Apr 11, 2009

Mini-Ramps Slain by Illinois Man.

The217 put up this fantastic little web video of our favorite granite worker TJ Henderson, shredding coping, deck, and tranny like it's 1994. I take it Skanks is the name of the skatepark.

Bmxboard loves this guy.

Feb 5, 2009

For the Grandparents.

Been working on this for a while. New video of our beloved daughter Markie, eighteen months old.

Click the button in the bottom right to go full-screen...

Feb 3, 2009

The Bins.

In earlier chapters of my life, I spent a lot of hours here. Visited last night for the first time in a while and shot some photos, something I've wanted to do for years.

"The Bins" is the colloquial name for the massive Goodwill outlet store just beyond Portland's southern border. It's where items that fail to sell in the store get a last shot before being routed to the third world as a corporate tax write-off. You rummage through the blue bins and pay for most items by the pound. It's just the kind of rare, cool, grimy, authentic place that can never stay unknown for long. For Portlanders, the place is old news, but I've not heard of another place like it anywhere. Up until a few years ago, the facilities were housed in a comically run-down warehouse, with a permanent homeless encampment on the banks of the creek that ran by the parking lot.

The new location shares the same pricing structure, but gone is much of the original charm: it's safe, well lit, clean(er), and organized. Still, it's an unusual place, worth visiting for people-watching or occasional good deals.

Books go fifty cents a paperback, a dollar for hardbound. That price seems steep to me, because not five years ago, the prices were half that. Here, Jaime digs for kids' books. It's mostly just Bibles, cookbooks, textbooks, Danielle Steele, and John Grisham. But good stuff trickles through.

After a while, the bin is removed and another is wheeled in, sort of like turning a compost heap. Folks line up in anticipation...

... Then start throwing elbows. Pretty weak photos, I admit. But they're the only photos I've ever seen, since cameras aren't allowed inside.

Many hardcore shoppers seem to be immigrants, looking for scores that can be flipped for a profit. Some come every day. I've never taken it too seriously as a place for necessities (What do I need anyway?), but my cousin Paul and I were, for a time, obsessed with hoarding other people's personal ephemora: photos, journals, home movies, letters, etc. Last time I moved away from Portland, I took two full cardboard boxes filled with the lives of people I'd never met. Eventually I took the time to weed through it, photographed everything, jettisoned all but the meatiest pieces. I think I sent someone's orthodontic retainer to bmxboarder DBZ in the mail. Paul still possesses, to the best of my knowledge, probably the most impressive score: a private vhs sex tape of two homely biker wives.

Looking for that kind of junk was always a pretty relaxed venture, just sifting through the detritus.

For a decade now, the fellow below has been the arch-nemesis of the record collectors in my family. A regular fixture at the Bins, he gathers up all the desirable vinyl in the entire building, loads his cart, and then listens to each album on a portable record player brought from home. According to family musical authority Gary Kyle and his sidekick, my uncle Tim, the guy makes no purchase decisions until listening to every last item in his cart.

Click this last image to go big. Solid State.

I don't know if he's a businessman or recreational collector. But it seems like kind of a dreamy life to me. He didn't mind having his picture taken.

Mainstream media coverage here, some interesting reviews on Yelp.com, and a blog post from my cousin Connor.

Jan 31, 2009

Reviewed: Summer Sundays by Ryan Hoey

Another late review for a video that's already kind of out-of-production and probably available to watch online; but my intentions with these reviews are more historical than anything. What I mean is, Google "Summer Sundays by Ryan Hoey," and nothing related to the video comes up. Even if projects like this are underpromoted and fall below the radar, I think it's worthwhile to acknowledge them and document that they existed.

And I think that as the growth of the internet and proliferation of web videos renders old fashioned plastic less relevant, the ever-rarer bookshelf-archivable media will only be more valuable and cherished. These reviews are an expression of my appreciation for stuff that takes up space.

I don't really read reviews, unless I'm not planning on seeing the film or reading the book, since I can't stand having any aspect of it spoiled. All I want to get out of a review is, very minimally, whether or not the piece is worth going for. Once I've seen or read the piece, I often seek out reviews, sort of like extending the experience.


No spoilers on this blog.

