TO SEE ALL LAKOST ON COLORWAYS VISIT WWW.LAKA I.COM
LAKAI LIMITED FOOTWEAR / The Shoes We Skate 955 Francisco Street, Torrance, CA 90502 / Photos by Dan Zaslavsky www.lakai.com and www.crailtap.com
[ o ] NICHOLAS
wordsby sandro grison
If there was one message we wanted to leave in 2007 it’s “do it yourself!” For me it’s been a five year thing. I’ve felt for myself and the people around me a total influx of DIY energy as of late. I did when I decided to start this magazine and I did about five years before that, but the time between those points seems to just meld together. I’m calling it right here and now, 2008 is going to be interesting. I’m really excited about it because I know we’re going to see something awesome happen. Society is well settled now
t is hard to say what is really cool these days. Besides the fact that it’s just a matter of opinion, cool isn’t a term used much by our circle anymore, having lost all vigour when our moms started using it in the 90s. “Goin’ boardin’?” my mom would say in an upbeat tone. “um… Yeah.” “Cool, cool…” she would reply, adding “Right on!” or something constructive that might sound reminiscently on your level, with the motherly testament they just can’t seem to shake. Oh, how we love our moms.
with Blackberries and iPhones. Magazines are looking tight now that we’re free from the shackles of staples, I think even Metallica chilled out at this point and the music industry seems to have figured out how to handle the whole download epidemic that was going on five years ago. We’ve all seen a lot of growth in the first half of this decade and one change that’s become very significant here at the magazine is the digital age. I think I’ve said it before, but it still blows me away when I think that our first year of pub-
Parents go through this stage where they feel they should be less of a parent and a bit more of a buddy, making it awkward and uncomfortable for everyone. This, on top of the uneasy world we find ourselves in at around the same time anyway, is enough to push an individual far away from who they really are and where they’re from. Figuring out where you fit in means setting out on a long journey in desperation for something else bona fide or familiar. In an unfamiliar world of narrow streets and shallow hills, a toy we seek amusement with gives back so much more, bringing days and months of solidarity unscathed by the perplexing tribulations of growing up. Some never find their calling and others make fun while they still have yet to find theirs. A lot of good skateboarding happens during this time, deeply profound music is produced and the most powerful concept-infused art is made. All while the outside world is casually watching. This is our fashion editorial, Any Day Now.
Yet even though parents inadvertently push us away through attempts to be “cool”, there are also many occasions where we are grateful for how much they care. The role of a parent may not be the only factor behind Jamie Tancowny’s stardom status in the amateur skateboard world right now, but it could certainly be said that his mother had a lot to do with it – driving through torrential snow falls to the nearest indoor park so he could learn to skate handrails like he has. And how about Russ Milligan’s mother who has supported him though his journey from flow to pro? There are a lot of cool things in this issue that I’m confident you will pick up on. Sweet enough, signing out.
SANDRO GRISON editor and publisher
POROUS WALKER contrubuting artist. Porous is an artist living in beautiful wine country, California... (707) 225 5173 217 So. Hartson St. Napa, CA 94559 USA See. Also see the Russ Milligan interview on 90 they both spend time in SF. POROUSWALKER.COM
CALEN KNAUF guest typographer
ANGELA FAMA fashion photographer
Calen was born in East Vancouver and will probably die in East Vancouver. He doesn’t really like any thing. He either loves it or hates it. Some things that he loves are: skateboarding, design, cereal, double features, seafood rice noodle, shoes, red vines, staying up late, bahn mi, stale candy, rats, Vancouver, jackets, smooth ground, reservoir tips, Kingsway, helping friends, collecting furniture, graffiti, playing records, climbing, hosting pictionary, computer monitors, and being right. Some things that he hates are: vegetarians, rough ground, and West Vancouver.
Diverse is one word that pretty much sums up Angela. She is not only diverse in her work but diverse in her background. Born in Tennessee and having lived in Ottawa, Zimbabwe, and Vancouver has given Angela a different outlook on photography and her work. Often searching for beauty in unlikely spaces, Angela’s work is inspirational to anyone looking for substance in the shadows. Amalgamating voyeurism and realism, you can see the profundity of her work in this issue’s fashion story, Any Day Now. 80 FAMAPHOTOGRAPHY.COM
CAIRO FOSTER contributing writer Born into a military family, Cairo did a lot of moving around when he was young. Spending much of his formative years in places like Egypt, Florida and San Francisco where he eventually made a name for himself in skateboarding. Now as a new father, Cairo spends more time thinking about where to send his three year old daughter Althea to school than anything else. Although he likes to spend as little time away from her as possible, he was able to make the most of it by chronicling the RVCA tour for us. 68 Along with filming a part for Lakai’s Fully Flared video, Cairo has spent the last year dealing with two ankle surgeries. He’s now preparing for a come back and looks forward to ‘shralping with all the homies again.’
JULIA LUM arts writer
contributing photographer / writer Disenchanted by a town “dripping wet with oil money”, Jeff spends most of his time with his dog Chapeau, and reading multiple books at a time while contemplating how to meet the rising increased cost of rent in Calgary. Starting from humble beginnings in Fredericton, New Brunswick—Jeff has begun a career in photography that now includes Color Magazine’s humble version of Cribs. Check out his work in this issues Helter Shelter where he documents the living quarters of four Calgary based skaters on 76.
Julia is a Vancouver-born art historianin-training whose research has brought her to reside in the soulless wasteland that is our nation’s capital. Her subject of study deals with 18th century naturalist artists (translation: people who drew things as accurately as possible because they didn’t have cameras) whose work blurs the boundaries between art and science. So it was a no-brainer that she be the one to write about S.F.-based artist Tiffany Bozic’s residency at the California Academy of Sciences. When Lum’s not buried in the books, she does what all art historians do: karaoke. Check out her article “From the Depths” on 104. .contributors
Introducing the Cessna in a special Silas Baxter-Neal Habitat colorway. Look for Raymond Molinar Square One and Danny Garcia versions, too!
Photo: Atiba. Free ĂŠSpecial DVD featuring exclusive footage of Silas, Danny Garcia and Raymond Molinar with each pair of shoes purchased. esfootwear.com www.timebombtrading.com
[ o ] MATHIEU
“The thought of not being able to eat poutine after a long session makes it harder to leave and that’s why I’m out here in the snow.” —alex gavin 24
68 SWEET DREAMS.
On Deck With The RVCA gang features our coverage of the RVCA team’s quest through Canada. Penned by Cairo Foster who was on the better half of the tour, he breaks it right down for you with photos by Ed Templeton and Judah Oakes. With captions by Keegan Sauder it’s a wonder why all these aforementioned contributors waste their time with us when they’re so damn talented on their boards. They do it ‘cause they care.
88 WHITE MAGIC.
They’ve been called “freak-folk”, but the music of White Magic’s Brooklyn, New York based Mira Billotte and Doug Shaw should really be reffered to as epiphany music. Their new EP Dark Stars is packed full of modern-classical psychedelia and positively esoteric. Our very own Saelan Twerdy had a chance to speak with Billotte about the origins of their sound, the new EP, and her rendition of Bob Dylan’s As I Went Out One Morning featured on Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There soundtrack.
Think of this (NEW!) department as a ‘roomies’ or ‘cribs’ and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Get inside the spaces and lives of skateboarding’s most interesting characters and you’ll find the darndest things. Jeff Thorburn starts us off with a look into the world of four Calgary skaters: Sean MacAlister, Reuben Bullock, Stephen McIntyre, and Drew Merriman.
departments = 8 intro, 9 contributors, 14 contents, 18 inspiration bound, 24 extra/random, 30 show, 32 cmyk, 40 product toss, 50 anthrax, 112 artisan, 116 fotofeature, 128 faces n spaces, 130 sound cheque, 132 trailer, 138 credits, 142 over&out.
[ o ] LUSTEG
ON THE COVER Metronome, 45” diameter Tiffany Bozic,
“From the Depths”, California Academy of Sciences, 2007 Somewhere (probably stored with the rows of jarred specimens) at the Cal Academy there is a stack of sketches in thinking and planning that went into this original painting. Cuttlefish have an incredible ability to change color, but here on our cover for this issue, Bozic strips them down so you can see the flow in the grain of maple instead. It’s so relative that we have these Cuttlefish on the cover also because they have been using ink from the Cuttlefish for thousands of years. So in a big way they have contributed (not willingly of course) a lot to human evolution enabling us to communicate, write draw illustrate, and of coarse publish.
“Skateboarding needs more Jamies and less Shecklers.” —mike mcdermott
Jamie Tancowny 56
91 RUSS MILLIGAN.
56 BIG BABY JAMES.
Color was lucky to have come across Jamie Tancowny at the start of his hostile takeover of the american skateboarding market share. He was a quiet, nice looking boy sent by his mentor and shop sponsor Glenn Suggit (Edmonton, AB) to represent by showing what he was made of. He was at Black Box distribution just as the new training facilities had been made. One look at the (then clean-cut and innocent) kid and you would be betting how short a span he was going to last in the jungles of SoCal. It wasn’t minutes until we were skating the park and Baby Jamie was throwing down backside noseblunts down the largest rail in the park. He’s continued to surprise and amaze. Read it first hand by todays most prolific skateboarders.
It has been five years since we ran Russ’ amateur interview in Color Volume 1 No.2. At that time we talked about “The Canadian Dream” or riding for an american company, traveling the world and being able to make a living off it. While some things haven’t changed, one thing sure has: Russ has made it! To celebrate this, senior writer Mike Christie interviewed City Skateboards pro Russ Milligan as he departed for San Francisco — a city illustrator/artist Porous Walker is no stranger to.
104 TIFFANY BOZIC.
Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. Science and the natural world is something that drives Oakland based painter Tiffany Bozic. So when the California Academy of Sciences, a natural history museum began the first motions of their artist in residence program in San Francisco—they knew right away who they wished to work with. Canadian-born Lindsay Irving initialized the collaboration between Dr. Rich Mooi, an invertebrate expert, and Julia Lum had the distinct opportunity to talk with both sides of the field and we also have the finished works shot by Billy O’callaghan for all to adore.
64 HEALTH. 80
A band that sounds best when turned up way too loud can only have a name that looks good only in uppercase letters. Quinn Omori talks with this L.A. noise crew about their recent collaborations, zines and the culture of the record.
ANY DAY NOW.
