November 30, 2012

MJ, Thrilling

There's been much discussion since Pretty Sweet went "live" on Tuesday, and much of it has centered around Marc Johnson's part. There's the fun correlation between his song and the last time a video part of his came out, the fact that significant others are digging it and the unreported-collective-gasp that happened at the premiere when he kickflip 5-0ed a bench on flat. Yup, the dude rips.

Heading into the weekend, a bit of a reminder that the DNA for all that he does was pretty well there way back in '96, when he had plenty of hair, rode for Maple but still understood the benefit of stripping down and wearing some shaving cream. It's above. Have fun.

November 29, 2012

Triumvirate Reborn

Davis Torgerson, kickflip, photo by Sam McGuire.

Tell your friends: Founding member of The Plat, Sam McGuire, has a new website up and running. Go check it out for hundreds of more photos like the one of Davis, above.

Speaking of young Torgerson, you can vote him into the semi-finals of Tampa Am at the link, just be sure to include your email address, read the instructions, etc.

Perhaps you've heard of the former Minnesota Gophers football player, A.J. Barker, and how he quit the team in a news-making way via a 4,000-plus-word Tumblr post. One has to wonder when the first truly social media mitigated blow-up is going to happen in the historically insular and passive aggressive world of skateboarding. I suppose this already exists on the periphery in the strange Youtube worlds of some Wennings and Rogers, but the mainstream-only-semi-embarrassing back and forth, vis-a-vis Barker, can't be that far off. I imagine some self-righteous Flip or Zero am telling off a task-mastering Rowley or Thomas, if we were to be so lucky. For what it's worth, I only invoke the idea of luck in our enjoyment of a similar public car crash; I found Barker's letter to be attention-seeking, self-indulgent and masturbatory after the first 200 words. For greater insight into the depths of A.J. Barker, check out his second post to his Tumblr.

On a more serious note, today would have been Chris Thatcher's 33rd birthday. I miss that guy.

November 26, 2012

No Country For (Some) Old Men

Pretty Sweet premiered at the Familia HQ Sunday night.

A small roar filled the skatepark anytime a recognizable Minneapolis spot appeared in Pretty Sweet. This enthusiasm is understandable from us seemingly much-maligned-Midwesterners, who are very much in the middle, yet still periphery to the periphery of the country. Therefore, anytime the perhaps last last biggest video, ever, condescended to give our fair city a piece, a piece we gave back. Perhaps the most enthused in the building were the youngest people there. A group of 12-year-olds sat to my left. They not only provided stellar one-liners at the close of each section (old video premiere going souls, they must be), but they swelled with hometown pride when Cory Kennedy showed up at the History Center, or when whoever else skated whatever else. As long as it was here.

Quartersnacks wrote smartly about Pretty Sweet, calling it "perhaps the first skate video made with a generational shift in mind." I agree, and building on that, without getting all that silly about it, it also had globalization and localization in mind. Fit in plenty of trips to China, a kid from Kansas, and seemingly endless amounts of footage from all over the U.S. (from at least some of the team) and we have a video that brings cupcakes for everyone.

The 12-year-olds felt included. Transported 18 years into the future they would not construct the same shoulder-chipped introduction as I. What doesn't seem like that long ago, is, when the only time your hometown showed up in a video was a 411 Roadtrip. You knew Moses Itkonen skated the Hyatt Ledges in Let The Horns Blow because he skated the Hyatt Ledges in the Let The Horns Blow. It was a pact, a trust, a smell gesture meaning we were a part of it that existed elsewhere, though we'd probably have to move to gain full membership. Nowadays, the kids expect, and deserve full membership, even if they stay at home. Skateboarding came to them.

Moving forward, possible spoilers (but nothing specific) below the picture, unless you're already bummed I said so-and-so was at a certain spot in St. Paul, in which case you've already stopped reading.

