Posts Tagged ‘Yonnie Cruz’

Events on the Horizontal Horizon of the Eventful Event Horizon

February 20, 2017

“Blessed be the ties that bind,” the good book says, referring to the festive ties donned by Medieval lords on the occasions of their weddings to matrons true of virtue and plump of size, who in turn wore flowery gowns and pointed hats in keeping with the custom of the time. The old saying however also could equally apply to the metaphorical plastic zip-ties that once bound the international skateboard community as tightly as the wrists of a newly gagged hostage, but now have been stretched, frayed and slicked with blood after a 20-year ride in a darkened trunk, bumping through energy drink-sponsored contest spectacles, international footwear investment and reality television seasons.

In this brave and bawdy 2017, year of the Rooster, what can draw together late-90s puffy-tongued plaza revivalists with mega-ramping park prodigies and their pastel-draped, body-varialing brethren? Time was, a big video could command the culture’s attention through months of ‘coming soon’ magazine adverts, a few carefully blown deadlines and a riot-inducing premiere. But ‘event’ vids increasingly have become the domain of the major shoe company, and that cupboard looks increasingly barren as Nike, Adidas, Emerica and Vans all have shot their respective full-length wads over the last two years, with mixed results; nearly all now seem to have sworn off the sort of hourlong teamrider-wrangling that takes years and increasingly seldomly stands up under colossal expectations erected with promotional hashtags, tossed-off teaser clips, and internet punditry.

Foundation last week premiered the latest entry into one of history’s stalwart video legacies, ranging from ‘Supercollider Superconductor’ to ‘Rolling Thunder’ to ‘Art Bars’ and ‘That’s Life’ – a heavy underdog narrative was built into the roll-out, including teamriders funding their own trips and pay whittled down to board royalties, making one wonder whether ‘Oddity’ should get you psyched on this latest iteration of the magic F or just hope these legitimately gnarly dudes find themselves a better deal. Ahead lies Transworld’s ‘Riddles in Mathematics,’ extending another beloved video dynasty with a knockout lineup and a GZA-cribbing title, helmed by Chris Theissen, whose Bordeaux-sipping extreme close-up techniques in last year’s ‘Substance’ bypassed perspective and boosted Dramamine sales. The majorest upcoming video may be Lakai’s ‘Flare,’ though with only four names remaining from the decade-ago (!) ‘Fully Flared’ lineup after former pro-model flarees succumbed to the gravitational pull of Nike, Adidas and old age, and much riding on emergent hot shoes such as Tyler Pacheco, Simon Banerot and Cody Chapman, it seems as much a reboot as anything — though the droney zooms and slick panning activity characterizing recently departed flare pilot Daniel Espinoza’s Royal Trucks part, assumed repurposed from his Lakai footage, looks very much prettier/sweeter versus any type of filmographic departures in the Federico Vitetta era.

After witnessing the coming-togetherness spurred by Brian Anderson’s coming out, Dylan Rieder’s death and earlier, John Cardiel’s ‘Epicly Laterd,’ are skating’s shared cultural events leaning less on videos and contests and more on personal narratives like SOTY? Can ‘Sabotage5’ transcend the tragedy of Love Park’s demise or only leave lingering questions as to what the fuck Philadelphia was thinking, and how did the resurrecting Alien Workshop not get behind a group of dudes so heavily infatuated with one of the Sovereign Sect’s most enduring heydays? Will Palace ever get around to doing a ‘proper’ video or are their mixtape-style releases like last year’s ‘V Nice’ so good they needn’t bother? Is Birdhouse gonna take another run at video history with Jason Hernandez behind the lens? Will Danny Way’s now 2-year-overdue video part ever drop or will Bob Burnquist come with another project that pushes it back again? Hasn’t it kind of been a long time since Krooked made a video?

Do The Spirit Animals of GX1000 And The International Olympic Committee Howl At The Same Red Moon?

