Theories: Chris Reyes & Face Value Zine

Intro/Questions: Lino Gonzalez

Face Value is a new zine project from life long New Jersey BMX rider and Rodeo Peanut founder Chris Reyes. The zine focuses on raw street photography from the Philadelphia area. I have known Chris for a long time and have traveled many miles with him. He is never afraid to speak his mind or crack a quick joke. I asked Chris some questions for our latest “Theories” article to supplement the zine which is now available in our online shop.

-Your history in BMX goes back quite far. Your from Metuchen, NJ correct? How was the scene there growing up?

I started bmxing in 97ish. I had a chrome dyno air with black trispoke GT mags. That bike got stolen no longer than a year later and I ended up with a taiwanese Hoffman Taj, and that’s when things got hot and heavy. Metuchen was small, but had some spots. It’s like a small city, it wasn’t some backwoods town where you had to ride like 12 miles thru grass to get to the nearest ledge. We had a small industrial park with tons of banks, small banks to ledges/curbs, there was small ledges all over town and maybe even a wall ride if i remember correctly. I was also lucky enough to be a close train ride away from manhattan  and new brunswick, which had the real spots. Those cities are where I met a lot of people in bmx and probably would not have held onto bmx for so long if it wasn’t for those cities/people. The scene we had in NJ was tight, I remember meeting up with Jared and our soon to be crew for the first time ever during a new brunswick street session with probably close to 25 other people. I heard about this street session on AOL and next thing you know we’re eating grease trucks sandwiches and getting chased by cops. I guess its the same shit except now we’re all on instagram. It’s sick how you can make life long friends from something like this tho.

-The Jolly’s bank to ledge and the New Brunswick Black Rail are two spots that come to mind when I think of riding with you. Are you fond of those spots or any others in the area?

I loved those spots more than anything else back in the day. I couldn’t go a day without grinding that rail. It was an obsession we all had with that thing. Its insane. Jolly’s was amazing too, it wasn’t as close to us as the black rail, but you better believe we were there draining our car batteries with our headlights pointed at that shit on any given night.  That part of NJ had so many spots, so many classic spots that we even saw when we were younger in older videos like DQYDJ and Grizzle, we would find them and be hyped and they became staples for us. New Brunswick was by far my favorite place to ride, it had everything and you didn’t have to drive. Just the ability to pedal from spot to spot and not sit in traffic made that very appealing to me.

-On to the zine… If someone were to ask, what would be the “artist statement” for the Face Value zine?

The zine is focused on street photography, mainly portraiture. It ranges from drug addicts and strays to young kids and cops to  a few of my close friends. I love the idea of documenting the streets and showcasing its true grit, and after compiling and sitting on a few photos of my own I decided to put em into print. The zines are printed in Philly and hand numbered/stamped. This is the first issue in the series and expect  to see more in the near future.

-What camera or cameras were used to shoot the zine? Also what type of film?

I have a few different cameras that are in constant rotation. If I’m going out shooting I will usually have an SLR on me- either a canon f1 or canon eos a2. I will always have a point n shoot in my pocket as well. In my f1, I usually have ektar 100 film. Olympus stylus or Yashica t5 will have anything from tmax400 to portra 400 or 800 even. People always give me expired rolls of film too. I will use almost anything, but the ones i mentioned are my favorites.

-Philly can get a bit dicey in the streets and a lot of the photos in the zine are up close and personal shots. Did you end up getting into any uncomfortable situations while shooting?

There were a few uncomfortable situations. 99% of the time I am out alone. There have been a few times where I have felt cornered and had to leave the situation asap. I know my gear would mean nothing to them after they saw no digital screen on the body and know some shots just aren’t worth it. Philly is grimy and truth is I have been lucky. I look at street photography like street riding, you know from the start what you’re getting yourself into.

-I mentioned this to you before, but I particularly like the two page spread photo of the Cop on the dirt bike. That photo looks like its from some 70’s movie. What was happening there?

It was a few blocks away from home. I saw smoke from our street and decided to ride up there. As soon as I got there the cop sped off on his motorcycle from the side street where the fire was. I dont know why hes still dressed like its the 70s, maybe the cops in kensington haven’t updated their uniforms/motorcycle gear yet hahah.

-Some may not know this but you are a very early member of Rodeo Peanut. Can you explain how that came about?

Yea. Me, Jared, Alfredo and Brian Tunney were among the originals to start prankin pro bmxers. It was all fun and games and mostly jokes, we never hated anyone personally. I came up with the name in art class in high school by combining a coffee brand and a popular peanut brand. Long story short, that dumb ass name stuck since 2001. We would go on trips together and smoke weed and prank call people. They wouldn’t even answer and we would be laughing our asses off. Fast forward to the age of instagram and we got a lot more to make fun of.

-A couple years a go I was in LA and someone pointed out that Rodeo Peanut was  the biggest East Coast BMX “media” outlet and they were bummed it was based on making jokes or what some would consider negativity. I thought that observation was hilarious, your thoughts on that?

We are def making jokes. We def are negative towards how wack some shit in bmx is. I’m speaking for myself at least. But at the end of the day you can’t take that too seriously. Its just bmx and half the guys that were roasted on the instagram I have never even met/dont even know. You cant deny it, theres a big difference between real street riding and park riders riding street. We may be haters and negative, but we’re not that bad.

-Anyone ever directly threaten you over a Rodeo Peanut joke?

Yea of course. it usually always comes back to me for some reason hahahha. Im not gonna name names. We all know who made all the IG videos for rodeo peanut and now look at him. Im pretty sure he never caught any heat, he should be gettin roasted now for the videos he be making. I dont give a shit either. most of the riders names I know these days are people who I am actually friends with. I have never made a video for the rodeo peanut IG and probably never will. I will sell you a rodeo peanut shirt tho, so if you’re interested get at me.

-Are You into any conspiracy theories?

Yea, I’m into this theory that bmx/print/video making has been bastardized by the internet. I still love the internet tho. peace out and thank you Lino and 90 East.

 

Thanks Chris

Theories: Clarky & Sam Waller – The Central Library

Intro/Questions: Lino Gonzalez

The Central Library is a U.K. based project by Andrew Clarke (Clarky) and Sam Waller which focuses on selling interesting BMX based zines and DVDs sourced from crews and individuals around the world. Both Clarky and Sam are life long riders with unique perspectives on BMX that are usually not presented in the current day of pay to play mainstream BMXmedia. I asked both of them some questions about The Central Library, media, and world events for the latest “Theories” interview…

 

 

-What was the inspiration for starting The Central Library and who is involved behind the scenes?

Sam: The seeds were sown on a cold winter’s night on the outskirts of Manchester. Me and Clarky are both absolute suckers for splashing cash on videos and stuff, and often buy the same things, so it made sense that if we were both getting stuff shipped across the planet, we may as well just get a few more and make it into more of a thing.

I’m not going to lie – we basically ripped off a skating website called Palomino that sells loads of sick zines and stuff. Pretty much everyone we ride with makes things, so a more bike-centric version didn’t seem that much of a wild idea.

