May 5, 2015

Propeller Shouts and Murmurs

No marquee placement so this photo isn't blowing it.

The Vans portrayal: the skies are sunny and the stoke is on. The Uptown Theater was pretty full and the cushy new-ish seating, along with their new-ish liquor license, were appreciated by many. The movie nearly started on time and we didn't get a Bovee speech, but an exhortation from theater staff to not film the proceedings; Propeller was live on iTunes in three hours anyways.

It's novel, really, to make the video's introduction a useful part of the film, punctuated by an appearance of the company namesake as seen through 'his' kitchen window. There were just enough folks there to get that critical cheering mass going and it was persistent throughout, save for young Curren Caples' part, where the theater saw too much of themselves on screen. Other observations gleaned from a wide-cast net.

•A reflection on the coverage meter: Kids know Jeff Grosso, not Tony Alva.

Chima Ferguson is the dude many sitting nearby had yet to figure out.

•The Santa Rosa park would have been a great place for 32-year-old Tony Trujillo to return, though maybe he's not old enough for that amount of obvious nostalgia.

•Crailtap affiliation heals all and Elijah Berle's grown up. Related:

Chris Pfanner's part was so uniformly gnarly that the cheering lulled.

•Check on Rowley's knees.

•Reports say Andrew Allen is based on a character from "Sk8 or Die."

•It was a two-songer from Gilbert Crockett, who in aggregate did all the hardest shit.

•Definitely overheard Kyle Walker referred to as "White Ishod."

•It's been 15 years and AVE's put out four majors, two openers and two enders, and has evolved into a linebacker. Check the shoulder alignment coming out of one of the more difficult table moves.

Dana "Pizza" Ross, got his name in the credits, verbatim to how it's written here, and says he's made it, finally.

Normally the recommendation would be to head to the shop to pick up a copy, but this one's strictly digital; log on to tune in.

Update:

April 30, 2015

Koston in 'Yeah Right' Essay

From comment section obscurity to people's choice, this is Wylie Tueting's second post for Platinumseagulls.

"The Koston We Should Remember Most"
By Wylie Tueting

Every time that I’ve ever brought up Eric Koston – in the fifteen years I’ve skated – praise has ensued. Sometimes I’ve lead the praising, but more often other people have – by praising him a lot, and then some more. But since Koston has attained so much both on and off the skateboard, praise for him has never quite turned in the same way. Often the praise has seemed well-founded, given all his accomplished parts; while at other times hallow, given skaters’ affection for his antics on the golf course; while at others sensational, given the info about his lucrative contracts; and at others more hallow, given people’s admiration for his celeb connections, despite what little those connections have done to make him aware of why he’s so ambitious, as proven by his heartbreaking Epicly Later’d; etc., etc.

I swear I’m no antagonist of Koston, but let’s face it: Koston is a complex guy – or at least he possesses a complex career – and whether to place praise on his skating or on his attainments apart from skating, remains one of the riddles that confuses any conversation about why he’s so special. And let’s face it once more: Koston’s modern-day quirks – like blaring on the megaphone, eating one-too-many cheeseburgers on camera, landing SKATE tricks sillily, and saying “fuck” but then saying it a fuckload more – make such a conversation no easier. Such quirks make it harder.

(Sometimes I really do ache, physically and spiritually, after watching modern-day Koston on a Sunday afternoon...)

But this post isn’t about me. It’s about Koston, or rather it’s about how we might praise him properly, or rather it’s about this idea that I’ve been turning over in my mind for several years now – indeed an idea about how to praise Koston properly. Bear with me.

And turn your recollection back upon Eric Koston’s Yeah Right! part, that most iconic of street parts. We all watched it; were impressed by it; and we all sensed it was unusually vivid, was like no other Koston part we’d ever seen. But despite the truth of that third point, most of us let the thought stop there; we didn’t ask why it was so unusually vivid. We knew Koston had done many masterful tricks, and climaxed the part with a 360-flip to noseblunt, and hence we were content to call him “the best street skater.” But I’ve never been content hearing Koston is “the best” anything without someone explaining what made his Yeah Right! part so unusually vivid; so, in the hope of turning praise for him into something more respectable and specific, I’m now going to attempt to explain just that.

