September 16, 2015

THNKU Premiere 9-25-15

Another Chris Burt banger; featuring Mike Lemnitzer, Nathan Cameron, Jack Olson, TJ Moran, Julian Mejia, Pat Gallaher, Andrew Ellison and Dalton Jones. Some of us are bummed about our months-old cabin trip that coincides with all these dudes and more popping beers at the Bell.

I wonder why CBurt90 is so down on having multiple vowels in his video names? Says Burt, "Haha, the vowel thing isn't really intentional. I guess by trying to make titles concise, the vowels happened to be the first things to go." Promo below.


Anonymous said...

nrth cst ws grt s wll

Wylie T. said...

Like hell I'm going to be on a "cabin trip" when this video premiers!
The last thing in the world I want is to miss out on viewing the heroic deeds of men-of-action, only to end up drinking beer with pitifully proud, cabin-going Minnesotans -- who can't articulate why they're proud, why they're Minnesotan, or what "articulate" even means.
Which is to say: I'll be at the THNKU premier.

'Sotan said...

^^ Self loathing 'Sotan over here ^^

Wylie T. said...

The "THNKU" premier has now concluded, and although initial reactions to the video have been slightly varied, they've revolved around the feeling that "the video was perfect" -- in some way or other.
I can't prove perfection, but I'll be damned if I can't articulate why such a feeling might be on target.
Do expect my condensed, part-by-part review by 10:30 P.M. this Sunday.

Wylie Tueting said...

All Right, Y'all,
I carefully rewatched "THNKU" this afternoon, as well as notated about it, and I've realized that no review that I could write on it by 10:30 p.m. tonight, would do justice to "THNKU." So I've adjusted my due date to this Wednesday, September 30, by 10:30 p.m. By then I'll have done it justice.
But in the meanwhile, don't miss my letter to Davis Torgerson, who was present at the premier; it goes like this:
Dear, Davis,
I wish I could've spoken softly with you at the premier, about your recent lack of footage, your consecutive injuries, and your presumable, attitudinal, L.A. apathy. I seriously wish I could've, so instead I'd like to tell you some things I remember about you, in the hope that they'll serve you in one form or another, from this time forth.
I remember when I was in ninth-grade and I implored Jason Katz to tell me how good he thought I was, to which Jason replied, "You're definitely good, but there's this kid named Davis, who I filmed switch-heel the Armstrong eight, who's much better than you -- as well as the same age as you," which made me freeze, but eventually stammer, "What else can you tell me about this Davis?" And Jason said, "He seriously knows about a ton of music," to which I thought, "Well-then-this-Davis-kid-has-got-me-beat-big-time!" And that was dramatic.
And I remember thinking in high school that the greatest things a man could ask for were binge-drinking, cigarettes, and marijuana -- until I bought a copy of "Midwest Marauders" and saw your part, in which I saw a skater whose skating was as ambitious as his song was sonic, yet also whose skating was so creative, since you did wallies, a pole-jam down steps, and a hop on-and-off a rock. And such things of yours, I then realized, were actually the greatest things a man could ask for. And I returned to skating in earnest in the twelfth-grade. And that was manly.
And I remember that period around the spring of 2009, when you still lived here but had been traveling now and then, and we all got word that you'd probably be traveling some more, and that soon you'd probably be moving away to California. And even though we were proud of you, knew that departing was a decision that you had to make for yourself -- like the climactic scene from "The Sandlot," when the rest of the gang has to respond to Benny-the-jet's decision to leave the gang, hop the fence, and face the dog -- some of us still might've wanted you to stay. But like Benny-the-jet, you made the nobler decision and departed us. And that was heroic.
And I even remember hearing sometime around 2010, that you'd almost switch-heelfliped up that basketball-tennis-court grass-gap, and I remember thinking, "Well that's well and good for Davis, but I hate to tell him, but no white guy is getting a switch-heelflip up that gap -- period." But then several years later, you -- Davis, a white guy -- landed a switch-heelflip up that gap. And that was breathtaking.
So safe to fuckin' say, I remember a few things about you, Davis, and many more as well. Yet lately as I've yearned for more recent memories of Davis, I've kept coming up short, or with nothing at all, quite frankly. And I find that truly troubling. But I want to let you know that I'm still pulling for you, Davis, and that someday I look forward to looking back upon the summer and fall of 2015 and thinking, "Davis was at a hard point in his life at that time, but then he . . ." -- and you fill in the rest. Whatever you do, I can hope that it's creative and I can hope that it's effervescent and I can hope that it's raw and that the song is as sonic as your others, but regardless of that, the next decisions will be totally up to you.
I just hope to see you when you get there. Sincerely,