June 4, 2016

“Skateboarding is now 1 step away from the Olympics,” Ride Channel mystics pronounced this week, with all the hollow reservation of an over-the-hill fighter demanding through spat-out teeth and blood to be put in for another round, and all the limp-necked surrender to be revealed in a fistful of counterfeit blimp tickets. This pursuit, once the domain of renegades, outcasts and losers, now is not called but rather ordered up to the big leagues, its youthsome mettle having proven a fuel too valuable for ratings-hungry sponsors to let sit unburned for another decade while the Olympics’ viewership virility flags. The 80s gave, the 90s took away, the 00s gave back — to some — and though a declining number of hard-good consumers and an ever-thickening stew of bootstrappy board companies slicing thinner and thinner pie wedges to share amongst independent and multinational competitors alike, skateboarding’s talismanic powers to restore youth, when its bones are ground into a fine powder and snorted through a €100 bill, have become impossible for the Olympics to ignore.

It is difficult to envision Olympic podiums, matching uniforms and the brassy pomp of various national anthems when Ryan Garshell, Yonnie Cruz, Al Davis, Brian Delatorre, and Jake Johnson are battling irate homeowners, ditching cops, spraying graffiti and barreling crossways into traffic in the bracing and much-awaited ‘GX1000’ vid. Like the ‘Sabotage’ series emanating from the other coast this vid seems less about polishing tricks and placing them on a pedestal for admiration than hunting them through hills and alleys, wrestling them to the ground and cutting notches in the belt after wiping any blades clean of blood let by both parties. The way they let the hill bombs run out with no music has an intensity impossible to concoct with slow-motion drone filmography, and its montage structuring is refreshingly dense, difficult to digest in even a few watches how tech Yonnie Cruz gets in those hills or the burliness of Al Davis’ wallies or all the things Brian Delatorre can do at crazy speed, setting aside the added challenge of having the police, the homeless, and various powers of SF-dwelling Silicon Valleyites arrayed against them.

And yet several planes of existence above, the Olympics may not be so different. Marauding from country to country, city to city, this nationless entity allegedly flouts rules, stokes anger and resentment among locals and from time to time gets kicked out. Some would argue the Olympics embraces a ‘skate and destroy’-like ethos as it briefly sessions municipalities and leaves economic and structural wreckage behind. The Olympics meanwhile cashes its endorsement checks, immortalizes its achievements on high-performance video media, and looks for the next spot.

Should skateboarders, rather than fearing and loathing the Olympics’ crass pyrotechnics and ferocious currency-dealing apparati, embrace it as a spiritual partner in lawlessness amid a more existential battle against local, state and perhaps federal authority figures as well as various other haters? Could Yonnie Cruz handle one of those abandoned Sarajevo ski jumps and bobsled tracks? Switch? Will a future Olympics judging panel be forced to review the GX1000 files as a reference point for tricks that Jake Johnson previously has proven are possible to be wallied into? Did the Cool Runnings dudes pass a test detecting drugs capable of enhancing performance and/or reality? What about Yonnie Cruz’s switch backside 360 tho?

Turn Up Deep Web

August 7, 2014

Several years ago, Emerica shoes marked the end of a bold and promiscuous era by releasing “Stay Gold,” billed within urethane-wise punditrydom as “tha last video ever.” Girl and Chocolate under their own advances a short while later launched “Pretty Sweet,” also the last video ever, and Plan B toward the end of 2K14 widely is expected to place a MegaRampTM-shaped capstone on the video era upon completing “Tru, B” which not only is understood to be the last video ever but furthermore to potentially never come out at all, just to make the point.

Where does this leave our independent video maker? If you are named Ty Evans you actually are a Filmmaker and shall be contracted to a burgeoning action sports production house for the use of proprietary Filmmaking UAVs and certain other automated devices that aren’t yet all legal under county-specific statutes penned by wizened barneys. For the remainder, do they continue to absorb the financial hardships, bristly market risk and hours spent lying in gutters, occasionally sprinkled with sustaining dollops of funding from shoe conglomerates or free boards from their bro’s warehouses?

