June 20, 2014

No Resistance

Former rec center slab/future Front Plaza.

The latest Front Plaza update is underwhelming because they've yet to start construction on the Front Plaza. High hopes from more than a month ago have been dashed by the weight of the machinery needed to make such a plaza and the forever mushy ground on which they'd need to tread [rainiest year ever, they say (including snow, so precipitation), it's been wet]. For now, the original Front Park stands, though it's already being divvied up:

Stolen still, via the article mentioned below.

VOICE 1: What’s that thing he’s on?
VOICE 2: It’s a board with wheels.
LORRAINE BAINES: He’s an absolute dream.
—Robert Zemeckis
There will be thinking and reading when it comes to Kyle Beachy's Toward a Poetics of Skateboarding; whether by reading or memory of the film discussed within, I pushed up hills and rode down, around the neighborhood just after.
As mentioned before and contra above, Beachy is a skater and a novelist and college prof (probably an absolute dream) who has edged skateboard writing, further than most, away from talking about boners and towards something more. I'd be exaggerating if I claimed to have gotten everything first try, but Beachy frames skateboarding in a way that both those within and without can appreciate, then delineating that strange aspect, how it always is what it is, regardless of intent, time or setting.
We know on first glance that skateboarding, in its dominant form of street activity, stands apart from ball and net athletics. It seems uninterested, too, in velocity and stopwatch performances. But the first challenge to the rubric of sport begins even lower, at a semiotic level. You and I could, if we wanted, go and shoot lazy jumpshots on a netless schoolyard hoop, or go to the driving range and smack buckets of balls into the green void. We can take our gloves to the park and throw grounders and pop flies and apply tags to invisible runners. But for any of these to qualify as “basketball,” “golf,” or “baseball,” we would require the structure of competition and order of rules.
Dive into reading, then, of Cuatros Sueños Pequeños, a short film by Thomas Campbell that ought to be watched and appreciated. I'll do the work no more justice than it does on its own, Lorriane Baines knew.

SVM from the Plat Archives.

Good friend and co-founder of this website, Sam McGuire, told the Internet he was gay this week in an interview on Jenkem, and even managed to garner some shine from the Huff Po.

Keeping tabs on the reaction, both as an interested observer and a concerned friend, I can report it's been overwhelmingly positive and supportive; Sam is up, give or take 1000 followers on the Instagram since Monday, so there's that (a stat I monitored, accidentally).

I'm happy for and proud of Sam.

Happy weekend.

June 13, 2014

Two Days After That Supra Demo

We were right there, it all happened right in front of us. Chad Muska deserves it all, running through the sand and chugging a 40, the indulgence of self-produced electronica, the decade of shrugs and whatever is going on now, because the self-awareness displayed, ailing ankle and all, just to noseslide the rail and do a frontside flip. He pushes like a swimmer* and for five minutes probably tried harder than the others. It looked fun, it looked like what I'd loved at the end of junior high, except we were both older now, and aging in skateboarding, for a good part, sucks. Oh well.
Also sitting up there, discussing things with a local rookie pro, we came to the conclusion that doing demos isn't fun. "Is that what we look like?" he asked, seemingly honestly surprised at the shuffling, the semi-slouch, the struggle to get warmed up while Chaz Ortiz lands everything. The answer, the actual with a little bit more back and forth, is, "Yeah, that's exactly what you look like," unless you're doing what Rick McCrank managed for Plan B on Lake Street in 1998, or have the cache of a Girl and Chocolate demo of the mid-aughts, or what Muska would do later, engage, read and deliver.

Doing a demo at Familia HQ must be rough (said it before, say it again). It's not exactly a truly hostile environment, but it's a place where dudes get ripped on for ripping too hard, where the crowd seems blasé and sits on perfectly good obstacles and mostly doesn't react. It shouldn't be blamed on demo fatigue because there haven't been enough demos, and there isn't enough data to pin the blame squarely on Millennials, and you can't blame the skaters because they really were out there trying. It was still weird, though. Other impressions:

-If there's a Switch God, then what type of god is it? Is it a part of a trinity, a pantheon, is he or it inherently male? On this Earth is Switch God a man, half-man-half-divine, or all divine?

-Chaz Ortiz gets a raw deal, and still came close to backside 180 nosegrinds to switchflip in a demo situation.

-Lizard King smells the part and did slip-foot frontside noseslides on the rail.

-More reptile nicknames, please. I thought I heard Muska call Spencer Hamilton "Snake" while on the mic, which would be a really great sobriquet for that dude, who rips.

-The rock and roll parking lot scene outside following the demo was something to behold. Some semi-Gummo-looking dude, parked a long way away, asked me as I biked home, if the demo was over. I'd seen him skating inside before it started, and he exited the building once they cleared the course. He was disappointed that the demo was, indeed, over.


Pro-skater birthdays usually go unmentioned here, but Lance Mountain at 50-years-old, today, is too rad not to.
*I always likened dudes with styles like Muska or Ghetto Fred to breakdancing, but having actually thought about it, finally, I've realized it's way more like swimming.

June 5, 2014

Davis Torgerson Turned Pro

Surprise parties can be unwelcome, underwhelming or otherwise unsuccessful, but not Davis Torgerson's surprise tonight. Some 60 or so people, friends, family and Real Skateboards teammates massed behind Familia HQ, while Davis was brought to the park to film, a successful ruse. While Davis was distracted, we streamed in the backdoor of the park and laid in wait.

Davis was caught completely off-guard; after things settled down, he said he'd have expected some teammates to surprise him, but not the group that did, complete with his mother, who lives in Chicago.
The board graphic is sick, and for those wondering, the board is an 8.06, from what I saw. There was supposed to be a video, teammates like Max Schaaf, who couldn't make it, wishing congratulations, and a trailer for Davis' upcoming web part, but the DVD didn't work. It didn't matter, though.

While folks milled around, got their face time with DT and drank beers that miraculously kept appearing out of nowhere, Dennis Busenitz and a couple other dudes, then just Busenitz, skated some. He, on a skateboard, is something to behold, and even if you didn't already have to come out to the demo tomorrow (Familia HQ, 4:00 p.m.) to give Davis some pounds, now there's Busenitz.

Davis was way more hyped, and red in the face, than the picture above suggests. Congrats.
Props to Tim Fulton for lining the thing up.