(It won’t be long, just a paragraph or three.) Now groove on this: Eric Koston’s Yeah Right! part was so great – so unusually vivid – because it came off as an angrily ambitious part, or, analogously, because it came off as a “Fuck you; I’m-better-than-you part,” as a certain Chad Benson once said to me. Just think about it, how the part begins with Koston brandishing his own board over some clumsy crook, as he barks in quick hard tones that the crook “empty” his “pockets!,” which the crook doesn’t, which makes Koston swear harder, eyes finally growing wide as he seizes the crook’s shirt and screams in his face. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s an irate Koston, a Koston like we’d never seen him before, a most adrenalized Koston. That intro startled all of us, since it presented Koston anew, and what’s more it forever colored what followed next, since there was no way of forgetting that intro.

And what did follow? Well for one thing Frank Black’s gritty but soulful song “Los Angeles,” a song which I would’ve never thought fit for Koston’s style, and yet a song whose pounding energy only built upon the startling intro, quickly vivifying Koston’s ambitious skating. And about Koston’s skating, it really was quite ambitious, yet early on you could begin to feel it tinged with something else – with an anger – if you felt closely. For instance, after his first line, Koston does three manuals in a row in Barcelona, which marks the first of several patterns in his part in which he does three tricks in a row at a single spot, patterns set up as if to ensure that we saw how versatilely he can skate spots. It’s as if he commanded our noticing that about him, as if it was high time. Or if that’s too speculative for you, observe instead how Koston’s abilities exceed convention at moments, as though out of impatience. You can observe such in his leaping out of that bs-bluntslide and over the sidewalk, or when he combines three tricks into one (kickflip manual to fs-boardslide), or when he lands fairly beyond the necessary landing space (like with his switch bs-flip over the gap, or switch heel down the triple-set). Koston flashed forth those abilities, though not unblatantly. Still not convinced of the anger in the part? Well then at least notice that even though there’s two minutes of slow-mo at the part’s end, the rest of it has a rapid-fire rhythm of tricks, with most of the tricks only being shown once, which is important to note – since every one of the tricks is masterful. At last Koston merely had so many tricks to show, but not enough concern to make all of them flow fluidly together, which was a badass attitude of his. Koston mostly sought glory, not grace.

So what have I proven by saying all that? Well, essentially nothing, except that given how the intro interacts with the song, and how the song interacts with the skating, and how the skating is masterful anyhow, what probably made Koston’s Yeah Right! part so unusually vivid is that it came off as angrily ambitious. That’s my reasserted idea; I stand by it. The part was unlike any Koston part prior to it, and unlike any Koston part we’ll ever see again. And while people can blather what they will about Koston being “the greatest skater ever” in spite of his doubtful modern-day career, I hope we can at least now agree that his Yeah Right! part is his greatest gift to us ever.

It startled us; wowed us; it had a song that roused us; had lines and manuals and angry ambition too: Koston’s Yeah Right! part remains the greatest street part in the history of skating.

And Koston has never needed it said more, simply.

-------

Koston turned 40!

About the author:

Wylie Tueting is twenty-five, and has lived in Edina, MN almost his entire life. If it’s insightful, he graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2013, having majored (more or less) in English Fiction writing, while studying Latin and Greek on the side. He now spends his weekdays as a paraprofessional in schools, or working as a waiter’s assistant. Yet he spends his every day struggling to read, make bag lunches, write, iron clothes, study Spanish, post on Platinum, or skateboard. The thing about Wylie is: if you ask him about the history of Mexico or Grady Moquin, you’ll see a similar sequence occur: his eyes grow wide, his breath turns shallow, and his applying of the phrase it don’t get no better than! to both subjects. Wylie’s working on getting subtler about that, and he’s grateful for your time.

April 28, 2015

I Married A Raver

Stumble upon the 20-year-old Chloƫ Sevigny New Yorker profile:

During the day, ChloĆ« and Lila would hang out outside, with the skateboarders. Skateboarding is not quite equal-opportunity employment. The girls mostly watch. “You’d just sit there for hours waiting for people and watching people skate,” Lila says. “Skating is a little life style. They stick together. Skaters aren’t really into drugs. Just weed and booze. They shun hard drugs.”
You wish there were more on those guys, though they lurk in the background of 1994 NYC barely named--Harold, single name, comes up--while the writer lingers on fashion and kids at the club and thrift stores, so much of that.

