After a sustained period (weeks?) of relative quiet, the skateboarding world has been uploaded with a veritable deluge of heavy viewing. It started a couple of weeks ago with Quasi’s Grand Prairie, and hasn’t let up since.
Quasi Skateboards: GRAND PRAIRIE
A surprise ‘full length’ followed by an even longer ‘credits’ section, Grand Prairie is fantastic. The first half of edited parts harks back to early Alien Workshop output – partly due to Covid-enforced restrictions, partly due to the rarified air breathed by its participants. Most of the team presents footage from their own zone, filmed by their own filmer. This works well in creating a singular vibe for each skater, while still working towards a cohesive whole. Standouts include Bobby Dekeyzer, rookie pro Justin Henry and, shit, everyone else. I really liked Tyler Bledsoe’s part.
I didn’t even watch the last half of the video until just now – but it contains a lot of gold. My favourite parts are when Justin Henry says, ‘I should put the red jacket on,’ and Gilbert yells, ‘Yeeaaahh, put the red jacket on!’; and when Dick Rizzo bombs Tony’s driveway from The Sopranos.
Baker: VIDEO WITH JACOPO!
I was a bit on the fence with this guy until now. And now I freaking love him, are you kidding? What the fuck!? Watching this part is exciting and baffling and fills you with energy you don’t quite know what to do with, in a similar vein to a first viewing of PJ Ladd’s Wonderful, Horrible Life, but with the obvious decades in between and that now I just feel slightly less tired. It’s obviously unfair to compare Jacopo with PJ, but his name keeps coming up in the same sentence. I’ll stop doing it. He’s a wacky-looking fellow and he can sure skate the shit out of that train station, and the rest of a deserted, locked-down Milan. Man, can he skate. Phew.
Krooked: Magic Art Suplyes
A few years back, people started going on and on about how the internet was killing skate videos and everything’s disposable and the sky is falling, wah wahhh. It’s such a good lesson in how to handle change: just relax and go with it, then things will end up being better than how they were before. So here we are in 2021 and a Krooked video still feels like a Krooked video and gives us full parts from a couple of the team who have been filming the most, plus some tricks from a few other riders, and a few Gonz blessings. It’s not tedious or forced, no one has a shit part, they don’t fly to China and have endless stupid ‘b-roll’ of them wearing headphones or standing in front of statues, and I want to watch it again and again. Eddie Cernicky is a master of the dead-eyed stare and the streets of SF; Caleb McNeely skates up things that are supposed to be skated downward (and are actually not supposed to be skated at all); and Mike Anderson handles everything in such a nonchalant and badass manner and I think this may be his defining moment.
ACE Trucks: Our Turn Video
Truck videos rule. They can be as random as hell because obviously there’s no budget and the team is all over the place, so everyone just submits a few tricks and that’s that. They also tend to have terrible soundtracks and fantastic pun titles, and Our Turn is no exception. Highlights include: Deedz getting wild on tight banks, Brian Anderson getting clips in a leather harness, Max Palmer in stunning black and white, some top-notch Ronnie Sandoval bowltime and a serious part from the statuesque Keegan McCutchen.
Toy Machine: Vaccine
Those of us who have been alive for a while know that Toy Machine videos are a genre unto themselves – an indefinable mix of raw ripping, juvenile humour and zine-style aesthetics drawn on the DIY sensibilities of the brand’s creator and all-time great Ed Templeton. Though Ed seems essentially absent these days and has handed production duties to his loyal pawn Don Luong, the Toy vibe remains… sort of. The animations seem a little too slick this time around, the hand-drawn speech bubbles a little forced, Ian Mackaye a little too much on speed dial for music rights. It seems a little formulaic, but maybe that’s just me being old. The skating is obviously psycho, and the whole team comes through, but the video belongs to two of them: young Braden Hoban with his floppy grace and physics-defying double loop grind around the planter box; and new recruit Dashawn Jordan. Dashawn’s footage is next-level and, some would say, decidedly un-Toy Machine, but I disagree. Toy has always been home to overachievers from outside the box (Jamie Thomas, Chad Muska, Brian Anderson, Elissa Steamer, Ed…) and now they have an Olympic athlete who does laser flip to back lip down a handrail. Cheers!