September 29, 2014

Three For Ones

Mysteries abound around the fate of the Open Iris DVD release that was to have happened at some point in the late-aughts. Since the video's initial release in 2002*, maker Anthony Boone had gone to war in Iraq as an enlisted Marine, a majority of the skaters in the video with listed parts had scattered to the wind and the number of viable VHS copies of the video were dwindling, so the story goes for small batch hard copies. I'd guess there were 1,000 or less.

My best recollection says the DVD version was re-edited with new footage and some new songs. I'm convinced there was an updated Nate Compher section where he skated to The Game's "Hate It Or Love It," which I might have seen, and it was spectacular. If more than one DVD master of the re-edited video was made, still, none survive. They, the copies, or the, the copy, was and were lost to time. Boone uploaded the video in five parts, with part one above. The transition from city to suburb-Lair happens in-video, the featured dudes the last of some sort of old guard.
*I may be disagreeing with the dude who made the video, I remember it a year later, based on Shitheads Vol. 8's for sure 2001 release date.

Image nabbed from Buzzfeed.

Headlining confusion: Using So Little or the graceless Skateboarding As Religion? Sticking with the former, it's an essay by Sean Wilsey, about feelings on skateboarding that orbit Wilsey's nostalgic musings about Thrasher, with a spotlight on San Francisco, too.

Nostalgia** is key in any description of the piece, first published in 2003, as the vast majority of it is focused on a time and place 15-20 years before that date of publication. Like most any piece that would appear in the London Review of Books or the now defunct The New York Times Play Magazine (the essay appeared in both), it's going to have some compromises and other gripe-worthy moments, the signals that it was written for outsiders by someone who was once inside, now not so much.

That said, it has one of the more pleasing descriptions of eating shit I've read in a long time:

I set down my board, stepped on, pushed off. My plan was to roll the whole slope and use the flat to slow down gradually before the intersection. I had no backup plan.

The acceleration was instant. In a matter of seconds I was moving faster than my legs had ever taken me. After thirty feet I was moving faster than I’d ever moved outside of a car. Faster. Without thinking I locked my legs at the knees and stood as if I were trying to look over a fence, the instinct—a terrible instinct—being to get as far away as possible from the rushing tarmac. My knees should have been bent, body low, arms out to the sides. The board started rocking side to side, trucks (the metal suspension/steering system) slamming back and forth, fast, hard left, and then fast, hard right. It felt like the board was possessed and wanted to throw me off. I had what’s known among skaters as the (dreaded) speed wobbles. And once they start there ‘s no way to stay on***.

I bailed just before the bottom of the slope and tried to run it out, knees aching when I hit the ground, going so fast it was like a wind was pushing me from behind. I kept my feet for ten feet and watched my new board rocketing down the block toward the intersection. Then the speed shoved me over. I pitched forward, screamed “Fuck!” with more emotion than I’d ever expressed in public (skateboarding, like learning a foreign language, offers a whole new personality), and as I heard my voice echo off the buildings I slammed onto the street, hands first, torso second, thighs third, calves and feet up in the air behind me—and began to slide.

This was like bobsledding! I had all the speed of a bobsledder. But without the sled, or snow. There was just me and some fabric and the concrete.

I was no longer going down the center of the street, but, since my last step had been off my right foot, I was plowing into the oncoming left lane, toward the parallel-parked cars on the far side of the street, my destination the front tire of a dark-blue two-door Honda. I braced for impact, closed my eyes, missed the tire, and instead went under the driver’s-side door—a deeper dark filled my head—and kept going, calves banging against the car’s plastic frame and flopping back down, head dinging off something in the undercarriage and then down to the street, until I was wedged under the trunk, between gas tank and pavement, my cheek jammed up on the curb.

The curb is the piece of the city that skaters are most often concerned with. Mine was cold, and I could smell it: oil and salt. I also could taste it in the back of my throat. Piss. I’d never looked properly at curbs until I learned to skate, and I haven’t looked at them the same way since. Steel-edged ones make for long, fast grinds (slides on your trucks). Regular ones make for loud, sloppy grinds. This one was plain and clean and angular, no rounded steel edge (coping, as skaters and masons call it). I was feeling a strange mixture of sensations: pain, embarrassment, isolation, and a pleasurable sort of intimacy with the hidden parts of the city. I felt like I had just survived a rare experience. I was glad to be still. I thought that beneath a Honda might be a good place to lie low for a while and nurse my wounds. I had never crawled under a car on the street before. There was something good about it. There was un-burned-off morning fog under there.

Beyond the longer-than-I-planned excerpt, and beyond my description above, there's more in there, much that is fantastic, including a run-in with skinheads and a convincing bit about why we still need "Skarfing Material."
**I, of all people, in light of how this post begins, should use nostalgia as a pejorative.

Probably ancient Blogger update allows GIFs. Ocean Howell from that I-Path promo.