This issue’s fashion editorial explores the lives of a handful of local youth wearing what they do, impressing who they wish while shutting out the rest of the world. Photographer Angela Fama captures the realism of now.
Flash Forward 2007 (the magenta foundation) Flash Forward 2007 is a yearly publication from The Magenta Foundation, (their prime mandate is to publish works of Canadian and International artists). This full colour, glossy, hardcover book celebrates young, emerging photographers. The range in photography from these artists is staggering, from documentary, to portrait, to contemporary art, every realm of photography is covered. Some who stand out above the rest include Heather Culp, Jeff Harris, and Matt Eich. This is an amazing opportunity for young photographers to get their work out there, and should definitely be taken advantage of. —gordon nicholas magentafoundation.com
The Artist’s Joke
mike ballard, salman agah (skatebook llc)
jennifer higgie (mit)
SkateBook is an enormous 300 page project by publisher Mike Ballard, Salman Agah and others, that’s a mix between a coffee table book on skateboarding and an oversize skate magazine. The premiere issue has a range of articles/ chapters and I have to admit that at first I didn’t get why there were so many photos and so few words. Turns out that each feature has an accompanying video interview on the SkateBook website, which is a really innovative way to mix old media and new. As far as the website goes, it’s pretty busy and maybe my old g4 ain’t what she used to be but the pages and videos took forever to load. I also found the magazine itself too cluttered at times. The contrast of a clean white design for the content/ article opening pages and the crammed, no-white-space layout of most articles took away from the photographs and left a sense of inconsistency. The fact that SkateBook is apparently FREE, now and forever, is great but not surprising considering a third of the book is ads and it’s hard to tell the difference between a lot of the content (which is basically product placement) and advertisement. Oh, and anyone who can’t find a copy at their skateshop can purchase it on the website for a mere 44 dollars. —rhianon bader
Humour is a ripe subject in contemporary art. Obvious examples range from the overtly comic doodles of David Shrigley to examples like Richard Prince who use the subject of jokes as conceptual fodder, or the prankster performances and installations of Maurizio Cattelan. This reader, part of the Whitechapel series Documents of Contemporary Art published by the MIT press, provides a historiography of humour in art that begins with the Dadaists and encompasses movements and periods as diverse as the Surrealists, Fluxus, Pop Art, Feminist art, Conceptualism, and the multifarious outgrowths of contemporary art. Artist’s writings are combined with theoretical texts sampled from thinkers like Freud, Bergson, Cixous, and Zizek. With humour and jokes so prevalent in contemporary art, collections like this help us establish a framework within which to interpret these works, privileging criticality over mere entertainment. —nicholas brown mitpress.mit.edu
DON’T FUCK WITH THE WHITE RABBITS
stylists: the interpretors of fashion
michael cook (white rabbit)
anna wintour & sarah mower (rizzoli international publications, inc.) “The distinguishing mark of a great stylist’s work is the imagination that makes it something that could only come from one persons mind. Artistically respected, commercially effective, and intimately involved in the way the fashion world runs” —sarah mower The work of the best, most influential stylists and taste makers of the world is collected in the pages of this book. Edited by the innermost inhabitants of the fashion world, it’s not just a coffee table piece, but a giant heavy interpretation of decades inside the minds of people that have dictated all of our kits sometime or another in the past. The Interpreters of Fashion also includes large photographs by Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Steven Meisel, Richard Avendon, Juergen Teller and many more. Examples from magazines from Self Service to Italian Vogue. It is edited by the staff of style.com, but so much better then surfing the site itself. —mila franovic
“Dedicated to the Unigons, Nun Fuckers” and The White Rabbits, writer Michael Cook has baked up a self-published story about cocaine, skateboarding, jocks and facebook. com. This non-fiction story conveys a group of skaters as they hang out at their proudly eastside home. When they are interrupted by an intoxicated stranger, the two forces (skaters vs. jock) begin to clash, struggling to appreciate where each other are coming from. The story really begins when the stranger leaves, abandoning his vulnerable Facebook profile he previously logged into. It’s obvious these young adults believe they’re doing this guy a favor or at least themselves and any other under privileged outcast who’s felt degraded by an others insecurities, but what they do next is far beyond revenge. It’s time to forgive and forget those times when being called a ‘skater’ was meant to be deprecating. Stand proud Mr. Cook, you’ve published an epic saga of teenage bullshit, but you’ve accomplished it none the less. Order a free pdf version of the book or $25 hard copies from the myspace page. —sandro grison
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking malcolm gladwell (back bay books) The first thing I heard about this book was when a friend of mine read it and became convinced he was racist. I’ve known him since elementary school and I can attest to the fact that he does not, nor will he ever fit in with a group wearing white sheets and hoods. In fact, sometimes I think he’s too sensitive and caring about others. But that’s what happens when you read Gladwell’s book. It explores what happens in the blink of an eye, the short time that it takes to make a snap judgement about someone without really knowing you’re doing it. And it’s also about making you aware that you’re doing it so you can harness your powers for good and not evil. After I read the short case studies, anecdotes, and completed the mini-tests I could almost convince myself that I was not only racist, but sexist, ageist, and any other ist I could think of. Only after taking some time to think did I figure out that I’m not really any of those things, I’m just super judgemental. Whew. —jennifer macleod gladwell.com
Photo: Vincent Skoglund
You know those people that you really like, but you’re just from different places so it’s really hard to relate so you end up always talking about something completely pointless like the weather? Yeah, Alex Gavin calls me one day and following my bragging about having three days of sun in a row he told me how unbelievably cold it had been in Montreal. I thought this would lead to us talking about him coming to Vancouver but then he started to tell me about this mission he had planned to skate a grip of spots he’d been eyeing all summer, but never got around to. Now that it’s unbearably cold, there’s snow all over the place, and ice freezes to his griptape, he wants to give it a go. That’s not even the biggest challenge though. Try convincing a photographer like Dan Mathieu to leave his temperate abode to dodge frostbite and risk hypothermia. That is talent.
wordsby sandro grison
photosby dan mathieu
“Finding a spot that you think looks good, and then cleaning it up makes the whole process way cooler and worthwhile. You really feel like you’ve accomplished something at the end of the day.”
f Vancouver is the California of Canadian skateboarding then Montreal is definitely the New York. East Coast skating has always maintained itself as being the raw and realest of the two. Take away the history of it all and it can be argued that Canada has had more influence on present day skateboarding than the United States if you take into account the abundance of prolific riders hailing from the north despite the low numbers of skaters per capita, or the weathered and rugged terrain exposed through videos over the years. Let’s not look over the more recent popularity of skating barriers (Canada’s answer to the backyard pool). Canadian skaters keep it real, no doubt, and it has much to do with the natural limitations the climate permits.
On these days I’ve even wished it would drop to minus 20 degrees Celsius and be done with it – bring on the snow! ‘Cuz hell, if it’s going to be shitty out anyway, it may as well be the fluffy stuff.
Every city in Canada can expect snow in their winter forecasts and some more than others. While Vancouver is plagued by what seems to be never ending rain for six months of the year, it still manages to materialize a dry day here and there in the winter where skaters can be found skating in t-shirts, seemingly unscathed by the outwardly ruthless weather pattern that persists. Surely there’s been those that ache for the feeling of their board so badly that they’ll trek into the water-covered streets for a desperate session, only to be regretful when their griptape collects mud and bearings start to whistle. Even when it snows Vancouver doesn’t maintain a low enough temperature to uphold a base without it melting into a slushy mess.
Well, if you’re Alex Gavin (which I’m almost positive you are not) first of all you get up on top of the skatepark roof and skate a nearly impossible ramp. Having conquered that with a backside nollie, blunt fakie and whatever else, you call up your sponsors [WESC, Nixon, Revolver] to let them know you’re out of your fucking mind. They donate some loot so that you can get help but instead you buy a floor heater and snow shovel. Then you hit the streets as if they aren’t overflowing with dirt and frozen water and try to forget that if your nose pops above your collar, if your glove slips up enough to expose your wrist or one of your layers of socks tear a hole, then not feeling your legs at all will no longer be your most severe problem. That’s keeping it real.
Montreal is where one can be sure to find plenty of fluffy stuff. So much so that the tops of benches you once skated can appear under your feet while walking down what appears to be a sidewalk. It snows so fucking much in cities such as Montreal that they don’t even bother shoveling it in parts and it builds up over a meter high. So what do you do when you live in a place like this that can be so cruel in the winters, yet so pleasant and perfect the rest of the year? When the idea of sleeping on somebody’s floor in southern California sounds less like an opportunity and more like a punishment? When your local indoor skatepark is forced to close down?
“I only had about 15 minutes to get my trick before Dan’s hands became numb making it impossible to continue.”
bringing new meaning to ‘bank ollie’.
ALEX GAVIN backside nollie [ o ] mathieu.
K E E G A N S A U D E R | K E V I N “ S P A N K Y ” L O N G | L E O R O M E R O | N E S T O R J U D K I N S | R AY M O N D M O L I N A R
AU ST I N ST E P H E N S | C A I R O F O ST E R | DAV I D R EY E S | E D T E M P L E TO N | E T H A N F OW L E R | JO S H H A R M O N Y
W W W. T I M E B O M B T R A D I N G . C O M
I N F O @ RVC AC LOT H I N G . C O M
R V C A C L O T H I N G . C O M | R V C A A N P. C O M
TH E B A LA NC E OF OPPOSI TES VOLUME 01 | C H A PTER 01 KEVIN “SPANKY” LONG: STIL L STA N D I N G Injuries and hospitals are a nightmare for anyone, but they are even worse for a professional skateboarder. Over the last year, Spanky’s had his fair share of injuries… but then again, what skater hasn’t? Some would call it bad luck, but for Spanky recuperating is just an excuse for traveling, spending time with friends coast to coast and somehow finding time to design a signature line for RVCA... and still skate.