Video premieres can and should be hard on the senses. This event, in particular, was a Katrina X Sandy category brostorm in the best of ways, co-mingling the 12-and-under crowd with dudes that appeared in their senior portraits with Mariano's first Girl board. The sound mixer was maxed out (I saw it with my own two eyes) and the waves bounced through my clothes with memorable force, rivaled only by the All In Triple Rock premiere that was a true chest-thumper. In short, everybody was pretty well blitzed.

Pretty Sweet is chaotic, definitely a little extra-chaotic in that environment. The well-done intro is the longest shot in the video by magnitudes; the amount of clips that must have been on Ty Evans' final Final Cut timeline is mind-numbing.

For all the hemming and hawing about possible soundtrack Ty faux pas, the music fits, altogether, with some definite nods to The Current's type of offering and the past (they most likely paid out for music rights, all worth it). It all fits in with Girl's Now/Nostalgia, the hashtag and the legends.

We watched the video on BluRay, finally a forced but welcome use of all the HD that's out there. Even projected on a white cinder block wall, the clarity was impressive, though the wide format fisheye is still jarring, yet cool.

Ok, skateboarding.

Who showed and who blowed? Everybody and nobody, respectively. It's a weird one, after all, since this video represents an actual generational shift. Daniel Castillo, by consensus, saved himself with a grab and Rick Howard decided to show up in skits and perhaps more in the bonus. As the previously linked QS write up notes, Pretty Sweet showcases the young dudes and the medium-aged dudes the most. Full, comeback-type video parts for some of the guys don't materialize, though, there's still hope in the bonus (bites bent thumb).

As for more specifics? Vincent Alvarez opens the video and bludgeons with a mix of sketch and finesse, going back to the original "Lowcash" with skate rat wheels and his weird world of skating like only himself. Cory Kennedy got "best in show" votes with a combination of a very proper song and skateboarding which befits the expectations surrounding the dude, generally winning over dissenters as "First Part B" if we're to look at this as a combo video. At this point, I'm pretty sure a lot of beers, on video, have already been guzzled. The fact that these dudes are a unit is shown so hard and heavy that that '97 Shorty's team that went horseback riding together is put to shame, convincingly. Yusuf Islam tries to abide.

Chocolate's "Big Three" ams, Raven Terhsy, Stevie Perez and Elijah Berle show up and put up, to mixed reviews by the mostly old dudes that I talked to, though it must be noted that these guys can do everything. They all have clips that are outright shocking from an expectations point of view, and it must be left to everyone's discerning tastes to speak to each's relevance and so forth (if I had to choose, I take Berle).

As for the rest of the Girl and Chocolatiers who don't have full parts, many have nothing left to prove, and the video allows them to prove just that. Kenny Anderson does team handsome with his usual aplomb, harkening back to Planet Earth/Rhythm with nollie flips out of stuff. Speaking of flips out of stuff, Chris Roberts nollie heelflips out of whatever he can, and it's all done very well, slow-motionly. Brian Anderson does one of the best tricks in the video, aging popstar and all, while Biebel does his standards and looks just a little bit weird in straight-slim.

Malto has a Cody Davis-seque intro, minus the weed but concordant on the pj's and it's way better. If anyone knows exactly what song Malto should skate to, Pretty Sweet handles it and the kid put out his most defining part yet.

I heard from a very reputable source, last night, that Marc Johnson skates like "he's so alive," fluid, and just on it. He might very well make kids try to learn late flips, again, and overall skates like a dude that's as amazing as he ever was and yet unknowing of any outside expectations. He's a man untethered with an amazing song and a SOTY behind him; if there's anything I'd rather re-watch at 1:18 a.m., it's him.

If there is anything or anyone who will make 12-year-olds true believers in a company that might cause cognitive-dissonance due to its name, all the while satiating the 30 plus crowd, Guy Mariano is it. Us, we, we're just happy to see the guy. The kids? He has unnamable tricks at the ready. Last part, here you go.

