Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Flowers He Left Have All Died

Chity is a video made within Chicago city limits with a part from Pat Binkley. You're welcome to read this whole thing, but that information was all I needed to know to buy this video, which you can do here Let's open the recycled paper sleeve and take a look inside.

For a video indebted to its geographical constraints, Chity fittingly opens with some slightly grainy shots of Chicagoan architecture as the skaters' names appear. Nancy Sinatra sings about living in the past, which relates to how street skating thrives on remastering already mastered landscapes. Depending on whom you're talking to, the Marina City Towers are the corncob shaped pair from Mindfield or Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Manufactured light reflects on water. The first human in this video is a window washer. As the sonic buildup crescendos, the curtain rises and skating enters, first with a trick done up a set of stairs. These Alley Boys skate Frank Lloyd Wright's City at Night, do nose manuals on banks, skitch on busses. These are (white) skaters in their mid twenties with at least a decade of skating under their belts, doing better tricks than ever with a tendency away from verticality and more toward pushing horizontal barriers with the help of the speed and finesse that confidence grants.

A wrecking ball destroys the fourth wall and Elliott Zelinskas starts us off with a wide stance, slighty beatnik look and street gap nollie. A ye ye girl sings over brass and reverb as Elliot continues a line to include a horsedrawn carriage and skates on sidewalk grates as fresh incorporation of anti-terrain. Bright parking garages are sometimes the closest we get to daylight. Sean Culllen joins the party with an outfit so good he filmed multiple lines in it. He does a memorably smooth back tail to fakie and some combination of factors brought Aaron Szott to my mind, though Cullen's hair is longer than the conservative cuts that The Economist favors. This one guest skater is a party boy in white v-neck with both kness ripped out of jeans who does a chill switch line. Zelinskas returns to showcase his back 360 talent in a pair of Wallabees. No complies and back 5-0s receive love and the quality of tricks is high at the end of the part, with a switch front wallride ender at the big, famous wallride sculpture thing that Jackson Hennessey dropped in on. I feel like these guys kick it with girls who go to music shows.

Tucker Philllips and Adam Mills come next. Everyone sessions this concave fountain spot with pleasant results. Ollie over nose manuals are a classic demonstration of commitment and balance. There is a wallie on a tree, another fountain spot, a zip zinger for a rough spot and loud ollie to wallrides on this pulldown grate. Hammer gloves appear when skating a spot with grass in cracks. I cannot overstate how many good ledge spots appear in this video. There is a sick nose bonk, a trick on the Sea Wall, gnarly underpasses, obstacles that were there that day, a gap to nose grind stall, multivelel mannies and combo ledge tricks. The kickflip ender on a mosaic train station entrance is dreamy.

When this lady steps on a board, she wants her hands held so it looks like she's dipping in a slow dance when she loses her balance. Fan favorite G-Baby skates to his theme song from the Dixie Cups. They sing lines like "he's the best" that speak to the action in the part. He skates this cool spot at a Chanel store in a variety of ways. Lizard King, Daniel Lutheran and Conner Champion come to mind as G-Baby doesn't let a grass landing stop him from rolling away from a trick, then back nosegrind reverts a ledge through a flower bed. There's a spot that is the Chicago equivalent of the Garvey Park flatbars. G-Baby grinds up and back down on a bridge support. He does a kickflip bs nosegrind wiggle out that brought Weiss to my mind, The smile on G-Baby's face after Varial heelflipping out of a long back 5-0 is enough to remind anyone nitpicking the cleanliness of his rollaway that he has ended his part with a Van Wastell tribute trick.

You know those metal banks that typically have guards in booths beside them to let the bank down should a car need to pass? Tim Johnson does wallie over one of those to start his part. A few tricks later he does a slappie crooks under a bridge that Janoski would like. Nollie tres are a good look. The low-fi song is a cool change of pace and T.J. does a grind to transfer to the top of the ledge he was grinding. The way buildings loom in the background of lines at night is an effect to exploit. Red sky at night, skater's delight. There is a switch wallie back 5050 on a rainbow ledge then a 5050 down a curve ledge that mine a terrain vein most often explored by Eli Reed. Tan pants and navy blue shirt are a stylish and functional outfit for getting dirty.

Tom Gallagher skates transition in his brief part. He is probably important to the scene and wears a shirt from Yeah Board Shop which a couple other people rep throughout as well.

Austin Whiting wears a Girl t-shirt during a couple of his tricks, which I mention because it is rare to see a logo tee in this video. He does a line at a school named after Federico Garcia Lorca and we turn into a friends section at some point. Some dude with dreads kills it with some big tricks that look great on their own and also sort of highlight how comparatively rare gap and stair skating is in this production. Whiting does a kickflip nose manny under the sculpture of Marilyn Monroe's blowing dress. We see a cellar door that is at once a spot and a symbol. Look for Dan Zvereff. There is a sick nollie heel out of a nose manual. Melcher and Jub would fit right in here but do not appear. This dude who reminds me of Ross Hammerschlag does a sick back 5050 on a rail against a wall and some other daredevilry. I cannot see a lion statute without thinking of Nick Jenson's recent Blueprint photo ad. Nollie back bigspin a skreet gap is a rare trick that looks better here than it could have and there's a big front shove at this multi level spot a lot of dudes skate that looks fun.

