Posts Tagged ‘Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged’

Meat Puppets

August 29, 2021

Life’s tough in cyberspace. To make it as matrix-savvy muscle for hire in the year 2035, William Gibson’s ‘Neuromancer’ teaches that it takes more than skin-tight black leather and quarts of hair gel. ‘Neuromancer’ anti-heroine Molly Millions sports a rewired nervous system for faster reflexes as well as retractable razorblades tucked beneath her fingertips, courtesy of black-market surgeons. Vision-enhancing mirrored lenses are implanted over her eyes, and on the rare occasion she cries, rerouted ducts send tears to her mouth, where her sorrows are spat upon the ground.

Skaters long have dabbled in ‘the net,’ all the way back to Plan B’s cyberpunk-themed sophomore release ‘Virtual Reality,’ through Ty Evans’ digital psych-trips ‘Tha Skatrix’ and ‘Tha Flat Earth,’ as well as early and furtive efforts to construct entirely digital communes, from alt.skate-board to Salman Agah’s ‘Ice Lounge,’ envisioned as a safe space for skaters to discuss diamond jewelry and certain shared interests. While other sports have forged ahead with high-tech body modifications, virtual crowds and remote sensing capabilities, the skateboarding sphere generally remains stuck in first gear with tattoos and piercings, all respect due adaptive pioneers Og De Souza, Sheldon Melshinski and John Comer.

Perhaps the answer ties back, as ever, to the relative lack of profit margins to be wrung from hardgoods sales, contest circuits and related television ads; so far, the investments pumped into into life extension and fusing computers with human brains have been driven by the rich and technological. Inevitably, conflicts arise over those possessing means to augment and those without, setting up a gilded class of attractive cyborgs and a trod-upon lower caste forced to get by with only two arms, no built-in spellchecker and eyes that cannot see through walls.

Enter skateboarding’s own Daddy Warbucks, Tony Hawk, already colloquially known as a human-avian hybrid (bird-man). In between ‘barging’ the Olympic course and several ventures, Tony Hawk has found time in recent months to casually push the ‘technological envelope’ beyond his hoverboard dalliances. Just in time for a richly deserved pro deck for the incredible double set-charging, handrail-handling ATV Felipe Nunes, Tony Hawk flexed his connections to score his Brazilian vert doubles partner a pair of prosthetic legs. More recently, Tony Hawk has dribbled his own blood into a biopaint mixture for a line of premium skateboards — which rapidly sold out — while ‘joking’ about the potential for creating CASL-dominating clones and/or replicants.

After a poor U.S. showing at the ‘2020’ Olympic Games, is high-tech body modification the Americans’ best hope for capturing medallions in future contests? In a few years, when the ‘every kid can do every trick’ skatepark-ready Moore’s law inevitably becomes literal truth, will prehensile tails and biologically linked boards be required to map out a new universe of tricks to learn? Following Andy Roy’s promotional tooth-pulling that led to the infected canine being packaged with some Spitfires, will the first pro clone matchup see a replicant Tony Hawk face off against a replicant Andy Roy?

Kids

December 17, 2012

knox

Billions of burgers flipped by McDonald’s Corp., five decades’ worth of James Bond movies and the estimated $100 million net worth of Wayne “Mr. Entertainment” Newton bear witness to how consistency and a reliable product can command a loyal clientele and lucrative following, if not adoring devotion and the occasional soiled thong hurled upon a pockmarked Las Vegas stage. Jeron Wilson, Chico Brenes and Mike Carroll seem to understand that there is and likely always will be an audience for specialized heelflips, nollie heelflips and backside smith grinds, even while those such as Gino Iannucci and Anthony Pappalardo can’t seem to bring themselves to keep playing the hits year in and out.

Whereas technology setpieces of “Pretty Sweet” invested heavily in the wow factor, DGK’s full-length debut, arriving after a series of mixtape-like one-offs and features like Kayo’s “It’s Official,” offers few surprises. A DGK customer knows what he’s paying for — although the “Chocolate Tour” as reimagined by Harmony Korine storyline here heaps disdain upon paying for what otherwise can be racked or heisted — and Stevie Williams & co seem to have put years of work into delivering this, an overlong, guest-heavy, ready-made blockbuster willing to elbow aside wimpier videos for a spot as the successor to, if not the culmination of, vids such as “20-Shot Sequence,” “Tantrum,” “2nd To None,” “Ryde or Die Vol. 1” and “Street Cinema.” When 2 Chainz comes on here it is more earnest than when used by dudes hopping bars in Queens wearing twill trousers.

For an hour, DGK’s “Parental Advisory” glories in loudmouth rap music, camouflage pants*, gunfire, cameos from skate-rap touchstones such as Kareem Campbell, Fabian Alomar, Steven Cales, DMX and Beanie Siegel, shoplifting, loose-fit denim, shiny chains and hat-tags fluttering in the breeze, wife beaters, small wheels, graffiti, and some jack moves. For those paying attention there are references to the Menace intro in “Trilogy,” the Bones Brigade in “Police Academy” and even a much-beloved pre-Slap message board pro-skater-dies meme.

No one will look to this video to register on the ATV meter but in the trick department DGK too delivers as promised: Josh Kalis and Stevie Williams skate Love Park; Josh Kalis unloads his monster 360 flip and Stevie Williams cracks some switch heelflips. Wade Desarmo, one of those Canadians who maybe fell a little too far in love with tall tees over the past decade, stacks heavy-lidded picnic-table tech including a hazed-out hardflip backside 5-0 and an alley-oop frontside flip that ranks among the best in a year when Andrew Reynolds put out a video. Marcus McBride turns in a full section that ought to make any pro with a board out for longer than 10 years sit up and prepare an excuse and Rodrigo TX, who has quietly been on a non-stop hustle these past five years, loudly reps the defunct Es shoes company and snaps a terrific looking switch kickflip over a rail. Some of these newer kids with all the “D” names blurred for me, but Keelan Dadd has poise and good runs like the one with the switch kickflip frontside boardslide. Lenny Rivas, who made a serious run at Knox Godoy status himself, has gone grown man and turns a couple new helicopters onto the handrails. My vote for best-dressed dude in the skate game Jack Curtin comes through late in the vid and wrecks shop with some incomprehensible tricks like a switch shove-it 5-0 on a rail up against a wall and his hairball switch backside lipslide down the Clipper ledge.

Probably there always will be like-minded dudes out there doing it like Brandon Biebel but the clarity of purpose Stevie Williams puts to “Parental Advisory” sometimes makes it seem like he’s carrying a whole subset of the 1990s on his back here — nods given to all these little-seen skaters and rappers, a lengthy skater-on-skater-crime narrative that picks up where the Menace video that would never come left off in “Trilogy,” even going so far earlier this year as to deliver a Fabian Alomar part time-capsuled in from 1996, and then achieving the seemingly impossible by getting Kareem Campbell to commit to a skate project**. Coming out a month after “Pretty Sweet” secured DGK an underdog status they probably relish, and the fact that every dude on the team managed to turn in more or less a full section can be read as an endorsement of any number of those motivational platitudes embroidered onto DGK baseball hats, but it’s probably too much to ask this company to cop to now-certified overachiever status.

*of several persuasions
**no knock on the work that went into that song but the Crailtap dudes might’ve just happened to catch him at the store