Friday, February 26, 2010

Supreme (art and fart)

The 1994-founded, NY based Supreme skateshop has always been the epicenter of underground culture (hip hop, graffiti, skateboarding) even though now it is rather debatable considering the number of kids sporting the famous 5-pannel caps without even knowing who Robbie Gangemi is. So there is nothing surprising to see that this arty film has been realized by famous artist Thomas Campbell. However what is interesting is to see how OG Supreme heads such as Vinne Ponte, Steven Cales or Robbie Gangemi or Harold Hunter got to benefit from the artistic image that artists used to portray Supreme.

(I love that one, especially for the priceless French commentaries over it)

I mean, take a look at these videos. Personnally, I have a hard time picturing the OG Supreme heads listening to some cozy jazz music before hitting the streets or thinking about how skating in New York involves a constant interaction between their bodies and the urban environment. It seems there is a serious gap between the "artistic direction" of Supreme and the riders they've chosen to represent the shop.
When we think about it, that is probably what made its success: the riders bring the street cred and the artists broadcast it in a cool way. Same thing with OG Alien Workshop and some other companies: in the skateboarding field, these companies were the place where NY dirty scum-skaters (Lenny Kirk, Fred Gall...) and inspired artists and video makers (Chris Carter, Pendelton, Mike Hill...) met. And I have to admit that the outcome was pretty tigh.
If you don't agree with me, you can still watch RB's Umali earliest videos (pre-Gatorade era) because they had the merit to be 100% true to reality, sometimes at the expense of our favourites riders whom we realized to be real cooks. Maybe they still are (true to reality) and maybe Chad Ortiz actually drinks 20 Gatorade bottles a day.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Have you guys seen that movie starring Bruce Willis?
Well, actually we don't care. But there's that scene when Elijah (Samuel L. Jackson), who suffers from the glass-bone disease, tells David (Bruce Willis)that he is his antithesis, at the other end of the physical scope, because he's unbreakable. So?
Well, while writting about Pappalardo's lazyness the other day, I was thinking that him and Fred Gall would be perfect for that movie. Yep, because when we think about it, they're at the opposite end of the motivational scope. Plus, I found this cool little video, where Fred Gall comes off as a super hero:

Well, he doesn't really stop the fight nor save the dude getting beaten up, but at least the poor guy gets the chance to witness a stylish 3-6 flip while getting punched in the face. And Freddy sure has the grace of a super hero in this sea of violence.

So to pursue the metaphore with the movie, Elijah-Pops is the least motivated skater, every recent footage of him is highly anticipated and always disappoint. He even has a mean side when he talks shit on Menikmati in his Epicly Laterd. Plus he has this Mr Burns' akwardness that makes you think has has a really fragile body. Check the sequence below, you'll see what I mean. As for David-Fred Gall, he is the complete opposite. His motivation is without equal and his stoutness is not without rememberging Bruce Willis in some movies. David is as friendly as a gruff bear and Fred has that NJ-hunchback style that makes him look like a bear on a skateboard. But he is everywhere you don't expect him. I think he has always had a full part in the videos of companies he rode for. Plus, he very often has a shared part in independent videos, such as the Westside videos, Last of the Mohicans, the Static videos or the more recent Orchard video. And the footage is always first rate: a combination of bank-sliding acrobatics on ruined New Jersey spots and more technical switchstance maneuvers, the whole lot sprinkled with some hustling clips. You can't go wrong with that.
The only difference between Fred and David might be in terms of weight lifting, but Fred as chosen to lift beer bottles instead.

For Freddy, there is no time-off. You always hear about what a drunkard he is or about his fluctuating weight but his footage always shuts you up. I like that in Epicly Laterd, pretty much every pro interviewed talked about how their addiction prevented them for skateboarding at some point, but you see that Freddy has been ripping all the while, with or without heavy partying.

I think he is one of the few who really deserve the Legend Award, though he probably wouldn't care much, because he is the definition of the ideal pro: representing the good companies loyally (yeah I know, I-Path was ok at first...), making appearances in homies' videos and he has the NJ Scum touch that makes him really enjoyable to watch.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pic of the day

Relating with today's mood...
From Chromeball Incident.

Minimalist skateboarding

I bet you guys have all seen this higly controversial sequence by now:

The aesthetic of that sequence is indisputable, but the great numbers of skaters able to reproduce it is just as indisputable. As a fan of Pops, I feel like he makes it really hard to back him. You know, it's like when your arty friend brings you to the modern art show and the conversation goes on this way:
-I could have done that!
-Yeah, but you didn't.
Already criticized for his "back to the basics" type of skating in Fully Flared, it seems that since then, his skating has got more and more minimalist to the point that he hardly does anything else than ollies and 50-50s...

The style is definitely there and it's sure looks like a lot of fun, but come on, a lot of skaters can do what he does. So this brings the following question: does such skateboarding merit to be rewarded by a pro shoe and a really good salary, when you know that they're are tons of young amateurs with incredible style bustin' their ass out in the street? Besides, it is interesting to see that it would be impossible for an am to come up with such skating now. "Too basic!" the mustached board company would say. Hence, the hammer-race which makes every "who's hot" article incredibly boring to read.

A lot of people are going to try to justify his skating with the traditional East Coast excuse about the shabby state of the spots. Fair enough. But have these people pay attention to Eli Reed's and Zered Basset's recents video parts? It seems that the cracks doesn't prevent them from throwing highly technical maneuvers, neither from skating more than twice a week.

Anyway, meanwhile we can all wait for a DVD version of Photosynthesis. And before offically saying "Pops is milking it big time", we should and hope taht he has actually some incredible footage stored for the next Chocolate video.
Time will tell.