Wylie T. said...

Sorry, Guys,
I'm half-way-done with the "THNKU" review, but I ain't done yet, though I'll positively be done by tomorrow at this time. (Hell, I don't get paid for this stuff; give me a break!)
No less, here's a random preview: "Next part is the fifth part, and it’s the talented Andrew Ellison’s. Oh, you don’t frequently think of him as “talented”? You should get in the habit of it, especially after this part."

Wylie Tueting said...

All Right, Guys,
You're going to love me and hate me, since I have for you roughly one-half of the "THNKU" review, but a lovely one-half it is; here, do take a look! (And expect the other-half to be here by tomorrow at this time.)

(Part 1)

THNKU for the Masterwork
By Wylie Tueting

It isn’t overstatement to say that Chris Burt’s “THNKU” begins fast, raw, and murderously. First shot, and we stare at shopping bags strewn on a floor, each imprinted with the jingle “THANK YOU”; then there’s a screechy noise overhead, as a cat slinks out the frame. And murder, I tell you, feels like it’s in the air. Maybe. Regardless, Mike Lemnitzer’s part follows, murdering your preconceptions. Mike’s skating here – from his first trick (a dizzying ride-on 50-50), to his middle tricks (like his fierce two-trick lines), to his last trick (a titanic bs-boardslide) – has never looked so fast, raw, and yet smooth. Even if he weren’t local, you’d thrill over his part. It’s Lemnitzer’s best part yet, and we needn’t argue about it.

Next part is Jack Olson’s, and I’m not going to lie about how unexcited I was when the part opened at 3rd-and-Army, with a switch fs-bluntslide on a ledge. But the trick carried on, became a four-trick line, and by the time the line finished I’d realized something: Jack does high-toned lines, and if for no other reason, I should trust in him for that reason. Then his part really began, and I saw that it provides ample reasons to trust in Jack, actually. Who knows, maybe Jack conferred with Mike beforehand, because Jack’s skating here has never looked looser, faster, smoother, and so varied. Hell, Jack even lands a kickflip on tranny in his part; takes a pull from the bottle; and winds up looking attractively exhausted, at one point, in 16mm. And you know what? I don’t know that he’s ever looked better. Yet two knots faster and three degrees sketchier, and you may be perfect next time, Jack.

Next part is the third part, though it’s really an interlude of Jimmy Goodman and that new, fun young man from Rochester. Believe it or not, so pleasantly brief is their skating, that I’d be shamming if I didn’t say it speaks for itself. It speaks for itself. But if you insist, I’ll have you know that I welcome the Rochester guy’s funky style on any day, and that Mr. Goodman is not only still handsome and techy, but that his fs-tailslide to kickflip at the Metrodome is the best rendering of the trick I’ve ever seen, not least of all because he does it in a line. And if I don’t see another rendering for a half-decade, I’ll be a happier person. Honestly? Totally.

Wylie Tueting said...

(Part 2)

Fourth part, and it’s Julian Mejia’s. Again, I’m not going to lie about how unmoved I was when Julian began his part with a fakie-flip off a loading dock. But then I realized that the landing was an expansive black rock, weird and rough, sloping sharply into shrubbery, which made me like Julian again. And from there, Julian’s part (like Jack’s part) really began for me. As usual, Julian’s style here is smooth, his tricks are mature, and his attitude appears positive – with zestful highlights including: a quite loose landing on the fs-tailslide on the handrail; his red pants at the rough gap; and his fs-varial-heel down the steps in non-slow-mo. How’s this, Julian? Tastefully well-done.

