Why Doesn’t OVO Just Buy Alien Workshop?


♬ Alien Workshop…if you let me in, here’s what I’ll do: I’ll take care of you… ♬

In Josh Kalis’ Epicly Later’d, Rob Dyrdek observes that despite Alien’s origins as an artsy company that forever changed skate video production with Memory Screen, it was still a collective of kids who loved hip-hop. “A product of the nineties,” he says. Knowing this, it’s tough to figure why Dyrdek, as brief C.E.O, further infused art (by way of Warhol, Haring et al’s estates) into the capsizing Workshop — particularly when its downfall came after a decade-long focus on guitar strumming tortured artist skaters not listening to rap, like, ever.

Do you think a single Alien Workshop employee listened to a rap song after Kalis’ Photosynthesis part was completed? Could hip-hop have saved AWS?

America has changed. Cities have gotten safer, so rap has changed, too. There’s no longer a need for the wooden bat with screws drilled through it that Lennie Kirk yanked out of Wu-Tang lyrics and brought to life. Rap’s reigning king is Canadian. And emotional. And soft. All of these things could comfortably be adapted into the “tortured artist skateboarder” archetype while still preserving 2014 hip-hop aesthetics.


What is the “Take Care” video but an Alien Workshop montage with a bigger budget and a blonde-haired Rihanna rather than a lustrous Dylan Reider? Frozen in Carbonite even wrote a treatment that would update Alien Workshop’s subtle hip-hopisms into the 2010s alongside its artsier inclinations, but naturally, we cannot all expect to be such forward thinkers. And what better way to relive the glory days of Don Pendleton’s art direction than by pairing it with OVO’s similar fondness for owls?

It turns out that Alien’s parent company (the one that pulled the plug on the company as of two weeks ago) is traded on the Toronto stock exchange — this is all coming together a bit TOO perfectly…

The Los Angeles Clippers are reportedly going for $2 billion. Drake may be a half-dozen new age Bar Mitzvah anthems away from such a purchase, but a storied skateboard company with all the right pieces for an urban rebrand isn’t the worst (worst!) acquisition he could make right now, especially with the parent company trading at a measly 12¢ a share in his native Canadian dollar.

Rather than sending our #attermswithdrake interns to mull through the Slap message board for another pie chart of rumors, we had them whip up some quick ways to remix Alien’s most iconic designs with images of its (hopefully) next C.E.O.


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R.I.P. Rihanna’s Instagram Account

j john the don

Two J-John the Don Monday Links headliner images in four weeks? Sure. Photo by Jason Lecras.

Okay, let’s get all the Workshop-related links out of the way first…

Manolo’s Mixtapes put together a seven-minute tribute edit from all the Alien videos.

Jake Johnson sits down with Thrasher radio to talk about the Alien situation, the slappy 5050 down the Clipper ledge, and why Brandon Turner broke up with his shorty, all while playing some Elton John and Billy Joel songs.

Boil the Ocean has a good ramble about the end of Alien Workshop / “the biggest board company to go out since Plan B.” (No Blueprint 2.0-esque reboots pls thx.)

Joe Castrucci released a statement regarding the future of Habitat.

[ end of Alien Workshop-related links ]

Rodrigo TX skates Three Up Three Down and Lil’ Lui ollies over the entire Rector Street Bench in the Adidas Skate Copa NYC street edit. (Back smith down the Battery Park wall rail = the new backside flip over the Wall Street Gap?)

Between that Adidas clip, and the new Gavin Nolan “Five Trick Fix,” there’s really no reason to skate the median ledge on 111th and 7th ever again.

Frozen in Carbonite reviews the latest batch of Washington D.C-based skate videos, while comparing each to Scandal, House of Cards, Veep, etc. We are also admirably reminded to revisit Bobby Worrest’s switch 360 flip up / fakie hardflip / switch 360 flip down White Steps line from Right Foot Forward.

Also also also, this rather vague “Underdog Skate Part” #listicle from Kingpin reminds us to revisit Jack Sabback’s part from the 2005 I-Path promo. The revert out of the switch nosegrind at Universitat is cute.

Another black and white one from Pop Trading Company out in The Netherlands.

Apparently, when you comply to last year’s #TRENDWATCH by skating on televisions, there’s a chance you end up in a real-life version of that Simpsons episode where Homer found the Tron wall inside of his closet.

We often joke about the “Skaters see the world differently” cliché around here, but Jonathan Mehring’s “Frame of Reference” feature for Bitchslap magazine is awesome.

A two-minute fan remix of Alex Olson appearances in web clips throughout the years.

