Monday, June 29, 2009

Rain on the Rain Check.

Since it rained on the real Go Skateboard Day in NYC, it was pushed back a week and went down this past Saturday. We started off with the festivities at the Manhattan Bridge Skatepark but once the kids took off toward the Williamsburg Bridge to go to KCDC, we went the other way and skated some spots until we got rained out. We took cover in front of some office building with an overhang and skated flat until the rain stopped and dried up enough to skate one last spot. I put together a clip using a CCR Mashup that my homie DJ Dirty Digits put together very recently.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"I like using your camera because there is no pressure." - Jeremy

Last week I went with some homies (Budi, Beav, & Jeremy) to Philadelphia. The trip was a long time coming and canceled on occasion but we finally had solid plans. We kinda knew that it was going to rain but I didn't care since there was always a chance that it would stop. didn't. It pretty much rained the whole time. We decided to go to FDR first since it was covered and may be our best bet for a rain spot. For those of you that do not know, FDR is a skatepark built entirely by skaters under an overpass, similar to Burnside in Portland, OR. A lot of the park was wet, however. The miniramp was mostly wet, though slippery in a lot of places, one bowl was mostly dry and there were some parts of the main park that were kinda dry. Anyway, there is the footage that we got (we didn't intend to make a clip, Jeremy and myself just filmed some random stuff while there).

I brought my LX3 too but all I shot were a few photos of some graffiti in the park:

Fat <3 Poop

I took your mom's virginity (and she had you!)

Nice juxtaposition.

Totally not for straight women...

Friday, June 05, 2009

Zoo York "State of Mind" Premiere & Review

It has been a long time coming but last night the Zoo York "State of Mind" video finally premiered at Sunshine Cinema in NYC. There wasn't open admission because of limited seating and only 3 showings, so it wasn't the madhouse the Alien premiere was. I was able to make it into the 10:15 showing, running into anyone that is someone in the process (as seen in photos below). I'll just jump into my review of the video right now, though.

After having been properly teased with the last two Zoo York promos (Ellis Island and Welcome to Zoo York), both of which had very different teams and both of which were incredible, I had high expectations going into this. After all, when was the last full length Zoo video? EST 4.0? Either way, the bar was set pretty high...and they ollied it [insert reference to Brandon Westgate and Matt Miller's pop here]. The filming was on point, with the exception of some shaky camera work here and there (mostly in Kevin Taylor and Matt Miller's parts). R.B. Umali has filming down to a science and with his HD set up was able to get right in the action better than most filmers. There were minimal artsy/lifestyle shots and it was straight to the point skateboarding for a solid hour. I don't like to compare completely different videos, but since everyone else is making the comparisons, I might as well give my take on how it ranks up to the Alien Workshop Mind Field video. With the videos being on different ends of the skate video spectrum, I can't say which is better, but I can definitely say that the Zoo video hyped me up to skate the most. Perhaps it was all the familiar NYC spots, perhaps it was the east coast skaters, perhaps it was relatable skating. Whatever it was, I wish I brought my board with me to the premiere so that I could have cruised around after. I will definitely watch it often once I pick it up on DVD June 19th when it hits the shops. Now to jump into the skater's parts...