Next part is the fifth part, and it’s the talented Andrew Ellison’s. Oh, you don’t frequently think of him as “talented”? You should get in the habit of it, especially after this part. If the part is anything entirely, it’s nicely varied. Andrew does raw manuals, and does dexterous manuals (see the varial-flip-out). He has sketchy tricks, he has perfect tricks (see the manual to 360-shuv). He does lines, and sometimes Andrew doesn’t do lines, instead choosing to look elegant in Adidas gear while doing a 90-degree wall-ride. It’s all a delicate balance with Andrew, but here it never feels forced.

And then follows the sixth part, i.e., the friends-section. One need not speak on it much, other than to say: David Nelson is still falling incredibly, is still the occasional boy toy, and yet exhibiting newfound grace on his lip-slide; Aaron Christensen is still around, and swiftly utilizing church architecture; Andrew Leibman is still skating to the tune of Chad Benson, calculated and conservative; Jack Dawkins is still getting better, at gaps rarely skated; and Sam Evensen is still interfering in the lives of colorless Minnesotans, and hence an increasing favorite of mine. (And as for those latter skaters – cult-leaders or Arizonans, I think they were – they can find their own damn writer, as I could care less about them.)

Wylie Tueting said...

Part 4 will be out by tomorrow, I totally promise. Here is:

(Part 3)

Seventh part is the next part, Dalton Jones’s. I’m not going to try lying thrice, about how much Dalton’s first trick – an accidental truck-bonk over a handicap-rail – pricked me. It pricked me sharp. Because as anyone named Tabari Cook knows, six months ago I hissed that “If there’s one metro skater who I’ve got criticism, it’s Dalton Jones. His-tricks-can-seem-like-he-didn’t-intend-to-land-them, the-very-way-he-ended-up-landing-them!” That’s what I hissed then. But this I express, now: Dalton may have ungovernable spontaneity, but nowhere other than in “THNKU” does his style look so classy, controlled, and magnetic.
To catch what I mean, gaze forth upon Dalton’s lines, all of which are delightful but the first of which is choice. Let’s think about it: how after he lands that first rare trick perfectly, the music beats sensuously as he pushes forth excitedly, torso high and legs supple before he whips that fs-big-spin, which he lands perfectly too though the next trick he does not, since it’s a switch wallride to fs-crook, which he makes look pointed but spontaneous. That’s called charisma, and it’s part and parcel of Dalton’s style here, from his very first line to his brilliant last trick. (I never liked you, Dalton, quite as much as I do now.)

Then there’s the part of Nathan Cameron, the eighth, merging right out of Dalton’s ender. Don’t be surprised when its 16mm intro has you thinking, Nate . . . I like Nate – his mild demeanor, “DEBRI2” part, soft Scottish looks – but I totally forgot about him over the summer. Nate can do that to you. Luckily, between working full-time he films mature video parts; this one is his second. What’s there to note about it? One thing is that his first line involves a pop-shuv up several steps and a 50-50 up a handrail, which amounts to an original approach, given the spot. Tailing off that, another thing is that he still appears bent on springing – with power and precision – atop rails and ledges that modern-day Koston, say, would deem unskateable. (Trust me: I know from recent, heartbreaking coincidence.) And a third thing is that, if inventiveness combined with a fluid, sensible style are the sorts of qualities that please you, then observe Mr. Cameron’s ender, radiating them exactly.

Wylie Tueting said...