Not sure about Clarko, but I suppose long-standing independent outlets like Drag City and Corwood Industries maybe also deserve a mention on the inspiration front too if I want to sound snooty. I think it’s good when people can get hold of interesting things relatively easily.

Behind the scenes it’s all pretty high tech. We’ve got a fleet of drones for delivery purposes and we have warehouses in most major cities for rapid-fire dispatch.

Clarky: Yeah, we basically ripped off Palomino. I was into what you (90 East) were doing with getting videos from the UK into America. Record shops from the 90’s played a big part for me, I remember small outlets selling mixtape packs of early rave, jungle and hip hop. They were always run by people who really loved the stuff.

We started it because both Sam and I were buying zines and DVDs a lot from abroad, not just riding stuff but all sorts of stuff. We’re both pretty obsessed about physical copies of things for some reason. Really it’s just us expanding our own collections and getting more copies at the same time to save import taxes and postage costs. We just thought if we buy 10 more of the same thing and sell/trade them to friends, and then it kind of snowballed into a website. I’m not sure how legal this shit is, but we’ll just keep on until we’re ratted out.

Sam is a good wordsmith so he generally does the website and interviews. I house all the products on two shelves of my Ikea bookcase and post out the orders on my dinner hour. So usually if your order is wrong or late it’s my fault. A real high tech operation.

-Is there a sort of theme or basic criteria for stuff that you guys carry?

Clarky: Not really, it’s just meant to be an outlet for like-minded underground stuff that doesn’t really get acknowledged too much all in one place. It’s good to get stuff in lane if you know what I mean? Seems a shame to have good stuff rubbing shoulders with goofy pizza seats or wacky weed print garbage.

Sam: No real criteria. Sickness is sickness whether it’s a photograph, a t-shirt or a tea-towel. ‘Sickness’ isn’t limited to just riding stuff.

I guess the riding stuff makes up the majority of what we stock, as there are plenty of other ‘normal’ zine shops around, but it’s good to have some other bits. Again… I’d be buying it for myself anyway – so we may as well get a couple more copies to gather dust on the shelf.

-Were are living in the supposed “post DVD” and the “print is dead” era, But that is your main product on CL. What do you make of people in the industry hyping up those two narratives?

Sam: It’s all pretty boring really. I’d rather hear funny stories or something than listen to people whinging about things.

If the old magazines want to stop printing and start some wacky, flash-in-the-pan Youtube channel instead, then that’s fine with me. There’s probably zero business sense in printing magazines and burning off DVDs today, but that’s why the ones that do come out these days are interesting… people are doing it because they want to – not because they’re being paid to by shady conglomerates or multinationals.

On a different subject, I’d like to say a big thank you to Kellogg’s, Swatch and Maoam for all their help with the site.

Clarky: I probably put too much value on video and print but it’s a way of keeping it going, I think it’s important. I’m not against web videos — I watch shit on the internet all the time. Soon it’ll be ‘the website is dead’ and some nerds like us will be running a webpage shunning whatever the next medium it is to present this shit.

If riding was first shown through cave drawings or sculpture, someone would be saying that’s how it all should be presented.

-I know people can be sensitive about stepping on others toes when selling product in regards to shops and distros. Did starting The Central Library cause any beef on that front?

Sam: Hahaha, who knows? Hopefully people are developed enough not to be too bothered about two goons from the North West with a few DVD-Rs. Nowhere in England sells this stuff anyway so presumably the beef is minimal.

Clarky: I don’t even know. The reason it happened was because this stuff wasn’t being catered for in the UK anyway. It’s a pretty small fry operation and poses no threat… yet.

Even if it did, I wouldn’t be bothered. I like a bit of beef, it keeps you on your toes.

-On the info page of the site, you mention that CL is run “ by people with full time jobs, so if something takes a few days to arrive, bear with us”. What do each of you guys do for a day job?

Clarky: I’m a fitter at a factory that makes machines for hospitals. It’s a bit like Homer’s job in the intro to The Simpsons. I have to wear a silly looking protective suit, gloves and a hairnet all day. Daily duties usually consist of trying to do as little as possible, playing cards with the two Romanian cleaners and mostly sitting around waiting for parts to fit to machines. It’s an easy number and I’m under no illusion that the bubble may burst.

Sam: By day I work for a men’s clothes shop. My job is a bit like Elaine’s in Seinfeld when she works for J. Peterman. I write stuff about functional lightweight cotton overshirts and that sort of thing.

The highlight of my job was when I answered the phone to none other than television’s Michael Barrymore. That probably won’t mean much to American readers, but he was a big deal in England before a young man was found dead in his swimming pool with various unsavoury wounds. All that aside, Michael seemed like a very nice guy.

 


Sam Waller via TheFancyIsland Instagram. Photo: Wozzy

 

-Employment and money seems to be a hot topic in BMX at the moment with the recent TIP plus fiasco where some of their riders had payment issues. Being that you have full time jobs, ride, and continue to contribute great art in the form of videos/riding, what is your take on a situation like that?

Sam: I’m not too sure what this Tip Plus fiasco is, but to be honest it’s completely mental that people get paid to ride in the first place. From my outsider standpoint, it seems that people believe their own hype and start thinking they’re owed something for doing varying rotating motions on a small bicycle. It’s all pretty insignificant in the scheme of things.

Half of these people don’t even make videos or take photos or anything… they’re just chauffeured around from city to city like little emperors hunting out Wi-Fi. I don’t even know where these guys are from or who they normally ride with as they’re just shown on dream-team fantasy football concept trips instead. Pretty funny really.

Saying that, I 100% think Jambul should be living a life of absolute luxury thanks to his dope, Muska-esque style. It seems crazy that he has to pay for his XXXL sportswear out of his own pocket. The same goes for sensuous mini-ramp king Gareth Hunt (although I’m not sure he’d wear a XXXXXL basketball jersey). Those guys are loads sicker than any flavour-of-the-week goon nose-manualing across the moon for some zappy sherbet dib-dab edit.

Clarky: I see this stuff like I’m watching a soap opera. I love being on the outside and hearing all these murky stories about shady companies and riders with a sense of entitlement. What do people expect? As soon as riding is your job you’re fucked. Grinding handrails isn’t a legit job, why try and treat it as that?

I don’t know why people want to turn the good bit of life into work. Riding is an escape from all that, it’s a luxury if anything. Like most employers they don’t give a fuck about their employees. It’s the same as a contract builder being ripped off by the firm he’s contracted to work for. That happens all the time in ‘real life’, just because its bike riding doesn’t make it any different. People get all wound up about it because they’ve loved that brand from being a kid etc etc. You got ripped off mate, no use whining on the internet, either take them to court or torch the warehouse.

-From your point of view, what seems to be some differences in the way the US and UK scenes present themselves in the media?

Clarky: I don’t know man, they seem pretty similar media-wise. Hopefully you don’t judge UK riding by what Ride UK puts on its website. All those major sites are the same on both sides of the Atlantic, they pretty much make a living out of lazily taking without consent, re-posting stuff without any words or real consideration.

