commentary here differs from other, similar veterans’ tales, in that it’s dispensed free of any strings that might even tenuously tether him to skate industry machinations, or gooey threads of relationships that could coat an otherwise harsh and bad-sounding assessment with a sugary veneer of political correctness. It’s not even that he seemed unconcerned what people may think, but that he seems only vaguely aware that such people might even exist, and doesn’t seem much interested in sweating it too much either way.

In centuries past, once the beachfront fires for whale kill roared out the bulk of their strength, our bearded chieftans would sing softly to we youth: “If you love something, set it free; if it comes back, it’s meant to be.” Salivating as we did for that first sip of icey whale marrow, we never gave much thought to their lyricism or breath control. But the saying, like the whales’ mewled curses upon humanity and our harpoon technology, has echoed through the ages. Did Rob Pluhowski love skating? With his Bob Puleo visage and mannerisms, he’s maybe too New Jersey to really get wistful. Is it possible to love it, leave it behind completely, and eventually be good with that? If so, what verdicts does this hold for the ever-expanding, and seemingly older than ever professional ranks?

How come Rob Pluhowski’s bearing and worldview seems relatively rare when stacked against numerous interviews in which post-professional career plans include packing boxes in warehouses, described semi-humorously but nevertheless with an air of noble sacrifice? Between the reverence here and as unlikely an art critic as Danny Way singing praises, should the late 1990s/early 2000s Alien Workshop and Habitat graphics be elevated to that same pantheon reserved for Sean Cliver and Marc McKee’s World Industries era, and VCJ or Jim Phillips before them? Is it really we who loved Rob Pluhowski, and are now left to consider that we may have set him free and he did not come back?

*Yo it’s understood Pluhowski never was pro but stay with it for a minute here

At the February Meeting of the International Brotherhood of Skate Video Character Actors

February 20, 2016

philly.jesus

Bill: Alright, let the record show this is Bill, representing the FDR managers and chair. I’d like to call this meeting to order. Can those present identify themselves for the minutes?

Len: Len here…

Ghostrider: This is your Ghostrider, present.

Murgatroyd Simmons: Murgatroyd. Here. On the phone from Milan.

Bill: Very good, we have a quorum. Let’s get to the new business then?

Ghostrider: We need to address Philly, one of our largest chapters.

Bill: No doubt. Does anyone have a motion on it?

Len: I’ve been traveling and not able to look at this closely yet… They shut the park this week, I saw… but… then Kyle Nicholson was still gunning for the switch 360 flip? Did I see that right..?

Bill: He’s switch 360 flipping on borrowed time, I’m afraid. The fences are up and the machinery moved in.

Murgatroyd: That’s a real bummer. Complete bummer.

Ghostrider: It’s a real blow to our brothers and sisters at the local chapter and to all of us. I assume I don’t need to recite for all of you the stats, between videos’ migration to Instagram and Vine and whatnot, all the private TFs, and the swelling rosters that pack the remaining full-lengths… I mean, it is really, really tough out there for any character actor, regardless of tenure or talent, to get meaningful screen time in skate videos these days. Any chapter, period.

Murgatroyd: Thank God for Fat Bill.

Len: Well, thank God for the Sabotage dudes… I mean… they provided roles for more members than nearly all other videos put together over the last few years. CJ the Picture Man, Joe McPeak… the tank-top gobbler… Philly Jesus, Snitch… all those bike cops…

Murgatroyd: Well hey, we should talk about a strike. Right?

Bill: It’s worth discussing.

Ghostrider: It may put the issue on people’s radar, but we need to get input from the local chapters on a move like that. There’s still good work to be got from the shop and independent videos and folks may not put that aside lightly with times like they are right now. There’s no more “…and you’re watching 411.” Transworld’s move back to the VX and weirdly abrasive paper for the new issue’s cover suggests a grittier direction, I’ll grant. But they’re a long way from ‘Free Your Mind’. It might just be some novelty thing.

Len: And, if these dudes in Philadelphia really will have to make their way without Love Park… you know, they may need our support there… It’s a two-way street.

Murgatroyd: True, well, good point.

Bill: There’s some mail on this, actually.

Murgatroyd: From the Philly chapter?

Bill: From some blog website. I guess people still do blogs. There’s a lot of run-on sentences and some made up words.

Len: What does it say?

Bill: It’s like a condolence card. Offering sympathy and solidarity in tough times for everyone who helped revive one of the world’s great spots, with minimal help from any company sponsors or corporate interests, producing some of the best skating and videos of the past decade. Thanks the Sabotage group and the rest for building a scene as raw and vital as any of the earlier Love Park heydays. Says it was both rousing and really sad, all the footage and photos this past week. The penmanship’s poor, it really rambles. Anyway then. I’d like to motion for canvassing the local chapters on a possible strike to call attention to the plight of our colleagues in Philadelphia related to Love Park’s closure.

