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10 minutes with Tony Hawk
01.06.2015
12:37 pm

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Tony Hawk is synonymous with skateboarding, a living, breathing human trademark for his sport. An icon, he’s also a brand, running a business empire with tentacles in video games, amusement park rides, action sports exhibitions and his new YouTube channel, RIDE, which features Hawk himself in “Tony’s Strange Life.” He’s also known for his philanthropic activities, helping to build skateparks in low-income areas with his Tony Hawk Foundation, which has given away more than $3.4 million to help construct over 400 parks around the US.

We sat with Tony Hawk and asked a few questions about where he’s been and where he’s going next.

I’ve read that you were a really hyperactive child and that discovering skating helped you burn off that excessive energy. Is this why it’s so important for your charity to build skateparks in needy communities? So that other kids might find that same kind of focus you found through skating?

Tony Hawk: Yes, but it’s also important to me because I grew up near one of the last remaining skatepark of the ‘80s and I only realized later how lucky I was. It was a huge part of my life and gave me the opportunity to practice my passion, while spending time and sharing ideas with other skaters. I want to help provide the same type of opportunities and facilities for youth in difficult areas.

How do you tame that same hyperactivity today as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in sports? What keeps you centered and on target at this stage of your life?

My kids. Keeping up with them while trying to manage a career in skateboarding is a constant challenge. But I enjoy the challenges that being an “elder” skater and entrepreneur provide. It’s a whole new era of skateboarding and I am living the dream.

Sponsorships are obviously a large part of the business of Tony Hawk and you’ve always had A-list companies behind you. Tell me about some of those relationships. For example, you’ve worked with Nixon for a long time. How did that come about?

I have always admired Nixon‘s products and marketing, even before I was sponsored by them. I might be the only skater that begged my way onto the team, and I am proud to fly the Nixon flag in all my endeavors; they truly understand our culture. 

What’s the project that’s currently got you the most excited?

My next video game, coming out in late 2015 for newer consoles. It’s already looking on point.

Sponsored by Nixon

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Kubrick didn’t fake the moon landing, but Led Zeppelin DID fake playing Madison Square Garden, 1973
11.21.2014
08:36 pm

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Japanese poster for ‘The Song Remains the Same,’ 1976
 
True or false: The performances from The Song Remains the Same, the concert film that supposedly documents Led Zeppelin’s 1973 Madison Square Garden shows weren’t actually filmed at Madison Square Garden?

Mostly true!

It’s not exactly a secret but it’s neither something that seems to be widely known by the general public, or even most Led Zeppelin fans for that matter. Now I’m not trying to imply here that Led Zeppelin didn’t even play Madison Square Garden for three nights in late July of 1973, because of course they did and The Song Remains the Same‘s original director, Joe Massot (Wonderwall) was there with a camera crew trained on them when they did. This much is not being disputed.

The problem was, as the group and their manager Peter Grant found out only after they’d fired Massot from the project, is that he’d gotten inadequate—practically unusable—coverage that wouldn’t sync properly or cut. Some great shots but nothing that could be used to create an edited sequence.

Grant brought in Aussie director Peter Clifton, the guy they probably should have hired in the first place, to see what could made from this mess, but the initial prognosis looked pretty grim until Clifton suggested reshooting the entire running order of the Madison Square Garden show on Madison Square Garden’s stage… recreated at Shepperton Studios in England!

Everyone assumes they’re watching the group at MSG, but in reality what we are watching (for the most part) is Led Zeppelin rocking out on a soundstage in Surrey, southeast of London. Without an audience.
 

 
On a playback screen, the band could watch themselves in the earlier footage—keeping their movements and positions in roughly the same general areas—and play along to the MSG soundtrack. So what we mostly see in the finished film are Clifton’s close-ups and medium distance footage of the band members shot at Shepperton, but intercut with Massot’s footage of the trappings of MSG, wide shots, shots framed from behind the band towards the audience and so forth.

Once you know all this, it’s screamingly obvious what was shot where.

Complicating matters for Clifton, John Paul Jones had recently cut his hair short (he’s wearing a wig in the Shepperton footage) and Robert Plant’s teeth had been fixed since the New York City shows the year before.

Jimmy Page spilled the beans in the May 2008 issue of Uncut Magazine,

“I’m sort of miming at Shepperton to what I’d played at Madison Square Garden, but of course, although I’ve got a rough approximation of what I was playing from night to night, it’s not exact. So the film that came out in the ‘70s is a bit warts-and-all.”

This little known behind-the-scenes story of the making of The Song Remains the Same is barely touched upon in some of the major books about Led Zeppelin—but in Chris Welch’s 2001 biography Peter Grant: The Man who Led Zeppelin, the story is told in greater detail, finishing thusly:

As far as Grant and Zeppelin were concerned, the movie song had ended. But they left behind smouldering resentments among the filmmakers and a few puzzles for movie buffs. Says Peter Clifton: “If you look at the credits they wrote something very interesting. ‘Musical performances were presented live at Madison Square Garden.’ It was somewhat ambiguous because the film was obviously done somewhere else!”