Girl and Chocolate are as big-tent as any outfit out there and they're producing plenty of content, but more importantly, a feeling. The feeling is something that the Crailtap camp understands; the old men and the kids all guzzle beers together; listen to punk rock and metal and gangster shit and modern rock with convincing convincingness; they're all friends too. Pretty Sweet actually gave me the feeling that skateboarding is pretty ok, hewn in a fabulous postmodern world where who knows if MJ's setup really disassembled?

I suggest you buy Pretty Sweet from a skateshop near or far from you when it becomes available. It just dawned on me that this is one of the few recent videos that would stand in for some of the few videos (411 #10, Second Hand Smoke, Mouse) that I watched over and over when I was 14. Yeah, it captured, or re-captured something with me, and it's heartening that the kids to my left seemed to get it too.

November 23, 2012

November 19, 2012

Leg Don't Lie

Damian Lillard, of the Portland Trailblazers, scored two meaningless points with an uncontested dunk at the end of a game against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, angering some Bulls veterans, who promptly told him after the buzzer, "You don't do that in the NBA." Local hoops writer Steve McPherson expands on how unwritten rules work in basketball and in life here, prompting the question: What's the state of skateboarding's unwritten rules?

It's changing. More and more we're penned in parks while the whole skateboarding demographic skews younger and younger. As weird as this sounds, scenes are moving away from any sort of central authority within a scene, creating smaller autonomous pocket scenes within a city or region. Without too much sociology 101 going on here, parks+youth+localism=a fracturing of the so-called "unwritten rule book." What's left in this book and what's been tossed out? What are the known unknowns? Let's go:

Out the Window

-Contrived Style is for Dork Purposes Only.
I used to have a lot of fun doing a trick called the "pop shuv-it flair." As you could guess, it involves a pop shuv-it and the popular ski-slope trick, the spread-eagle. It was loads of fun because doing one would devolve into a minutes long flair-off, with all making fun of something that, at the time, didn't really exist. Nowadays, beyond the fact I risk pulling my groin doing the flair, the whole "stanky leg" phenomena is not only accepted by a great many, it's exalted as a paragon of style. Yes, this clip again. While there are plenty of negative comments on there, let's bring some sabermetrics into this and analyze the "like" to "dislike" ratio on that clip: How does that stack up in Actual Dislikes By Viewer (ADbV)? ? Using some Nate Silver-esque Youtube analysis, the clip, which has been viewed by 151,397 people had an ADbV of nearly 9,084. That seems like a lot, but when you us the Effective Dislike Percentage, it carries an eDL% of 0.06%. The minority, dissenting opinion may be loud, but those numbers don't lie.

In Limbo

-Skating in Shorts.
Something I learned from the McPherson piece above: It's generally accepted that musicians should not wear shorts while performing on stage (arguments for and against, here). This same idea (remove "musicians performing on stage" and insert "skateboarders skateboarding anywhere") is in flux closer to home. I remember, and it's still sort of to this day, how jarring it was when Koston repped shorts in Goldfish (yes, he opens the part in them, but get near the end when he's in khaki shorts at the Courthouse; that was always so awkward). It just used to be rare, weird looking, and for the most part, not that functional. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what opened the door to shorts, be it the athletic gear revolution of the late-90's, the slimming of gear as the aughts progressed, Jamiel's part in Weekend Warriors or the ascendency of Arizona skateboarding (or the 332 consecutive months of globally warmer weather?), but, shorts are becoming more and more prevalent, if not accepted. Yes, the thought of shorts may still make some rub their shins in terror, and yes, damn they're comfortable sometimes, even while on board. Short of some fancy-dancy math (watching tens of thousands of Youtube clips, or something), there's no numerical short cut to determine what's going on here.

