If you poll a graduating film school class, chances are, someone ended up there from a childhood of watching and making skate videos. Not only a document of skateboarding in action, skate videos can lead to the development of an artistic voice that transcends the genre itself, sometimes even to filmmaking’s highest stage. Bing Liu — whose Oscar-nominated 2018 documentary, Minding the Gap — is just such a skater (and a Peabody Award winner, too.) Here’s a look into five parts that influenced his work.
“A disc jockey, prison guard and a lumberjack walk into a vape lounge. A lounge team member looks up and says: ‘I know you folks. You must be coming from Human Resources Online’s list of the worst professions in 2018, ranked in terms of average salary and advancement opportunities, right?’ Before they can answer, a pro skateboarder wanders in behind them.” — Boil the Ocean explores the dynamics of skateboarding’s shrinking middle class as we approach the 2020s.
Even a bunch of dudes from Germany who haven’t grown tired of skating the same downtown spots summer after summer aren’t resistant to T.F. West’s magnetic pull. “Transit Ride” is a half New York / half L.A. mini video by Paul Herrman. (And also confirms that you aren’t really dating yourself by pointing out Gang Starr in the most oft-skated to rap artist conversation.)
Yet another reminder to watch Minding The Gap if you still haven’t summoned the nerve to type in your card # for that free Hulu trial… Free interviewed the film’s director, Bing Liu. They were slow to get to it at first too, but became instant fans once they watched the film.
Ricardo Napoli’s video, Ciao, is premiering at The Woods in Williamsburg (48 S 4th Street) tonight at 7 P.M. You can watch his last video, Making It Happen, here.
Spot Updates — 1) The ledges on 110th and Central Park West had chunks taken out of all of them by the city. 2) Haven’t seen footage of it in a bit, but recently received an email tip that Queens’ Broadway Park is currently fenced off for construction.
QS Sports Desk Play of the Week: Haven’t had Russ on here in a minute.
Quote of the Week: “You know what, his style isn’t fake. He’s just ugly.” — Stafhon
“Jake Phelps surely embodied worlds in decline: Old San Francisco, famously non-PC, MJ1s on his feet until whatever deadstock tap ran dry, proofing a decades-old print publication with a snarling discontent any seasoned editor would recognize and respect. An artifact arguing and cussing every day for a place in a world moving some other way.” Unfortunate to link their way two weeks in a row for obituary purposes, but Boil Ocean has a way with them words.
“Though I would sometimes cross the street to avoid him, I can remember so much of what he said to me.” Patrick O’Dell also wrote a thing about Phelps over on Vice.
And here is a re-link to Willy Staley’s California Sunday profile of Phelps that originally ran in 2016, A.K.A. what BTO labeled as “secular-press skate piece top five.” Would be *so* open to a conversation about what the other four are ;)
Munchies has a mini doc on the institution that has sustained New York skateboarding like none other throughout the 2010s — of course, we’re talking about 2 Bros. They also bring up a terrifying reality re: the ten-year leases that got signed at the start of the decade ending (e.g. when everyone was still reeling from the recession), and the dollar slice soon becoming a thing of the past.
“I think the mainstream American skateboarding culture is kidding itself. They’re really dismissive of emotions in a way that is hurting itself. It’s becoming more and more inline with traditional athleticism, but also what is acceptable as a skateboarder is so narrow – you have to be cool, not talk about your feelings.” If you’re one of those idiots like me who put off watching Minding the Gap for months, here’s another motivator: Skateism put their interview with director Bing Liu online. Yeah, you need to enter your card details, but a Hulu trial to watch it is free, and you can cancel the second you finish the movie — provided you’re not destroyed for the rest of the day.
“I kind of consider 2000 to 2009-10 the dark ages of skating. It was just like, the filmer and photographer decided what a skater would skate. If you were good, you got shipped out to California and you would skate with people that would be like ‘You need to do this.’ Almost like there were requirements. ‘Do this handrail.'” Spot-finder extraordinaire, Dave Caddo, has an interview with Village Psychic about the rules of skating new spots, blown out spots, and unlocking spots.
Spent a month or three mulling about whether to write something about the three skate movies that came out in 2018 on here. Quite obviously, nothing on that end came to fruition, and this Paris Review piece on Minding the Gap is nine zillion times better than anything I could have written on what is, far and away, the best “skateboard movie” ever made. Get that free Hulu trial if you haven’t seen it yet.
i-D has a long feature commemorating Palace’s ten-year journey from a brand conceived in a dilapidated skate house by Southbank to what it is today: employer of Torey Goodall, Jamal Smith and Tico ♥
Unclear if he’s been reading more women authors or not, but Mark Suciu has a bunch of New York clips in his new Thunder part. Pretty sure he’s the first one to get a clip at those year-old, two-second bust ledges by IBM, and that rock ollie in front of Corner Bistro is fucked.
Ciao is the latest all-New York video by Ricardo Napoli. Teaser here.
New Jahmal Williams footage is an honor and a privilege. Him and Steve Brandi share a jazzy seven-minute section on the occasion of Hopps’ collaboration with Converse, composed by Static auteur, Josh Stewart. It’s one of those rare videos that you just watch with a smile on your face the whole time. And shout-out to Steve Brandi for his commitment to the iconic Paine Webber benches.
“The rest of the boroughs, excluding Staten Island, have had so many regular Americans move into the neighborhoods, spreading the disease of uptight suburbanites. The average mainland American is just more concerned about the use of private and public property. Maybe I’m wrong, but I like my theory…The Bronx has Bronx hospitality, and I think the average person in the Bronx is more socially advanced.” Caddo also has an awesome follow-up interview on Thrasher that discusses the complacency of finding spots in New York, his favorite borough (guess), and more insight into his ability to film a part here full of fresh backdrops.
This is one of those videos where you think the editing is going to mellow out after the intro, but then it just stays that way for the whole time. “Lentiicular” is a montage from Carhatt-WIP, and features Roman Gonzales, Andrew Wilson, Chris Milic, et al.
“As the human attention span shrinks to rival the goldfish’s, ’tis it better, in pursuit of longevity and countercultural heft, to regularly shed teamriders every few years or hold to the original foundation of dudes as long as can be?” Boil the Ocean takes a ponder over Element and Girl’s new videos.
This is like when Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors, except Tiago Lemos might actually be better at skateboarding than Durant is at basketball, if that’s imaginable.
“Critter” is a nine-minute video of an American road trip featuring a bunch of Pass~Port guys, and has an ender section in New York.
Can’t tell where this “Mud Monsters” mini vid is based out of, and can only pick out a few Chicago and New York spots, but going to guess Texas (?) because it’s maybe the first time I heard Z-Ro in a skate clip, but also have no idea what any Texas skate spots look like, but also also also it’s a fun watch regardless ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Calling all nerds / hoarders: Does anyone know if there’s an existing copy of the DNA Continuum DVD left on earth? Sources say that the video as a whole is whatever, but it would be nice to update the internet’s only existing copy of Jahmal’s part from the 240p upload on YouTube that is probably older than Kader.