There are relatively few big-name companies attached as backers to “Statics 4 & 5,” Josh Stewart’s sprawling ode to nocturnal nooks and crannies of the five boroughs, and the steadily clattering insomniac tunnels that stitch them together. At this point Josh Stewart’s sunk the better part of two decades into filming skating and making videos, he’s complained about the tough time making a living at it even before the internet obliterated both the hardcopy format and the longform video, and more recently talked about how he gets money videoing more-pedestrian shit, probably with additional perks such as sensible hours and fewer threats from wayward autos and cops.

Is this Josh Stewart’s last Static vid? Maybe or maybe not, but between the Henry Edwards and Jeremy Elkins and Peter Sidlauskases of this current plane of existence it seems the curse of the independent video filmer will continue to cloud and arouse youngsters’ minds, whether or not board and shoe makers deign to continue sinking years’ worth of marketing budget lucre into full-length DVDs or high quality Blu Ray products for HD TVs. Josh Stewart, as elder a statesman in all this as Dan Wolfe or Fred Mortagne at this point, suggested this may not be such a bad thing, in spite of any ensuing financial hardships, or perhaps because of them:

One of the rad things about the skate video as an art form is that most of the people doing good work in the indie video scene aren’t motivated by financial gain. And it makes it more pure as an art form when it has to be done on the side of making a living.

The “Static 5” opening sequence, with its tribal chanting, drums and dudes silently walking through tunnels, gives you a sense of how Josh Stewart may view shit and moustachioed literary analytic types might be inclined to draw some “Last of the Mohicans” analogy.* In a time when social media-abetted personal branding has incented standalone video parts and projects catering to specific dudes’ approaches to skating, the 4th and 5th “Statics” are one of the more cohesive and well put together full-lengths in quite a while. The Slap board commentary cycle may have reduced Josh Stewart’s aesthetic to “cellar doors” around the time of the third installment but there’s still few who can argue better for it, and with the exception of the Bronze vid, to which it really is unfair to compare any video, there is no better soundtrack this year, occasionally ripped straight from the trains and platforms.

With the volume of cellar doors transferred to and bars hopped (Aaron Herrington grabs the no-comply title straight from the jump) it was wise if indulgent to bisect this project into a pair of “Photosynthesis”-optimized runtimes, even though there’s satisfactory variety when it comes to this type of skating. Aaron Herrington goes bio down three banks, Yonnie Cruz is awarded most ambidextrous,
Brian Clarke displays a rarely seen frontside noseslide shove it and
Brendan Carroll behaves similarly with a nollie manual. There are cameos by some of Japan’s street alchemists whose style really has no father but could plausibly claim the “Static 2” Traffic/Puleo parts as an irritable uncle. Dustin Eggeling turns in the obligatory fakie frontside noseslide shove it and thereby soothes certain 1990s ghosts, Jimmy Lannon continues to embody one of the better examples of how less oftentimes is more and
Jake Johnson does his mountain ride, with the skate sounds dialed down and guitars turnt similar to an Alien video. Jimmy Mastrocolo, Daniel Kim and Keith Denley should do parts in next video Josh Stewart does, if there is one.

The best made part in this entry though may be Jahmal Williams, who Josh Stewart pairs with an aging subway dance squadron led by a dude who claims to be over 45 and literally toiling underground, “keeping the art alive” on behalf of tourists and passing worker bees. Jahmal Williams still has it, boosting up traffic barriers and igniting one of the better filmed rick flips recently and issuing a memorable “one more” plea in pursuit of nighttime breakdancing glory and possibly the promise of parachute pants riches yet to come. If these are really the last ones of Josh Stewart’s “Static” series, they do it justice and make a case for the dude mastering his craft, copies can and should be purchased from Theories of Atlantis.

*Not this blogosite though, never that