The all-montage video died when YouTube became the destination for footage of people who didn’t have enough for a full part. “One hit wonder” status held by many 411VM Chaos heroes has found no modern equivalent. (Maybe if you have a few tricks in a friends section, and your name still comes up on autofill when you search it?)
Poisonous Products may be the first shot at the montage video’s modern revitalization in hard copy form. It is the latest video from Jeremy Elkin, who’s responsible for Lo-Def and Elephant Direct, two other concise offerings that documented skating in this small quadrant of North America (loosely bound by Montreal and New York.) The video is all lines, and all filmed in New York.
A combination of cellar door skate culture, and New York’s growing lack of reliable plaza spots has made the whole “skating shit you see in the street” thing fairly standard protocol. And luckily, this video never dips into annoying, “I majored in sculpture, so I’m going to skate this lump of concrete into a curb” spot selections. The absence of single tricks could easily go over your head because the all-line “concept” is so natural to skating here in 2012.
The Mandalay Express is a sequel to last year’s more expansive 10,000 Kilometers, which was a train ride through two continents’ worth of skate spots. Mandalay is confined to the southeastern quadrant of Asia, near where the previous video left off, and covers four countries: Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar, via “78 hours of buses” in 30 days. The crew for the trip consists of Casey Rigney, Kenny Reed, Denny Pham, Geng Jakkarin, Laurence Keefe, John Tanner, TF personality / nose manual mastermind Dan Zvereff, and the video’s creator, Patrik Wallner.
Travel videos are made to tap into our instinctual fascination with new skate spots, even if we experience them on a vicarious level. Patrik could make this same video another eight times in regions that have experienced a similar lack-of-interest from mainstream skateboarding (for example, non-Brazilian South America, or even Africa, though probably not the Middle East), and it would be just as interesting. Watching it, we could only imagine what sort of skateable things exist outside of major cities on this planet, as one of the video’s most amazing architectural discoveries is a bust-free, half-completed religious theme resort in the middle of Myanmar, which is described as looking akin to a mini golf course.
A few weeks back, the crew at One Up Skateshop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania sent over Fuck Yinz Volume 2, their 30-minute promo video from earlier this year. The DVD-R came wrapped in a size small digi-camo tank top with their logo on it. The G-Man, who once received a medium tee from Vinny Raffa only to respond with “You don’t have a 2X?” lamented it was not a few sizes larger.
One Up is the only skate shop in Pittsburgh, and it is run by a friendly, tight knit crew, that has always been accommodating with sharing spots and skating around with us whenever we would make the six-hour drive out there. It’s the sort of shop that every city should have. Their video has parts from several names that have began receiving more coverage in recent history (Kyle Nicholson, Zach Funk, Austin Kanfoush, Nick Panza), plus a whole bunch of lesser-known dudes who still shred just as hard (Dan Peindl, Grem Trails, Rob Dumas, Bill Cunningham, Justin Funk, and others.)
3-D technology is nestled somewhere at a midpoint between the downfall of western civilization, and a sixty-year-old tendency of the motion picture industry that strives to forfeit on whatever generous, sparse compliments could be given to modern society’s attention span. But Krooked is not looking to rejuvenate a declining skate video market in the same way Hollywood is holding onto a morsel of hope from some blue lizard Pocahontas thing, which is really only a prolonged distraction from the fact that the only other good news they have usually comes in the form of shitty Vince Vaughn movies. (Note: Not all Vince Vaughn movies suck, dude’s got some classics.)
At this point, three-fourths of Krooked’s videos, with Krooked Chronicles being the sole exception, have been accompanied by some sort of production gimmick. Not necessarily bad, or gimmicky gimmicks, because Gnar Gnar and Gnaughty both came with their merits as welcome changes of pace from the epicness that bogs down and causes skate videos to age poorly, but aspects that make them stand out from the bunch. A greater resource of consistently fun videos that come with a wink back at the less self-important age of skateboard video productions does not exist on the same level outside of the minds at Krooked. Up until now at least, because 3-D is a time sensitive gimmick, and people will eventually stop caring about it. And because nobody in their right mind wants to put on 3-D glasses to watch a skate video, no matter how out of the box it may have seemed at the time.