There’s no need for a “review” of Static IV. The video is great. The premiere was one of the funnest skate video experiences ever (New York had the first viewing, so everyone was unaware of the dual video format, Jake part, and plenty of other surprises), and the physical copy feels more like a fancy Criterion DVD than a skate video. All the snarks about the video’s endless delays from these past 7-50 years were eradicated with the final product.
Everyone has had time to properly digest the video, so here are ten loose observations in a format lifted from Chris Nieratko’s “17 Things You Didn’t Know” Vice piece. The timeframe for spoilers has expired by this point, and some of this might have already been discussed on the T.F. bench. Fair warning if you’re under a rock.
There’s that old line about “eight million stories in the naked city.” Skateboarding’s variant is something like 27 minutes of footage in a day, at least according to this DVD. For the few who may not know, the All City Showdown is a contest in which three skaters and one filmer are allotted eight hours to get as much footage as possible within city limits. (Staten Island was conveniently ignored.) The best team wins two grand that one could assume will be spent on art supplies or alcohol.
The final result is a footage dump by design, but it’s tough to not watch it with “Wow, this all happened in one day?”-sentiments throughout. Compare this to say, ten years ago, when an east coast footage dump like E.S.T. took over twelve months to come out. All City Showdown features almost every young not-pro you have seen in a New York web clip or homie video before. The real pleasure of a video featuring non-curated, sometimes B-level footage from people you could easily YouTube a cohesive video part from is that it encompasses everybody at once. Practically every recognizable crew is represented. (Except Quartersnacks, obvs. We declined participation because we can only skate flat, and also don’t start skating until 5 P.M.)
At a moment when everyone is preoccupied with the Emerica video, we are going to discuss some skateboarding that is two or three universes away, not eight. Stee, the collaborative video between Sk8Mafia and Sweet Skateboards, has been out since June, but recently went from “I’ll see it when I see it” to “must-see,” thanks to a hyperbolic tweet from Frozen in Carbonite (more on that later.)
Sk8Mafia is great. Though they are grown-ups who spell “skate” with an eight, rarely travel outside SoCal, and have art direction that reaches the bare minimum required for a brand to look more like a skate company than a drug front, they utilize a winning formula in which everyone onboard actually skates together. This translates to a fun experience when watching anything they put out.
“If you like Sk8Mafia so much, why did it take so long to watch Stee?” To put it bluntly: What the hell is Sweet Skateboards? (Answer: Sweet Skateboards is a Swedish company that has existed for over ten years, with a bunch of tall, mostly technical white guys whose names you cannot pronounce on its team.) It’s like the skate video equivalent of when Cam’ron started putting out those mixtapes with Vado — there’s always some hesitation when an old favorite mixes with an unknown. This sort of European crossbranding has worked in small doses, e.g. J.B. in the late-period World videos, the likes of Penny being introduced through 411, etc., but an entire project seems like a bit much.
Well, physical skate videos are not dead. Apple may have made it tougher to author them, but since when has antiquated technology stopped skaters? These are the people who pour thousands of dollars each year into repairing and maintaining a camera released in 1996. Skate videos are good for at least another 20 years.
If you need a change of pace from the two blockbuster videos that have dominated the winter, here are some of the more notable independent projects to come out in the past two months. With shops like Labor making an effort to carry more local videos, and the seemingly successful “put a few parts on YouTube but still try to sell the full video for $10”-business model, smaller videos seem to be doing alright these days.
After ten years, the presumed end of civilized skateboard society in Philadelphia has been reversed. The only difference between Love today and Love 10 years ago, is that there’s no three-stair ledge. Kids are now good enough to pretend that the planters in front of the ledges don’t exist; the higher ones are just another thing to prop a tile up to. A-list skaters are moving to Philly again (for “college”) and the Photosynthesis comparisons are apparent.
Girl and Chocolate premiered Pretty Sweet in New York this past Sunday. Like most of their videos, it will initiate several trends (540 tricks on street, for one), and come to encapsulate this particular moment in skateboarding more than any video of the past year or two. Even Kanye West showed up to watch it, likely for Spike Jonze related reasons more than rappers-suddenly-like-skateboarding ones. “The blackest white guy,” Michael Rapaport, was also in attendance.
Below are a some thoughts on the video. If you have not seen it and want to go in fresh, don’t read anything below this line. Spoiler alert. Spoiler alert. Spoiler alert. Ben “Burger Boy” Sanchez had the best part. Whoops.