When he was asked about the provenance of the ‘live’ shots of Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden, Peter Grant did admit that they had indeed shot some material at Shepperton studios, recreating the same stage set while the band donned the same clothes they wore at the actual gig. “Yes, we did,” he said. “But we didn’t shout about the fact.”

See for yourself:
 

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Dollar Shave Club Wants To Shave You Time & Money
11.14.2014
09:40 am

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Brought to you by Dollar Shave Club

Think of all the other things you could be doing instead of wasting time at the store buying overpriced razors. You could learn a new language. You could bake a cake. Or you could finally finish that novel you’ve been working on.

Don’t worry, Dollar Shave Club has you covered. They deliver amazing razors for just a few dollars. They’ve just released four hilarious new commercials, which will soon be all over your television. The commercials showcase the frustrating and primitive experience that is buying overpriced razors at the store.

If you’re not one of the million members of Dollar Shave Club that benefit from never having to step inside a store to buy razors, these spots should definitely hit home. 

Upgrade to the smarter way to shave. Get amazing razors delivered to your door for just a few bucks. Try the Club.
 

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Tales of Mischief, Revelry, and Whiskey: The Accidental Undertaker
10.30.2014
07:15 pm

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Tierney manages the New Orleans bar that her grandfather started forty years ago and ran until his death in 2001, but he’s always watching over her, literally from above the bar, where an urn of his ashes rests, as requested in his last will and testament.

But Tierney’s grandfather is not the only one to find his final resting place in her family’s French Quarter saloon, as you will find out in “Accidental Undertaker.”

Tierney’s tale is part of Jack Daniel’s sprawling new interactive project The Few & Far Between: Tales of Mischief, Revelry, and Whiskey. The website collects fantastic, often bust-a-gut funny anecdotes and strangely poetic, colorful stories that have taken place in America’s favorite watering holes, saloons and dive bars.

Jack Daniel’s is partnering with VICE to promote a photo contest. The winning image of an American bar will be featured in a future Jack Daniel’s ad in an upcoming issue of VICE magazine. More information at www.talesofwhiskey.com.
 

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Jack Daniel’s Bar Stories: Donna makes eye contact
10.29.2014
10:15 am

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They say that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” but behind the glitz, glamour and sleaze of the Vegas strip (literally right behind it, out of view) there’s the even more lawless underbelly of “Sin City,” that well-worn part of town now often referred to as “Old Vegas.”

It is against this less than glamorous backdrop that we hear Donna’s tale… ¡Eye, caramba!

(Trust me, there is no way, none, that you are expecting the punchline.)

Donna’s outrageous story is part of Jack Daniel’s sprawling new interactive project The Few & Far Between: Tales of Mischief, Revelry, and Whiskey. The website collects fantastic, often bust-a-gut funny anecdotes and strangely poetic, colorful stories that have taken place in America’s favorite watering holes, saloons and dive bars.

Jack Daniel’s is partnering with VICE to promote a photo contest. The winning image of an American bar will be featured in a future Jack Daniel’s ad in an upcoming issue of VICE magazine. More information at www.talesofwhiskey.com.
 

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Jack Daniel’s Tales of Mischief, Revelry, and Whiskey: The Babysitter’s Club
10.27.2014
03:06 pm

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We’ve all had a “shaggy dog story” inflicted upon us by a convivial stranger in a bar. You know, the sort of tale with a long windup, lots and lots of detail and then an improbable, or even completely and utterly pointless ending.

In “The Babysitter’s Club,” another installment of Jack Daniel’s The Few & Far Between: Tales of Mischief, Revelry, and Whiskey, we hear Jimmy Sweetwater’s shaggy duck story and learn the lesson that when easy money just seems too easy, there’s usually a catch. And if walks like a duck and talks like a duck... well, let’s Jimmy explain.

Jimmy’s story is part of Jack Daniel’s sprawling new interactive project which collects fantastic, often bust-a-gut funny anecdotes and strangely poetic, colorful stories that have taken place in America’s favorite watering holes, saloons and dive bars.

Jack Daniel’s is partnering with VICE to promote a photo contest. The winning image of an American bar will be featured in a future Jack Daniel’s ad in an upcoming issue of VICE magazine. More information at www.talesofwhiskey.com.
 

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Title Shots: Luke Rockhold
09.30.2014
05:08 pm

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Luke Rockhold
 
In this episode of “Moving Portraits: Title Shots,” we travel to Santa Cruz to learn how a lifetime of surfing and skating has shaped middleweight Luke Rockhold’s fighting style.

If you’ve ever spent any time in a California coastal town, you’ve probably noticed dozens of people heading for the beach to surf every morning at sunrise. It’s like they have to be there. Ever known a surfer who you wouldn’t describe as an adrenaline junkie? The thrill that comes from riding the breaks seems mighty addictive.

Surfing is the ultimate man against nature sport. The ultimate man against man sport—at least that which doesn’t involve actual weaponry—is mixed martial arts and Luke Rockhold, has mastered both. He’s also a skater and believes that it is his agility on the waves and on his deck informs his fighting style and stance.

