Rodney Mullen visited the Smithsonian (on invitation) as part of the Lemelson Center’s informal initiative to build relationships with skateboarding’s innovators. Your response may be “What the what?” Or at least, what is the Lemelson Center and why do they care about skateboarding? Technically, it’s the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, and it was established in 1995 under the larger umbrella of the Smithsonian Institution. But why skateboarding? According to deputy director Jeff Brodie:
Most associate invention and innovation with technology and science, but the Center often explores other unexpected places where invention and innovation flourishes—like skateboarding. This wide exploration is critical to fostering an appreciation for the central role invention and innovation play in the history of the United States. It also makes our work extremely interesting, fun, and exciting as we meet, collaborate, and explore the world of invention and innovation with all types of people.
And it doesn’t end with Rodney Mullen’s interview. They are planning an event to coincide with National Go Skateboarding Day called Innoskate, which will be “a major public festival that will celebrate invention and creativity in skate culture.” Watch Rodney’s interview and read a little bit about what happened behind the scenes thanks to our spy in the Smithsonian Betsy Gordon. (Thanks Betsy!)
I love watching old footage of skateboarding on TV, and it has nothing to do with the abundance of mustaches. This is almost 20 minutes of an ABC broadcast of the Catalina Classic from 1977, uploaded by someone at NHS who has resurrected the Roadrider brand. The cast of characters in these events is no more cartoonish than you’d find at today’s events, but man the 70′s were corny. Downhill, slalom and freestyle are shown, with a bunch of names you’ll recognize if you follow skateboard history, or even had a subscription to Thrasher in the first few years. The slalom guys had it dialed in, but the downhill guys (I’m going to catch flack for this) look like they would get smoked by today’s downhill crew with all the speed wobbles in evidence. Those guys need sails. Check it out after the jump.
- Thanks to Matthijs for the tip
If you’re a regular reader you know we cover skateable architecture here, even when it’s only marginally so. Many skaters have/had the adolescent fantasy of being rich enough to design your own house and make everything skateable, but nobody has really done it. I imagine if you find yourself in a situation where skateboarding is paying for your custom house, you’d probably want a bit of a break from it. Pierre Andre via Etnies funded a small prototype of a a design by architect Gil Le Bon Delapointe (scroll down). It features furniture from the Skate House Study collection. if it gets built it will certainly trump a certain domicile in Athens, Greece. The protoype was part of the Public Domaine show in Paris, France, the same one with the clever video of board graphics. Check out the action video and interview with the architect after the jump.
- Thanks to Marek for the tip.
Well some things you don’t think will ever make a comeback, but Killian Martin is at it again in another video from Bret Novak, who’s accepting donations to put towards the series. There’s some interesting moves in there, and I know you will enjoy it because absolutely everyone that visits SnA is open minded and has no hangups about how other people skate….
- Thanks to Ted Schwallie for the tip.
Two groups of dinosaurs in two Pacific Northwest cities are trying to scrape up enough DNA to clone respective skate facilities back from the dead. In Portland, our own GVK is trying to spearhead a grass roots movement to get a vert ramp built in Portland. Meanwhile, there’s a freestyle/flatground enthusiast in Seattle who is trying to get a wide, smooth, flat surface for practicing some sort of discipline known as “freestyle slalom.” So here is the petri dish, leave your lab results in the comments. The image for this post? It’s a Mark Teague illustration from a Jane Yolen children’s book titled How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends?
Oh you kids and your mash-ups. Check out this vid from Brett Novak, you know, Skateboarding Visual Effects Artist Extraordinaire? The skating on this is a mix of 70′s freestyle, 80′s streetstyle and well, 90′s freestyle meets modern street skating. Heck, there are even some moments to make Dan Gesmer proud. There will be haters, but you can not deny the creativity and skill. And seriously, I was completely joking about yesterday’s freestyle post. I have nothing against Rodney Mullen, at least he’s not lying about it being impossible to make good skateboards in North America. I respect his talents though. I thought it was funny that the two biggest things my son took away from the Bone Brigade Video whenshow were Lance Mountain (his favorite part is where he rides the tricycle) and the Mullen frestyling. He was pretty fascinated, and kept asking “What is he doing?” Kill your idols and watch the new blood, Kilian Martin after the jump. Doubters? How about a Primo slide off a handful of steps?
- Thanks to Eric Cherry for the tip.
That’s that last time I let my kid watch the Bones Brigade Video Show. Sure, he knows who Lance Mountain is, and he gets gets a kick out of knowing that Lance has been to the same skatepark, but then he’s also demonstrating a strange fascination with Mullen’s footage. He’s only four. Maybe it’s just a phase.
I like to thank people who send in tips, and include a link for them if they have one. I curse Stephen Slappe for sending me this tip. I’ll never get back all the time I wasted researching this. The clip that’s making the rounds is from Everything is Terrible, a web site that is like watching Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job, only with real footage. Colby the Computer googlizes into a thousand references to Colby’s Clubhouse, a Christian children’s show with a talking, evangelizing computer. However, episode guides omits this gem of a clip. In fact, the only time “skateboard” shows up is in another episode called “Helping the Missionaries,” where a kid wants people send him money so he can buy a skateboard. Colby’s Playhouse ran from 1995 to 2000, but this rapping freestyle-filled episode is definitely 80′s, and has an entirely different production value than every Colby’s Clubhouse. Everything is Terrible is all about the video without explanation or insight. Terribly entertaining, but frustrating if you want the back story. It was maddening trying to find this episode, but eventually the explanation turned up on totalschwarr! This is an episode of Colby’s Place, titled Skateboard for Sale. It features freestyle “legend” Andre Walton. I have to be honest, I didn’t remember ever hearing his name, but he turned up on Sk8Kings.com, and oddly enough, friend of the site Danimal had one of his “Arise” decks as mentioned on EPM. EIT has a slightly skewed verion of the clip. I did manage to find a longer version as well.
- Thanks to Stephen Slappe for the tip.
Wow. I can’t believe this one flew under my radar for so long, but it was released a mere year after Thrashin’. I’m not sure what this movie is about, but it’s got two Playboy Playmates and a skateboarding goon (Hey! that’s Russ Howell?1) who meets a spectacular untimely demise. Is it because he’s doing handstands down the middle of a highway, or because he’s spinning 360′s with an inflatable doll? Both valid reasons, to be sure, but not there are other extenuating circumstances. Playmates are well known for their acting chops, so you know this clip is… not going to feature them.
- Thanks to Skate D for the tip.