The all-montage video died when YouTube became the destination for footage of people who didn’t have enough for a full part. “One hit wonder” status held by many 411VM Chaos heroes has found no modern equivalent. (Maybe if you have a few tricks in a friends section, and your name still comes up on autofill when you search it?)
Poisonous Products may be the first shot at the montage video’s modern revitalization in hard copy form. It is the latest video from Jeremy Elkin, who’s responsible for Lo-Def and Elephant Direct, two other concise offerings that documented skating in this small quadrant of North America (loosely bound by Montreal and New York.) The video is all lines, and all filmed in New York.
A combination of cellar door skate culture, and New York’s growing lack of reliable plaza spots has made the whole “skating shit you see in the street” thing fairly standard protocol. And luckily, this video never dips into annoying, “I majored in sculpture, so I’m going to skate this lump of concrete into a curb” spot selections. The absence of single tricks could easily go over your head because the all-line “concept” is so natural to skating here in 2012.
Poisonous Products is reminiscent of an EST video — and that’s meant in the most complimentary way possible. The music, jumpy editing, and graphics may have caused those videos to age poorly, but for their time, each issue was a great survey of who happened to kill it throughout the city in a given summer. This video has a similar “Diary of a Summer” feel to it (it was filmed between November 2010 and November 2011.) The key difference is that those early-2000s EST summers all circled around base spots like BAM, the Banks, and the Volcano. There’s none of that going on today, so there’s a modern, outer-borough-inclusive vibe to the footage.
The video’s main novelties come from seeing Kevin Tierney experiment with connecting skate spots, as he does a line from the Courthouse Drop to Black Hubba, and watching QS-favorite, Leo Gutman, manage a three-trick line at the Crosby Garage. Otherwise, Aaron Herrington, Daniel Kim, and Leo provide some of the video’s finer line choreography.
Perhaps more important than anything, Poisonous Products and EST 2 are the only videos in history with the prestigious distinction of giving Rob Campbell the ender.
It’s fun to watch footage of a specific city before actually stepping out to skate it. At just under fourteen minutes, this video makes that easy to do. The soundtrack is a mix of KRS-One, Lil’ Kim, and a Big Daddy Kane posse cut from the era that lends credence to Nas’ observation that Jay-Z “used to rap like the Fu-Schnickens” (QS Rap Desk Sidebar: That “Stillmatic Freestyle” > “Ether.”) The level of skating in New York has obviously gotten a lot better since EST was around, but the VX footage, montage format, and holding-on-to-the-golden-years rap soundtrack all give Poisonous Products that retro feel of twelve or so years ago. It’s either “old new shit,” “new old shit,” or like Jeezy said, “young old school.”
Kalis co-signed it, and that goes a long way. Supreme, KCDC, and aNYthing on Hester Street are all selling copies. For web orders, it’s $10 on TheoriesOfAtlantis.com.