I power ranked full length shoe company videos for Ride Channel in full and conscious anticipation of the Vans video that premieres Monday. I don't think I've seen Ride The Sky all the way through--tell no one.

News on Elliot Park: It's looking pretty good right now, FWIW. Been hearing lately of a bit of resistance to pristine plazas and an embrace of more traditional (read: shitty) skateparks. News:

Vadnais Heights is seeking input on a skatepark. They're operating off of a beginning Lion's Club donation of $2,000 and looking to fundraise for the thing, so, meager beginnings, but the more serious responses, the better.

File to "Bummer:" early reports indicate no Twin Cities stop on the Lakai/Emerica "Stay Flared tour, though there are Chicago, Milwaukee and Des Moines stops for those who feel like driving.

Another Wylie piece going up in a day or two.

April 20, 2015

Interesting Results

Details have come down from on high about this purportedly near-hour long offering, perhaps the end of a long line of big old skateboard videos that we think will be a thing of the past, at least in the near future. The showing is on a Monday night, a cool twist on the normal premiere plans, and tickets will be available at Familia and Calsurf, with some possibly more limited numbers available at the Uptown Theater's door. Be aware: The theater's capacity is a known number to event planners so plan on working your angles accordingly to get a ticket (which likely just involves going to one of the shops, politely asking for a ticket and probably buying something, for good measure). Sounds like tickets should be available next week.

What's there to expect? There were Dollin at the carwash rumors and expectations of more Rowley than not. It'll be interesting to see what Greg Hunt comes up with, outside of the stylistic confines of a Transworld or an AWS video. Also, one wonders if Propeller is going to favor Kyle Walker fans over backers of Jason Dill. Put another way, will this thing try to be a demographics panacea or follow some of the same economic realities that Pretty Sweet followed? Two weeks and we find out, baby.

The good folks at Village Psychic asked me about Minneapolis skate videos. For the long, click the link, for the short, we've been super fortunate for nearly two decades to have a steady-stream of super good local videos coming out of here.

We were once again skipped over for the skate blog Pulitzer Prize.

Transworld posted an interview with Chicago's Dave Ruta aka @koolmoeleo. The Q and A outlines the singular obsessiveness required to post insane amounts of scanned photos on Instagram, as well as cool stories about the Chicago skate scene that I'd only ever heard of second hand. There are even bits about half-started skate careers, too. H/T to Quartersnacks for the link.

Finally, found out over the weekend that Kevin Wilkins was relieved of his editor position at The Skateboard Mag, late last week. Wilkins took a chance on me as a skateboard magazine writer, something for which I'm forever grateful. He didn't shake-up your work unless you needed it, he was frustrated when something got killed, and he had his writers' backs. Wilkins' voice was a huge part of what made TSM so rad for so long; without him the magazine continues on its change of direction, for better or for worse. Thanks, Kevin, and good luck with the next thing.

April 14, 2015

Season Opener

Yeah, it's been a while--so long that I can only make pray hands at that third cantankerous comment on the last post from a month ago--so pray hands to everyone else, too.

For the time being, contemplate the vagaries of the printed/typed word/photographs and one-footers and stuff with Boil The Ocean. Also, purchase the latest/greatest from Wiskate, Too Stupid to Care. It's great.

Finally, eat up some vintage Elijah Collard shot by Terry Ferkey at Front Plaza today at lunch time--it's 75 degrees--and be satiated by the knowledge that I promise more posts soon. Promise. For now, check out The Heshdotcom, heard it's new, redesigned.

Update:
VP's got a new Narloch part all posted up.

March 5, 2015

Winter Ender

@kirianstone ��. #FamiliaHQ

A video posted by Tabari Cook (@tabaricook) on

Welcome the warming trend.

March 4, 2015

DEBRI2 REVIEW

From comment section obscurity to peoples' choice, we've long discussed getting Wylie to put together a post for the site. It finally happened. It's all him from here on out. Thanks for putting this together, Wylie!