The Still Unwritten-but-Written Rule

-Don't Kook It.
Sure, this is the easiest way out, but a pair of shorts aren't the same as how one acts (and yes, the "stanky leg" is an action, though it only really bums out 0.06% of people, so it doesn't count). Lillard's dunk was kooking it. It was showing up at a mellow session, snaking and trying the hardest shit. It was the self-triumphant arms in the air after landing a trick someone else was trying. He might as well have beamed the injured Derrick Rose, afterwards. Of course, skateboarding and basketball are both flashy things to do, and sometimes a little shock-and-awe-type-stuff happens, but it shouldn't be at the unnecessary expense of someone else (why both Blake Griffin and many a hometown hero are despised in some quarters) and the shock-and-awer must return to humility as soon as possible, shifting credit to teammates or a new pair of shoes, or, as has always been vogue (and developing in skateboarding), thanking God.

November 16, 2012

Totally Finite Jest

Somewhere down the line there started to be a divide between McTwists and 540s. Let it be known that Justin Modica can do McTwists. Pretty psyched on the dudes's Swiss Army Knife-ness and the nosepick grind. I've yet to see the video linked above in its entirety, but I know it's present in the Twin Cities for purchase or you can just go ahead and order Worship Friendship here. The independent video game is a trife game, so drop $15 on a struggling art.

Let me climb to a rooftop and bang a drum: Elissa Steamer is one of the raddest ever. As it goes, Chrome Ball also just put up a heavy "countdown to armageddon" post, which highlights the reasons why a certain group of companies should rightfully be regarded as "The Best Ever," especially in light of this abridged bonus feature.

I absolutely missed this episode of The Heck Files and it's a doozy.

Dank Nuggzz is on the Instagram. Go find them.

Happy weekend, go Wolves.

November 15, 2012

Old Euro

Per 3rd Lair today on the Internet:
Here is the concept layout for the new winter park design. Construction starts tonight, scheduled to complete before winter break. The park will remain open throughout the rebuild as we will knock it out 1 section at a time. Hyped for some new stuff to skate!
A pre-stated month-long building timeline seems like a good indication that all this will get done; also good to see some concrete floor reemerge.

Never forget the original Euro gap.

November 13, 2012

Front Skatepark Meeting

From St Paul Parks and Recreation:
"The Kick-Off Meeting for the Front Skate Park Project will be held on Wednesday November 14th from 6:00-8:00 PM at the North Dale Community Center multi-purpose room. The City of Saint Paul will be working with ASD + Stantec throughout the Skate park design process.

The first meeting will begin with introductions and an overview of the project. Then, a consultant from ASD + Stantec along with Saint Paul parks design staff will lead a public workshop where both skaters and community members will work together to create a vision of what they want the new skate park to become.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the online survey, we received a lot of great information. I included the meeting invite as an attachment. If you have any questions or want to be removed from this mailing list, please contact me."

Sorry for the short heads up. The meeting is tomorrow, if you can make it, go have your say.

November 12, 2012

Back Here in the Middle

Quartersnacks keeps improving certain video parts as Reynolds ages oh so gracefully. When is QS going to be tasked with creating the first edit of some as-yet-out-there-in-the-ether on-or-offline video production? Does edited by QS hold that much sway for a first viewing or will the secondary hype continue to carry the day? PS: Will anyone in Pretty Sweet give Baker a run for its money as "Kings of the School Yard Run?"

Back here in the middle, Alec "Not Alex" Majerus gets the Nieratko-nice-guy treatment at ESPN. Aside from coming off as a down-to-earth, nice kid, he shows his Butt-Town pride name checking the one and only B-Show. Long mellowed out, the B-Show abides.

Injury Reports: Chase Budinger of the Twolves has a torn meniscus (spelled that second try!) and will be out, hopefully, for roughly two months. May no one else on the roster get hurt. Closer to home, Nate Compher gave some of us quite the scare with some handrail antics*, a couple weeks back, leading to some sort of unknown knee injury. It looks now like he's got 9 weeks left on a dislocation. Yikes, still. Get better, Nate.