Rockhold grew up surfing in Santa Cruz with his father and older brother pro surfer Matt “Rocky” Rockhold (long the face of Rip Curl). The waves there spawn the world’s best surfers, but as he mentions in the video below, Santa Cruz may appear to be a sleepy idyllic place, but it’s a fairly hard town, especially the beaches which can get very territorial between groups of surfers.

Luke Rockhold seems to have channeled his need for that adrenaline rush with his professional aspirations. As he admits in the portrait below, he was a wild and crazy, aggressive violent kid. Today the former Strikeforce Champion is #5 in the official Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight rankings.

On November 8th, Rockhold will be battling it out with British MMA fighter Michael Bisping at UFC’s UFC Fight Night 55 at the Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia. If their hilariously shit-talking press conference is any indication, it ought to be a doozy!
 

 
Sponsored by Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

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Win a signed Santana guitar from Sony Music Latin
09.24.2014
09:04 am

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For five decades Carlos Santana has been considered one of the world’s greatest guitarists, possessing a distinctly clear tone that is as unique as a human voice. In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) Sony Music Latin is sponsoring a contest to win a signed guitar from the man himself.

Aspiring guitarists and fans alike, enter your email to win the signed guitar below and get signed up to receive news from top Latin artists as well.
 

 

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The Physically Alive Architecture of Paul Laffoley
08.12.2014
12:00 pm

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The work of Boston-based visionary artist and architect Paul Laffoley has been exhibited extensively in recent years including major museum shows in London, Paris, Berlin and Seattle. His oeuvre is informed by fringe science, a degree in architecture from Harvard and the occult. In 2009 Laffoley was awarded a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for Creative Arts.  Next year an extensive catalogue raisonné of his art is set to be published.

Paul Laffoley’s work can be categorized into several different strands: His architectural pieces which are comparable to schematics or blueprints; his inventions of apparently far out sci-fi devices (keep in mind that every single thing Jules Verne dreamed up eventually came to pass); his plans for a working time machine and for a “living” plant house that would be grown from a single seed.

The artist claims that his “Das Urpflanze Haus” will help solve the worldwide housing crisis.
 

 
How did the idea of physically alive architecture first occur to you?

I don’t… I don’t recall… (pauses) I was thinking of how to make a link all the way from Earth to the Moon and I realized that it would have to be something which was self-repairing. Something like that would always be getting hit by asteroids and space debris, so only something alive could self-repair if you were gonna do that. Fixing it would just be too impractical.

Vegetation connects to itself and grafts to its own kind. That’s how vegetables survive, by sending out rhizomes in times of danger and becoming a single plant. The German poet Goethe was fascinated by the idea that there existed an ur-plant that could connect, or graft, all of the plants on Earth together as one big worldwide plant, but he never found it. The name “Das Urpflanze Haus” is a tribute to him. But the primordial plant, something that’s been around since the Jurassic period, is Gingko Biloba—kept alive by monks in their gardens—which has DNA common to every plant living today. The link to the Moon would be constructed from shapes like Buckminster Fuller’s spheres, but they would have to be alive, to be plants. They would have to be grafted together. There would, of course, also have to be a water source.

And then I started thinking that if something like that is going to be built to go to the moon, what could we do on Earth, and that’s where the idea came from. You might use bamboo in some parts of the home, for tensile strength—think of the plants as building materials—and a different kind of plant to thatch the roof, but they would all be joined—grafted together—and have a common root system. After you would make the first vegetable house, it would go to seed and then you could grow more.

Didn’t you run this concept past Buckminster Fuller himself at some point? What was his reaction?

Yes (laughs). It was 1980 and I was a member of the World Future Society. We went to Florence and I did a presentation on this that got absolutely no reaction. I couldn’t sleep and I went down to the hotel lobby and there was Fuller, who couldn’t sleep either and so I presented him with my idea to build a link to the Moon and I asked “Don’t you think this should be a living creature and not a mechanical model?” and he agreed, but eventually I must’ve cured his insomnia because he fell asleep right there in the lobby. The next day he avoided me like the plague!

More after the jump…

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Sinkane’s Jason Trammell on playing the drums and musical craftsmanship
05.06.2014
01:39 pm

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North Carolina native Jason Trammell began collecting records when he was a kid, first buying 45s at the local mall before becoming a full-fledged vinyl junkie and obsessive music fan (with the encouragement of his parents). Along the way he also picked up the drums and a keen interest in the mechanics of audio design and film soundtrack work that serves him well in his career as a drummer for Brooklyn-based group Sinkane and as an electronic dance music remixer.

In this short video profile, Trammell shows the camera around his apartment (and part of his floor-buckling record collection) and rehearsal space and he discusses the passionate craftsmanship that goes into creating his music. Tonight in San Francisco at the Warfield and Thursday at the Greek in Los Angeles, you can catch Jason playing live with Sinkane as part of the big David Byrne-led musical celebration, “Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeabor”
 

 
This sponsored post is brought to you by Ketel One.

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