2003 was huge for skateboard essays, because Ocean Howell wrote one too that year for Topic Magazine. Perhaps it's impossible not to use Birdman's 900 as some sort of looking glass for all of this. Regardless, and it's a good essay too, if not as expansive as the one above (certainly by an insider though with fewer compromises), Howell's distillation of important plot points from Back To The Future might do more to distill skateboard coolness than so much highfalutin thinking:

As they prepared to chase him through the old town square in their giant finned convertible, McFly grabbed a scooter from a kid, broke the handlebars off, and launched into a series of comically exaggerated skateboard acrobatics that sent his pursuers crashing into the back of a manure truck. The rubes were enraged; the girls were in love; everyone was shocked. I was sold.

My emphasis.

Searching for that essay, I came upon Howell's "Rate My Professor" profile; the kids seem to like him, if not his style of grading. At least one student thinks he's "incredibly good-looking."

September 19, 2014

Community Bulletin Board

Lots of dudes hitting free agency, what with the GF hitting the GF. Thanks, Dan and Ian, for all the fun. What's this?

August 29, 2014


"The skating is sick but the song/editing/clothing/VX/etc. in that part is garbage." Thanks to Thrasher for using FB comments so there's a modicum of accountability there, keeping the prevailing nature of commenting pretty standard nitpicky.

Few songs are completely sacrosanct in skate part world; Joe McLellan skated to Natas' song from Streets on Fire in a Maple video less than a decade after Natas' turn, and while perhaps there was an element of homage therein (it wasn't obvious), it's a not-that-controversial exception to the rule, a rule recently reiterated by Josh Stewart while on his ongoing Static 4/5 press junket.

All that's a circuitous way of getting to saying I could see someone making the call to edit a Wes Kremer section to something along the lines of "93 'til Infinity," seeing as how his songs can act as dog whistle tracks for those of a certain age, and sort of being OK with the whole thing. Sort of. Kremer, so obviously with the evidence above, continues to rank among the best out, the video part an occasion to do AUG. 29 SOTY POWER RANKINGS:

1. Bobby Worrest: If Worrest wins SOTY we'll have sudden proof there is some sense left in the Universe, a small, righteous rebuke to the horrible (news) happenings of a summer now ending. He put out yet another part a week ago on Quartersnacks, making it three on the year. He seems like only a dark horse candidate until one remembers he's got a good portion of the skateboard industrial complex backing him, as in Nike and Deluxe.

2. Wes Kremer: With a current ranking most likely a result of the afterglow of watching his section prior to 8:00 a.m. today, Kremer's eventual overall ranking (if I ever revisit this) will likely reflect his natural orbital trajectory: perennial and highly respected All-Star, perennially coming up fourth in MVP voting. He may simply lack the extra flash and marketability to convince Jimmy on the street to back him fully, but then again, maybe you just decide he's got it and make it happen. DC's tried before.

3. Dylan Reider: Two parts and a couple of fashion spreads, along with mononym status sets Reider apart from many. If there's such a thing as a "gutsy" SOTY choice, he's it, if only because of skateboarding's forever simmering sexual insecurity. Then again, Dylan would be a triumph for skateboarding's smaller entrepreneurial class, a Rocco-like rebuke to the industrial complex which, confusingly, really does include Deluxe.

4. Nyjah Huston: 1996 in 2014: Nyjah is Chris Senn 18 years later. Left at the altar in 2013, Nyjah is winning all the money (contests) this year, and while it's unclear how he placed at M√ľnster, if a Senn-like a ascension is possible in this day and age, Huston is your dude. Plus, he's probably got a November-surprise-video part planned, even more brutal than the last.

5. Davis Torgerson: DT is good for fifth on paper, a rookie-pro and possible homer pick, but like at the beginning of the sentence, here's the qualifications: two video parts (and a Real Street section), a media tour/victory lap after the pro-model, a high likability rating. On these rankings he's more akin to a Chris Bosh middling selection, solid as hell and super well-regarded, if not even a bit underrated, but still, sorry bud, no chance at the trophy.
Edit: The original post touted these as "AUG. 28" power rankings, even though I did them a day later. The mistake will forever be immortalized in the URL.

August 20, 2014


Philanthropic skater billionaire, please purchase Fifth Street (Gold Rail) and take off the stones.

August 11, 2014

Kings of Promotion

Dare we say that this is Davis' finest all-around offering since Boondoggle? It would have been completely acceptable to simply ollie those steps at Northrup, too. Speaking of Familia, did I see Mike Roebke's truck parked outside the HQ today?

August 6, 2014

major slow-mo for the chicks and homies

Happy belated birthday to Davis Torgerson, whose clip up top is proper, who is riding the Prince-themed graphics all the way to the Ferrari dealership. 25!

Below is a comment so good that it's been turned into a part of a post. By Wylie Tueting:


Hey now, anybody in the mood for a good time?
Well then, I urge you to watch Tony Tave's "Theatrix" part, now available on YouTube.
I'd describe the experience as similar to being at an L.A. nightclub: there's some major booms and bangs, some major slow-mo for the chicks and homies, some strange bits of indifference from the lead performer -- and while the beat of the music keeps throbbing right along, you just can't seem to figure out why you're still so bored.
See a Lee Yankou part for detox.


Had never seen that Yankou part; weeee! Other stuff: Alastair Brown Minneapolis footage from the mid-90's. Russian kid rips. Judd rips too. Did he dye his hair?

July 31, 2014