Pat Devine skates to some gothic chamber music about Killing Cops, does a back lip kf out, filmed while nursing an injured paw, does a bs noseblunt, probably likes Nestor Judkins, and does a boss bs flip switch manny. He sometimes wears collar under crew neck, likes his bank tricks, does a step off flip up stairs, and has a multi-combo ender at the multi level spot that he deserves a treat for landing.

Now here is the part I have been waiting for, that of PAT BINKLEY. With Lee Hazlewood covering vocals, Pat starts off with a bs ng pop out tribute to Photosynthesis then bsts 270 shove it. He lands a ssbsts in front of a babe. He does a bsng bs 180 out in the middle of the ledge like that one by Danny LeBron's friend in the Best of QS 2011 clip. Binkley wears his hat backwards sometimes, forward sometimes just like he skates regular and switch both with skill. He does a switch heelz up a curb that looks really great, then switch front blunts to switch to remind us that he is really good at ledge tricks most of us never reach the level of attempting. He skates a sweaty grey shirt because it's hot in the summers in Chicago. He skate ledges in the heart of the city, then ledges in the cuts along the El line where instead of getting by on how good the spot looks with some basic trick, Binkley blesses the ledge with a switch bs180 nosegrind back to switch. He wears this red flannel with blue jeans outfit that reminds me of one Marquez wore for some Ziegfeld lines. These are ledge tricks that would be sick on any box taken to manly street spots. There are a couple clips that end with a missed flatground trick, an accurate portrayal of how skaters push fun and demonstration to the limit where rolling proves impossible.

Paul Stacey has long hair and does long ollies. He lands a trick then runs into a tree. He takes us to their Pilsen schoolyard spot with two consecutive 3 up 3 downs. He gets buck on less than ideal manual spots and feels comfortable in harsh industrial spaces. He wears a coach's jacket for some clips like a manual 360 flip, then ollies over this cool cube to drop. He does progressive tricks up consecutive sets of stairs then a wild wallie back biggspin over a jersey barrier. He wears a drug rug while he back heels a street gap, then for his ender does a sick bs flip over another one with obvious speed and shows control on his rollaway.

Ever since Lizard King dedicated his Deathwish Nose Yank to Satan, this maneuver has been deemed an acceptable intro to a skate part by the Dark Lords of Gnar so long as further carnage ensues.

And lest you think these boys would let a whole video go by without a rap song, Dalba enters the picture skating to 2pac when he is more pissed off than he is on Hit Em Up.

Dalba is the skate game's brawling bareknuckled boxer who is an ideal Chicago figure straight from a shift at the stockyards that Norman Mailer wishes he hadn't died before having a chance to watch skate. Dalba manhandles spots with a taut brutal strength befitting a 4 wheeled acrobat clad in cut off shirts and cut off jeans. He does switch bonelesses shiny with sweat and rarely misses a chance to grab or nosepick. For some reason, I had always associated nosepicks more with a pick axe than with picking one's nose. He has a motorcycle tow him so he can do a long early grab. He is the type of American about whom John Phillip Sousa would have written an anarchic march. He wouldn't be out of place in a Natural Koncepts or GG Allin video. He does fearless rooftop shit to make Zarosh proud, some multi-level ledge combos that Mike Mo would respect and some shit from sources as mysterious as spring water. Call his last trick what you want, we know an ender when we see it and the curtains close with the Chity logo Stamp of Approval.

The credits feature guest skater names and song information to help us sort out the past 28 minutes. Pat Franklin was in there, one of the songs was by Ennio Morricone and lifestyle clips show the glue that held this production together. A joint of marijuana appears, a 4wheeler wheelies, someone chops a board in two, someone else twists out a sweat soaked shirt, a skater exectues a darkslide, and there are some encounters with babes that lead to make outs. Haven't you always wanted to jump in the passenger side of a Fed Ex truck since there's no door and take a ride.

In summary, Chity is a really chill video, a landmark portrayal of of the city destined to be a classic in the manner of A Midwest VIdeo. This excellent documentation of what America's Second City has to offer skaters will inspire visitation plans from all who take the time to view. Everyone's part is beyond competent and creative in a way that such a vast city allows. On a first watching, it may be difficult to remember which white skater was doing which tricks where, but differences emerge after the repeated viewings this video encourages.

Bonus features conveniently split between Travel footage, Wilson Park footage, and G-baby's footage collection.