I Love New York: DeathBowl to Downtown

There is no city on this earth like New York City. As much as I love Washington D.C. there is no place that resembles the living chaos of New York. Top to bottom and back to front the concrete and glass fused walls drip a original flavor onto the asphalt like you’ve never seen before. If Los Angeles is about looking pretty and being seen in the scene then New York still feels it’s more about getting the job done when it comes to skating.

When I first caught wind of Death Bowl to Downtown Coan and Rick’s of NCP Film’s latest project I got excited. No, actually I got real excited. yes, I was one of those guys who obsessed over ‘Fruit of the Vine’. From a film perspective it was raw but they captured a story and a tale and it was gooooood. The only analogy that comes to mind is similar to the first time you hear a band that blows you away. There’s a very good chance it’s so raw because they don’t know what the fuck they’re doing. But, their emotion, their want and their feelings permeate the music. That is what you feel… you feel what the bands feeling. Strong possibility ‘fruit of the Vine’ had the same effect on a new generation of pools skaters.

Nine years have passed since they pulled that film together and now DeathBowl to Downtown takes center stage. I’m looking forward to this as much because, in their films, NCP Film’s make the environment a character. Whether it’s a pool, a trip through the North West or a Vagabond run through Australia the rich visuals of the surroundings are pulled in with you.

If you are in new York this weekend check out the public showings of the corresponding exhibit at the Etnies show room. Hope to see you there.

All That Blogs Skating is Not Gold

Yesterday EXPN ran a nice little round up on the skating blogosphere. It was, how shall I say, adequate. For the first time visitor this may seem like me railing against ESPN and their X games Branded channel EXPN. Sure, I’ve taken shots at the X Games in the past. Yes, I did think them canceling a skate vert competition was stupid. Do I think they are the anti-christ? No, absolutely not. Love them or hate them you can trace a portion of the action sports explosion in the 90’s to the X Games. But, back to the task at hand … the EXPN skate wrap up. All I can say is EXPN, in the immortal words of Jacopo Peterman: “congratulations on a job … done.” You’ve successfully mailed this one in.

Highlighting four sites: Quartersnacks, Platinum Seagulls, 48 Blocks and The Berrics was great. Each one of those sites is amazing in it’s own right. Each one has a unique perspective and great content. All of it falls down a very professional and localized point of view. Honestly, you can’t ask for much more. Except the fact that these are four of the most well known sites out there for skaters.

I’m going down the anecdotal path here. I am neither hip, nor cool, nor will somebody come to me looking for the latest trends. Therefor, if I know some good sites to check out skate content …you can bet your ass everybody else has found them months if not years in advance. Couldn’t you take 15 minutes and cruise through the Slap message boards to actually find links to what skaters are checking out? Hell a few links off Skate Daily wouldn’t have hurt you.

The most important piece missing here though is that even though the content on your sites is great … we know what we’re getting. After a few visits the content forms a pattern. Come back a couple of more times and the pattern has evolved. Look at South of the North for instance, my product design geek side writes about sneakers, boards, and engineering. The content nerd part of me writes about how you are mailing it in … come to think of it maybe I write because I care. Nah, that can’t be it.

Here’s what it is: once the pattern evolves nobody takes chances and nobody is willing to speak their mind. That’s pretty sad for skateboarding which build it’s identity on the back of individuals who would not conform. I say dive into sites like You will Soon, the recent issue of Vapors, the ongoing adventures of Gareth Stehr or Bobby Worrest’s slightly creepy blog. Sure, you might not be overwhelmed every time but I guarantee there won’t be a method to the madness.

Drawing a comparison… would you want to go skate the same five spots every day? I doubt it.
Let it get weird and let it be random. Don’t distill skateboarding into categories of good because somebody has access to a three chip digital camera and pro tools. OK, enough ranting in the wee small hours. Time to pass out.