There are definitely good, interesting things going on in both countries though. I like the small underground networks that have developed away from the slop that’s tried to infiltrate in recent years.

Sam: Maybe the fact that there’s less ‘mainstream media’ here means the scene looks better? Apart from a few whack outlets that shall remain nameless, people here are sort of left to do things for themselves. People work through the day, ride a bit at the weekend, and maybe make videos or zines or whatever if they have the time. It’s all pretty basic and detached.

Maybe the useless weather helps out too. It rains at least 678 days a year here, so there’s plenty of time to practice outdated darkroom photography techniques for niche zines or mess around in After-Effects.

We have worse teeth in England too, so any sort of self-promotion posery is generally out the window.

-Clarky and I have spoken through email about a few world Issues recently, namely Trump and Brexit. Both of those issues have seemingly divided up the people within the UK and US quite a bit. What is your guys’ view on each of those? Were you for or against Brexit, and how does Trump effect your view of the US from the outside?

Sam: I don’t know very much about politics so I can’t really say much. I’m oblivious to most news and only find things out by reading front covers of newspapers at the shop whilst I’m buying chocolate bars or a refreshing bottle of Heineken.

That said – most of Britain is pretty wild. People get swept up with slick coffee bars and fancy apartments, but beneath this glossy sheen there’s men walking around with half their heads missing and ten year old kids getting their fingers chopped off. There are a lot of places where people are really struggling for pretty basic things and are completely ignored. When you’re in a shit situation, you’re going to go for the new option. These people have probably been lied to, but I can understand why they voted the way they did.

Clarky: I voted to stay in the E.U. I like Europe. Any way to make this damp island a little more like Spain and I’m down. I try and stay away from newspapers and outside influences at the best of times and try to use my gut instinct. It just seems like a step backwards to me and it’s usually the most vulnerable in society that end up suffering in these situations.

I wasn’t surprised to hear that Trump got in. You’ve had the Bush family business running the gaff before, The Terminator was governor of Califor-ny-yay which I buzzed off. You’ll probably have John Wayne or Marge Simpson running the country in a few years.

 


Clarky via Euroskum Instagram. Photo: Sean Malone

 

-Any plans for a next volume of the Strangeways videos? If so who is going to be involved?

Clarky: Yeah, very slowly. No time limit or deadline, just as it happens. It’ll be the usual cast of toe-rags and loiterers.

Sam: Either that or Clarky has just been filming people for his personal DV tape stash? I think stuff would be the same either way.

-Are you into any conspiracy theories?

Clarky: Not really, I can’t be bothered with all that stuff. I mean, I know shady stuff goes on all over the place and given half the chance I’d abuse my position of power too. I’m not losing any sleep over whether or not someone went to the moon, we shouldn’t be messing around up there anyway.

Sam: I get that there’s probably loads of crazy stuff going on that’s hidden from the masses, but I can’t really be bothered to think about it. I’m too busy sitting around on benches to be slo-moing 911 footage or taking soil samples at the grassy knoll.

Unrelated to conspiracy theories, now seems like a good time to say thanks to people like Ed Rush, Thomas Vidal and Rahlin Rigsby. I’ve never met these people, but they’re always the first to order something and must have very expansive DVD collections.

A lot of people like to spout off and talk loudly about ‘independent BMX’ and ‘core values’ and all that nonsense, but these chaps I mentioned above and countless others from towns I’ve never heard off are the ones who really support this stuff.

 

Thanks Clarky and Sam

Theories: Rob Dolecki & Maintain Zine

Intro/Questions: Lino Gonzalez

Few people in BMX have traveled more miles and really lived the BMX lifestyle the way Rob Dolecki has. Following the release of the third zine in his independent “Maintain” series, I asked Rob some questions about the zine and BMX in general. Rob is a very interesting person, always has a refreshing perspective, and is not afraid to speak in depth on issues. Enjoy..

-The Maintain series involves a heavy amount of traveling and a wide variety of people. Do you plan all the traveling out ahead of time and know who you want to shoot or do you sort of wing it?

I’d say about 80 percent of the photos in the Maintain series are byproducts of trips I planned directly, and the rest are from trips I was invited on. Almost all the video footage is from trips planned and funded by me and my frugal ways. I enjoy experiencing different riding communities, especially in other parts of the world. Some of the purest enthusiasm for riding exists in places I never would have thought about going to 10 or 15 years ago. Not to mention the amazing riding architecture in many of those locations. But since most ride-able architecture is a limited resource at best, I’m not one to consciously blow out any particular cities (other than Mahwah, New Jersey). I try to let what I capture speak for itself and hopefully inspire those who like traveling for the right reasons.
As far as whom I want to shoot with in the Maintain series, photo-wise I’d say more often than not I’m just winging it. Video-wise, it’s pretty much the same. I try to seek out riders, scenes and crews who seem to present, in various media, agenda-free intentions and add them to my list of places to go and people to meet. All of those trips are really only possible due to the ridiculously amazing hospitality of the locals I meet or already know. When I do visit, I usually just document whatever comes of it; first and foremost, the priority is documenting the natives before anyone else.

-The drawings by Jeff Martin in the new issue are awesome, what gave you the idea to include that in there?

I’ve known Jeff for years, and have seen him really progress as an artist. He posts so much great stuff daily on Instagram. I always wanted to add some type of art to the ‘zine from day one, but I doubt my horrible stick figure drawings that look like they were drawn by a three year-old would enhance anything. So when I was starting Chapter III, I hit up Jeff about some ideas, and he was down. He put in so much work on the drawings; I can’t thank him enough. He also drew up the newest Maintain sticker, which came out amazing.

-Do any funny or interesting stories come to mind from the travels in this issue?

There’s some sort of story behind every photo that was used. I’ll try to keep it brief and pick out a few:
Chris Silva, Newark, New Jersey: in the mid- 2000s, during the post-9/11 security lockdown era at many buildings and landmarks in the NYC area, I had started setting up to shoot a riding photo at a rail in front of a federal building in Newark, New Jersey one evening. An officer patrolling the building walked up, started confiscating my camera gear, and put me in cuffs, with not a word said to me. 15 minutes after seating me in front of the building, he realized I wasn’t plotting to destroy the building and let me go. It was the first and only time I’ve been arrested for shooting a photo. Ten years later, I’m at the same building one summer evening with Chris Silva. It’s under construction, has this crazy wood wedge structure out front, and I’m climbing up the second-story scaffolding in front of the building in order to shoot that fufanu photo. It was kind of surreal, and pretty funny to me how chance, and the passage of time can significantly change the same experience at the same location.

Martin Ochoa, New York City: That was the first time I had ridden the Banks since they had closed 7 years earlier. They were (and technically are) still closed, but apparently the bridge repair work is now complete so it’s been a ghost town there, and sort of a free-for-all. Riding those red bricks was just as good as I remembered, even in the freezing temperatures that were upon us when I shot that photo. Martin wears shorts no matter how cold it is.

Jonathan De Loa, Mexico- That structure appeared to be a makeshift home for a few people, as well as doubling as a toilet with no plumbing facilities. You can sort of make out the piles of shit in a few corners. It smelled like roses.