I can't really remember the order in which the skaters appeared so I will just do it in whichever order. I am also going to try not to reveal too many tricks since most of the skate world has not seen this yet. Brandon Westgate opened the video with fast, powerful skating akin to A.V.E. or Omar Salazaar or Dennis Busenitz. He charges things and pops higher than guys a foot taller than he is. This is represented in his olling up Fish Gap and lipsliding Pyramid Ledges from the bottom of the stairs up (yes, it really happened). Oh yeah, he also grinded up Blubba (Black Hubba)! His kickflips are some of the best out right now. My favorite part is almost a draw between him and Ron Deily. While Ron doesn't skate as powerful, I appreciated the effort that it looked like he put into making a well-rounded part. He had a nice mix of technical/creative/stylish tricks throughout his part and skated some fun looking spots. He even gave me a scare with the no comply off a parking block over some spiked fence. Imagine falling short and landing on the spikes! Matt Miller on the other hand was a bit boring to watch for the most part due to his lack of speed and creativity, though he kinda made up for it with his barrage of backside noseblunt slides: kickflip backside noseblunt, switch flip bs noseblunt, and hardflip bs noseblunt! Plus, he has some ups and I am still baffled by his tre flip off the bump over the poles by the Battery Tunnel in Manhattan! Worst part of the video goes to Chaz Ortiz, however. The blatant Gatorade product placement was weak (unless they helped fund the video, then I am all for it), but what made the part the worst was the fact that he obviously didn't try very hard to make it. He did all his safe tricks and didn't even attempt to get creative throughout the part. His saving grace was the fact that he is really good at jumping down handrails. He pulled a super long backside smith grind down a big rail that impressed me, but I think he either was lazy or is just too young to know how to make a memorable part. Forrest Kirby (F.O.R.E.), however, exceeded my expectations. With his lack of coverage over the past couple years, I figured that he would pull a Scott Johnston on us or something, but I was very wrong. His part was one of the best. From his switch back smiths to his manuals to his wallrides to his wallrides to manuals to his backside 180 fakie nosegrind revert on the ghetto banks in Miami to his frontside feeble grind to fakie on the FDR barrier under the Manhattan Bridge, he came back strong. Aaron Suski went the other way, unfortunately. I was kind of disappointed in his part. Perhaps I had unrealistic expectations of him, but due to his performance in the last Zoo York promo, I figured that he was going to have the best part in the full length. He did have some incredible tricks, but most of those were already exposed in the magazines and it seems like there was quite a bit of filler. I am not going to write him off though. It was still a good part and I am hoping that most of his good stuff will be in the Emerica video (coming out later this year). Kevin Taylor's part started off strong, but it was so short that I felt blue balled when it suddenly ended. When was his last full part? The last Aethestics video? Or did he have a part in Minority Report? Either way, he is too good to not put out more footage. Anthony Shetler may look like Ben Affleck, but there is no way you will ever see Ben Affleck jumping down anything a fraction of the size of the stuff Shetler jumps down, even as the Daredevil. His kickflip from the top of the brick bank-flat-bank into the second bank was bananas, not to mention his super long tailslide across the huge ditch bank as his ender. Overall, his part was kind of forgettable, but it was good nonetheless. As always, Donny Barley met my expectations. His skating is always consistently good. While he had some whatever tricks in his part, most of it was fast, powerful skating. Plus, he has quick pops for days! Eli Reed had the second to last part, rightfully so. It is obvious that he worked hard to make it. He has amazing switch pop and gets technical with his manuals, flatground, and ledge maneuvers. His switch kickflip into the courthouse bank to drop in Manhattan is arguably the best trick done there. I couldn't imagine taking that drop switch! The curtains went to Zared Bassett. After F.O.R.E., he has been on the team the next longest and has gone through a few versions of the Zoo York team. He has almost come to symbolize the Zoo York brand. I noticed that he tried to blur the lines between what was regular and what was switch in this part. Whereas most people do amazing regular tricks and mediocre switch tricks in their parts, all of Zared's tricks were amazing, switch or not. This also includes his bangers. He isn't afraid to go big backwards. He deserved the last part by far and his part was a great way to end the video.

After the credits there was a friends and family section with some footage from a lot of Zoo York alum and others. R.B. directed everyone (21+) to Max Fish where the bonus was to be playing. After walking over with Bryan Chin, Peter Sarne, and Rodney Torres, the place was so crowded that we only made it about half way in before deciding to turn back and hang outside. They were projecting stuff on the wall but there was no way to see it from where we were. Below are some photos from last night. While I wasn't able to get photos of everyone there, think of this as a sample and let your imagination run wild with who was there (most likely they were).

Look, even your favorite skaters like Alex Olson and Charles Lamb had to wait in line.

Peter Sarne and Bryan Chin of Offical New York.

Luis Tolentino on his way out of the screening before ours.

Me (Eby), Peter Sarne, and Bryan Chin.

I totally could have bootlegged it in HD with my camera, but I didn't.

Rodney Torres, Bryan Chin, Peter Sarne.

Keith Denley

Max Fish, crowded with your favorite professional skateboarders.

Rodney Torres, Big White!, Josh Kalis, Kevin Taylor, ?

Famous Star & Straps: Felix Arguelles, Andrew "I hardflipped Wallenberg" Pott, Luis Tolentino.

The man that made the video: R.B. Umali!

I ran into one of my former co-workers: Hafeez Raji.

The guy responsible for the last Chapman video: Jeremy "I can't stand still for a photo" Cohen.

O.G. NYC ripper Lamont Macintosh, Jeremy Cohen, Bryan Chin, Peter Sarne.

Hubba Wheels mastermind: Tony Vitello (aka L Ron Hubba)!

Jason (aka Negative...psst, he is the opposite of negative).

German Nieves, Bryan Chin, Peter Sarne.