While you probably couldn’t write a book or make a documentary about a principal Boston skate spot in the same way you could for Love Park, the Brooklyn Banks, or Pulaski Park, the city is no less important than the other three within the context of the northeast. The talent that has come out of Boston and its immediate surroundings (in addition to it having the best spots out of the four as of 2011) is enough to attest to the city’s long winding influence, regardless of whether or not Copley Square or the Hospital Banks have grandiose, mythological narratives surrounding them.
3D Innovations was a D.I.Y-tee-shirt-turned-legit-clothing-company that started up in Connecticut back in 1990. It would eventually come to sponsor the likes of Robbie Gangemi, Jahmal Williams, Jeff Pang, Ryan Hickey, Mike Graham, and others, all at varying points in time. Earlier this year, 3D released a collective DVD that features The Fat Juicy Video from 1991, Messin’ Around from 1998, and a bonus section filled with various promos and loose parts from the 1990s. With compilation videos like Revisited, Greatest Misses, and Pre-2k all being coveted by more nostalgically-inclined skateboarders, 3D’s video is special because it’s presented with its original slew of cheesy graphics (in a good way), all-over-the-place soundtrack, and is in no way re-edited for the current age like the aforementioned projects. (Again, in a good way.)
The Fat Juicy Video begins with a Jahmal Williams section filmed mostly at Copley Square, and set to the first two songs of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On album. This is more than likely, one of the earliest all-Boston skate parts to be preserved into the modern era on a video disc / the internet, and it’s archeological status is almost enough to make you forget that fifty-percent of the video’s runtime is taken up by some anime movie. My original assumption was that the last remaining copy of the video was intermittently taped over a VHS tape of it, but a few parts in, and it’s obvious that eight minutes of Japanese animation somehow had a relevant tie-in to a twenty minute skate video in 1991. There are a few highlights spread throughout, but Jahmal’s section of baggy highwaters, small wheeled combo tricks, and Marvin at the pinnacle of his career make the video worthwhile.
The more recent offering, Messin’ Around, is a lot lighter on the suburb footage and anime, and was produced in conjunction with Hanger 18 skate shop. Boston has always seemed to be a hub of more standard ledge and stair spots, and the video completely reflects that, as it never veers off to the “I’m just going to skate shit I see in the street” approach, which its more well-preserved contemporaries like Mixtape and Eastern Exposure were renown for taking. A surprising number of the names and spots are still around, and that’s definitely a good thing. Messin’ Around has parts or appearances from basically anyone you’d expect to be in a Boston video from 1998.
3D’s DVD is a must-own if you consider yourself a nineties enthusiast. Little by little, we seem to be getting these retrospectives for all the major cities that helped build skateboarding in the past two decades, and considering that Boston isn’t as easy to archive as say, San Francisco or New York, it’s great that something like this resurfaced on a DVD.
Check out 3D1990.com for more information on 3D and the video. Autumn and Supreme both have copies available for $15 as well.