R V C A C LOT H I N G . C O M / B LO G / S K AT E
SKATEBOARDS| CLOTHES| SHOES WWW.ELEMENTSKATEBOARDS.COM
wordsby nicholas brown
images courtesy of the artist and Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects.
ince 1996, the Winnipeg-based art collective known as The Royal Art Lodge has held weekly drawing sessions inspired by a unique predilection for collaborative, experimental art practice. Variously comprised of eight young Canadian artists – Drue Langlois, Myles Langlois, Jonathan Pylypchuk, Hollie Dzama, Adrian Williams, Michael Dumontier, Neil Farber and Marcel Dzama (and currently comprising just the latter three) – these sessions saw the creation of thousands of drawings alongside mixed-media collages and paintings, dioramas, plush creatures, video, costumes and records. The group’s modus operandi: one member would start a drawing and pass it on for the next to add, alter or subvert until completion. Deemed a success or failure by consensus, pieces were ranked and placed accordingly into suitcases marked with either a sun, a heart or a sad rain cloud for the (respectively) excellent, good or bad drawings. Taking inspiration from sources both high and lowbrow, the Lodge’s aesthetic variously encompasses comics, children’s book illustrations, surrealism and film-noir, among many others. Paper scraps torn from sketchbooks, root beer syrup, manila envelopes and other unconventional, low-tech materials played host to characters and objects rendered in a deliberately crude, faux-naïve manner – a brand of playful, spontaneous and irreverent art-making that was always infused with humour, intelligence and wit.
(top) Black Tears oil on canvas 30 x 24“ (above) Dwelling oil on canvas 24 x 30” (right) Killer Kind oil on canvas 20 x 16“
While the group has gained much critical and popular recognition in Canada and abroad, many of the members have developed solo art careers to varying degrees of success. Drue Langlois’s current exhibition at Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects in Toronto both sustains and departs from his early work with the Art Lodge, which he left in 2003. Consisting of small to large oils on canvas and paper, Oily Paintings is Langlois’ first attempt to work within one medium, presumably in the interest of exploring possibilities of colour, tone and tactility. Strangely, these “oily paintings” are anything but. Instead, there is a disappointing lack of depth, richness and texture in Langlois’ pale, thinly applied oils. Stating an interest in subject matter that is both “supernaturally disquieting” and “relaxing and familiar,” Langlois has painted scenes replete with both. In the enigmatic split portrait Black Tears, two demurely dressed women calmly sip cola while black tears streak down their cheeks. Conversely,
Combing is a more conventional portrait, depicting an attractive woman combing her hair, yet there is something unnerving in her sideways gaze. Killer Kind and Dwelling are the most successful examples of Langlois’ interest in the uncanny, rendering situations that are at once familiar and foreign, fascinating and frightening. Killer Kind cites and inverts horror film clichés, as a woman stands exposed at the foreground of the painting in sexily ripped clothing and an iron mask covering her face, attire that signifies both the victim and the killer. The landscape seems expressively ill-proportioned, while the ominous sky and boarded-up farmhouse completes the eerie mise-en-scene. Dwelling is another un-homelike home: a pyjama-clad woman crouches next to a hole in her wall, her eyes wide with fear. She holds a Polaroid camera, by which she has just captured a photograph of a vicious, red-eyed gremlin creature emerging from its dwelling.
The other half of Oily Paintings bears striking similarities to yet other genres, alluding to fantasy art, comics and superheroes in works like the surreal, absurdly funny Maraschino. Here, a heroic, battle-costumed woman slices her sword through her opponent’s head, which Langlois portrays as a Cherry Blossom chocolate. While Langlois’ attempt at the painterly falls (quite literally) flat, his content succeeds. He achieves almost a cinematic quality with his canvases. His fanciful scenes are wellcrafted and eerily frozen in time, narratives that elude immediate comprehension in favour of imagination and mystery. katharinemulherin.com
JOEY PEPPER lipslide [ o ] landi.
WADE FYFE backside 180 fakie manual [ o ] zaslavsky.
ADAM MCLAUGHLIN drop-in gap ollie [ o ] gils.
GRANT PATTERSON nollie frontside heelflip [ o ] pommier.
ERIC FLETCHER. BACK TAIL. SEE MORE OF ERIC AT ETNIESSKATEBOARDING.COM
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background image courtesy of Hanson Ng
These tightly preserved babies deserve to be archived as some of the best tee shirts available right now. Donâ€™t be caught letting any of these marinate as you choose which one is best suited for your perfect spring outfit because they are the most classic part of anybodyâ€™s wardrobe. 44
We are still far away from being able to manufacture our own computer devices, although some of our favourite brands are making it a lot more interesting to dress the drones we spend the majority of our time with. From headphones to ipod cases, we have you covered.
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LETTERS Welcome back to that place where anything goes. Anything that can be thrown into a mailbox that is. Through the piles of press releases and promotional material it’s sometimes just too easy to find the recycling box. But then again, the trash can is just a click away on the computer... This is why we cherish so much when somebody sends us a letter or package that they’ve so obviously put some time into. This issues winner for best unsolicited anthrax mail is Montreal arist Peru. He wins a free years subscription to Color and you could to. Mail us at Anthrax c/o Color Magazine, 321 Railway Street #105, Vancouver BC V6A 1A4, Canada fourcorner@cOLORMAGAZINE.CA
MIXTAPE CONTEST WINNER We put every single entry we received into the office tape player (yes, we have an old system) and all decided that Rob Rickaby of Abbotsford had put the most thought and effort into his submission. His tape was recorded entirely off of vinyl from his own collection and in his liner notes he wrote a little something to let us know why he had included each song. All his work paid off, because he wins a massive prize pack from Altamont Apparel for his efforts. Thanks to everyone for the tunes. Here’s the list of songs from the winner.
SODOMIZED AT THE CROS S : STE V EN SHE A RER’S “CULT UR A L DIV ERSIT Y” One of the smallest and most subtle pieces in Vancouver artist Steven Shearer’s retrospective at The Power Plant in Toronto is a jiffy marker scribble piece with the words, “sorry steve, when we talk about celebrating cultural diversity we don’t mean yours.” The piece seems apt when you consider the likelihood of entering Toronto’s most prominent contemporary art institution only to find the words “ALTARS OF MADNESS FLUSH THIS WORLD OF SHIT INTO SKULLFUCKING ARMAGEDDON” in billboard-size text. It’s not an everyday occurrence because few in the art world are interested in giving the visual or lyrical excesses of extreme metal much consideration at all. But this is, after all, Steven Shearer’s culture, and in the context of the globalized art world, it does seem to add a refreshing layer of “diversity.” The show comprises oil
paintings of metal luminaries like Larry LaLonde of Possessed in the style of Dutch symbolist painters, large-scale collages of Shearer’s ongoing archive of images relating to metal culture found on Google, and poems that gather lyrics from bands like Carcass and Morbid Angel into textual cacophonies of brutality elevated to aesthetic transcendence. In each work there is a palpable sense of tension between competing contexts of the artist’s place within Vancouver’s postconceptual lineage, and his own affinities towards metal. The work clearly evokes a deep connection to metal – particularly the subcultures of Death and Black Metal – but in its treatment still reads as irony, albeit of a complex and considered sort. Taken as a whole, the show is equal parts absurd, sincere, horrific, a bit depressing, and totally hilarious. thepowerplant.org
DC COLLABOS Continuing the tradition of their DoubleLabel Projects, DC is launching two new collaborative shoes. The first pair was designed by Brooklyn Project’s mastermind, Dominick Deluca, who created the shoe to be “as timeless as possible…and keep it simple.” The second pair in this DC Double Label Retailer Project is the Commonwealth Gatsby, by Omar Quiambao. His design features the iconic, mid-century American fabric created by the Eames for Herman Miller, with the goal of featuring American design aesthetic. DCSHOES.COM
Side 1 Captain Beefheart – Pena Willie and the Wheels – Skateboard Craze The Rolling Stones – Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) Nev! – Hallogallo Uriah Heep –Easy Livin’ Black Lips – Hippie Hippie Hoorah (Live) Justice – Let There Be Light Turbonegro – Are You Ready (For Some Darkness) The Strokes – 12:51 Side 2 Electric Wizard – Wizard in Black Devo – Mongoloid Kraftwerk – Ruckzuck The White Stripes – One More Cup of Coffee Bob and Doug McKenzie – Welcome to Side Two S.T.R.E.E.T.S – Drop in Hang Up Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Toccata ALTAMONTAPPAREL.com COLORMAGAZINE.CA/CONTEST
LUXIRIE SPRING 2008 AMBIENT CLOTHING When you’re sitting on your buddy’s couch at 2am working your way through a case of Pil the idea of starting up your very own skate company and sponsoring all your friends’ sounds genius. Then the sun comes up the buzz wears off and you realize how much work it would actually take, so the idea remains a late night pipe dream.
The girlfriends of LRG wearing bros must have been disappointed with the fact that there was no amazing similar brands for them. So bam, a couple of seasons ago the awesome brand Luxirie was given birth. This spring the line goes beyond urban or street wear and into the closets of almost any girl. Bright denim and geometric tops, wear it with your Reeboks with the straps, like the song “Low” by Flo Rida and T-Pain. LUXIRIE.COM
But brothers Joel and Chris Dufresne somehow managed to get their idea for a skate company off the couch and into shops. In 2006 they launched Ambient with the goal of providing skateboarders with quality, stylish clothing and to help emerging Canadian talent reach their fullest potential. Look for the brand’s tees, hoodies, and headwear online and in select skateshops across BC. You can also keep an eye out for the Ambient team that consists of Sean Lowe, Gabby Ivanov, and Jorden Murray.
NUMBER (N)INE COLLECTION
Rick McCrank’s next éS shoe was designed as a tribute to his late friend Lee Matasi who was shot and killed in a random and senseless act of gun violence. Matasi was a Vancouver skateboarder who built the under-bridge skate park now known as “Leeside.” Proceeds from the shoe are going to be donated to a charity in Lee’s memory. If you heart Lee Matasi too, you’ll be able to pick up a pair of these shoes just after summer.
Number (N)ine owner and Creative Director Takahiro Miyashita unveiled his vintageAmerican feeling fall 2008 collection, titled “My Own Private Portland” to the crowds in Paris this past January. Inspired by the grunge aesthetic of the Pacific Northwest and specifically the Ace Hotel Portland, Miyashita showed layer upon layer of wool sweaters, shearling trimmed suede coats, contemporary lumberjack plaids, and hunters caps complete with earflaps to fight off the damp, cold, woodsy air. To help the crowds get into the spirit of the show each attendee had a Portland-made Pendleton wool blanket, crested with the Thompson elk, draped over their seat. The blankets are the first piece available from the collaboration project between the designer and the Ace Hotel. Look for additional products to be released this fall.