From the outside world: The New Yorker with a primmer on what it was like to vote in the olden days.

Rumors: They're editing Debris as I type and if they were to hold true to the premiere date of "Snowfall 2012," it would have been today. Let's iron this out.

Are you down with #ChilisinNE?

*You know, just a nollie 180 switch feeble.

November 9, 2012

Photo Shoppe

Ragsdale says hi: "I've attached a flyer for my upcoming photo thing, which I think of as the Filler of Minneapolis photo exhibitions. Hope you can make it, there will a limited amount of Pabst."

Go Wolves, happy weekend.

November 8, 2012

The Lag

Wiskate with it again and again. Looked like fun.

Tim Fulton and Chuck Odima were robbed of their cameras while skating in North Minneapolis. Fulton spent some time in the hospital, though everyone is ok now; be careful out there people.

Meet The Stans is an amazing video about skateboarding in central Asia. It's really, really well done with craze spots and good dudes, just be sure to hammer out a solid half hour to take it all in. Check out the other videos by Patrick Wallner too, who made the video linked above, they're good well worth it.

Busenitz can really cobble together proper skating at will and it's incredible what Brick Harbor, an out of nowhere (sort of) online shop has been able to do with content (hat tip to Quartersnacks for pointing that out a bit ago; it's worth repeating now). Busenitz' turn around at 3rd and Army is reminiscent of Oyola's two and a half minute, three clip 411 Profile, as well as Henry going around the can at EMB (hat tip to Frozen in Carbonite for the bit about Sanchez).

As I type this the Twolves are third in the Western Conference and atop the Northwest Division. Bask in it while it lasts.

November 2, 2012

Another PSA

Whoa! Kirian Stone abandons tweeting rap lyrics and inspirational bits to weigh in on the politics of the moment; we must be mere days away from the election. Political speech is cool and all but actually acting and voting your convictions is even cooler, so at the bottom of the page is the The Platinumseagulls Guide to going voting in Minnesota.

I was pretty sure the Thrasher/David Gonzalez video part meant that little David had the SOTY (and 2012's Brutality Award) all locked up, but then they switched it on us (in every possible way, comparatively) with the Austyn Unlimited part that wreaked havoc on the Thrasher site's load speed all day yesterday. Where does that leave this whole thing (leaving that dude Figgy's video part and cover out of the conversation, because he's on the same side of the coin as DG)?

Better off than last year. Since the SOTY seems to hinge on Thrasher approved coverage more than ever, at least they're putting out two viable candidates that represent two different approaches to skateboarding [sort of heavy handed election allusion without really trying!(is 2011's Dennis Busenitz 2000's Al Gore???)]. My heart's with Gillette and my head is almost there too; I dig the switch ollie out of the curb-cut and the switch powerslide that follows.

Chromeball has a Jerry Fowler interview up. He's a longtime fav, and I also give him props for copping to youthful arrogance and other transgressions. As Jeremy Wray (!!!) says in the comments of the post, "His story is a tough one because he was and I'm sure still is very talented [on] a skateboard. If only that were enough."

I'm psyched on this State of the Species article. Oh, avoidable oblivion!




The Platinumseagulls Guide to voting in Minnesota
(For the first-timer or unregistered, mostly)

-In order to vote you need to know where to go to find your voting precinct (registered voters should get a card in the mail telling them where to go, but if you're anything like me, that card is long-lost, so you have to look it up anyways. Precincts may also change location from polling year to polling year.) The Secretary of State website has an easy-to-use precinct lookup right here that'll get you where you need to go.

-For those of you still reading about how to vote on a skateboarding blog, chances are you are not registered. Fear not, even though the deadline to pre-register is 20 days prior to the polling date. Minnesota has a pretty useful election day registration system which you can read about right here. Bring the appropriate documents to the right place this Tuesday, November 6, and cast your ballot.