(Better late than never)
The release of Welcome to M.I.A. this past winter was rude and sadistic. As the majority of the country was pummeled with snowstorms, the main anticipated video for that period happened to be from a region blessed with endless 85-degree days, and hordes of drunk girls on vacation from state colleges in New Jersey. Welcome to M.I.A. was hard to watch, as your attention would divert to various travel sites, looking for airfare to any place where the temperature is constantly above 70 degrees. Those unwilling to leave behind life’s responsibilities in exchange for perfect skate weather were able to pick up Flow Trash, a video filmed in Minnesota, some 1800 miles to the north of Miami. There, they skate rails into snow, have a far worse winter than the northeast, and could relate to sitting home watching skate videos with three sweaters on, instead of rejoicing in the glory of life near the equator, amidst multi-colored strobe lights and Tiesto concerts. Flow Trash comforted us this past winter — “Hey, we know it’s tough, we got it bad too” — it didn’t laugh at our unfortunate state of affairs, like M.I.A’s offering did.
On the video’s back cover, being on “flow” is described as “toiling away for little official recognition, not officially on though technically sponsored, bottom of the ladder, skating for sticker packs.” As Minneapolis does not have a massive bar-backing, party promotions, or art economy, the toil of a flow “career” must be intense, given the lack of supplementary work, which is far more available in places like New York, Miami, and Los Angeles.
The cliche that derides skateboarding in 2011 is “everyone is good.”
Well, not everyone, but everyone you see in a video, is “good.”
Following the P.J. Ladd video, skateboarders slowly ceased to have a different set of expectations for regional homie videos and full-scale company productions. Ten years ago, you could be confident in believing that Brandon Turner was the only young black kid with dreads who could hardflip over a ten-stair handrail. Now, there’s a kid out in Minnesota who could do all that and proceed to backside noseblunt down the same rail (Tabari Cook), yet somehow, you don’t hear a ton about him. (Remember, Minnesota is a place famously described as containing two black people: Prince and Kirby Puckett.)
The truth is, Flow Trash is filled with kids who could justifiably be on any official team (Torgerson is obviously already on Real.) The video covers a lot of ground in its 50-minute runtime, with everything from the weirdo whose ender is a 5050 into a puddle of filthy sludge (Dan Narloch), the guy who can noseblunt a big rail at the end of a line (Pat Gallagher), the weird trick, no-comply dude (Casey Copenhaver), the child prodigy (Jack Olson, who is actually the first person I’ve seen do a feeble to backside noseblunt on a flatbar, even prior to the Real video), to the technical ledge mastermind (C.J. Tamborino), who routinely big flips out of switch backside tailslides and whatnot (favorite trick in the part would still have to be the simplest…a switch pop shove-it up a five stair.) With all of today’s criticisms about the redundancy of styles in many recent videos, it’s refreshing to have variety in something that covers a relatively small region.
While every skater may be “good,” every video isn’t. That fact adds to the importance of the actual production, thus amplifying the value of editing, style, music selection, pacing, and just about everything else, so the finished product stands out. The visibility and “official recognition” of skaters will continue to be dependent on being at the right place at the right time, but the same can’t be said for videos themselves, which is why a cohesive video like Flow Trash does its best to compliment the talent, and shows there’s more to Minnesota than Purple Rain jokes and a hip-to-rail. It makes you want to go there, and that’s one of the best compliments you could give a regional video.
Available at FlowTrash.com. Two sample parts embedded below…