McCrank ‘Avers’ Shoe
LOVE THE RAMP You can get one of these tees from Vancouver skateshop antisocial. When you pick one up you’ll be helping to keep their ramp in tip top shape and ready for all those wet and rainy spring days when an indoor session is all that will keep you from going crazy. antisocialshop.com
There is often a lot of talk about donating time and money to worthy causes, but Fallen is actually taking some action. They started by releasing the Africa shoe and donated over $20,000 to World Vision, an organization that sponsors families and children in Africa who suffer from HIV/ AIDS. Their latest partnership is with the StandUp For Kids organization that aims to help homeless and street kids improve their lives. Fallen donated five dollars from every pair of the StandUp shoes sold, which is quite a bit more than the usual cut. Their next venture is going to be their first effort with a clothing item. Five dollars from every specially designed sweater will be going to Acres of Love, an organization that provides care for abandoned and HIVpositive babies and children. Kudos to Fallen for caring enough to create these partnerships with some very deserving organizations. fallenfootwear.com
Are you down with Ray? The first true fan that e-mails in the NAME of RAY BARBEE’S MOST RECENT ALBUM along with the NAME OF HIS LAST FULL VIDEO PART, will win a full “head to toe” WeSC prize pack! The winning package will include everything from Headphones to denim, right down to socks & undies! Send your answers to : Contest@colormagazine.ca
[ o ] LUSTEG
As a form of photo incentive, for Jamie’s first published photo, Glenn Suggit bought him a Texas Mickey of Jack Daniels. 22 stair 50-50.
“Jamie is gnarly. He doesn’t hesitate when he skates, he just goes for interviewby dylan doubt
racking down Jamie Tancowny has proven to be no small task. The photos were no problem, it seems that he has been on a bit of a tear as of late getting ads with Zero, Emerica, and Independent. Having him sit still and answer some questions, on the other hand, has been another story. You see, ‘Baby Jamie’ has been absorbed in the hectic schedule of a young upwardlymobile skate commodity, on the move and not the easiest kid to pin down. Faced with such a challenge, I decided to search elsewhere, asking others how they felt about our little buddy. I think that Ryan Smith said it best, and this will serve as an appropriate intro…
“Baby Jamie is the epitome of skateboarding. He’s young, fun, and fucking reckless. This little cunt is a prime example of how much you are blowing it if you plan on making a career of skateboarding. I mean, let’s face it, he is underdeveloped physically, he smokes and drinks way more than any other half-pint I have encountered, and to top it all off he is from a small town in Alberta with nothing to skate. With odds like that against him he still has managed to secure himself a spot on some of the largest and most respected companies in skateboarding. If that little shit has gone this far with all those handicaps, what is your excuse? Jamie is probably out dropping hammers right now or barfing on a 15 year old girl’s pet ferret. Fuck yeah, Canada!” —Ryan Smith
“Some say he looks like a small lesbian, but he skates like a man... a man with an appetite for the flesh of many
[ o ] DOWNHONEY
[ o ] DOWNHONEY
Glenn brought Jamie, and that Texas Mickey down to Calgary on an end of summer skate trip. He skated around spot to spot, working on the whiskey every step of the way. Pole Jam.
“Well, first off I grew up in Red Water, outside of Edmonton. It is pretty much a shit stain on the map. There are no buildings over three stories. It’s just about the worse place ever to grow up skating. There may be a few kids skating now, but for three years I was Jamie has just woken up from a nap. He has the only skater living there. There used to a broken arm from skating the course at the be a shitty wood skatepark in a tennis court Tampa Am contest last weekend. The break where I pretty much learned how to skate. When I was about 12 or 13 I started going to had him leaving Tampa early, a town he recalls as “the worst place on earth,” cutting Edmonton to skate indoor parks in the winter, it was good skating there and it helped me his trip short and heading back up north for start skating rails and tranny. Going to the a little recovery time. Jamie is nonchalant, city helped me realize that there were other but says of his arm injury, “My arm is pretty skaters around and I was freaking out. It was screwed. I took the cast off the other day to have a shower, and it’s all bent and shit. I am a good experience.” hoping that they don’t have to operate on it.” I start off by asking him about growing up in All of this would of course have been impossible without the support of his mom Edmonton, Alberta. who would drive him into the city to skate. As I sat down to start putting this interview together, wondering how exactly I was going to compile an interview without an actual interview, the phone rang. It was the man of the hour, big Baby James…
“I pretty much wouldn’t be where I am today without my mom. She has always supported me, she’s a really good person.” How does a little kid from a remote Canadian town end up in the position he’s in now? “The first time I went down to L.A. by myself and ended up staying at the Emerica mansion for a week. From there Jamie [Thomas] hooked me up with Pat Burke and I stayed with him at the Zero house for a couple weeks. The second time I brought my girlfriend with me. It was the worst decision I’ve ever made. It’s not a good idea to bring a girl down on a skate trip.” Jamie has managed to elevate himself, from bumming rides and sleeping on couches, to getting spots on some pretty distinguished tours. He has been swept into a hectic tour
[ o ] SHIGEO
As the night moved on, Jamie, then 15, and looking every bit a 12 year-old, wrapped a towel around his head, put on a bathrobe, took a last pull off the bottle and joined his â€˜of ageâ€™ friends on their way to the local strip club. Kickflip Fakie.
[ o ] DOUBT
“When I tell him to go behind the bar and fill us up some pitchers he says, ‘hey no problem, boss.’ What else could schedule with both Zero and Emerica and even dunked his nuts across the waters in gay ‘Paree’, “Going to France with the Emerica dudes for a month was crazy. It was my first time going to a country where they don’t speak English, it’s total culture shock. Really good food…” He says this bearing in mind the other fine oily delights Europe has to offer.
[ o ] SHIGEO
Obviously Jamie is refused entry, and opts to familiarize himself with the action in the street. Jamie strikes up a conversation with a prostitute, which quickly turns sour. Double Kickflip.
“We did a demo at this spot in Paris [called] Bercy. It was a weird one. It was a Girl/ Chocolate and Emerica demo all put together. You could either skate ledges or the big four or big five. Most of the Girl fools were skating the ledges and shit, but I just wanted to make it interesting and started trying to skate the stairs. It’s pretty crazy skating with all those dudes, but we all got wasted together the night before, so we all got comfortable with each other. Those guys are all rad.” I found footage from the demo of Jamie frontside varial heelflipping the four on Youtube. There is actually a lot of Jamie
footage floating around out there. I found a good comment on a site posted by some kid named Donovan, “Yeah, I see you in Prince Albert skate park demo…” He wrote, “You were sick until you racked out on eight set hand rail.” The internet is an extremely useful tool and outlet, but it must be difficult to keep anything sacred when you’re in the public eye. Something Jamie is no stranger to, he remarks that “you get mad little kids talking shit,” and concludes that it is a weird feeling to have a majority of one’s tricks (makes or not-makes) on display for the world at any time. These days when he isn’t traveling, Jamie finds himself living in the dorm at the Black Box Distribution compound. “They call it ‘project mayhem’ because you’re stuck in this big warehouse with nothing around you but skateboarding. It’s a good environment if you want to skateboard, but it is in the middle of nowhere, and there’s nothing around. Lately it’s been me, Marisa Del Santo (she’s amazing), Pat Burke, Gilley occasionally cruises through there, Sheldon [Meleshinski]
has been staying there. There are always random people cruising through. It’s pretty laid back.” I asked Jamie where he’d be without skating. “I’d probably be an alcoholic, working on the [oil] rigs or something. All the dudes I went to school with all work hard and just get wasted on the weekend. It’s pretty weird. I feel pretty fortunate to be able to travel and skate and not really worry about too much for the time being.” Not to say it’s all roses for the young hopeful, Jamie is currently bearing the weight of two looming video parts, both due to release within the year. “It’s pretty stressful, you get hurt and have to take time off to recover” he says. I thought about the constant pressures he must bear, and the juxtaposition of a young Canadian, seemingly unknown, planted in the foreign soils of California, skating alongside his idols. Jamie counters, “It was weird at first skating with all those dudes, but everyone is really nice and as time goes by it’s gotten really comfortable.”
[ o ] DOWNHONEY
The prostitute, feeling that this young man may be a detriment to business, decides Jamie is a heat score and demands to talk to Jamieâ€™s mom. Jamie, knowing that his mother is an understanding sort, dials her up and hands the hooker his phone. 5-0.
[ o ] LUSTEG
Despite his mother’s relaxed attitude, the situation is less than ideal, so the crew returns to the hotel and drinks Jack and coffee until 5:00 a.m. Somehow, they’re up and skating by noon. Jamie wastes no time and jumps into a 5050 on the first big rail of the day, eats shit, and has a painful ride back to Edmonton. All this action in less than 24 hours, with Jamie Tancowny. Frontside Varial Heel.
[ o ] SHIGEO
“I’ve never seen a pudgy I was on a trip with Jamie awhile back and Mike McDermott kept talking about how he had better start watching his carb intake, or he was going to start ‘barreling out.’ He doesn’t seem to be worried about such things, averring “I’m not too concerned about watching that shit. I got good metabolism. I’m just livin.” It seems like Jamie is definitely comfortable with himself, and where he is at, although he admits he may one day be bound to a wheelchair and isn’t ignorant to the fact that what he’s doing now might be making him more susceptible to arthritis. Describing the perfect day, Jamie is quick to break down a modest, while regimented program. “Wake and bake, grab some breakfast, smoke a cig after I eat and then skate all day. Cap it all off with a brewski… or eight.” 62
“There’s a different culture for that [electro] shit, and we want to be a part of that.”