Life's too complex to match every word with deed. Part 6 will be here tomorrow. Here is:

(Part 5)

Then comes part nine, TJ Moran’s, rushing forth at you in a wild feat, otherwise called a fs-180. His first clip simply begs analogy, insofar that we can finally see TJ as a latter-day Julius Caesar: both men were over-intense (and everyone knew it); both had wives (yet no one really knew it); both were brawny but lean (and Wylie knew it); and both rode in the wake of loyal soldiers (who you can see nearby, hooraying afterward). Or on a lesser note, TJ makes a great analog of Austyn Gillette – freed of Austyn’s metrosexual pretensions.
But let’s return to his skating, here. TJ’s skating is meticulous, varied, and frankly effortful throughout his part, and one way you can tell is by how closely Mr. Burt captures his feet, especially during lines. Because one thing about TJ’s part is: he does a fair amount of lines, revealing his conditioned footwork. Will you catch how high that bs-big-spin is, at Target Field? Or how Impressionistic that fakie-heelflip is, after he fs-180s over the handicap-rail? They’re rather hard to miss – much like TJ’s single tricks. If his fs-heeflip over the picnic table doesn’t quiver you, I don’t know what will. Or if his ollie up to 50-50 at the U of M doesn’t daunt you, you’re probably ignorant of height. But if his heroic kickflip to manual down the bank adrenalizes you, as much as it does me, then we’re surely both experiencing a latter-day Julius Caesar. Perhaps after that next part, TJ, we’ll finally crown you eternally.

Wylie T. said...

Dear, Mike, I'm going to need you to revise -- eventually -- TJ's first trick from a "fs-180" to a "fs-180 to manual."
As for all my adverbs, just keep your mitts off 'em, please!

Kevin Horn said...

can't tell if Wylie was watching a skate video or soft-core porn

Wylie Tueting said...

All right, as totally promised but irrespective of Kevin's elementary comment, below resides the final installment.

(Part 6)

And then there is one more – Pat Gallaher – final part. Let’s enunciate that together: and-then-there-is-one-more-Pat-Gallaher-final-part. All right, got it. Now allow me to ask that which dare not be asked: did we truly need another final part from Pat, if his two other final parts felt all too confusingly dignified, as though designed for self-enlightenment before bedtime? (It’s a brutal question, just such a mouthful.) And yet its answer remains: you’d seriously be surprised about how needed the part was, provided that Mr. Burt edited Pat’s skating to a song with bounce and buzz. Which rhymes, and which Mr. Burt provides with artful ease, granting Pat room to both breathe and outdo himself.
The right conditions are met, and Pat’s rawly mature style ends up looking more charming than in former parts. Here, Pat’s poise becomes the focus, his quirks the afterthought. You can grasp what I mean in Pat’s long fs-boardslide on that storefront rail, his landing of careening away leftward; or in his bs-boardslide on that white drop-rail, his rolling away mellowly from that death trap; or most of all in his switch fs-boardslide to shuv-it on that handrail, his board rushing away forwards but his posture pointing backwards. It’s a Pat part, no doubt – replete with rough tricks, graceful tricks, switch tricks, line tricks. Yet it’s a Pat part with more charm, personality, and surprise than ever before. And if Andrew Reynolds never does a fs-flip again, I’ll be super righteous, since Pat does a better fs-flip.

So that’s “THNKU” for you, composed by Chris Burt. It’s a masterwork, if you didn’t know, otherwise called a masterpiece. Wait . . . what? Oh yes, make no quibble about it: it’s a masterpiece, given all I’ve already said about it, and given that Mr. Burt guides this video with a rhythmic rawness and grace that is something to marvel at, much in the same way that his stylized (hence sensitizing) camera angles are something to marvel at. Even the ambient music is well-incorporated, if only through quite sly artistry. So then . . . the video isn’t perfect? It’s totally not perfect, since a masterpiece is a masterpiece not due to perfection, but due to striking originality and skill – which “THNKU” bears bright.
Indeed, “THNKU” is the newest metro masterpiece since the “The Joy of Skating,” which was the newest since “DEBRIS,” which was newest since “New Flavors,” which was the newest since “Open Iris,” which was the newest since “Anonymous.” That’s six metro masterpieces – all distinct from each other – and I’m thrilled to be inducting one of them.