Here's what I got from Hoey in the mail:

The video, two Laffy Taffies, two Mike Jonas stickers, and a Ride poster of Bruce Crisman from his halcyon X-Games days--so great! My wife cares little about bike videos, but she was wholeheartedly psyched on the candy, still moist and chewy. I think the dvd graphic and sticker on the jewel case spine make for a nice little package.

(Btw, this poster is priceless. Check the camper sporting the Girls Are Evil shirt, crazy low bars, and 990 brake stiffener. And bracing up the picnic table appears to be none other than the late Colin Winkleman.)

Hoey referred to this as his "trails video" on bmxboard, so that's what I was expecting. It is mostly trails, and I think it's safe to say that the dirt jumping mindset is fundamentally different from that of all other kinds of riding. As "legend" put it in this thread, "Trail riders are just a different type of people... not as hungry." This video is not about tricks, and it's not organized into rider sections (a tired, pretentious editing format anyway, in my opinion). It's just a bunch of unknown Long Island guys boosting some massive dirt jumps in the woods, and having a lot of fun.

Mike Jonas gets his own four pegs brakeless street section, which really comes out of nowhere and is a great break from the dirt. I like the guy, and he deserves his own sticker. You'll like it, too. Still, I kinda wish the video had been 100% trails.

Hoey said he just made this video to give away to friends, but he'll probably flow one to anyone that asks. Go RSS his blog and shoot him an email. Mike Jonas blogs, too.

This Fourth-of-July web video is newer than the Summer Sundays dvd. Think of it as a trailer for Hoey's next project. Click through to watch in high-res.

Jan 28, 2009

who is jesse dewlow?

I stumbled upon this little web flick last night on a blog called the front. So weird and casual, I wonder if I'm supposed to be enjoying it this deeply.

Despite my enthusiasm, you should probably lower your expectations.

Jesse Dewlow is a familiar name, and Google tells me he had footy in Ruff Draft, but I don't remember any of it. I like his style and tricks, but it's the editing choices in this video that really get me: the quiet, unconventional music, the audible bike riding sounds and white noise, the multiple long takes, the crashes, the spots, the ironic windows moviemaker effects and slow-mo... It's funny but honest, precisely the emotional nuance that I try to live my own life by, but which I've all but given up on in the bmx world.

The mention of a "Toronto edit" in this post, from June, seems like a reference to the above video, which was posted in August.

Made my evening. I'm gonna watch the video again and hope that this post doesn't make me sound like a stalker.

Jan 27, 2009

nonstop critical acclaim for bmx is cute!

That's an exaggeration. But Mike from Greece (the European country) did write me this note today:

"hello tony! i just got the dvd, it's very nice! it has this friendly touch, kind of reminds me the sessions i have with my friends here in greece, the good times and the bad times! well that's bmx, and it's definetely cute! keep on shredding man you and your friends also, thanks, take care!"

Glad you enjoyed it, Mike. Thanks.

The video also got a strange but favorable review in this month's Ride:

Thank you, Ryan.

I haven't yet tracked down a hard copy for my archives, but the whole mag is available online through a nifty service called Zinio. Sorry about the small text. Click through to the Zinio page here, and you can zoom in for a larger view.


Related post: "The dvd gets its first review. (And I respond.)"

Jan 21, 2009

two old men playing in a fountain.

Got to ride with Ben yesterday for the first time in forever. Had a satisfying session, driving from spot to spot. Snapped a couple lazy photos.

Wallride, Ben Piff.

I'll send a free dvd to the first person that explains the historic significance of this spot. Email me if you know.


February 7 update: Aaron Gates, TJ Henderson, and Ben Ward all knew the answer: this spot was tricked by Lou Rajsich in the classic Portland video ./blueprint. Spot the armpit-high green subrail in the background of the pic above, and then watch Lou hit it up:

Since Aaron already has a copy of the video (as do TJ and Ben), I sent a disc to Aaron's friend Shawn instead.

Btw, the white frame Ben Piff is shown riding here (A Sunday Wave2, I think) came courtesy of Ben Ward's generosity. I remember years ago when B-Dubbs gave me a pair of Mosh pedals, because he was amused by some curb-to-wallride I did. That was a great day.


Took some video with my digital point-n-shoot at the very end of the session. Ben did a crankflip, and I enjoyed myself, even with a broken chain.

I overdid the color-correction trying to compensate for Vimeo's compression washing out the colors; kind of an old Shine video effect, as Ben put it. Makes the wintry day pop.