disposable 2: in stores now
The other day, I was pleased to see that Sean Cliver had finally gotten around to publishing a sequel to the epic tome Disposable. In addition to functioning as one of the classic "research laboratory" books of all time, it serves as a narrative of the rise of World Industries and its zeitgeist as expressed through the graphics of Cliver and McKee, primarily. Hand in hand with that, of course, goes the parallel narrative of Cliver's inevitable departure from Powell and the subsequent "war" between Powell and Rocco. Oddly enough, this summer Blind and Powell entrenched themselves and declared war once more--the video wars, that is. It would be a lot more dramatic if videos "mattered" moreso than whatever is on the berrics on any given day. It should be noted that it is 2009. Steve Berra and Nike control the industry. Once again, this in irrefutable proof that we live in some kind of crazy Futureworld.
ANYWAY, first, a little prologue. A few weeks ago, I went skating after work when one of those epic early summer thunderstorms struck the spot. If you are unfamiliar with mid-Atlantic regional weather patterns, there are two of them 'round this time of the year:
1. hot and humid as fuck
So, I paid a visit to the shop. Down the block, the video premier for the latest Powell video offering was letting out--the same theater as the Fallen premier and the Mind Field premier about which I did not write.
The title of the video itself encapsulates just one of the reasons why I hate this company. It just seems kind of disingenuous, and also suspiciously like a shot aimed at Ty:
"Hey, we used to be this big shitty generic corporate company. NOT ANYMORE! WE'RE ALL ABOUT HAVING FUN SKATING! Not like those other dudes with their big super serious video productions! No ART here! Art isn't fun =(. Jumping down stuff is fun!! Powell are the fun dudes now! The shoe is on the other foot!! FUN. You know--like jumping down stuff.
As sometimes happens with this kind of event, attendees received stickers--1 ft.-in-diameter stickers with the Powell logo. You know, this thing:
I threw up a little in my mouth. As we all know, kids love stickers. However, they did not have the same violent reaction to Powell promotional material as I did. I saw some bros and they asked me "Hey, did you go to the video premier?"
"Nah I hate that company." They laughed, but I was dead fucking serious. I hated, and still hate Powell.**
By all accounts, their video is "sick," contains decent enough skating, and the ender ender is one of the more "extreme" frontside tailslides ever executed by a human being on this planet. However, I will never watch said video in its entirety, and most certainly will never by psyched on it. Why? For the same reason a Red Sox fan will always hate the Yankees. Even though World is, in essence, a shoe company now, I still retain allegiance to dwindle, and, by extension, blind and almost. It's still fuckin' Daewon, Rodney, plus the evolutionary Henry Sanchez*:
However, while Powell is still corporate and generic, so is World, or whatever corporate entity it has become. Twenty years after functioning as a canvas for Mark Gonzales' artistic "weirdness," and 15 years after having the sickest lineup(Creager, Milton, McBride, Sanchez) of any company ever, blind has somehow transmogrified into Digital Skateboarding: The Board Company.
To the kids at the aforementioned video premier, Powell is just another company with dudes that are good. No different from blind. Why do I retain a world view that is twenty years old?
I think it's because, just like the Red Sox and Yankees have changed, once one is a fan, according to Bill Simmons' rules of being a fan (which are somewhere out there on the internet) you can never switch. Even though the team 100% changes from the badass quality that made you dig them in the first place. Let's continue this analogy via baseball. Even though I am a Met fan, I will use the Red Sox as an example because I backed them hard as fuck in their battles against the Yankees in the first half of this decade. The Red Sox up uptil 2005 exhibited a badassness that was never more apparent than this epic battle that occured during the 2003 ALCS. I think I listened to most of it on WFAN. This was one of those events that, as one watches it unfold, one mentally repeats to onesself "I can't fucking believe this is happening and how fucking awesome it is." Kind of like the Pistons/Pacers thing.
Usually, though, the end of whatever made the team cool begins when one dude (Johnny Damon) moves on for more money. Then they bring in another dude that is super fucking good but doesn't really fit in, but the dudes kind of accept it because he's super fucking good (Matsuzaka). Pretty soon almost all of the original dudes are gone. However, you can't stop backing them, because sometimes they show that spark of why you were fucking psyched on them in the first place.
Creager does that. The next time a summer afternoon thunderstorm throws a monkey wrench in your plans, spend an evening revisiting his body of work: Cocktails. Superconductor Supercollider. 20 Shot. RvD1. RvD2. Memikmati. What If. I think that's everything; I might have omitted Gullwing: Revival. And this summer's offering, the creatively titled The Blind Video. I guess they decided against Blind - The Video: filmed on Earth - The Planet. Before we get to Creager's part, specifically, as a whole, I stand by my contention that The Blind Video harkens back to Trilogy with its sometimes shitty filming (think Clyde f/s heel over table), haphazard 80's-centric music supervision, loose clothing, and tech-for-tech's sake ethos (think Maurice Darshien Key sw f/s heel t/s). Danny Cerezini skates like an amalgamation of Photosynthesis-era Appleyard and Paul Rodriguez. Okay, if that's too hyperbolic, maybe Rodriguez with more creative trick selection. For example, you think he's going to go nollie n/s down that one hubba but he goes nollie bluntslide. By the way, Cerezini also maintains a blog, which is kind of interesting. I guess he didn't get the industry-wide memo re: self-promotion via "twitter." If I was into that sort of thing and set my mind to following some shit, I would follow kelch, york, nick t., whoever the fuck else...it would be just like hanging out under the wave. Trip the fuck out.
ANYWAY, Laitiala cuts down on the happy feet from that Digital part when he skated to "Blue Monday" (again--fucking amazing music supervision) and switch hardflips that big-ass set of stairs in Barcelona with the urgency of a Finnish commando defending the border against Soviet invaders. James Craig is, like, "one of us" so it's always sick to see what he comes up with. However, for my money, it's all about Creager and how he, by skating local spots in, I presume, Arizona, continues the pattern he established in 1992 by existing outside of time, which is kind of what this site is all about. Either ahead of, behind, or beyond, as shown by this unscientific chart:
Even though, by setting up shop in Arizona, Creager seems to have eschewed the industry in general, he has pursued other avenues to keep his shit out there. Specifically, his youtube channel shows that he's smart enough to know that "kids today" don't go to actual retail facilities to purchase and watch videos--they pretty much just watch what's out there. It's also a good destination if you need that extra "push over the cliff" to land that b/s tail double flip out or whatever the fuck. This particular video, however, captured my imagination, documenting Creager's construction of some kind of miniramp with a ledge in the middle. It also inspired the "retirement community" comment in the previous post. Truth be told, once I put in my 30, i would certainly agree to ride out my golden years in such an abode. Also of note: Creager, the small-wheel, skinny-board, fakie-360-flip-manual dude, wields power tools more effectively than a certain mute-grabbing, wall-planting, vintage trans-am driving, breaking-all-the-rules former resident of Edison, NJ and fellow former Rocco employee.
Draw your own conclusions.
*as astutely noted by some dude on SLAP
**that Mark Suciu kid is good as shit, though--he should be on a better company.
ps. if Creager ever created music, it would probably sound like this. or Dream Theater.