Murgatroyd: Seconded.

Bill: Very good. Let’s keep an eye on this one and keep Philadelphia in our thoughts. On to old business?

Len: We’d tabled a long-term contract offer from Nike, as I recall… the money sounded alright…

Ghostrider: Yeah. I didn’t see how every one of our members sporting Nike gear helps our credibility or relevance when the shoes already saturate most skate videos right now. Still don’t, I guess, so suggest it stays tabled for now unless anybody’s got something new.

Bill: Right, seconded.

Murgatroyd: If there’s no other old business I’d move to adjourn, fellas. I’m meeting, you know, a gentleman caller.

Bill: Only other thing was a moment of silence for the Brown sisters. I suggest we adjourn with that.

All: Seconded.

Bring Hither the Fatted Calf and Kill It

February 13, 2016

how_now_apocalypse_now_cow

As the blind oracles foretold, Lennie Kirk is proving to be the guiding touchstone for skateboarding in 2016, with his devotion to hammer-handy fish multiplier Jesus Christ’s ’33 resuscitation and Lennie Kirk’s own unlikely rise from beneath that Pac-Bell van foreshadowing the timely return of top-shelf talents to the turbulent and beery pool that is skating in 2016.

Paul Rodriguez, he of the multi-sponsor fitted and long-distance switch 360 flips, already rolled away the stone and commanded the grave-cloths removed from the pro career of French double-flip enthusiast Bastien Salabanzi. With the Christian season of Lent upon us, Paul Rodriguez would play at the Lazarus legend again, this time bringing out onetime fellow City Star Devine Calloway for what by some poorly considered blog webpages’ count would be his third go-round with the skate biz, after his initial City Star twinkle, his Chocolate grown-up resurfacing some years later and post-‘Pretty Sweet’ bonus footage low profile. Nothing’s changed, it would seem, and besides his apparently mostly successful kicking of a costly New Era habit, he could’ve popped out the fakie flip 5-0 and that Crisco-smooth bigspin immediately following his still-impressive TWS part nearly a decade back.

Days later on the other coast, long-lost Tompkins wunderkind Yaje Popson officially moved his 64-Crayola wardrobe into Alien Workshop’s radiation-proof geodesic dome, itself recently restored to life via Rob Dyrdek’s Street League and television show dollarydoos. Despite what sounded like dual knee injuries, a somewhat dispiriting parting of ways with the Crailtap camp amid the heightened and heated ‘Pretty Sweet’ filming campaign, and the bucolic pleasures of small-city life in Brazil, Yaje Popson’s tricks remain super on point (switch backside smith grind, that pyramid ledge trick) and as suited as any to the worthwhile project that is refurbishing the Sovereign Sect, though maybe a little bit less surprising than Devine Calloway’s rebound given last year’s Sk8Rats turn and how he plainly spoke of missing it all. A TWS interview promises heavier hitting yet to come.

The limited economic prospects, increasingly crowded competition for unique eyeballs and impressions, and ever-present risk cocktail of age and injury raises questions around the logic of gone-once pros and bros returning for further bites of the industry cherry. Yet return they do, from Tom Penny’s bleary trip back in ‘Sorry’ to Guy Mariano’s wristguarded tech triumph in ‘Fully Flared’, the Muska’s single-gloved victory lap with Element, Christian Hosoi’s post-prison bid adventures, Supreme’s Paulo Diaz exhumation, and the extended post-Shorty’s go-rounds enabled by Sk8Mafia. More curiouser may be how such prodigal sons typically not just are welcomed but cheered back — witness last year’s outpouring of support after Kevin Spanky Long’s return journey to Baker put him again astride a pro board and back in the proverbial van.

Is the skate sphere unique in its tolerance for such wilderness years, spent consuming substances, recovering from blown-out joints, pursuing alternate careers or raising families? In the parlance of major-league team sports, comebacks usually are intra-game affairs, with some allowance for those rare talents drawing sufficient investment to bide a season or more in physical therapy, but clawing one’s way back into the professional universe after years away seems a rarer feat still, whether fueled by Kenny Powers-level moxie or some other chemical reaction. But even with a decade or more off magazine pages, digital video discs and relevant social media mobile networks, it’s difficult to imagine an increasingly fragmented and nostalgia-shaped boarding industry turning its collective nose up if long-faded lords like Sean Sheffey, Alex Gall, Scott Kane, Mike Maldonado, Billy Valdes, Pat Channita, Tim O’Connor, Jon West, Ted de Gros, or Gideon Choi turned up with a video part approaching their respective primes and the gumption to keep at it.