Eddie Grabert, Philadelphia- I shot this less than a mile from where I live at about midnight. Under the El can get pretty grimy with all kinds of characters lurking, but I guess we caught a quiet night. The long exposure captured a ghostly image of one lurker standing in front of a parked minivan, though.

Trey Jones, Longwood, Florida- Burning coals and plywood isn’t a good mix. Road flares have a tendency to litter burning coals pretty frequently, so when we did the light trail photo at Trey’s backyard ramps, a hose was positioned close by to avoid any unintentional bonfires. Fortunately it was never needed.

Brandon Perez, Philadelphia- Grimaldo Duran was staying in Philly, and gave me a heads up that Brandon Perez wanted to try something that day next to the monumental Van Homan rail. A few tries later he pulled it. It’s such a huge drop; I don’t know how Brandon’s body put up with trying that truck driver more than once. Easily one of the crazier things I’ve shot in Philly. Grim also has a cameo, if you look closely at the photo.

Mariano Buzzalino, Buenos Aires- Due to a shitty economy and failing city infrastructure over the last few years, there have been random abandoned/ burnt out cars sitting all around Buenos Aires, Argentina. It reminded me of late 80s NYC (Upper Manhattan and the Bronx, specifically). There were so many, that I was able to film a full section of local friends riding them in Maintain II.V.
 


Steven Hamilton via @Doleckivisuals
 

-You’ve weathered the change in the photo industry from film to digital, and now from just digital cameras to cell phones. How have those changes affected your approach to photography?

I feel like my approach to shooting photos is still the same as it was 15 years ago (pre-digital), regardless of the medium being used. Whatever tool fits best for the situation, be it 6X6 film, or an iPhone. Obviously digital has made it a lot easier overall since that era.

-Back in the day you used Canon 35mm/digital equipment, then switched to Nikon. What equipment do you use now mostly and are you loyal to a brand or will you switch in an instant?

Ha, ha, I think we talked about that back in the day when I was contemplating switching to Nikon due to the superior DSLR offerings they had compared to Canon during a span of a few years. I’m glad I didn’t. Making a switch like that would have been a very, very expensive pain in the ass. Once Canon released the 1DX, I stopped thinking about changing to Nikon. That, a 5D Mark III, IR-converted 5D, Hasselblad 501CM, some random film point and shoot cameras, and a good old cell phone camera are my main tools. I don’t really care so much about which company is making the equipment, it’s primarily about what they are producing. Which is a lot different than bikes, where both are huge factors to me.

-You’ve been involved in all sorts of BMX media over the years from magazines to videos, and websites. What do you think about the current climate of BMX media (vlogs, twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc), and what changes can you see coming in the near future?

This is going to be a long-winded answer, ha, ha. It’s kind of crazy how much BMX media, and media in general, has changed over the years, even in the last three alone. Communication is easier than ever, which I like personally. But there is so much shit to sift through to find anything remotely of quality (a word with a broad definition) that is not also a simultaneous advertisement. Media “trends” seem to be changing so fast. In two years, ask the average 15-year-old what Vine was. It makes you think, what’s going to replace Instagram or YouTube in 10 years? And if they do end up going the way of MySpace, what was the point of all the insane amount of time and effort some people put into getting “likes and followers”? There is a possibility that “Like, Comment and Subscribe” might not mean a thing to anyone then.

There are plenty of entertaining things being put out on YouTube and Instagram. And Instagram is really the only social media platform I personally use regularly. I do find it strange that they’re becoming the hubs of BMX media for the average rider. Anytime a media platform is not controlled by riders (even if the content essentially is, based on who you follow), and the main priority is about potential revenue through views, you can’t help but question the integrity of so-called statistics that deem a video “popular,” especially when there is ad revenue generated from auto-plays. And Instagram … the algorithm-driven feed is kind of bullshit. I don’t believe Instagram should be deciding for me what’s priority viewing, as opposed to the old way of chronological appearance. I won’t get started on the sponsored posts.

On top of that, in the BMX world, the industry seems to be increasingly motivated to use these platforms as their primary avenue for sponsored rider exposure, more often than not via regurgitated content. Instead of some companies providing tools of promotion to the riders who represent them, it’s now mostly put on the rider to promote themselves. The balance is off, in my opinion. With Twitter, some riders would really benefit from having a content filter before posting whatever randomly pops into their head. But then again, this is Trump’s America, ha, ha. I don’t necessarily love or hate vlogs; for the most part I just don’t watch them. I have heard people make the comparison that the modern-day vlog is like Road Fools. Whether you love or hate the Road Fools series at it’s various stages, it really doesn’t compare at all for one point only—Road Fools trips were about the riders who were invited, not the people who made the videos. But I could be just some jaded old guy who has a disdain for overt narcissism.

Honestly, all that doesn’t really matter to me. Regardless of what’s next on the BMX media horizon, most likely I’ll still be riding and hanging out with and documenting the people I see representing the most real agenda-free sides of riding. Any media, and any representation of culture/community outside of showing bike tricks, will always be secondary to real-life experiences and interactions in culture/community. A healthy BMX future to me is one that involves a network of independent media and continued gatherings and events in the grassroots BMX communities. And I could see a new paradigm taking hold where the next wave of BMX companies avoid the more common models of operations that can include pushing gimmicks, fads, fake culture and/or self-promoting machines in order to sustain an unrealistic lifestyle today, for a different model that reinvests in and facilitates the growth and promotion of actual communities, the realest riders, and true culture for a universally prosperous tomorrow. Regardless of whether the media and industry evolve or disappear, real BMX culture will continue exist. Neither are essential components for its existence, no matter what anyone tries to say otherwise; history has repeatedly proven that.

-You have always killed it on the bike, but your footage in Maintain I.V is on another level. How do you stay healthy and continue riding well into your 40s?

Thanks man. For a number of years now, I’ve tried to make it a priority to take care of myself in the best way I can in order to help ensure that I can do the physical activities I enjoy for as long as I choose, be it riding for hours on end or hiking up a mountain all day. I feel as good as I did 20 years ago; I actually feel more comfortable on my bike and ride local terrain better now than ever. Maybe that’s just in part due to the compounding effect of consistently riding for years. I’m not really some health guru, though some things I choose to do or not do may not necessarily align with the prevailing notion of what a stereotypical bike rider is. I’ve been eating a primarily whole foods vegan (plant-based) diet for 20 years, don’t drink alcohol, and try to be active multiple days a week. That’s what I’ve found works for me. I do see real scientific evidence pointing to this, even when you read between the lines of so-called evidence proving something else. I’ve seen the signs of crippling aging in people 10 years younger than me, and have seen the destructive results of negative daily habits in people 20 years older than me. I don’t want to be living in a nursing home thirty years from now; I want to still be doing what I do now. Some have proven that true health can be a reality in your 60s, 70s, and beyond via a good diet/supplementation and exercise, regardless of pre-disposed genetics, and free of prescription meds and all the other conventional, yet debilitating so-called options to slow the onset of what could be potentially preventable and at times reversible, degenerative disease. For me it’s not really about trying to live longer; I just want to live the fullest active total life possible, regardless if my time is up tomorrow. If skipping out on McDonald’s burgers and weekend blackouts is one way to achieve a full life throughout the twilight years, then I’m going to continue doing what I do.

