Some news items on a few legends from different eras caught my eye while digging through a week's worth of email which had accumulated while I was away from the office. Thought I'd offer a little reflection on them, along with a shout to the unknowns out there... -Mark Whiteley
"Hey! Ever done a taildrop guys?"
Stacy Peralta (famed Z-Boy turned behind-the-scenes architect of '80s skate evolution turned documentary film maker) recently announced that his next documentary would be on the classic Bones Brigade crew, the '80s pioneers and media darlings consisting of Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero and Mike McGill via their sponsor Powell-Peralta. By hand-choosing what he saw as the future of skateboarding's elite, Peralta created what was arguably the skate world's first super group, and by then pioneering the entire skate video genre through early productions such as the Bones Brigade Video Show, Future Primitive and the Search For Animal Chin, he launched them into the collective mind of skaters around the world and paved the way for what became the standard mode of showcasing a team's talents, which continues to this day. The combination of the BB's undeniable skills and innovations with Stacy's visionary guidance and image making was profound, and it should be a treat for nostalgic skate nerds everywhere to see the kind of in-depth profiling that Stacy has proven himself capable of with such excellent films as Dogtown and Z-Boys, Riding Giants, and Crips and Bloods: Made In America. Peralta is a somewhat unsung hero in skateboarding who's heavy impact is not always credited, and while the shine of the upcoming doc will certainly and deservingly go to the Brigade members, I'd like to offer a small tip of the hat to a man who engineered so much of what skateboarding became in his wake.
"Meat, straight up meat only."
SLAP has long loved the blogs over at memoryscreened and avisualsound, and memoryscreened has a new interview with Matt Hensley on his five favorite pro models plus some the history behind them. Looking back at his earlier boards summons some of those indescribable full-sensory memories, taking me for a brief moment right back into my mind and life as it was as a pre-teen sponge for skateboarding and all it's details. Seeing his first pro model at my local shop, watching Hocus Pocus in shock, early morning wake-ups to watch Not The New H-Street video and hit the streets with fuel-injected inspiration- Hensley was a such a mind-blower for all street skaters in the late '80s and early '90s that, like many heros you make at a certain age, he can still hold sway over you no matter how much older you grow. In retrospect, the amount of innovation he, and the era in general, brought is astounding- from acid drops and launch ramps to 360 flips and tricks over picnic tables in like two or three years is simply incredible. He took to the land at a time when so many others were still stuck in the sea. Cheers to Hensley for all he brought!
"It's funner, like, when you're a dork."
Heath. Most everybody is publicly weeping pixelated tears of no-homo man love over his departure from professional skateboarding. Not me. Don't get me wrong- it's not because I won't miss his approach or his prowess on board; I will- but personally I think it's fantastic that he realized he's over the life of being a professional skater and has chosen to just walk away from it. So many skaters who never even fully deserved it cling desperately to it because they have nothing else or can see nothing else, and that collective milking of skateboarding has bled some of the lifeblood out of it. Not Heath, though. He has taken the honorable route, the route that is better for himself, the route that is better for the health of skateboarding. I love that he walked away and didn't become a team manager or a deadbeat pro, but instead continued the singular approach to his career that helped make him as beloved as he is. Ride that bike, Heath, and may you find some mental solace somewhere on the road. You've earned it.
And finally, my e-homey Jay Croft at streetcanoe just posted a short video by his buddy and fellow Ohioan Dave Ackels, the latest in the Absorb video series. In addition to some cool snippets of behind-the-scenes at the Alien Workshop, the video features a bunch of Dayton locals just skating. You won't know any of them, or at least I didn't, but it doesn't matter. In it I found the feel that we all know of skating with your friends and just having fun with no agenda on a fall day, when the heated determination of summer sessions has given way to the mellow brotherhood of cruising in autumn. What really clinched it for me was towards the end when a young kid in a black and white flannel is skating down a hill. There's something universal in it, something pure and basic, and it just made me feel happy to have that experience in my marrow. Getting good, getting sponsored, getting famous- all fine and dandy, and if you've got it to get there, more power to you. But just being a skater and knowing that feeling of skating down a hill with your shirt flapping in the wind, well, that's the core. That's for everybody, and that's skateboarding. See below.
That's it for now. It's been awhile since I spouted, so if you made it this far, thanks.