BTW, Yaje is a movie star now

QS Sports Desk Play of the Week: The end of the first half of WCF Game 3 was pretty intense. How about that Ibaka comeback?

Quote of the Week: “That spot was like a Philly step into poverty.” — Josh Velez

In order to commemorate four years since our relaunch and the end of @badgalriri on Instagram, you have an additional half day to use the MEMORIALDAY code at checkout for 25% off anything left in the webstore ♥♥♥

Maybe the Reason Alien Workshop Went Under, Maybe

alien workshop out of business

The skateboard gossip machine isn’t the most logical thing in the world. Skaters are privy to shortsighted conclusions e.g. “Reider is totally tight with Dill so he went to F.A., Grant is totally hesh so he went to Anti-Hero, and everything started to fall apart from there,” but there is one and only one reason for why companies of any sort cease to exist: money (baby!) When your employees the best skaters on earth start to leave, there is obviously something wrong at the top, no matter how romantic those employees’ reasons for leaving may have been in their exit interviews.

So yeah, money.

Friend of the website and frequent recipient of hate mail from l*ngb**rders, Willy Staley, put resources outside of the Slap message boards to work, and dug into the real financial nuts and bolts of the situation. Using earnings statements, current stock quotes, etc., he pieces together a plausible map of how Alien fell apart: “[Dyrdek] held onto it for just about 18 months, before selling DNA for $1.5 million and some stock options to a Carlsbad-based firm called Pacific Vector Holdings, which is described in the press release as ‘a premier action sports retail and consumer brands company.’ This is, if you can’t already tell, where things start to go wrong…”

Read the full post over on his site before ensuing the “Jake to Polar?!” speculation. (2014’s free agency period might be even more insane than last year’s. Our interns are grinding on them pie charts b.)

And just because, here’s another one from the vault for all the Photosynthesis fans:

Never really been sure of that video’s origin, but [*blasphemy alert*] is it okay to like it as much as (if not slightly more than) these two guys’ actual parts in Photosynthesis?

No Blondes in Brooklyn

vx trash

Bill Strobeck throws his VX in the trash, Solomon finds it, Alien goes under..? Hmmmmm…

Still the best Alien Workshop video.

Considering Alien Workshop is responsible for tens of thousands of skateboarders enrolling into art / video / film school over the past two decades, some of you may get a kick out of this lost 8mm footage from the Photosynthesis era. If there was any justice in the world, SVA would owe AWS millions of dollars. With no Alien around, just watch the amount of skaters going to art school plummet. SVA is going under next.

Licking windows at 12th & A. So happy it’s back! :)

Muckmouth tracked down Justin Case, one of the forgotten names from the P-Rod City Stars era, and a guy who was pretty susceptible to rumors after Street Cinema. Glad to know he’s doing well. Dude was actually on Alien flow when his Logic 6 part dropped, which was a personal favorite. He was a 14-year-old with Kalis outfits and Pappalardo/Wenning nosegrinds, but a Cali backdrop A.K.A. your hero if you were in middle school at that time. He also has the most pun-prone name in skating.

Ollie one bar to superman the next may be trick of the year via the new LurkNYC clip.

The Belief Skateshop crew filmed a team clip at the new(ish) wooden spot in Long Island City. It’s mad photogenic b. Looks like the chunks that the Parks Department hacked out of all the ledges did a lot of good…

Once people get sick of doing no complys and slappies into grinds down hubbas, and some fashion forward skater decides to take a pass at making early grabs into grinds cool, you can thank some guys in Rotterdam for jogging his memory.

There are some REALLY big Dylan Reider fans out there, huh?

Kingpin with another Josh Stewart interview about Static 4. Word is that the DVDs should be available mid-June.

Quick Aiden Mackey mini-part with some second angles of his “cherry” tricks.

Guy Riza sighting @ 8:13.

Five tapes in five days from the Haha Funtime crew.

QS Sports Desk Play of the Week: 1) Since when is Steve Kerr the new Gregg Popovich? 2) Coaching doesn’t matter; the Knicks are garbage for the foreseeable future forever. 3) If you use “Kevin Love” and “New York” in the same sentence, you are a moron. 4) Despite looking idiotic for months, the Sports Desk’s Pacers-Spurs Finals prediction is looking slightly less stupid after Game 1. Like, what?

Quote of the Week: “Having ‘Most Dunks’ be your defining stat is like being the skateboarder with the most handrails in your part.” — Pryce Holmes on the Los Angeles Clippers

When is the new Travis Porter dropping? Need some Memorial Day Weekend music.