-Being that you are vegan and travel a lot, what restaurant and dish do you look forward to the most in your travels?

Too many- Austin is Mr. Natural’s Taco Salad and Snow Cake; Salt Lake City is Sage’s pizza night; Orlando is Ethos’ Coconut Curry wrap; Terri in New York City; Vegab in Krakow, Poland; Vegano Hooligano in Kiev, Ukraine; Pizza Vegana in Buenos Aires; Veggie Heaven in Teaneck, New Jersey; any falafel and hummus spot in Tel Aviv, Israel; and Ananda in Managua, Nicaragua, to name a few.

-What’s in store next for the Maintain series?

The II.V video will be dropping in the next month. It has 7 sections: abandoned/ wrecked cars in Argentina, Argentina/ Santiago, Chile streets, Philly mixed in with random NYC to DC, Salt Lake City snowbiking, Grimaldo and George Duran father/ son split section, a New England transition excursion in Henry the VW van, and a Ukraine/ Poland section centered around my longtime Ukrainian friend Anton Kutafin, who has a classic no-frills 2000s-era riding style that I really appreciate. The video is about 30 minutes long, and will be available as a small-run DVD/digital download/ zine combo. After that, I have a rough idea for chapters IV- VI, but they never really seem to come into their own until the previous chapter is finished first. I also have this idea for a documentary-style video, and possible print books of sorts that I’ve been compiling photos for over the last few years, but who knows. Ask me again in six months, and it may be an entirely different answer. The only absolute is that there are things in the works.

-Into any conspiracy theories?

Of course. I love them all, usually for the entertainment factor more than anything else. I do think some people like to label ideas which differ from the prevailing status quo that they align with as “conspiracy theories”, especially when they ignore facts and/or get overly sensitive when said ideas challenge their belief systems. So I’d rather not mention all of the ones I find to be more truth than hoax. A few theories on human genetic origins and time travel/ illusion of time are some I subscribe to the most. For anyone who’s experienced the wormhole that is my tardiness, they already know about my continuous attempts to divert from the space-time continuum.

 

Thanks Rob

Lord Leopold & Huscija Crew “Takeover” DVD

Intro/Questions: Lino Gonzalez

Marko Mrđenović, aka “Lord Leopold” and the Huscija Crew out of Pula, Croatia just released their latest full length DVD entitled “Takeover”. This DVD as well as their previous projects have payed respect to a certain street riding aesthetic which they have continued and built on. I asked Marko some questions in our latest “Theories” article to supplement the DVD which is available in our online shop.

– Why is there so much night footage from your crew?, is it by choice or is it too busy to ride during the day?

I remember filming at night ever since I started making videos somewhere in 2006. The camera was shitty, we used a door spyhole for a fisheye and nobody liked it. Getting the Sony vx2100 was the best thing we could have possibly done back in 2012. She sees so well it would be a waste of tape not to film at night. We only end up filming in daylight when we’re going on trips because you know how it is.. you can’t go to London and wait for evening to come to film a line, it’s either take it or leave it.

– What camera and light setup do you use?

I use the vx2100 with a little Sony light for the aesthetics. I also got a big Sony light with 2 bulbs that I barely ever use and 160 LED light to shine the riding area when its too dark to ride it.

– Are you a die hard SD video guy, or does that not matter to you as long as the content is good?

I am a die hard SD video guy and I don’t plan on going the other route. SD kinda represents what’s real street nowadays. Everytime I see a video in 4:3 in 90% of cases I will watch it till the end, and even if I dont like it I will respek it more than what HD has to offer. HD may have it’s benefits but I dont see it as such in bmx world. But for example when I watch ratkid’s animal house part in HD I don’t think about it.

– What do you think about the video landscape of BMX at the moment?, Any crews/videos you look out for? Is there any stuff you avoid?

To be honest, if you asked me this question few months ago I would probably shit on 95% of stuff I see online.
I completely stopped watching stuff on the web because its garbage. I have crews I like and always keep my eyes on. If there is something new poppin out thats good I got my homie bartek to let me know about it. As i always say whenever someone asks me its 90East, old Animal crew (till 2010),  LA crew from back in the day when the music, clothes and 180 rollouts still meant something to people, and of course my personal favourite Strangeways Crew (till infinity).


 
– Who has your favorite style in BMX? Could you think of a single clip that you showcases that style perfectly?

Its hard to pick only one person for it but if you could combine Edwin Delarosa’s style with E-man Cantero’s smoothness, Bob Scerbo’s landing delivery, and Clarky’s ability to make everything look so dope even if its just pedalling through the dark alley I would say that would be my favourite style to watch. That’s why I need to start playing lottery, win the ticket and pay for everyone’s trip so we can all meet up. I’m sure it would be one hell of a video.

– You seem to really be into 90’s Hip Hop, what are your favorite albums or artists?

Yeah im pretty much all in when it comes to old school hip hop. 80’s and 90’s are my jam. My favourite artists are Slick Rick and MC Eiht even tho you couldn’t tell in videos. There’s just so much good music out there its too bad these kids don’t see/hear/care about it.

– Are you into any of the new American hip hop?

hahaha No! I dont like new stuff and even if it catches in my ear I later hate myself for it. I do check what’s on the market tho but its always a big dissapointment with “where this whole thing is leading”. Only new song I can remember right now that I like is “A.D.H.D.” by Kendrick Lamar, and i dont even like the dude. I accidentially fell asleep in my bed while playing GTA 5, woke up hearing that song because fucking Franklin changes any radio station to Los Santos radio and it stuck in my head for some reason. I don’t think I would like it otherwise tho.

– With all of the Ancient Roman architecture in Pula, are the spots a bust?

Pula is a small town with really good spots but we do lack a lot of stuff too. I guess it’s just boring to ride the same small town for 12 years everyday. Ancient Roman architecture means nothing to me to be honest. I live 50 meters from the colloseum and I couldn’t care less about it. The biggest problem is that in the summer the city is flooded with tourists and you lose a lot of spots for like 6 months.
http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/26579258.jpg

– What are some of your favorite buildings or examples of the Ancient architecture in the city?

I like twin gates that are 20 meters from my home and only reason I like them is because of this chain you can ride in front of them haha
http://www.istria-culture.com/storage/upload/poi/istra_culture_083_112939.jpg

– Are you into any conspiracy theories?

haha I can pretty much say that there is nothing left for me to watch about 9/11 that I haven’t seen yet. I studied it all for years and years. WTC collapsing made me so mad as a child. I remember my only wish back in the day was to go to NYC see the twin towers and ride in a yellow crown vic cab. As the luck is serving me, I might not even see the yellow crown vic at all either. Even in movies I see it being replaced with all those shitty vehicles. I tried to watch other theories too but none of them stuck.

