Friday, May 22, 2009

Good Morning America(n Idiot)

Today I woke up at 5am and made it over to Central Park's Summerstage for the free Green Day concert for Good Morning America. For 6am, there were a lot of kids there. Perhaps this generation is caffeinated into oblivion, or perhaps "free" means a lot more to them in this recession, but when I was their age you would be hard pressed to find more than a hand full of kids willing to wake up that early, even for a concert. I am not a huge fan of Green Day, however, I used to love their music during the Dookie and Nimrod eras. Perhaps it was because I was younger then and now those tunes still hold a fond place in my heart, but it was worth making the trek out for a chance to hear them. What I got instead was songs from the last two albums, the newest of which (21st Century Breakdown) is a chart topper at the moment. While I wouldn't call their new material bad, it is not something that I would go out of my way to listen to...yet on this fine morning, I did. There was plenty of downtime for the Good Morning America segments, but Green Day did give a 4 song "sound check." That would have been been great, but they ended up playing all those same songs again later. If anything, they could have at least given the older people in the crowd some of their older jams for the sound check. Well, let me get into some of the photos:

As I pointed out on Twitter, at least half the people in attendance were holding up some sort of recording device for most of the performances. This ranged from cellphone cameras, to digital cameras, to video cameras (which were forbidden, but nobody was checking at the entrance).

This guy was recording the who entire thing. I saw him playing with his phone while recording with the other hand a few times, but I don't think he actually looked at the concert except through the video camera even once.

They brought up this little girl to dance to one of the songs. I could hear the jealous hissing of the teenyboppers around me. Though there were lot of "awws" too.

If that last one didn't make the girls in the crowd jealous enough, they brought up this girl to sing a full verse. I heard the catty comments the whole way out the park after that one.

Overall, Green Day performed their songs well and were great with audience participation. All too often you see successful bands/musicians that completely ignore the audience and it was good to seem them staying in tune to the crowd. The audience on the other hand could use some work. After seeing the pictures I posted, you may call me a hypocrite, but people need to chill out with the recording devices. It is fine to take some photos here and there but when you are trying too hard to capture the moment digitally, you are failing to enjoy the moment in real-time. I will leave you with a little snippet of the crowd singing.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Skateboard Industry Needs To Change

"By skateboarders, for skateboarders." Sound familiar? This seems to have been the motto of all the "core" skateboard companies in the industry for year. "Don't buy from those guys, they are run by suits, they don't care about skateboarding. We are better because we are skateboarders." These claims are nonsense, yet rebellious youth looking to skateboarding for a members-only social club continue to buy into it. Actually, I shouldn't be so generous with the older crowd, the 20, 30, 40+ somethings are also guilty of falling for this illogical propaganda the skateboard industry has spewed for decades too. Let's have a look into what makes up the industry and determine how the "core" companies rank up:
  • Many of these companies tout the fact they were started by and run by former professional skateboarders. That is all well and good until you consider the tiny minority of pro skaters who have gone to college or even graduated high school.
  • Progress is taboo. While innovation on a skateboard is encouraged, innovation in business practices, technology, and marketing is passed off as fads and selling out, while the status quo is held in high regard. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?
  • The industry likes to stay within the industry with very few tie ins with outside companies, events, and people. It is very incestuous, in other words.

Now if we look at other industries that are doing much better, such as the basketball market, it is obvious what skateboarding is doing wrong. The NBA may hire a few former pro basketball players, but they hire them for announcer and commentator gigs, not to run the business units. They hire people that were educated and have experience in those respective fields. The NBA and the respective teams pull in a lot of money. You know why? It's because they get people excited about the sport and grow the audience for it. Skateboarding may be at 11 million participants now, but that is no thanks to the industry. That can be attributed to pop culture and ESPN. I didn't see Lupe Fiasco or Pharrell throwing out skate product that the industry gave them at their concerts. The industry, on the contrary, shunned them for being "posers" (excuse the middle school terminology).

I have met countless skateboarders that get upset when they see a non-skateboarder wearing skateboarding brands. I have been explaining for years to these people that the more people that buy from the industry, the more it can grow, the more pro skaters there can be, and the more progress can come out of it. Since when did you see a basketball player getting mad at some kid that didn't play basketball for wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey or some Jordans? Again, this is the fault of the leaders in skateboarding, those in the industry influencing these kids because they are scared about losing control.

There may be some companies that are more open and trying to make a change, and there are some that are trying to use new media, but these are unqualified skateboarders with no business doing it. Don't get me wrong, it would be great to have skateboarders working in these role, but there are plenty of skateboarders who have worked in much more progressive industries and have gone to college that are much more qualified than washed up ex-pro skaters that should be in there. With the recent growth of the industry and the relatively stability it has, skateboarding has a lot of potential...but there needs to be a change. Something has to give. But with the next generation having learned from the previous, it seems like that may not happen for a long time.

Friday, May 08, 2009

If you can make it here...

Here is the footage I shot from the event last weekend. I didn't know everyone's name, so I just put the first thing that came to mind.

In other news, Hopps just put its second pro on the team (the first being Jahmal Williams, of course). Nope, not allowed to say yet, but it is the graphic on the left:

Apparently the intro is to happen on 48 Blocks, but I might have gotten myself into a little trouble saying that on Twitter since they didn't know about it yet. No harm done though...I think. I am stoked on the new pro though. Seems like good things are in store for Hopps!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

McRad Mike Mo graphics to the sounds of JR blasting from the speakers

Just to clear something up from a couple posts back...because sarcasm can be lost in the world wide webs we weave: I was kidding about Jereme Roger's music. I do like it in novelty, same as Lil' Wayne, but just as Lil' Wayne, it holds no legitimacy. I find humor in that which had no humorous intentions. I could hate on it like most people, but I find it rude not to clap at the Special Olympics. After all, they are giving it their best. JR and Lil' Wayne may be disillusioned, but at least they are trying. I mean, look at how many people buy Lil' Wayne albums. They are even letting the lil' guy play with a guitar and attempt some form of rock. Kanye West is also a bit disillusioned, but at least he has talent. I find amusement in his arrogance as well. After all, when have you met a rational person that has achieved the success of those people? Think about it...

Speaking of success, the 17 year old switch flipper, Mike Mo Capaldi, was turned pro in 2008 and has some interesting graphics (most notable, the Beavis and Butthead one that I need to find for my collection). Crailtap recently had a contest to design a graphic for him, which would be available next season. This is the one that won:

Here are my submissions:

The Big Cheese Lotto tickets should look familiar from this.

Apparently Poltergeist was filmed in Simi Valley, where Mike Mo is from.

Honey, I Blew Up The Kid was filmed in Simi Valley too. I did one version with Megan Baltimore's (one of the owners of Girl) dog, Chick, and the other with the Crailtap friendly goat.

Since Mike Mo plays basketball and is a fan of Michael Jordan, I decided to do a couple Jordan inspired graphics.

As I am a fan of ASCII (text) art, I did a graphic as such. I put this together as reference material:

And this is what the ASCII graphic looks like up close:

In other news, I went to the McRad show at the Autumn Bowl the other night and filmed some of the skating, so I will post a clip when I finish editing it. Chuck Treece doesn't just know how to ride on a skateboard and calls himself a skater, he actually skates. He was skating the whole night (when not performing). Props!