wordsby quinn omori
photosby chris glancy
f it’s not all capitals it looks really fucking stupid,” says bassist John Famiglietti when I ask him why he and his bandmates insist on playing under the name ‘HEALTH.’ “That’s one thing that we decided: if that’s going to be our band name it had to always be capitalized.” “[Singer/guitarist] Jake [Duzsik] had actually thought of that when he worked as a medical historian at a doctor’s office,” he notes of the group’s clinically-inspired moniker. “He was looking at some of the bottles and one of them said ‘Health’ on it, so we just went with that because we thought it wasn’t taken. It turns out that it was, but we worked that out,” he says with a laugh, later noting that they had originally settled on ‘Medicine’ before they found out about a relatively obscure 90s band of the same name. They may have opted not to steal a name, but they are borrowing some of their aesthetic from the genre – the oft cited shoegaze movement – that Medicine were part of. “It was a big inspiration for us. The vocals were totally a part of the music – a really integral part – but it wasn’t like ‘this is the guitar track and this is the vocal track.’ It’s not all clearly separated,” Famiglietti says, drawing a parallel to Duzsik’s vocal stylings. On the band’s selftitled debut, his singing emerges from the din of guitars, drums, and effects in a way that makes his voice sound more like one of the instruments than the traditional “front man’s” tool. “There are lyrics, but it’s not supposed to be perceived that way. It’s not supposed to be ‘there’s a dude singing about this cool thing, and I identify with that,’” explains Famiglietti. Although John notes the similarities between HEALTH and bands like Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine, you’re more apt to read comparisons to the increasing number of bands that fall under the wide umbrella of ‘noise.’ But while there are
plenty of cathar tic bursts of seemingly chaotic sound throughout their record’s 30-minute running time – from tribal beats to straightforward blasts of white noise – there are also moments of extreme precision; something that may owe itself to the band’s unconventional writing style. “This isn’t going to make a lot of sense,” says Famiglietti, when I ask him about HEALTH’s rather involved composition process. “We just call it a diagram. A conceptual idea of a song – like, a song is going to do this, this, and this – is written out on paper with, like, boxes pointing arrows to boxes with references to ‘this, that, and whatever.’ And then the guy who wrote that will get up and walk everyone through what it’s all supposed to mean.” The ‘noise’ tag means that HEALTH are often compared to bands like AIDS Wolf, Mika Miko, and Ex-Models, but at times they share as much in common with electro-kingpins like Dan Deacon and White Williams (both tour mates). They’ve even embraced modern dance music to the extent that they have a separate MySpace page just to post the numerous remix projects that they’ve been a part of. “There’s a different culture for that shit, like blogs and parties, and we want to be part of that,” says Famiglietti of the more discofriendly side of HEALTH. They’ve received some re-editing help from numerous friends, but there is one set of comrades that the band has become even closer with. “ We became friends with them before they got really huge,” he says of HEALTH’s collaborative relationship with Crystal Castles. “We added them on MySpace and started talking to them. They only had two remixes at the time, and we asked them if they wanted to do a remix or a split with us.” The partnership eventually turned out both a split 7” and a remix of “Crimewave”, and the two bands will ride a growing wave of hype on a joint
North American tour this spring. While HEALTH’s musical output proves that they’re the real deal, they can attribute a lot of the aforementioned hype to the internet. “It’s a bummer that the culture of the record is dying and it’s just becoming so disposable. If you bought a record in the old days, you would go home and sit down and just listen to the whole thing, and it’s different now,” says Famiglietti when asked about the current online climate. “But the way I find out about music is blogs. For me, blogs are like ‘zines. They’re better than ‘zines. I love that whole culture.” While the band are firm believers in the online music community, you can’t talk about HEALTH without talking about the real life community that’s integral to their existence. “It’s this really amazing DIY venue that’s run really professionally by one guy, Jim Smith, and it’s all concrete and brick with really high ceilings. And 200-plus people can fit inside, which is really huge for a DIY venue,” says Famiglietti of the Smell, the Los Angeles artspace where the band recorded their self-titled debut, regularly play, and also hang out. “It’s in downtown L.A. in this really forgotten part of town,” he continues. “It’s really near skid row in this really shitty area that looks exactly like Hastings [St., Vancouver, B.C.],” he says, noting the similarities to Canada’s poorest postal code, mere blocks from Color headquarters. “Downtown L.A. is really fucking run-down and there’s thousands upon thousands of homeless people just running wild and tents and shit everywhere. The venue’s between these two buildings in this really gross alley, but it’s just a really amazing place.” They say there’s beauty in chaos, and HEALTH proves that in more ways than one. www.myspace.com/healthmusic
brett stobbart ed templeton stacy gabriel
josh harmony keegan sauder
wordsby cairo foster skate photosby judah oakes captionsby keegan sauder street photosby ed templeton
I austin stephens
didn’t make it on the East Coast portion of the twoweek long RVCA trip in Canada, so my expertise on the matter of goings-on is questionable. Therefore, I’ve resigned from the idea of giving a play-by-play, day-by-day account of what we did whilst gallivanting throughout some of Canada’s skateboarding meccas like Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. Such destinations are de rigueur for tours past, present, and future, leaving little reason for me to recount our steps. There is no doubt, that as dedicated skateboarders and magazine lurkers, you’ve pretty much read it all before. It is the photos you seek out, not the words. Concise captioning should suffice in complimenting any pictures “worth a thousand words,” not an extensive writeup regarding the night Keegan slept out on the docks after an epic Bison show, or the time that… well, you get the picture. Save that stuff for the interviews.
It’s all about the photos. I can’t recall a time when I read a skateboard article prior to looking at the photos, and I can only imagine the same goes for most skateboarders. Having now flipped through the pages, you see that this trip involves a group of rebels, loosely united under the banner of RVCA, shredding the gnar in the quest for good times and sweet dreams. Reminiscent of Groundhog Day, our pursuit of dreams was nothing short of any other skateboarder’s desires. From the moment you step on your axe to the time you hang it up at night, the chase is on. As the central point to skateboarding’s purpose, it falls upon each person’s shoulders to gather up the initiative to seek out good times on your own terms within your own stomping grounds. Therefore, I’ve concluded that there is little point in telling you about our accommodations or vegan fare scored during the journey. (Suffice to say, Time Bomb did handle our itineraries insuring hassle free travels.) 70
Josh Harmony, five-o drop. This guy found out he was going to be having a kid a few months before trying this trick. I can only imagine that he was trying to do crazy tricks like this so that his sponsors would give more money for diapers and shit.
(opposite page) Leo Romero, 50-50-up. Bored with grinding down rails, Leo started trying to grind up this one, it was looking sweet ‘til Harmony walks up and says, “Dude, you could sack so hard trying something like that!” Next try, Leo met the rail balls first. The sacking was the most action he’d had in awhile.
Stacy Gabriel, bigspin heel manny 180 out. I can’t tell who that is even though I have met you and you were on the trip! That’s how much my brain is scrambled… filled with useless info like valve clearances for old motorcycles and departure times for the ferry to Vancouver Island. This trick looks really good though and I will never be able to do it as long as I can’t remember the simple things in life. (opposite page) Leo Romero, backside nose grind. Holy fuck! Look at how nice that shirt is. He will be bummed when he sees this article ‘cause he will be reminded that he left it along with his Ray Bans in the tour van. Life still goes on. Credit card ads… Larry King shirt ($50), Ray Bans ($100), Leo = priceless!
The photos from this trip should act like a light bulb in your head, blinking on, denoting the need to let skateboarding take you further than just outside your front steps. Whether you’re the only skater in your town, or part of a crew of skaters, it should be made apparent that skateboarding does not stop at the local parking lot or skatepark. At the same time, do not get ahead of yourself in thinking that your plank of wood is a key to fame. With seemingly everyone’s quest to “become famous,” many people, skaters included, sacrifice morals and standards to achieve stardom, make a buck, and gain recognition. Let me point to the photos again. 72
[ o ] OAKES
Do you know someone who can do that trick? Yes. How about someone who flipped into that trick? Possibly. Maybe they flipped out of it? Why not? No matter how you look at it, skateboarders have progressed quickly over the few years, with a learning curve reminiscent to a rocketâ€™s trajectory into space. However, each photo represents a unique moment in our two-week trip that can never be replicated. The feeling for you to land what Leo landed will never be the same, only similar. Similar in that we are all in pursuit of sweet dreams on deck.
[ o ] DOUBT
On Montreal: “This was my first bit of time spent in this fine Canadian city. I enjoyed myself completely – waking up every day away from the hotel. You see, this trip unlike most took part in my country so I didn’t have to conform to a strict hotel regiment. I stayed on docks, park benches, and at friend’s houses. It was also my first RVCA trip and the posse was a sweet one, maybe they think I am a weirdo… I did just become homeless. Apart from skating everyday we went and saw Kids In The Hall live, and bombed hills in Quebec City at night.” —Keegan Sauder
(opposite page) Stoberto I hate this spot, except for when I would finish work across the street a few years ago and cruise by listening to death metal and get a quick wallie in on the way home. Brett rules it though, as he does many brutal spots. He also has a nice Zodiac that I hope to ride in one day. Ed Templeton There was a sweet old man here firing a hockey puck at a can on a string hanging from a light post. He was hitting it consistently from about 30 feet away while Ed was getting this bluntslide. It got me stoked on being a Canadian even though I figure skated for two years and never played ice hockey.
words and photosby jeff thorburn
kateboarding is a funny thing. While most of the general recognition goes to those doing the hot tricks at the hot spots, there are always those outside of the limelight doing interesting things that usually go unnoticed. While the local hotshot is going through his list of tricks down the eight stair, rest assured that som eo n e, w hos e n a m e you m i g h t n ot k n ow, is doing a trick at a spot that you’ve maybe walked by hundreds of times and never thought of how to skate it. What that guy is doing is far closer to pure street skating than just trying to learn new flippers down the standard stairs. Whenever the low-key variety aren’t working, or even while they are, these guys are watching the streets, looking for untouched or unnoticed spots. Every city has these types, but you rarely hear much about them. They are the ones that aren’t satisfied with the same tired locations, yet their pursuit for appealing new places to skate is a natural occurrence. It’s a trait that is somehow embedded into us after a number of years on the board. Some skateboarders put this gift to better use than others, and because of them, the cities and magazines stay fresh, not to mention the day-to-day lives of skateboarders, photographers, and filmers everywhere.
Sean, reposing after a day of skating.
TIMEBOMB DIST.: 604.251.1097
ETNIES SPRING â€™08 COLLECTION. ETNIESGIRL.COM
Although there are interesting and unknown skateboarders everywhere, here are four that live in Calgary, above a classic grocery store named Kalamata: Master Bedroom: Sean MacAlister Sean always has a spot in mind, usually something strange that he came across while wandering down an alley. I appreciate this because it saves us from being stuck at the local skatepark amongst a clusterfuck of pre-teens on scooters and guys on mountain bikes. He’s a great writer, painter, and an all-around interesting guy – as much as Sean loves skateboarding, he’s got other interests. Sometimes he holes up to write and paint for awhile, and when he does get back out there he’s got an excited nature to him and uses his keen eye to find something new to skate, or a new way to skate something old. Guest: Reuben Bullock Reuben runs his own construction and design company, which takes him to the more suburban areas outside of downtown Calgary. He has a lot of responsibilities with his job, but he still finds the time to skate, or at least tag along to roll around just for the fun of it. From what I understand, he used to primarily skate rails and stairs, but he seems to have broadened his spot choices as of late. Regardless of the locale, Reuben is that guy that doesn’t try something until he’s fully confident, and therefore generally lands things within a few tries. Skateboarding talent aside, he’s a solid guy that plays a mean guitar and has an old Polaroid camera, of which I am jealous. Reuben doesn’t actually live above Kalamata, but he’s included in this to symbolize the friends that are always welcome to stop by and watch a video or pass out on the couch.
