In Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson’s film about the porn industry of the 70s and 80s, Burt Reynolds’ Jack Horner gives a fateful speech admonishing the advent of home video: “I have a stable of actors and actresses. They’re professionals. They’re not a bunch of fucking amateurs. They’re proven in the box office. They get people in theaters, where films should be seen, and they know how to fuck.”
It is not hard to imagine similar tirades (maybe with a few words switched out) occurring in Powell-Peralta boardrooms as the 80s were coming to a close, and skateboarding was around the corner from a crash. Skate videos of the decade were refined and narrative-driven, and for good reason. There were only like, six tricks invented at the time, so they had to fill up those other 53 minutes in an hour-long skate video with story, personality shots and other shit.
But what would come after skateboarding’s believed-to-be demise was a rebirth. Videos like Snuff, Video Days, Tim & Henry’s Pack of Lies, and Questionable were unrepentant in their progression — they were too busy inventing modern skateboarding in front of your eyes to worry about the extracurricular malarky from the Animal Chin days. New faces and a camera thrown in a backpack was the name of the game. The old mode was dead. But for how long?
Skateboarding draws many parallels to pornography, but one of the most curious ones is an incessant need to add narrative to something that nobody watches for the story. As we will soon learn, plots returned to skate videos as quickly as they went.
Yeah Right! was released a few months shy of ten years ago. That video, the Girl/Chocolate video disguised a shoe company video plus a Cairo Foster part and Cliché section, and likely the one being premiered today in Los Angeles / Sunday in New York, have come to represent benchmarks in “just how far we’ve come” technologically. Yeah Right! = Motorola Razr, Fully Flared = the first iPhone, Pretty Sweet = an iPhone 7 or something?
Despite the fact that Yeah Right! was the most advanced video of its time, it had a running gag in which green screen ramps would be set up to “unskateable” obstacles, skated, and later removed in post-production as a self-referential nod to the video’s title. “Skateboarding is pretty crazy right now, this dude 360 flip noseblunted a handrail, but like, yeah right bro! It’s not *that* crazy!” Well, the predictive spirit of Jules Verne must have taken up an interest in skating and channeled itself through Spike Jonze and Ty Evans, because since then, many of the tricks that were only possible with lime green ramps and After Effects began happening without them. Below is a list of Yeah Right! green ramp tricks and their counterparts in reality.
So, Waka Flocka released a video for “Lil’ Debbie.” The video and the song are disappointing from the perspective of this website, because the visuals / lyrics do little to live up to the title. In fact, the only mention of the snack cakes that the site is named after is “I get stupid cake, you can call me Lil’ Debbie.” One can only hope that a Lil’ Debbie diamond chain will eventually surface alongside the Fozzie bear one.
With all due respect to Brandon Westgate, this website’s favorite skater with a proficiency for skating up things that go down and absurdly high obstacles is Luis Tolentino. Pause right before the pop on the last 5050, just to ballpark how high the ledge probably is.
Did you know there is a decent sidewalk bump across the street from 12th & A? (Technically on the 11th Street side.) Billy and Shawn Powers knew. They did some ninja stuff over it.
The black marble banks on 48th Street & Park Avenue (or what remained of them) are completely gone as of this weekend. Someone tell the city to give companies tax write-offs for donating marble to 12th & A instead of just hucking it into a dumpster.
Attention all broke skaters: Gray’s Papaya now serves dollar slices. Not only did they price themselves out of the “Broke Skater Diet” bracket once the “Recession Special” slowly rose from $2.45 to $5.00, but they sold out by offering pizza slices cheaper than their hot dog specialties. If the mafia controls cheese prices, thus contributing to the rise in cost of pizza, does it control the hot dog market too? Or do they just melt Polly-O string cheese on dollar slices, and circumvent the mafia entirely?
Not really sure if the Fish is still “relevant” in skateboarding, but the NYPD shut it down for “illegal sale of alcoholic beverages.” (That probably means it was open after 4 A.M.) Naturally, people started a petition to get it open again.
These are from the panel discussion at MoMA’s “A Night of Skate Videos” that happened last October. The event got filled in like six seconds, as this was around the time Spike Jonze was coming out with Where the Wild Things Are, i.e. it was the sort of thing that was full of Spike Jonze fans more than skate video fans. Either way, we should all be thankful for the fact that there was a camera present to capture everything.
“I saw your meltdown that night, I was like, ‘Oh God, this is for a fucking skateboard video?’ It’s not like you’re in the circus or you’re flying to the fucking moon.”