 
 
-Thanks Marko

Theories: Nick Ferreira & “Challenger”

Intro/Questions: Lino Gonzalez

Challenger is a new and refreshing project from Nick Ferreira who has a history of creating interesting zines with a unique perspective. I asked Nick some questions in our latest “Theories” article to supplement the zine which is available in our online shop.

 

-You were previously involved with Hole Shot and a few other zines/projects in the past. Can you give a quick rundown of your history of BMX projects?

My first BMX project was called Communication? Zine- it was pretty bad but also awesome in that 16/17-year old angsty way. I was really inspired by Andrew Burton’s Giraffe Brothers zine and web site. If I hadn’t seen his zine I’m not sure I would have actually printed Communication? Then while I was in college Andrew and I started working on some video projects (Suburban Shred, Sizzla!), and a web site called Hold On Tighter. Which was such a fun web site to work on. Andrew would always switch out the layout and some months we’d have featured photographers or Andrew would make some cool edit really right at the time before edits were even a thing. It was so fun and carefree. Then after that I worked on Holeshot for like 4 years off and on. Fast forward like 5 years and I started putting some stuff together with that zine Schweppes last year and had a really good time. I’ve been doing these non-BMX projects called “Inspiration in [insert year]” for the past couple years and just figured I would kind of blend them together. I like working on projects with a strict deadline/constraint since I have a full-time job. It really helps me manage my time.

-You have a knack for a certain type of effortless humor in your writing and projects. Is that something you’re conscious of?

Honestly that probably goes back to just being really inspired by Andrew Burton’s writing and humor. I also really like deadpan writing and art- artists like Ed Ruscha. Sometimes when I write I’ll get wicked serious, like some 17 year old applying for a college scholarship. Then I scrap it and find my tone, which is much less serious. I appreciate you saying effortless but it takes a lot of effort for me to be effortless- if that makes sense ha.

-A few years back you made the move from New England to Chicago. What sparked that and how do you like Chicago?

I moved out here for my job. When I was in RI I was getting my master’s in library science and then I finished in summer 2012. I applied for a job at an art school here in Chicago and surprisingly got it.

It’s taken some time to really feel like Chicago is home. I never ever thought I’d live in the Midwest/Chicago but now I really like it minus some of the issues this city is facing. The only thing the midwest puts a damper on is surfing which is something I really want to do more than once or twice a year. There’s no huge rush for that though. Anyway- yeah I like it here. It’s dope to ride your bike to go swim in an amazing lake and there’s cool music and art stuff going on. Plus the riding is fun too. People are generally mad nice here and in the Midwest in general. I like that.

-Chicago has been in the media due to its violence quite a bit the last couple years, being a resident is there a tension within the city that you notice or do you feel the whole thing is hyped up by the media?

I mean the violence is real and the tension is there. I’m not sure I feel totally comfortable speaking on this as I’m still kind of a transplant and but I’ll offer what I can. The violence in the media is real but you also never see the amazing work people in neighborhoods are doing to combat violence and other injustices facing their communities. I always see stuff like “those people are in the streets for police violence but not violence in their own neighborhoods”, etc. But there are protests and activism fighting against all of the issues like violence, school closures, etc. (here’s a good blog post). I wish that stuff was hyped in the media just as much.

It drives me nuts that one of the biggest cities in the United States has neighborhoods that are essentially deprived of resources other neighborhoods have never even had to think about. Shit like grocery stores and schools. I mean once schools close in a neighborhood it really seems like the glue that holds a neighborhood together can start to crack. My answer is almost nonsensical but as they say there’s levels to this and it’s hard to understand the issues Chicago is facing without looking at other underlying problems. One article that helped me start to understand the issues of Chicago is this article about the history of racist red-lining practices: Ta-nehesi Coates, “The Case for Reparations.

-The newspaper format of Challenger is a very unique idea, what was your inspiration for that?

Thanks. I’ll be completely honest- I straight up stole (in solidarity, though) the folding format from this leftist paper here in Chicago, The Platypus Review. I like how you can disseminate a decent amount of information for pretty cheap. But I was really inspired by some older political newspapers that I’ve been reading about. And I really liked this paper in Providence, Mothers News. That was a great project. I think Challenger is really different from that but it was inspiring for sure.

 

Photo: Coleman Lopes

-We spoke about it shortly in an email but, your twitter has been very interesting lately with a lot of observations on bmx. What sparked initially sparked that?

I think for a minute I was kind of getting sucked into BMX over the winter, just kind of bored and not really understanding how so much stuff gets a pass- thankfully now I’m basically just trying to focus on my shit, making sure it’s offering something different, and actually riding myself. But when I was getting sucked in I couldn’t help but feel like there is just an absurd level of “yes-men” in BMX- just no thought or self-reflection. Example: “Pink dad-hats are cool, let’s make some!” Or just the constant barrage of BS just because a company needs “content.”

The other thing that was annoying was that if you are older and have an opinion you are just “old and salty.” That type of BMXer is very real but I really pride myself on not being that way- like just hating on everything. There’s so much dope stuff happening in BMX, just as much as there was in 2005 or 1995 but there’s also some straight-up offensive stuff going down and it’s okay to make fun of it and call people out. Maybe I don’t “get it” and maybe “it’s not for me” but I can still call stuff out- just like people can call out my creative projects if they want.

-Being that you’re an older rider with an opinion and also still putting out projects, do you ever get questions or comments from from younger riders that might not get it yet?

Not really- maybe some confusion ha. At the Let’s Roast (big thanks to them) release party some younger kids seemed hyped- one said “yo this is kinda sick” to their friend. That was cool.

-Everyone has their idea of “what BMX is” or “what is good for BMX”. Personally what is the most important thing about BMX to you?

It’s been everything from a vehicle to see the country and learn new things to the best (free) therapy session.

-Your taste in music is pretty eclectic, but speaking specifically about hip hop, Are you into the new generation/style of rap this is out right now?

Yes for sure. I really like it for the most part. It’s great party music. I’m mostly into the production but there’s some great lyrics too. I like how minimal the lyrics are at times.

It’s kind of like BMX- you know? There’s some great new stuff but then there’s some stuff that just kinda doesn’t cut it. And sometimes one person does something different that’s dope but then everyone does it and record labels (or whatever that equivalent is in 2017) try and recreate it but it just loses the magic. Kind of like what BMX companies do…

Anyway, semi-related, The new Freddie Gibbs is so good. I feel like he is the best combo of old and new.

-Are you into any conspiracy theories?

Yeah a bit but Trump and his cronies kind of ruined them for me.

 

–Thanks Nick

Theories: Ratkid & “What Goes On” Zine

Intro/Questions: Lino Gonzalez

Ratkid has logged some serious miles over the past few years In which he manages to always find some interesting scenery. The “What Goes On” zine is a sampling of some digital photos He has captured over the past year or so. I asked Rat some questions in our latest “Theories” article to supplement the zine which is available in our online shop..

 

-The first part of the zine is photos from China which I assume are from The Make trip. Whose idea was it to hit China for that?