Bedroom #1: Stephen McIntyre Every group has its quiet one, and in this case I’d say it’s Stephen. Not so much of a spot seeker, he’s content to roll with any of the guys and then do something amazing when things feel right. He’s a complete perfectionist on his skateboard. I was originally envious of his ability to do something repeatedly until it felt right, but after witnessing him go through this routine many times, I’ve come to the conclusion that being really good can sometimes be completely torturous. More often than not, skateboarders that are this good tend to look a bit robotic, but Stephen definitely has a distinctive style, and it’s not in the way he dresses. Bedroom #2: Drew Merriman I’m tempted to say that Drew is the token transition skater, but I’ve seen him do some fairly technical tricks on ledges as well. He’s the one who usually takes a different approach to spots: he’s more apt than the others to wallie up the ledge or fastplant 78
across the gap. Drew is a sincerely nice guy who has at times literally given me the shirt off his back. As a former skatepark monitor and current skateshop employee, Drew must hear all of the “who did what where” gossip, but he doesn’t seem to mind, as long as he can be skating.
(above) I’d make a fair wager that no one has ever considered ollieing the rail into this bank. I’m glad that Stephen was the one to do it.
What you are looking at is, to me, exactly what street skating is about. These words and photos may be about four specific guys in Calgary, but it’s also about a larger recognition of all of the other unmentioned rippers out there who are quietly skateboarding for themselves. Their creativity and desire to keep things interesting is what the whole skateboard “industry” is founded on. When skateboarders start settling for the same old rails and stairs, we truly have become an organized sport, and that is not the skateboarding that most of us have grown to know, nor will it be the skateboarding that we continue to love.
(bottom left) Bedroom #1.
(middle left) Framing the kitchen.
(bottom right) Enter the abyss.
PHOTOGRAPHY ANGELA FAMA Stylist MILA FRANOVIC
hair and Make-up NATSUMI AKATSUKA Models ALYSSA HOLLY and KATELYN at jett models, DEVIN at LIZBELL, STELLA AND SHANE
Holly is wearing the believer t-shirt by INSIGHT, draped over the blueprint jean cut offs by ELEMENT, protected from the unpredictable spring fever by the san fran windbreaker by BILLABONG. in cute dr.scholls original sandals.
On Devin the QUIKSILVER true blue original scallop 16â€? boardshorts with an easy BILLABONG fantana woven top and Holly is wearing the believer shirt by INSIGHT.
Katelyn in the kak-a-po hoodie by INSIGHT over an adorable vintage top, black framework jeans by ELEMENT and VANS era shoes, and Alyssa in the easy rider jacket by LUXIRIE over the go go black burn out shirt by EZEKIEL, floyd BILLABONG short shorts and DC ponto sandal. Its time to go home.
Shane is wearing the carroll signature FOURSTAR pants rolled up with the DVS doja loafers, and Katelyn has on the cheeky shorts by DC, with the pulled up dead beat socks by EMERICA and VANS authentic shoes.
opposite page (top left) Katelyn is in the AMBIGUOUS time 3/4 sleeve top and FOREVER21 bottoms, with her Shane is illin in the hate and destroy t-shirt by SLB and BILLIBONG 1986 dip dye shorts. (top right) Alyssa is wearing a vintage dress with the VOLCOM winner’s circle tank underneath. (bottom left) Devin is in the MATIX morean top with the FOURSTAR archibald cut off corduroy shorts and EMERICA leo romero mid shoes, and his lady Holly is wearing a C1RCA script mod t-shirt with a velour jumper and DR. SCHOLLS original sandal. (bottom right) Devin is in the mendoza top by ELEMENT, dodger black denim by VOLCOM and the francis shoes by EMERICA, while Igor is in the C1RCA pusher shoes with CLICHÉ bordeaux denim and ELEMENT marquette long sleeve henley top. this page Stella rolled up her ELEMENT essey shorts with the EZEKIEL vivian jacket, and her boy Igor is wearing the eyes t-shirt by EMERICA and slide cut off shorts by ETNIES, both wear shoes by the sand.
Katelyn is in the ETNIES plaid stamp long sleeve with a throwback NIKE t-shirt on top, BILLABONG mckenzie wide leg trouser and athena gladiator sandals, Shane is wearing the KROOKED logo t-shirt with a FOURSTAR gervin woven, ELEMENT hubba jeans and Ã‰S garcia weatherproof shoes, how convenient.
wordsby saelan twerdy photosby tim barber
or me, music is magic and it relates a lot more to reality than I think a lot of people think,” says Mira Bilotte, her usually husky voice made more so by an unfortunate winter head cold. “I think magic is intertwined with our reality.” To talk about her band, White Magic, is inevitably to enter into a discussion of the mystical. The cover of their latest EP, Dark Stars, is a dizzy constellation of geometric designs depicting light streaming from a void; interlocking crystalline shapes form cryptic heiroglyphs that, upon inspection, spell out the band’s name. The whole design, handcrafted by “Sleepy” Doug Shaw, Billotte’s partner and White Magic’s only other permanent member, evokes the intricately-patterned abstraction of Islamic religious art as much as the trippy, secular psychedelia of 60s op art. These collisions between the mystical and the experimental, the past and the present, embody the essence of White Magic’s music.
Since the 2003 release of White Magic’s debut EP, Through the Sun Door, critics have been trying to collect Mira Billotte’s songs under the umbrella of “freak-folk” along with acts like Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom on the West Coast and Gang Gang Dance and Animal Collective in Mira’s own ‘hood, Brooklyn. And while White Magic is friendly with their East Coast brethren (Gang Gang Dance’s Tim DeWit has toured and recorded with them in the past), they don’t share much sonic common ground with either camp. For instance, despite White Magic’s debt to certain 60s folkies – the band recently recorded a cover of Bob Dylan’s “As I Went Out This Morning” for the soundtrack album to Todd Haynes’ film I’m Not There – calling them a “folk” group is little more than a lazy convention. Mira admits that she’s not entirely comfortable with the “folk” label herself, but can identify with the roots of folk music like, “Writing a song for the sake of writing it, or for telling a story, or for entertaining yourself. I feel like I don’t write songs necessarily with an audience in mind or thinking about what people are going to
say about it, and I feel like that’s what original folk music was like: on their front porch, or in a community setting where they want to tell stories.” What White Magic do, basically, is take traditional forms – folk ballads, sea shanties, Appalachian spirituals – and transform them into a language that maintains their timeless qualities while rendering them contemporary. On “Poor Harold,” Dark Stars’ most driving tune, Billotte sings, “Poor Harold works all night/Works in the graveyard right next to my school/Digging graves, digging graves,” over a hypnotic piano refrain that accelerates to a climactic pitch as it battles with Shaw’s counterbeaten drums. Eventually, they lock into a chanted coda of, “What are, what are, what are we?/Who are, who are, who are we?” All the while, layers of shadow vocals build up in the background, mirroring the verses with wordless, disembodied doubles that transform Billotte and Shaw’s voices into wolf howls and ghostly swirls.
“I don’t write songs necessarily with an audience in mind or thinking about what people are going to say about it.”
White Magic’s embrace of elements like repetition and reverb (equal parts modern-classical, psychedelia, and dub) make it tempting to brand the band as “experimental,” but that’s not to suggest that they’re turning out collages of abstract noise or scraping glass bells with violin bows. In fact, their songs are starkly simple in construction, and rarely consist of anything other than acoustic guitar, piano, drums, sometimes bass, and Mira’s incomparable voice. But what a voice! It’s a bold, baroque yowl, earthy and ethereal at the same time, and it provides the otherwordly magnetism that makes White Magic’s spartan tunes seem so inexplicably spooky. It’s deep and gutsy but floats and lilts like a tendril of incense smoke. It’s the element of White Magic’s music that most attracts the imagination – Billotte has been called things like “witch”, “gypsy”, and “sorceress” by eager critics. She’s amused by these comparisons, but admits that she has a genuine interest in the arcane and esoteric.
“The name of the band came from my interest in that,” she tells me. “I mean, I don’t know how witchy it is, but I definitely can see why people use those terms. It’s intertwined in the subject matter of all the songs I write.” For example, the band’s second album was called Dat Rosa Mel Apibus, from an inscription Billotte found in a book about the Rosicrucians – it means ‘the flower gives honey to the bee.’ “It struck me as a revelation,” Billotte says, “I feel like it’s a metaphor for everything. From the macrocosm to the microcosm.” These kinds of epiphanies are what attracts her to books about various esoteric and hermetic spiritual orders, influencing her music, lyrics, even the band’s merchandise. “I designed some of the White Magic t-shirts – actually, I designed pretty much all of them – and the first couple designs were based on the pentagram and sort of finding my own geometrical shapes out of that,” Billotte recalls. “I also used a lot of geometrical designs from Islamic art and I’m still really fascinated with that. A lot of esoteric art, religious art: Egyptian, Mayan, those kinds of things.”
For her, perhaps, it’s not so much a matter of spiritual quest as aesthetic openness. Anything you hear, anything you look at, could potentially spark some realization, some insight. If that’s the case, then why not train the eye to recognize a sign, and tune the ear to hear a message? “I think people have maybe a misunderstanding of what magic is,” Mira asserts. “They think about it in terms of witches and sorcerers and casting spells, black magic. I see white magic as a totally different thing than that. It’s magic with the intention of good. And that’s why I think that music with the intention of good is the same thing.” The Dark Stars Ep and the I’m Not There soundtrack are both out now. White Magic will be spending the early part 2008 in the studio working on a new full-length and “Sleepy” Doug Shaw’s solo album. myspace.com/whitemagicmusic
wordsby mike christie photosby dan zaslavsky illustrationsby porous walker
ven if he can’t tell the truth to U.S. border guards when they ask about the true purpose of his visit, it’s been one heck of a busy year for Russ Milligan. After a stunning part in the City video, he’s turned pro, traveled extensively, and racked up a small mound of high quality coverage in the process. Let’s admit that if you are going to defy the statutes of modern skateboarding and actually go pro without jumping off a whole lot of huge shit, you’re going to need something special. Many kids set off upon this route. They shun rails and the instant glory of the monster gap. But most often these kids either go into a spiral of “the industry is wack” bitterness, never to make it out of their town, or they sell the farm and launch themselves off everything in sight the minute someone dangles a free t-shirt in their face. Not to say stunt jumping is bad, it can be fun, but Russ simply doesn’t have to, and he’s managed to keep it about as real as it can be kept. In his own modest way, he’s earned respect from people all over the place. He’s the skater other skaters envy: an air tight flat game, an almost telekinetic board control, not to mention his legendary stratospheric pop that defies any and all of our futile attempts at comprehension. So congratulations Russ. The story’s gone pretty good so far. Just don’t tell the border dudes.
WHITE MEN, JUMPING Color: Do you train for your pop? Russ: No. Seriously, you don’t? No. Did you ever put the jump shoes on? Nah, I never tried those. I did do like a short spell in high school where I wore like ankle weights to school but I wasn’t really doing it to train for skating, I was, like, into kung fu and stuff so I was just doing it for that. I don’t think it really helped at all.
This interview took place in a van driving at high speeds while taking Russ to the airport. We talked about Canada’s answer to EMB, sleeping pills, kung-fu and the importance of sticking to your story. It was recorded using the built-in mic of a Sony cassette tape (yes tape) player. For some reason we had all the windows wide open, and listening to the tape later, I found the recording sounded like someone was in the background hocking the hugest loogie ever for the entire time. So please bear this in mind. Many of Russ’s answers were very difficult to make out. To be honest, he may not have actually said any of this. 92
Do you practice tricks now? Like do you train for tricks? No, I haven’t learned a new trick in, like, forever, I just don’t have the patience for it usually. Sometimes, you know, you just try something and it works but I can’t go to the park and try inward heelflips for the whole day. I think you just train naturally, if you go to a park and skate around, you get better, I don’t like to call it training but I guess that’s what it is. Can you dunk? No. Seriously? Can you grab the rim? No, I could probably touch the rim.
How long did you do it for? It was only like a month or something. But it was pretty tight, you wear them to school and as soon as you get out you go skate and you just rip ‘em off and you have total lightfoot, it feels amazing.
I bet you could totally touch that shit. I don’t think I’ve ever made it up and hung on a ten foot rim.
Is that like a regular kung fu training thing? No, I went through a period of time where I was getting up at six in the morning and training and working out and stuff like that.
Do you think there is a relationship between how high you can jump and how big your pop is? I’ve never really tested, like, my vertical… I’ve never done high jump or anything.
You just made up your own program? Yeah, pretty much.
Do you want me to stop asking you about jumping? Yeah.
Did you ever play basketball? No, not really.
[ o ] DOUBT
Alleyoop fakie frontside flip.
“I wore ankle weights to school but I wasn’t really doing it to train for skating...” .hisstory
[ o ] POMMIER
THAT PLACE CALLED PRO When did you find out you were going pro? I found out that it was going down I guess over a year ago. It was kind of a long process because we were waiting for the video to come out and stuff like that, but the video kept getting pushed back. Six months later, then another six months later. I knew about it for awhile so it wasn’t really like a shock or anything when it happened. And you were into it? You totally wanted it to happen? Oh yeah, I was down, I mean obviously you got to think about whether you are ready to and stuff but I was just like ‘fuck it, yeah.’ Do you think that thing still exists like the whole ‘that dude is ready to be pro’ and ‘that dude isn’t’? All that paying your dues and proving yourself kind of stuff? I think it’s definitely changed. Now it’s like you come out with the one banging video part and you are pretty much good to go. You get your shoe with the next video part.
How many Russ Milligan’s pops does it take to screw in a lightbulb? One. There is only one person who can blast high enough to screw in a lightbulb and that person is Russ fucking Milligan. Frontside 180 nosegrind 180. (opposite) Backside kickflip.
Why do you think that is? I don’t know. Maybe companies are just trying to bank off people’s names a little bit more. You can all of a sudden be the new hot guy within like two months.
Are you like the most senior dude on the team now that those dudes are gone? Well actually, our whole team is kind of mature, we only have one guy, Jimmy Cao, who’s like 18 and then everybody else is in their twenties. Yeah, it’s cool, everybody is mature, it works out good like that. 95
BLAME CANADA Do you think it’s harder to be a Canadian to come up in skateboarding? I don’t know, in Vancouver, at least, we have such a sick opportunity with all the distributors, just the fact you can get some coverage in Canadian mags and get sponsored by a distributor and they’ll help you, like a stepping stone, to get on an actual company. But to get put on direct with an American company you are going to have to make an effort to get down there and fit in with the team and that kind of stuff. But I almost think that we have an advantage up here, as far as just being able to get hooked up and make that first step. In the States, you can’t get into magazines if you are just coming up and we have, like what, four or five Canadian mags. Are you seen as a Canadian skateboarder? I think most people down there know I’m Canadian. Do you think there is a difference in work ethic between Canadian and American skateboarders because it’s kind of easier for Canadians to just get sponsored and 96
then sort of coast, I’m talking about myself here maybe, like because of distributors? Yeah, maybe, it’s pretty easy to hold onto those spots I think, and it all depends though company to company, some probably check up on you monthly but others I think are more mellow. Yeah, it’s probably easier to get comfortable up here, I mean distributors are starting to pay people now which is sick, that helps keep you motivated I think. Talking about motivation leads well into my next question which is about weed. You were always really motivated, do you think weed can wreck that? Yeah, I haven’t smoked weed in a few years. I know it can make you lazy but I think it really depends on the person. There are a lot of people that smoke weed and keep motivated and a lot of people just can’t deal with it. The same goes for drinking too, I think.
Jesus, Russ Milligan’s pop, and a Rabbi go fishing one day. The Rabbi realizes he forgot to bring the bait. Seeing this, God waves his hand and a bunch of wriggling worms appear on all of their hooks. The Rabbi is overjoyed and begins blessing everyone on the boat. “Why aren’t you fishing? Something bothering you? Should I walk across the water and grab some more beers?” Jesus asks Russ Milligan’s pop... (continued on p.98) Nosegrind. (opposite) Switch tailslide.
“No,” Russ Milligan’s pop says, staring longingly across the water. “I don’t need any more beer. I was just thinking about switch-bigspin-flipping across this whole lake as if it were some punk-ass flat gap. That’s all.” Jesus and the Rabbi cast their lines into the water. (opposite) Frontside noseslide.
“That was probably the most fun I’ve ever had skateboarding.”
AMB 4 LIFE What’s the best time skateboarding you’ve had? There was a solid year or two when me and all my friends I grew up with were skating and nobody really had serious jobs, we’d work like one or two days a week, and everyone would just skate Ambleside, just serious sessions every day, that was probably the most fun I’ve ever had skateboarding. I don’t know if I’ll really ever match that. All my friends have slowed down on skating and are doing other stuff. Do you sometimes still skate with the original dudes you grew up with? Yeah, totally, all the Ambleside heads, you’re not skating with them ever y day, they’ll get out and skate once a week. I definitely try to skate with those dudes whenever I can. That video was rad. Was every trick in Holla filmed at Ambleside? Was that the deal? No, but definitely half the video was.
I just remember a lot of lines and lots of wifebeaters. Yeah, lots of lines. How are the ledges there? Are they chunked out? Yeah, they’re pretty bad, but they’re still fun, you just gotta muscle through them. The bikes chew them up pretty bad. Speaking of that ledge, I don’t think I’d ever seen anyone skate that thing until I saw that photo of you switch back tailing it which completely incinerated my mind. Did you grind it and shit first or did you just hop right in there? I used to skate it a little bit, I did a couple noseslides and stuff like that. There were some people who used to do some pretty sick tricks on it back in the day. Like people 50-50ed it and I’ve seen 180 nosegrinds and stuff. Do you skate it much? You don’t skate it very often but every once in awhile I’ll pop off a couple coffees and jump on it.
Are there any kids coming out of Ambleside right now? Yeah, there’s a lot of sick kids there, you know, nobody really knows about them because they’re just kinda there doing their own thing and not really worrying about much in skating. Thomas Paxton is crazy, he’s super good, he just chills and does his thing at Ambleside. How do your parents feel about the whole skateboarding thing? My mom’s fine with it. She’s obviously stoked on where I’ve taken it. She never tries to force me to go back to school but she still kinda makes hints at it and stuff like that, but she is psyched on skating, especially now that I’m actually making enough to live off. Before that it was just struggling, I was living at her house selling product out her front door, it doesn’t look like you’re really up to much. She supports it.
Knock Knock. Who’s there? Russ Milligan’s pop. Russ Milligan’s pop who? Russ Milligan’s popular in many of the 38 states. (opposite) Fakie varial flip.
“I keep my bushings in with my toiletries.” ROLLING LUGGAGE Today you’re flying to Sweden to do a WE skatecamp? Yeah, I guess they do it every summer. So they get some guys up there and just chill and stuff. Is Gino gonna be there? No [laughs], I think it’s mostly the Euro team. I think Ray Barbee might be out there though, so that’s cool. What’s next for you after this WE thing? It’s hard to plan, shit always pops up like weekly. You get a week’s notice and then you are out. Probably go back down to San Francisco or something. What’s your favourite place you’ve been so far? I don’t know, I really like England for some reason, I’ve been there a couple of times. Spain’s great, I just got back from Russia and that was crazy. I wouldn’t say it was a favourite place I’ve been, you know, I wouldn’t want to go back there and spend much more time there, but definitely just seeing it, it was amazing. One of the more shocking trips you can go on where you’re like ‘this is just so different.’ I had all these crazy ideas that it was so sketchy and that was what I was expecting going over there, but it was pretty mellow - apart from the language barrier, which is ridiculous. You can’t really get by without a tour guide. Things can get sketchy.
Do you have travel rituals? Anytime I fly overseas I’ll get on, wait for them to serve the free drinks, down a couple glasses of red wine, down maybe two or three sleeping pills, put on the mask and the pillow, and just get knocked out. Do you make it the whole way? When I flew to Frankfurt, I was awake for maybe two hours of about a nine-hour flight. It works pretty good. Anything else? I dunno, I pack pretty regular. When I go down to the States, just because of my past border troubles I don’t bring a board, you know. Sometimes they search through my bag looking for skate products so all I bring down is my bushings. So I guess that’s the only thing I bring everywhere are my bushings. Is that so they don’t think you are going to be working illegally down there? Yeah, you know, because I got rejected twice, so now when I go down they kinda know the deal and I usually get pulled into immigration and have to talk to someone in there for like twenty minutes or something. The last time they weren’t really buying my story and they started looking through my bag and were like ‘If we find any skate product, we are not letting you in.’ but I just keep my bushings in with my toiletries.
