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.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the review.
Fortunately my " lack of coverage" is going unnoticed by U.
Check my transworld interview, or skatboarder interview,
Or my heads in thrasher. Or check this months photo annual of skateboarder magazine.
Sometimes it is better to stay in the loop by getting off your computer, and actually pay attention to something tangable. As far as coverage goes check skateboarding buissness for that as well. U r in a shell. Before u critique something. Know what u r talking about. Nice party pics.

elastic back said...

I am stoked that you replied, even if you think I am in a shell and stay on my computer. I actually read all the mags and have seen all the coverage lately, which is expected since the Zoo video just dropped. So a lot of Zoo guys have been in the spotlight as of late. What I was referring to was the lack of coverage over the past couple years. Prior to the last couple month, you have had little coverage...and since I have been a fan of your skating, I actually took notice (which should be a good thing; lots of people fade out without even being noticed). Don't be offended by people WANTING more coverage of you, you should be offended when they are sick of your coverage. Anyway, your opening spread (the white & purple one) and your blunt fakie on that pointy roof in the photo issue of skateboarder were great. I actually ripped them out the other day to add to the archives.

I think I know what I am talking about more than most and actually cared enough to give an honest review. Afterall, the mags or any "legit" skate media won't give a candid review since Zoo pays them money in some way. I think it is great that you are in touch what is being said too, it is just too bad you got offended by a positive review.

I look forward to seeing your coverage continue past the hype of the Zoo video. Sincerely.


Unknown said...


i was not offended by what u said, or lack there of.

i do not know u, but from the looks of it we have mutual friends.

i am a true, sincere man. i do my best to convey my passion. which i am blessed to do on a day to day basis.

i know the style of skating u like from reading your first review.

in retrospect from my response i did not want to sound bitter. i could care less. i do pay attention, and spend my time looking at reviews. i care.

thank u for posting this. thank u for going to our premiere.

i take great pride in what i do. i have no corporate money behind me.
my coverage is mere edittorial.
whick zoo has nothing to do with.
thank u.

i have been in the game for a minute. my coverage has nothing to do with money from so and so.

i risk it for the love.
i do it cuz that is me.
it is real. realler than u know.

if u see me in the city. say hi.
i look forward to meeting u.

thanks for the support. neg or pos it is all good.
i read your review. thanks for taking the time.


elastic back said...

That is totally understandable and I don't mean to downplay your coverage to the Zoo video, though lately there has been a lot of coverage of Zoo riders, but perhaps that is also due to spoilers not being an issue since the video came out. I am glad people like you are still out there in the industry, as I would rather see you than some hucker...and I buy a lot of videos, more than I don't. I even have the whole Skate Maps volume, haha.

Anyway, keep it up and perhaps we will run into each other someday (saw you at Manny Mania, and I am actually from Florida).


Unknown said...


i had to laugh at myself because of this whole posting thing. i rarely respond to things of this nature, but absorb it. dwell on it, and let it be an inspiration to me.
there was no negative in ur review, and is actually a really good write up.
once again thanks for the time.
it is hard for us on the east to do our thing. we gotta support each other.
living in miami, and repping is hard work son.
everything is a mission.
thankfully the magazines have love for a brother, and support us down here.
it would be, and is easy to run a photo of some kid jumping 20.
everytime i see some east coast stuff out there i get psyched because it is harder for us to do our thing.
people come and go. we gotta be consistant, and keep the stride. keep your head up playa.
be true and do u.
be in the city soon.
once again it is all love.


elastic back said...

True, I am always stoked to see east coast guys in the mags which, luckily, has been happening more. I try to support as much as I can as a regular skateboarder. Most of my skate gear is from East Coast companies and I think I am going to pick up the Zoo video today actually. I haven't been to a shop in a week or so, so I missed when they got them in and hope there are some left.

I have some cool/interesting Queens spots if you are looking for a change of pace when you come up...

Anonymous said...

one big complaint about your review, i look like nicholas cage not ben affleck, seamus looks like ben affleck and when he is older he will look like richard gear,

elastic back said...

Seamus does look more like Ben Affleck, but you do about Casey Affleck? I can kinda see the Nicholas Cage resemblance, but not as much as the Affleck one.