In Absentia: The Newport Remix

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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.

Happy Birthday Dre

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If you follow NY Skateboarding, you have no doubt caught onto In Absentia, a late-nineties, early-2000s B-roll video from filmer Jim Hodgson. A bunch of the footage is semi-recognizable from sessions that yielded tricks in Photosynthesis (+ the QS-favorite Pops/Wenning commercial), Logic, and the first two issues of Zoo York’s EST video magazine. The most widely circulated editions are Tim O’Connor and Anthony Pappalardo’s sections. Today’s post of Bobby Puleo skating in a chain and doing switch frontside heelflips is sure to get passed around a bit as well. There are still five videos in the playlist locked on private, and based on the BGPs in other editions, you’d think at least Wenning and Andy Bautista sections are on the way.

BUT, we’re not here to talk about those guys. Today is Andre Page’s birthday. In Absentia has a lesser-seen Andre Page section.

The past few interviews on QS have coincidentally taken a “no excuses” theme. Not to put him completely on blast, but Dre is really pushing 40 today. A lot of the names popping up in this video are way from the past; you haven’t heard about many of these dudes skating in years. Dre, on the other hand, hit me up to meet at T.F. after work today. He then told me he took tomorrow off…so that he could skate. Next question: “What are you doing this weekend? I’m trying to have a pizza party at Tompkins.” If you have two functional legs, there really are no excuses. Unless you spent yesterday skating D7 (you idiot), there really is no “I’m too sore” in your twenties. Break out the foam roller. Someone ~double your age is out here trying to front shove a bump-to-bar.

Happy birthday Dre. Loving father to dozens of lost skateboarders, humanitarian, eccentric entrepreneur, and practitioner of one of the highest ollies in New York City…at damn near 40.

“I have probably spent a million dollars on skateboarders in my life.” — Andre Page

There are a lot of good sections in In Absentia, but we are going to keep it Jersey-centric for the bonus inclusions:

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The Origin of the White Rapper

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For a group that considers itself so creative, skateboarders sure suck at naming tricks. The sex change, benihana and even salad grind have all fallen out of fashion, and so have fun trick names altogether. Skaters have grown into stringent conservatives about trick names; QS is routinely lambasted for use of the term “nollie half cab” for nollie frontside 180s, as if 90% of the T.F. doesn’t call it that already. Even seemingly clever names e.g. “the fishhook” for the nollie frontside 180 switch nosegrind revert point to mechanical similarities rather than any hint of playful nomenclature.

But one name has stood strong over the past decade. Maybe it’s not an official name, but the “white rapper” B.K.A. the switch varial heelflip is still keeping the fun in trick names up and down the eastern seaboard, and evidently abroad as well. (Some corners will contend that it also refers to regular stance varial heelflips…more on that in a bit.) What genius came up with this name? Who did it refer to and where did it originate from? We decided to find out.

The most common origin story comes from Philadelphia, some ten-plus years ago. That is where we will begin our journey…

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Winter Viewing: The Brodies

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Photo by Pep Kim

Jeremy Elkin made his Brodies video available for online viewing today. Deep freeze depression = temporarily suspended. You can still purchase the DVD set with all four of his videos, a photo book, etc. over on the Theories site.

Who was the last skater to do four or five tricks in a video that got everyone hyped, who didn’t have a readily available part somewhere in the depths of YouTube? Accessible video technology put a stop to that towards the latter end of the previous decade. Except the dudes in this one came a bit before that shift: Akira hasn’t had a part since Mixtape 2 (during which he was probably a teenager), German has two awesome shared parts to his name but they’re seven years apart, Rob Campbell has been meddling in YouTube compilation land for years since EST 2, and Leo Gutman, legitimately one of the best skaters in New York, hasn’t been seen outside of the occasional montage since Flipmode 3 in 2006.

The Brodies is a slice of 2001-2006 — when filmers were fewer, resources were scarcer, but distractions were just as rampant — plus six or seven years of the advancements we have today. New York skateboarding is full of sick “whatever happened to” guys, and this video thankfully keeps that title away from a handful of the top candidates. Added bonus of Aaron Herrington, Daniel Kim and Jason Spivey footage. Both teams played hard.

(BTW since it’s awards season it all, it should be mentioned that The Brodies won two of our year-end honors: #22 for Akira’s entire part filmed in sweatpants and #4 for Leo’s Q.S.S.O.T.Y. win.)

Related: Theories has interviews with all of the dudes in the video, and Elkin’s Vimeo page has his other three videos if you’re too poor to buy the DVD.

New Jersey Classics: Andy Bautista & German Nieves in ‘New Thirsty’ (2008)

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This photo is technically from a different era, but is sick regardless. By Jonathan Mehring. Shout out to anyone who ever skated Lackawanna Ledges (R.I.P.)

One of the somewhat obscurer inclusions on Ross One’s Hopps mix was “Come Back To Me” by Cheyenne’s Comin’, which, personally speaking, is one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever discovered from a skate video. It was used for Andy Bautista and German Nieves’ ender part in Justin White’s New Thirsty video from 2008.

Andy and German’s shared part is a semi-sequel to Andy’s section in Logic #6, a part that has been discussed on this website before. Logic #6 was an unofficial City Stars Street Cinema prequel, as it had breakout parts from P-Rod, Mike Taylor and Justin Case, with a 50-percent New York/Jersey, 50-percent L.A. Andy Bautista part oddly nudged between. In 2001, it was pretty great to see Lodi, Newport and Hoboken footage sit alongside mythical L.A. schoolyards; it made those places feel as significant in the bigger, video magazine-ized portrait of skateboarding, at least for three minutes. The part also started a ten-year obsession with wanting to skate that yellow tile bank in downtown L.A. (We made it there last summer, and predictably got kicked out in one minute. The cracks are a lot bigger than they look in footage, too.)

Justin did the original great justice, right down to music supervision that captures the vibe of the Logic part, despite not being as “mad hip hop, yo.” Andy even revisited Lodi for it, though he didn’t make it back out L.A.

If you need skate “culture” stuff to do this weekend: Our homie B.K. is having a release party (#freebuzz) for a zine he made with several friends that showcases bodega-centric photography and art, Hopps, etc. is doing another “Bum Rush the Spot” event at an “undisclosed” location that shouldn’t be too hard to figure out based on the flyer image, and there’s skate art stuff at da Fish on Sunday. We’ll be watching basketball during the aforementioned events. Hopefully not a Knicks Game 7, but probably. Have a good one.