I believe the idea would belong to Orlando, the owner of The Make. A whole bunch of them had been to a different city in China the year before and they liked it so much they planned another trip, which I was lucky enough to be a part of.

 

-Clarky had mentioned the food there was terrible, do you agree with that and did you have a go to food spot?

Well he was the unfortunate victim of apple food poisoning so I feel him on that. I remember the breakfast at the hostel being the most tasteless thing I’ve ever had in my life. Outside of there, we would mess with the late night street food like skewers of any and everything. I got to try some pig brains and other Chinese delicacies. There was some pretty good noodle spots, but after a while, the food would start smelling like the garbage and vice versa. After a couple weeks I had enough.

 

-The area you guys rode looked like some sort of slum/poor section, what was the deal with that neighborhood?

The first time we ended up in a slum like that we were like ok this is pretty cool, there’s some good obstacles here. Then we realized that there was several of these neighborhoods scattered around the city, and that their puzzle-like alleys were filled with shit to ride, as well as shit in open sewers. They were noticeably darker, colder and smelled worse than the outside world. They were by far my favorite terrain to ride out there, for Marv, not so much.

 

-What are all the places you traveled in the zine photos?

There are photos from China, New York City, Philadelphia, Texas, Mississippi, Baltimore, Upstate New York and Greece

 

-What are some places you would like to go but haven’t had the chance yet? (For riding or other reasons)

Top of the list would probably be Philippines and Seoul just for the culture and visual aspect. Not to mention some cities in South America for riding and then in the US, Nebraska and Arkansas just for lurking purposes.

 

-You definitely have an interest in the run down or overlooked neighborhoods of a city, why are these places so appealing to you?

Well I grew up in a fairly nice neighborhood and it just got boring real fast, so the run down neighborhoods were very inviting and refreshing. At this point it’s very unexciting and sometimes uncomfortable to be riding or lurking around some nicer areas. As far as the overlooked part goes, it’s not really something I set out to do differently than other people, I just like to be in places I enjoy for whatever reason they might give to me.

 

-That same thing sort of applies to your riding also. Is that intentional or is it the natural way you ride? (Finding obscure spots and neighborhoods)

I’m just a product of my environment.

 

-The zine is named the same as a video project you put out years ago, any chance we could see a “What goes on 2” video?

So I’d just like to say that the name of the video was made up by Dave Belcher while we were living together and riding / filming said video. While making the zine, I figured why not just keep the name going and he was cool with it. As for the second video, I have some footage stocked up ready to make a small video with and the plan would be to put it out on DVD along with the first video, which should be getting done pretty soon.

 

-Are you into any conspiracy theories?

I don’t particularly research any, but I’ve sure listened to some drunk people talk about them. I might have a couple of my own too…
 

Thanks Mark
 

 

Theories: Sam Jones & “Connetication”

-Intro/Questions: Lino Gonzalez

Whether the medium is DVD or Youtube, the feel of a full length style project that someone spent time on is always good. Sam Jones recently released his “Connetication” project which was filmed over the past year and a half mostly in Sam’s home state of Connecticut. I asked Sam a few questions about the video for our series of quick “Theories” interviews…
 

 

-Given that individual edits are commonplace, what made you want to make a full length style video?

Well, this was originally going to be a 5-7 minute mix style video that myself and my good friend Josh Foisey were going to make with riding from Javaun, myself and a few others. I ended up filming a lot with a few people early on, then started riding with a couple of the younger guys from my scene who were motivated to go out and find new stuff to ride. From there it just molded into a longer style video and all the guys were down to keep filming for it.

 

-As with any CT video there is a good amount of Uconn clips, are cops there still a bitch to deal with?

It definitely was pretty hard to ride there a little white back, but recently it’s been a bit easier.

 

-Noticed a healthy amount of new spots. What is your preferred method of finding new stuff, are you a IG/street view lurker or do you keep it old school and ride/ drive around?

A solid mixture of both. Generally, Javaun and myself would spend some time on internet/google maps during the week. On the weekends we would try to have certain spots we would want to go to, then just drive around and explore those areas. Our good friend Kevin Job helped us out with finding some fresh spots as well.

 

-I know you have ridden with skateboarders quite a bit over the years, are you influenced by skate videos or filmers?

I don’t watch skate videos too often, besides local ones, or a few that my skate friends will show me, but I definitely like the way certain skate lines are filmed. There has been a lot of awesome local skate scene type videos from around the area with some friends in it that I am psyched on.

 

-What’s the deal with that roof/storm door setup you barspun? How did finding that come about?

Javaun had recently gotten hurt and couldn’t ride but he was still down to go pedal around on his cruiser bike. We actually had no real plan that day but I brought my camera bag with me and we stumbled upon it tucked away off a side road.

 

-Since the video is SD/4:3 I gotta ask if you are a hardcore VX/SD guy or do you not really care?

I don’t really have a strong opinion on it. I appreciate both. I wanted to buy a camera 3-4 years ago, and a DVX setup was a somewhat cheap option that looks good so I got one. We are probably going to be filming HD for our next project.

 

-You rode to a classic Pete Rock track, and the rest of the music in the video has a smooth groovy feel. Is that a reflection of what you listen to on a daily basis?

For the most part, yes. I definitely wanted the music to reflect everyones riding and style well, but at the same time be the type of stuff I listen to.

 

-Did Javaun attempt to ride down any ladders for this video?

Thankfully no, haha. He almost did at one point, but thought twice about it this time.

 

-Are you into any conspiracy theories?

No comment

 

Thanks Sam

 

 

Theories: Jon Schimpf and Jib “Tape 4”

-Intro/Questions: Lino Gonzalez
-Photos via @jibbmx
 
Amidst the haze of instagram content and vlogs, Jon Schimpf has released the fourth installment of his Jib series, “Tape 4”. The DVD is another quality full length street video that Jon has added to the East Coast scene. Great care and thought was used in the production from the filming and music, to the riding itself. I decided to ask Jon some questions to get insight into the video in this new feature interview series entitled “Theories”. See what Jon had to say below.
 
The Jib “Tape 4” is now available here in the online shop.

 

Photo: @foolhandluke

 

-You’ve used the term “realistic street riding” in the description of this video. Explain the concept behind that.

Simplicity. all the little nibs or stylish spot use clips that some people feel self conscious about actually using in their part, i love that stuff. i like to go out and document exactly what’s happening in my scene, what an average session feels like in this area. to me, some of the most enjoyable clips to watch don’t always have to require hours of attempts or absolutely killing yourself. i think the fun can start to fade away at times for everyone involved when the aforementioned scenario’s drag on for too long.

 

-The documentary footage you used about Philly is actually really informational and sets the stage for the video well. How did the idea for that come about?

I really wanted something historical about pennsylvania given that the large majority (over 95%) of the video is filmed within the state. i like the common theme of odd interludes using appropriated footage in skate/bmx films, so i thought that continuing doing that on topic would make sense for this release. pat schlitzer and i stumbled on an old documentary from 1981 called “penn’a du” and knew it would work well when cut up. i loved how certain scenes were from the areas the crews reside in (or in between) and how certain shots/dialogue paired with scenes i had shot.