Does skating’s willingness and seeming zeal to re-embrace its wandering prodigals flow from the same spiritual mountain spring that nurtures tendencies to stockpile decks skated beyond any reasonable use, pack grocery-store boxes full of even lean-year Transworlds, and scour Ebay auctions to expensively recapture some spark first kindled in a long-lost CCS catalogue? As skating is lassoed, saddled, broken and eventually led head-down and besequined into that great Olympic rodeo, replete with floodlights and sad clowns, will lapsed pros resurface more often or must all spare dollarydoos shower down upon the podium-bound few? Has the YouTube age made it harder or easier for pros to recatapult dormant careers? Is Brian Wenning at Love Park right now? Yall saw Jeremy Klein’s kickflip bench stall in the Greco movie right?

Oblivion Access

January 1, 2016

Some others

Gilbert Crockett – ‘Salt Life’
Hard-cut edit on the post-Workshop frontier from Gilbert Crockett’s perpetually spring-loaded feet

Jack Kirk – ‘Krew Killers’
Spyro gyro tailslide

Andrew Allen – ‘Boys of Summer’
Between this, ‘Propeller’ and the Vans offcuts, there is some type of unholy Skater of the Year bid

Kevin Bradley – ‘Chronicles 3’
Neck and neck with ‘Sickness’ in turn up terms, last 30 seconds particularly

Tyler Surrey – ‘Spanish VX’
Lines that go forever, and a case for nollie flip noseslides in 2016

Tom Asta – ‘1947’
Nollie heelflip backside noseblunt on a handrail

Jerry Hsu – ‘Boys of Summer’
The heartwarming results possible – feeble grind, smith grind – when beloved pros oblige requests to ‘just see you skate’

Nick Boserio – ‘No Cash Value’
2015’s reigning lord of hairball, where you wouldn’t be surprised if he loosened his trucks before the penultimate escalator plunge

Dylan Sourbeer – ‘Sabotage4 Promo’
Love park ledgelord with Wenning slump status

Tony Trujillo – ‘Propeller’
His best one since the Transworld vid

Donovan Piscopo – ‘Hockey promo’
The planter backside tailslide line

Josh Kalis – ‘Sabotage4’
*shrug*

Yaje Popson – ‘SK8RATS’
Back in living color, but for good?

Mark Suciu – ‘Civil Liberty’ sans voiceovers
Also including Dennis Busenitz at Pulaski, and ending with one of the most Mark Suciu tricks doable there

Hats off to Chrome Ball Incident for its exhaustive (yet apparently truncated) interview-by-mail with jailed switchstance barbarian, stunt cycler and street preacher Lennie Kirk, which nearly met 2015’s quotables quota on its own and expands upon all the old stories, nearly all of which seem to be true and then some:

“Many times with Jesus’ guidance, Him, I and my girl, Ez, took the bike to 177mph at night on the 101 freeway. All out throttle to the max. Alone, I topped the bike out at 184mph, wide open for more than 10 miles. Just me and God. It’s a surreal spiritual experience. God’s glory in it all. Other drivers seeing a bike fly by them at 184mph in the night! It’s deeply personal, eternal and unique. A oneness with God, my girl and my bike… flowing and free, not worried about cops.”

nike-sb-the-sb-chronicles-vol-3

The print media struggle in 2015 means taking risks to stand out. Transworld, its revival already well underway, rolled further dice by essentially re-running The Skateboard Mag’s most-recent cover on page 56-57 of its Jan. 2016 issue.

Also flexing on print media this year was Quartersnacks, one of the few (if only) internet web pages with not only the balls to make a book but the well of stories, hoarded text messagement, pic of folks skating castoff TVs and depth of collective character to pull it off in spades – buy it here.

Pazuzu 2: Necronomicon Boogaloo

October 31, 2015

donnellyhop

Ellington

tyshawnjones

gonzarelli

EMB

Pic dump from recent mags raises the question as to how many of these make their way to mobile screens via enabled social media sharing apps, and whether getting your photo run in a legacy papyrus-related periodical ensures it will be viewed by fewer unique heads in all?

Recent Dispatch From the PJ Ladd Plane of Existence

July 16, 2015

PJ_Rodney

A few months on since Plan B teammate and fellow ‘Tru, B’ sideline-sitter Colin McKay casually compared Boston flatground alchemist PJ Ladd to Queen Amidala’s downward-spiraling leotard flexer in ‘Black Swan,’ third-dimension wallie champ Tom Karangelov offers a somewhat more cosmic update on the recluse technician in TWS’ current and fantastic am issue:

TWS: Any news on the PJ Ladd front?
TK: Oh, dude, I skate with PJ a bunch. He’s working on a part, I guess they want to do a part just with him. He’s super into vibes these days. He wants to grow his hair out because he was telling me that the longer your hair is they’re like antennas. They reach out for energy. So his hair’s pretty long. He’s kind of got this mysterious vibe going. Not a lot of people know what he’s up to, and I think that’s cool.