"DEBRI2: A Worthy Sequel"
By: Wylie Tueting

DEBRI2--composed by Philip Schwartz and Pete Spooner--debuted on February 20, 2015, from about 8 p.m. to 8:30, and as I walked back to my car around 8:50, checking my mind for the word that best captured the video, I realized I didn’t have it. So I rewatched the video that night, and by the time dawn broke, I had it: fine.

DEBRI2 is fine. I don’t mean that in some namby-pamby folksy way, nor do I really mean it in the way that Lamborghinis or Spanish swords are fine. I mean fine in the sense that DEBRI2 is attentively filmed and edited, while its skating is of high Midwestern merit, and that such things grant the viewer a satisfaction uncommon to most skate videos. Yeah, that’s the kind of fine I mean. After all, DEBRI2 has modern black and white imagery, though within limits; has transitions between parts that fluidly merge instead of clunkily announce; has songs that color the skating without saturating the skating; and has skaters who skate ruggedly and distinctively but especially realistically, since they have actual jobs, not time to skate endlessly--to name some examples. Some fine examples. I mean, how many mainstream videos have such examples? Nothing But the Truth absolutely didn’t, nor Extremely Sorry, nor exactly Pretty Sweet, nor...

But the list only goes on, and we’re getting carried away. So without further ado, let’s just take a careful look at DEBRI2: a truly fine video, and a worthy sequel to DEBRIS.

Spacey noises begin DEBRI2, a cheery melody blends with them, and the next thing you know we’re seeing a montage of infrastructure in the metro, in a way. At first it looks like old traffic footage, as it’s in black and white, showing an aerial view of some highway cloverleaf. But then we see a downtown Minneapolis cable car, and soon after that the Uptown Theater, among other sights, and we realize that the footage is modern. We also realize that Phil or Pete must’ve filmed it, in order to catch the local color of the metro: its streets, buildings, alleys, marquees, skaters, black guys, etc., even if in winter and even if in black and white. And if that sounds like mere summary of the video’s intro, that’s the point. Those are its main aspects, and they work well to create something that is artfully brief as well as in sync with the DEBRIS aesthetic, which seems retro yet modern.

Now let’s talk about Nate Cameron, boasting the first part. Nate Cameron--no more than three years ago--used to skate like you and I: he’d do fs-tailslides, fs-half-cabs, and good fs-180s. But Nate no longer skates thus. No, Nate skates powerfully and precisely. This was Nate’s maiden part, yet he skates like a seasoned local, doing original tricks at, well, unoriginal spots. Behold! his bs-wallride on the Government Center bench, his ollie over the mini handrails at the U-of-M bus stop, and his no-comply atop the grass after that statue--all of which are part of lines. That’s some truly original stuff. But Nate’s skating isn’t just original; it’s now powerful and precise, even quite athletic. It’s pretty hard not to see this, by the time his song hits burnout solo and Nate’s popping over a hydrant to land on both curb-and-street, proceeding to fs-smith a shoulder-high ledge--both tricks of which are, again, part of a line. Because Nate actually does lines, just like he does a fs-50 on a windowsill, just like he does a no-comply 270 onto a ledge, and just like he ends his part by doing a fs-50-50 on a thigh-high rail that curls sharply by a window: all rich things, which make vibrant Nate’s part.

Next part, and we’re looking at a dreary puddle on the street, in black and white. But it’s fleeting, since the image adjusts, turns to color, and is vivified by a skater doing a no-comply through the puddle itself, slip-ons be damned. This is the winter skating part, more interlude than anything. It’s nothing that special, nor is it dull. And quite frankly, I’d never seen a winter skating part until DEBRI2, so I’m just going to call the part undeniably refreshing. An instrumental jungle tune fuels it, underscoring that to skate in the winter is to skate truly in the wild, since conditions couldn’t be worse. Which is why I (and probably you) refuse to do it, unlike the guys here. They make a valiant attempt, and score some gems along the way. Mr. Cameron gets a line; Mr. Schwartz gets involved with something ’80s; Mr. Bollis’ rock-n-roll to fakie is dramatic, flecks of snow scattering off the mound; and Mr. Nelson’s fs-50-50 on the round bar I wouldn’t try in winter if you paid me, i.e., his landing it is really very impressive.

About Mr. Nelson, his part merges through next, and his name’s really David Nelson. I don’t know David’s age like I don’t know how many parts he’s had. But this I know: his skating and tastes have matured, and his part here is his best yet. Unlike David’s Flow Trash part, in which he vogueishly skated DIY spots while doing a fakie 360-flip to fs-board, in DEBRI2 he eschews DIY spots, instead skating only street and only to rap. It’s a robust difference, as it focuses his skating on more forceful and manageable tricks. But he works in creative ones too. You can catch sight of this in his very first tricks, as he ducks under a parking-arm and then grinds that chest-high rail. That line’s simple, creative, forceful. And the thing is: David’s part only gets stronger from there. Later, he does another line, one less creative but more forceful; it runs like so: bs-bluntslide, bs-noseblunt, and a fs-shuv-it on flat that smacks. That line should gratify your tastes, much like David’s NYC tricks should, of which there are several. Yet the most flattering of them has to be his fs-50-50 on the flat of that multi-kinked rail, which he comes at swerving in a red and black flannel, hair groomed, and which he rolls away from barely dodging the supports of a parallel rail. That’s the David of DEBRI2: just as handsome, but more manly and watchable than ever before.

Now fast forward a tad, and it appears that David is struggling to ride onto a curb. But that’s not he; rather, it’s Simon Phuong in black and white, indeed as sure as it’s a new part: the friends’ section. An unobjectionable beatnik song kicks in, and Simon starts the section proper, with a fs-180 and switch bs-wallie, looking more natural than Chris Joslin ever will. Which is to say that this friends’ section, unlike other friends’ sections, really does capture the skating of friends: plainer, looser, sketchier, hardier. And that makes it only more elating. You can try to resist smiling--as John Herbert fights for a fs-50-50 to bs-180 to switch nose-manual to revert--but I don’t think you’ll manage it. Why? Because such skating reflects the stuff of life, not the stuff of The Berrics. The section has many delights – and, too, some oddities. Jeremy Reeves’ threading-of-the-needle will part your lips; Rayshaun Crawford’s fs-noseblunt stall will make you wish he skated more; Huey and Narloch’s footage will sadden then gladden you, as they’re skating all the same; Dom Randazzo’s hippie-jump will unsettle you for infinite reasons; and finally, the NYC footage will engage you, since the tricks are so raw and distinct, but not without leaving you to wonder, must the ender have been one, too? Of course.

Now let’s talk about the ambitious guy: Jan Jacobson, whose part follows. When I think of Jan, my mind leaps to some faceless northern European, content but complacent in their life. I don’t know why that is, other than that it’s something at sharp odds with Jan’s skating--no less his DEBRI2 skating--debatably his best. Jan’s skating feels like it comes pounding through the video, accentuated by (ahem) the pounding tones in his song. Jan seems on a mission; he seems badass. You should catch that from his first line, as he ollies up a curb and then over a sizable rock-gap. Where’d Jan get the nerve to do that? It isn’t important, as he’s engaging us in other ways before we know it. Jan’s fs-flips and bs-flips are oddly precise, and that’s great, since who doesn’t like a surprise? Jan’s lines are quick, but end not without a bang: observe his high switch bs-crook, his switch fs-heel over the hydrant, and his bs-50-50 to fs-180 onto the makeshift tabletop as it reels from the blow, all of which end lines. That is some aggressive stuff. Which is why I’m especially glad that David Jaimes’s most beautiful fakie bs-lipslide to goofy at the History Center was skillfully inserted into the part, as if cooling Jan’s heat. Because by the time Jan has nollie fs-noseslid that hubba, gapped to fs-board that rail, and pop-shuv-ited over that bar, you’ve seen a set of tricks that probably involved more effort than you’d want to know: proof of Jan’s increasing drive. With zero irony, Jan: it’s a truly accomplished part.

After Jan’s part, things turn hazily more serious--that is to say, poetic--once the Familia part begins. We see slowed, black and white close-ups of Tabari, Kirian, Vinnie, and sort of Aaron. Ominous piano keys sound, making all four of them seem maturer, as though about to pass away. Over-sensitive ideas aside, the Familia part is acutely strong, in respect to its skating interacting with its editing. The skating starts when the music crescendoes, Aaron taking the lead with his loose yet tight style. Aaron has several tricks in the part, but his best trick rather seems his line at the Government Center; just relish how sturdy his board, shoes, and style look there! Real visually pleasing, that is. But even still, it might not visually please you as much as Vinnie’s bs-tailslide to fakie on the concrete barrier, the camera first zooming in on his sable, shirtless, picture-perfect skater’s body: the very clip a thing of Art, and the very part carrying Vinnie’s best skating. But this might be turning homoerotic, so let me just make a few more points. Kirian’s skating here is not his best, and yet it’s strangely appealing. He makes linear, sensible choices: a good kickflip, a two-trick line, a fs-50-50 through the knob. His simplicity doesn’t disappoint. Not one for simplicity, however, is CJ, whose clips yet elevate the part, just as it’s losing force. In fact, CJ’s tricks contrast so much from others in the part that: it’s as if they move with supernatural force. Call me annoying for that last idea, but after Sissi’s tricks come off as jaunty throwbacks, and Tabari’s ender as deft skating mixed with impromptu surfing--you should sense what I mean. It’s a Familia part like you’ve never seen. Now what could possibly come next? Don’t act like you don’t know, even if you simply forgot: Pat Gallaher’s finale part. At the debut, Pat’s part elicited a most calm reaction from the crowd: there were some necessary oohs and aahs, but other than that, the crowd was quiet. While one could endlessly guess what accounted for that, I’m just going to say this: Pat’s rawly mature skating, coupled with his airy song, when edited artfully as a final part, equals one of the most distinct parts you’ve ever seen. And the effect of that is likely to give anyone pause, which is a rare reaction to skateboard parts, but a no less good one, and hence for this one: Pat Gallaher’s part. (You’ve just got to think about it.) Yet regardless of artistic effect, Pat’s skating is a pleasure to watch here, if not because his build is narrow and upright, his tricks regular as much as switch, his spots rough more than smooth – then because this is his fifth or sixth part independent of sponsorship. You have to know of Pat’s steady output, in order to fully appreciate the part. In it he looks and is older, but that he’s still pushing his body for original tricks is inspiring. Just think how subtly scary that fs-50-50 to bs-180 on that bar would be, or that fakie-flip in the wood-yard, or those two switch 360-flips over gaps--all of which he lands with ease. Pat still has major aplomb, though it can seem like he’s not as good now as he should be. But in a way, he is just that good, if better. I don’t know that Pat could’ve formerly done that first line so competently. Nor do I know that he could’ve done that switch fs-180 manual to bs-180 into tail-snap, so gracefully. But what ultimately surprised people most at the debut, was Pat’s nollie fs-180 to switch bs-crook at South High. He’d definitely never done that before. Although, something that Pat had already done at South High--and which he did again in that final clip--was effortlessly ride over the terrible crack that sits at the landing of that handrail. Everyone else lifts up their truck when they ride over it, but Pat still makes it seem like it isn’t even there. If nothing else, things like that make Pat’s part so pleasurable.

So there you have it: a thorough, rather amusing, hopefully honest but generally subjective review of DEBRI2. It’s a truly fine video, if you didn’t already catch that. You can wait weeks or months until two or three or whatever-amount-more of its parts are on YouTube. But DEBRI2 is a fine video, and as such it has things that you’ll never fully notice, nor ever fully appreciate, unless you put yourself in control and get your own copy. Pretty Sweet and the like aren’t going anywhere too far; DEBRI2 get to the root of matters.

Buy the video here or at finer skateshops.

About the author:

Wylie Tueting is twenty-five, and has lived in Edina, MN almost his entire life. If it’s insightful, he graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2013, having majored (more or less) in English Fiction writing, while studying Latin and Greek on the side. He now spends his weekdays as a paraprofessional in schools, or working as a waiter’s assistant. Yet he spends his every day struggling to read, make bag lunches, write, iron clothes, study Spanish, post on Platinum, or skateboard. The thing about Wylie is: if you ask him about the history of Mexico or Grady Moquin, you’ll see a similar sequence occur: his eyes grow wide, his breath turns shallow, and his applying of the phrase it don’t get no better than! to both subjects. Wylie’s working on getting subtler about that, and he’s grateful for your time.