 

-Since theres so many crews in Philly riding and filming, was there any concern for ABD’s or is that not something you care about?

I mean, i definitely care about that.. but probably a lot less than others. like anybody else doing this, i try to stay informed on what may have occurred at a spot i’m filming at. so do the other riders in my scene that i ride with. if someone films something and realizes the ABD and doesn’t want to use it, i get that. but at the end of the day, if something similar goes down at a spot or someone films something that someone else has been sitting on and they couldn’t of known, does it really matter?  i think it says more about someone’s character if they get totally bent out of shape over that, if it’s not intentional. go film another one haha.

 

-You had mentioned avoiding trends and gimmicks when it came to the soundtrack, is that in regards to a certain type of music?

I really love all types of music. when approaching a soundtrack for a video, i try to select tracks that I can listen to over and over again, not just something that i enjoy right now. spending enough hours in a timeline cutting clips up usually helps me realize the difference between the two.

 


Photo: @kevinbasss

 

 

-Are you a die hard SD/VX guy, or does that not matter to you as long as the content is good?

No way! caring about something like that is too much man. something is of value because it evokes feeling, is of interest, and made well. regardless of the medium. i love all cameras and appreciate how other film makers/artists arrive at their own results. if it’s good, it’s good.

 

-Any notable A/V issues while making the video like a broken camera, missing footage, or any other type of glitch?

One DVX-100b filmed the entire video and it ran perfectly the entire time.

 

-The hop hop selection is very atmospheric and smooth in the video. Any particular groups or artists whose work influences you?

I’ve always been a big music fan. it varies quite a bit! but my recently played items on my device have artists like: currensy, bad bad not good, mick jenkins, bronson, squid ethics, jhfly, vince staples, jonwayne, telequanta, bsd.u, anderson.paak, wun two, creepoid, nothing, etc.

 

-JDilla fan?

Yes. he’s one of the best to ever make beats/produce tracks. slum village, donuts, his independent beat tapes, his work with tribe, pharcyde, the roots, list goes on forever. RIP.

 

-Meek Mill or Drake?

Del the funky homosapien

 

-Do you listen to trap, or any popular type stuff?

A bit of post trap, cloud rap, it’s never consistent. a track or two or album here and there. top rappers of the moment often feel like pro wrestlers to me, it can be really entertaining but deep down you know it’s all smoke and mirrors.

 

-are you into any conspiracy theories?

I heard 9/11 was an inside job.

 

Thanks Jon

 

 

Zack Cooke Photo Gallery

-Intro: Lino Gonzalez
-Photos: Zack Cooke

No matter where the session is you can always catch Zack Cooke with some type of camera on him. While a lot of people who call themselves photographers are worried about using the newest gear or whether you use film or digital, Zack is not worried about any of that. He is more concerned with having a good time with his friends and snapping a flick of that scene so he can look back and remember. Here Zack has selected a few photos to display that show just that. Enjoy, and don’t let the good times pass you by.

The SSP Tee with photo by Zack Cooke is available here in our online shop.

 
 
 

Another Brick In The Wall – Government Center Station

-Text: Lino Gonzalez

 

As of March 22 2014 the Government Center MBTA stop is officially closed for 2 years due to renovations. As part of the update they will be demolishing the brick headhouse which which has been appearing in BMX videos and magazines for the last 15 plus years.

First a bit of history about the building itself. Following the demolition of Scollay Square, the station was built in the early 1960’s as an entrance to the Boston subway system a.k.a. the “T”. The name was changed to Governmnent Center from Scollay square in the mid 70’s during the construction of the new Boston City Hall. The station served as stops for the blue and green lines of the MBTA system. The Govt Center station was one of the last of the brick bank style stations still standing. There was a similar but smaller style building at Copley Station as well as a few others in the system that also were used as BMX spots but have since been demolished. Boston used to be synonymous with the look of the brick spots due to these stations and the Boston Medical Banks being in just about any footage or photos that came out of Boston. The city now seems to be in favor of replacing the classic brick look with a modern glass and aluminum look which definitely lacks the familiar character.

Here is a photo of the head house being built during the 1960’s redevelopment of Scollay Square. More photos of Government Center construction can be seen in the Boston City Archives at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cityofbostonarchives/sets/72157635055147123/
 

 
Here is an artists rendering of what the future station will look like:
 

 
As far as the BMX history goes the building has made appearances in many well known and local videos over the years. While the exact beginning of the building appearing in footage would be hard to pinpoint but I imagine would be sometime in the mid-early 90’s. Over the years the building and Govt Center area has served as a meeting spot for locals as well as out of towners. For a lot of people this is the first spot in Boston they have ever ridden. After 9/11 security was stepped up a bit for a few years and riding the banks was pretty much a bust for a while. I had my own personal run in there with Boston’s finest by being ticketed and wrestled to the ground by one of them but in recent years it seemed that the BPD has had much better things to do.

The station has appeared in many videos over the years but here are some clips and photos that stand out to me from some well know videos and publications:

 

Standard Domination – 1998 – Jerry Bagley

The spot appears twice in Jerry Bagley’s part in Standard Domination which was one of the biggest video that year and one of my all time favorites. Jerry does a high carve on the bank in one clip and also hits the bank and manuals the brick platform. Jerry’s clips along with the rest of Standard Domination can be seen here: http://bmxmdb.com/films/631-Domination

 

Props Road Fools 4 – 1999 – Nate Wessel & Mike Tag

Road fools 4 brought some of the best riders of the time through the city of Boston. Here Nate Wessell can be seen stalling the top of building which is possibly the first time that had been done. I have heard tales of other people stalling it before him but have never seen footage to back it. Also seen in this video is Mike Tag doing a gap to manual on one of the green sand boxes that are kept outside the T stations during the winter months.

 

DigBMX issue cover – 2001 – Jared Zorowski, Photo by Ryan Worcester

As far as print goes, the banks appeared on the cover of DigBMX magazine issue 19 in 2001 with Jared Zorowski blasting a tabletop.

 

Standpoint 4 – 2004 – Sean “Fish” Hoskins 

Fish made his way from California to the banks during a trip to Boston in summer 2003.  Fish did a few different lines here but this transfer from the lower to the upper bank is the clip that ended up being used in his standpoint 4 bio. Fish’s bio can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N10eZH8zH8

 

S&M Edit – 2008 – Rory Ellis

Rory Ellis does multiple moves on the banks in this S&M edit including Barspin, Tabletop, and Icepick. Corey Martinez had also done the Icepick on the roof in 2003 while filming for Animal’s Can I Eat video. Rory’s clips can be seen here in the video: https://vimeo.com/3175160

 

Chris Marshall Photo – 2011 – Garrett Reynolds

This is probably my favorite thing that has been done here. This is one of those things that didn’t seen possible until it was done but Garrett Reynolds has a habit of making wild stuff come true. This photo was shot during the filming of the Deadline video and was featured in a SoulBMXmag.com photo gallery with photographer Chris Marshall.

 

All good things must come to an end. Here is the station as it sits behind barricades on March 23 2014: