All Hail Jean-Baptiste

November 18th, 2014 | 11:24 am | Time Capsule | 3 Comments

jb french fred

Photo by French Fred via Live

Something that wasn’t shined on enough in yesterday’s post was that the Kingpin “Greatest Plazas” list also included a new “Best Of Hotel De Ville” edit from J.B. Gillet. Anyone who grew up burning holes through the Rodney v.s. Daewon videos has probably spent the past fifteen years dreaming of skating that endless two-level ledge plaza with a hip in the middle. Research reveals that it is far too run down today to resemble what it did in the nineties (more on that later), but it still has to rank as one of the coolest-looking spots ever to grow famous through skate videos.

J.B. was the original cool French skater before Lucas Puig became a fashion-foward adult. Always thought of him as a French Kalis — great hip-hop white guy style, chill switch mongo push, amazing flip tricks, all the right ledge tricks, and an ability to be associated with one particular plaza throughout the duration of his career (yeah, Kalis might be associated with two at this point.)

Any remnant of associating a sizable portion of one guy’s footage with a single spot is in Europe. Even then, a lot of the “A-list” guys just seem like they travel around a lot e.g. there’s no real “Lucas spot” to the extent that there is a “J.B. spot.” For us Americans, the “single spot part” in 2014 is a rarity and pretty much impossible unless you’re Bobby Worrest turning in the year’s best. (Sorta interesting to know if Europeans who have never visited the States / don’t routinely get chased by cops for skating a ledge *got* how wild the “Hometown Turf Killer” part was.)

“I spent about, uh, 15 million hours here.”

The above was from 2011. French Fred, via Live in 2013: “So, HDV, as the young generation calls it now, is a sad state… To a point where it just gets worst every over week. For the locals that are used to it, it’s usable, but for people visiting Lyon, it’s a great disillusion. They freak out, and find it just unskatable. From the beginning, you had those lateral grooves that are part of the design, and that already was never easy to adapt to, but add hundreds of cracks all over, and it’s a mine field! Then again, Mark Suciu came, observed, then skated, and according to Flo Mirtain, did the craziest line ever done there, so everything is still possible! For the latest Go Skateboarding Day, Jérémie Daclin put some metal angles on the ledges that were in Beirut mode, totally unusable, and that gave a little boost to the spot.”

Mark Suciu seems like a horrible barometer by which to judge the average person’s ability to skate the spot. It’s probably best to scratch skating H.D.V. off the bucket list. The Lyon scene still seems like it’s going well though, no matter how dilapidated the “dream spot” may have gotten.

Previously: The Quietly Incredible Year For Euro Skaters Over 30

#TBT: That ‘You Wanna Date A Skater? Really. Really?’ Article From 2009

October 30th, 2014 | 5:21 am | Time Capsule | 24 Comments

chix

CENSORED Photo by John Roman

While going through some photos of 2008-2009ish debauchery with a friend, we reminisced about this unintentionally brilliant article. It lit up da scene and internet alike in 2009, long before going #viral held the weight it does today.

“You Wanna Date A Skater? Really. Really?” ran on the Miss Behave website in 2009. Miss Behave was like Mass Appeal, but for girls, so it should not surprise you that they went under, and their website no longer exists. Thanks to some careful archival work, we have unearthed this analysis of female frustration with the “skater” archetype, still found in any bar that serves Miller High Life across America.

This is an artifact indebted to its time. The majority of the research was clearly conducted via Lit Wednesdays circa 2008. Should there be an update of this masterpiece, it would inevitably be Brooklyn-based, as 95% of skateboarders unwilling to live inside a Chinatown shoebox have been priced out of Manhattan. This was before Dylan Reider became an international sex symbol, way before people could meticulously curate their #personalbrands via Tumblr and Instagram, and before #trending skater guyz had media outlets like Alex Olson’s talk show to publicly discuss an existence between the scene and the board. Needless to say, the ladies responsible for this article retired from the party (“I, like, don’t even go out anymore.”)

Ideally, there should be an annotated version of this piece that unpacks all of the allusions, but maybe we are better off leaving 2009 in 2009 :(

+++++++

When man got tired of walking and created the wheel, I don’t think he was aware of what he was doing. Sure, motorcycles make you look cool, fixed gears give you street cred, and lazy fucks like me appreciate a car. But no one could have predicted the apocalypse that was created when some asshole put a piece of plywood on top of four of those Flinstonian contraptions. All of a sudden, every greasy-haired, pizza-faced outcast was getting attention from the hottest girl in school. With a skateboard in hand, you better believe you were gonna be in the closet for Seven Minutes of Heaven. Forty years later, or however long it’s been (like I would fucking know) skaters are still dominating the dating world. I’m trying to figure out what it is that’s making me and every girl I know swoon over the dirt bag who cant even hold your hand because its occupied by his precious board. Lets start with the facts:

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Astor Place R.I.P.

October 24th, 2014 | 11:32 am | Spot Updates, Time Capsule | 4 Comments

astor rip

Though far from a prominent spot this past decade-and-a-half, it is still worth noting that after five years of hearsay, the city finally closed off Astor Place and is turning it into “one of those” shitty parks e.g. what’s in front of the Flatiron Building.

Astor Place was the original New York non-spot. The city has a long history of turning absolutely nothing into a full skate spot, and it could be said to have started here. There were some trash cans and a metal curb here, just like there are trash cans and metal curbs on every other block in New York. Yet everyone risked tickets from cops and sideswipes from cabs to skate Astor because it had a zen-like quality. There was good flat, pretty girls walking by, no shortage of weirdos*, and a vibrance that you don’t catch from skating in a space enclosed from the actual street. People have to opt into Tompkins; Astor was in the middle of everything by default.

*(Re: Weirdos — For example, there was one night when a bunch of Starbucks employees got into a beef with a bunch of K Mart employees, so while his friend was in mid-arguement, one of the K-Mart employees runs around the block, down 8th Street, left on Broadway, and up Astor Place, to sucker punch the Starbucks employee. That same night, some goth kid climbed on top of the cube, fell off, and an ambulance showed up to cart him away.)

astor-gig

Photo by Mike Gigliotti

Filming at Astor in 1997 does not seem much different than filming at Tompkins in 2014. Those dudes had to be resourceful with rubbish found on the street here, and it didn’t hurt that they looked really cool simply doing 180s. After all, Hamilton Harris did one of the chillest lines in skateboarding history here. We compiled all the Astor clips from R.B. Umali’s two NY Revisted videos and threw them together on a timeline. Also, there’s a quick QS bonus reel at the end, but our time came after the glass condo, etc. went up, so that’s not worth romanticizing as much. The spot was on its way out by then and everyone just skated the front of Union instead :(

FYI: Paych DVDs available here.

Revisiting the Watermelon Video

October 21st, 2014 | 11:40 am | Time Capsule | 7 Comments

lil chris watermelon

There has never been a Quartersnacks video, and there likely never will be. There were the two “Best of” Can’t Ban videos from 2006 and 2008, but those featured all recycled footage. The closest thing to featuring the entire crew in an all-encompassing project was Alexander Mosley’s Watermelon Video from 2006. Considering most of the people involved with it have misplaced their DVD copies, and if you weren’t around Autumn, Supreme or 2nd Nature in 2006, you probably never saw it, Alex finally let us upload it online. He also made commemorative decks and tees for the video’s web premiere, and is selling them over on his website, Watermelonism.com.

The video was filmed roughly from the fall of 2005 until the end of the summer in 2006. It premiered in August 2006 by being projected on the tennis court wall in back of the L.E.S. Park when it was still a pre-fab wasteland. The video features parts from Ben Nazario, Ty Lyons, Andre Page, Mike Gigliotti, Matthew Mooney, Isak Buan and Alexander Mosley, plus a twenty-minute B-roll after the main video. If you need any further indicators of the time period, look no further than the background of the first few Lenox Ledges lines, or Chris Pierre Jacques‘ A.K.A. then Lil’ Chris’ height in his footage. Filmed and edited by Alexander Mosley.

Go grab a tee and board over on Alex’s website once you’re done with the video.

There’s also the sequel from 2008, Dos Sandias, which I’m sure will make its way online eventually :)

In Absentia: The Newport Remix

October 10th, 2014 | 1:58 am | Time Capsule, Video Re-Edits | 9 Comments

newport

After yesterday’s #controversial post, it felt necessary to quell the tension and focus on the waterfront utopia that existed on the opposite side of Manhattan island, some fifteen years ago.

Jim Hodgson was generous enough to lend us all the Newport footage from his In Absentia series for this QS remix. Out of all the romanticism that surrounds east coast skateboarding, the Love Park / City Hall / Photosynthesis era carries the most weight. These wooden blocks on the East River waterfront were New York’s concurrent answer to what was going on 100 miles south on I-95 at that time. The baggy carpenter jeans, bulky shoes (be on the lookout for D3s), steadyshot turned off, and above all, the first-ever sight of advanced technical skateboarding within New York City limits remain points of nostalgia for all late-nineties / early-2000s skate nerds. Consider it the video companion to July’s “History of Skateable Seaport” post.

Also, let this stand as a prime example of how easy-to-solve the issue of skateable space in New York is: A few wooden blocks with metal affixed to them, and we’re still talking about it a decade-and-a-half later. It’s not that hard. You don’t need California Skateparks to figure that one out.

Features Bobby Puleo, Albie, Mike Wright, German Nieves, Andy Bautista, Rodney Torres, Brian Wenning, Anthony Pappalardo. Filming by Jim Hodgson.

P.S. While on the topic of 90s-themed QS remixes: This past summer, a prominent Danish skateboarder told me that his “favorite video part” was the Quim Cardona QS remix. He was probably just trying to be nice, because, like, why wouldn’t the Non Fiction part be your favorite if you’re going that route? — but in any event, I always felt bad about the aspect ratio being f’ed up in that clip, so we fixed for 4:3 viewing over on Vimeo. For that guy, and all others. Have a good weekend.