Do you have to lie to them? Yeah, for sure. I just say I’m going down to visit a friend or something. I think they know that I’m lying but if I just stick to my story they don’t seem to reject me. You just gotta get a real simple story and you just gotta answer the same question like five, six times over exactly the same. Do they call people in California? No, I’ve never had them do that. Hopefully they don’t because somebody would probably say the wrong thing. They just ask the same questions over and over. They say ‘Who are you going to visit?’ and make you repeat the guy’s name like ten times, every couple minutes they ask, trying to make you slip up. Is that because you need a visa? Yeah, pretty much, you are supposed to have a work visa and those are expensive. Hopefully one day I’ll have one. Do you like skating away from home or at home better? I don’t know, kinda both. If I’m gone on a trip, it’s sick to skate fresh spots and stuff, but then when you get home there is a comfortability, you can have your own schedule, it’s just more relaxed. I definitely think I need to get away and skate other stuff, periodically at least. I guess I just like the mix, you know.
[ o ] DOUBT
Cuttlefish (Sepia sp.) specimens in jars.
wordsby julia lum photographyby billy o’callaghan artby tiffany bozic
t times, the fields of science and art seem rigidly opposed – one aims to prove concrete truths, the other explores the undefinable expanses of the human imagination. But sometimes these two fields are brought together in an unlikely union. Such is the case at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, a natural history museum that has begun an innovative artist in residence program. Still in its infancy, the program invites artists to work with a mentor and museum collections in one of the museum’s eight departments: Anthropology, Aquatic Biology, Botany, Entomology, Herpetology, Ichthyology, Invertebrate Zoology & Geology, and Ornithology & Mammalogy. The program is the brainchild of Canadian-born Lindsay Irving, who has mapped and analyzed the geographic distribution of specimen collections at the Academy for the past three years. Through her work, Irving began to think of ways to introduce the S.F.’s vibrant arts community to the rich collections housed at the Academy. “The more I learned the more I couldn’t help but wonder how an artist would interpret these stories and these animals held in the rows and rows of jars.” Soon after arriving in the city in 2003, Irving met Bay-area artist Tiffany Bozic and the two quickly discovered their mutual interest in the natural world: “I met Tiffany when I moved to San Francisco and was immediately drawn to her work. I was volunteering at the Conservatory of Flowers at the time and I often brought her clippings of rare plants and other dead things and we would just talk in her studio about the craziest stuff.”
The program launched its pilot project with Tiffany Bozic, whose resulting paintings represent the dynamic lives of organisms like cuttlefish, ribbon eels, sea urchins, sea lillies, brittle stars and crabs. Irving explains: “When I proposed the artist in residence to the administration in 2006, I didn’t have Tiffany in mind at first. When it evolved that the theme of the exhibit would be marine-based and Dr. Rich Mooi, expert in deep-sea invertebrates, was going to be the “mentor” I couldn’t help wonder what Tiffany would do with such charismatic subject matter.” Over the course of a year, Bozic and Dr. Mooi mined the specimen collections for inspiring creatures and stories of survival, competition and predation in the lowest depths of the ocean. The result of this collaboration was an exhibition – the first of its kind at the Academy – entitled From the Depths: Inspiring Science and Art. On display between November 15 – January 6, the show combined wall-hung paintings and interactive museum displays. “From paintings and sketches to live animals in tanks, preserved specimens in jars, film and photographs, Tiffany worked tirelessly with the exhibit and [Steinhart] aquarium staff to create an experience for the visitor that goes beyond putting paintings on the wall,” comments Irving. The exhibition takes the visitor through the collaborative process, with quotes and materials that give you both Bozic and Mooi’s perspectives on the natural phenomena captured in paint. From the Depths proves that art and science often have one commonality at their core: a desire to discover the hidden secrets of the natural world.
Interview with Dr. Rich Mooi:
(top) Dr. Rich Mooi and Tiffany Bozic in the Invertebrate Zoology specimen collections. (bottom) A collection of Coconut crabs (Birgus latro).
Color: Could you tell me a bit about how you became involved in Tiffany Bozic’s residency? Dr. Mooi: I am told that I was the “logical choice” for this project. I run our biological illustration internship program for undergraduates at the Academy, and my interest in art and illustration is wellknown here. As it turns out, when Lindsay was formulating the AiR program, she had focussed on Tiffany, who in turn mentioned her interest in working with marine themes. That all meshed well, and when we were introduced, it was instantaneously obvious that it was a perfect intellectual and artistic match. The Academy’s collection contains millions of specimens from around the world. As an expert guide to the Invertebrate Zoology and Geology collections, can you describe how you selected specimens for her to examine? It was, as you probably guessed, hard to know where to begin. As with writing, it is good to stick with what you know. Although I had a fairly broad grounding in invertebrate zoology, I felt that it was important to try and reveal some of the stories about the organisms that I knew best – those that I had encountered personally in my field work in California, the Caribbean, Antarctica, and other places, as well as those that had become a part of my own research output. As it turns out, I had just accepted for publication a jointly-authored paper on deep-water sea lilies (a relative of the starfish and sea urchins), so I told Tiffany the story of going down into submersibles and discovering that they were being preyed upon by large sea urchins. This story eventually inspired “Battle of the Deep” which I still feel is the iconic painting of the exhibit. The idea of this slow-motion
battle in the darkest deeps as the sea lilies slowly move away from the urchins bent on chomping on them is mysterious and exciting on its own. According to Linsday Irving, you yourself are a talented illustrator. In your opinion, what kinds of insights do you gain from drawing or painting something as opposed to, say, writing about it? I make a distinction between art and illustration and this is no more in evidence than in scientific literature. In art, interpretation can be left to the viewer, who brings his/her own sensitivities and experience to the piece. In illustration, the message should be as unambiguous as possible, presenting to the viewer an interpretation of the discoveries made by the research. In spite of these strictures, there is still room for aesthetics and beauty. A badly done illustration is not only ambiguously unscientific, it doesn’t compel you to linger, savour and absorb the message. So that’s illustration, but art, I think, can be different. Doing art brings a different kind of understanding about a depicted object. I don’t mean to sound sophomoric about this, but it can be a summary of many emotions, memories, and feelings that are not part of the scientific message conveyed. As a curator, what do you think of the outcome of the exhibit? Do you think that it was effective at expressing your collaboration with Tiffany? The exhibit is a culmination of many special moments that I hope come out in so many ways. The exhibit has reached a lot of people that might not normally think about a scientific institution as a place in which to spend time. For some, science is daunting, and for others, it’s just not on their radar screens as a thing to have on their minds.
But an exhibit like this provides a door to that world. For the more scientifically-minded, it brings a message that the human endeavor of discovery is born of inspiration. Whether you are inspired to reveal emotional content or scientific fact, it all comes from the same well-spring of human experience in nature. This is the first in what will hopefully be a series of artist residencies at the Academy. What kinds of future projects would you like to see the Academy pursue? Where do you think such a collaboration could go in the future? The sky is the limit. If we can find a way to continue this program, there are so many avenues that could be pursued it is hard to know where to start. Everything from paintings and sculpture to live performance should be considered, as long as it serves to communicate the idea of inspiration from nature, and the ways in which that is manifested in the parallel endeavors of science and art. Whatever happens, I will be totally supportive and totally engrossed in what surprises will emerge. Your expertise undoubtedly contributed much to Tiffany’s work and year-long residency at the museum. Is there anything that you took away from the experience? The integrity of artistic communication through Tiffany’s eyes, and the ability to see the perfect fit of her art with the science will always stay with me. There is a dimension to my research that I suppose was always there, but is now fully realized in a human sensibility. Now that I see how inspiration can work in different ways to produce real events and things, I will likely emphasize this more in my own experience in the field, with students, and with the public. The beauty of discovery inspires in the lab and the studio alike, and it is all honest and true.
Battle of The Deep acrylic on maple panel, 45” x 35”
Who’s Winning? acrylic on maple panel, 40” x 35”
Ribbon Eels acrylic on maple panel, 40” x 45”
“I am in a constant state of emotional shock by the thought that from top to bottom this entire world is teeming with mystery and life.”
Interview with Tiffany Bozic:
Color: Before this residency, your work was very centered on natural phenomena – birds, plants, insects, and organic materials. Why do you think nature plays such a large role in your work? Tiffany: I find these natural elements extremely important and beautiful. I live and work in a very gritty industrial environment (Oakland, CA). As a result, I consider it essential to travel to wild places and learn as much as possible about the natural world. So in a way I am bringing these elements back in my work to remember the places and things that I have seen. The paintings seem to express the kind of weightlessness that occurs in the ocean – like a suspended motion in water. How did you come to so intimately understand the mechanics of marine locomotion? I know nothing about the mechanics – I just pay attention to the fluid rhythmic movements of things. I do work from photographs I took of the dead specimens – but this is limiting because aside from some of the detail, the actual specimen is very dead and it’s hard to bring it back to life so to speak. This is why it is important to do my homework, and study the living, including short film clips, or whatever I can get my hands on.
(top center) Living Pajama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera) tank installation. (middle left) A Starfish specimen regenerating after a battle. (bottom left) Live Hermit Crab tank installation.
Tell me about working with Dr. Rich Mooi. What kind of information was he able to share with you and how did you apply them to your work? We had no structure – it was very freeform. We just sort of hit it off right away and we started digging through the collection. He would tell me stories and I would ask questions. He is a brilliantly captivating person and I was extremely inspired. I could have painted 100 variations on each specimen. There were thousands of specimens just in the IZ & G Collections. Most people don’t even know that this resource exists. So if this project in fact does materialize into a yearly program, it will be interesting to see the different artistic variations. It is our hope that one day we can create new ways to show a younger generation the value and importance of learning to consider our environment.
Can you explain what elements make your work different, from say, a diagram or museum diorama? My work is very emotional and is valued for a different purpose – what that value is may vary from each individual to the next. That is one thing that sets it apart from scientific illustrations. Although I am very interested in detail, I am very uninterested in recording specific facts. It is important that if I paint a sea urchin or a bird, I want to understand its complexities and patterns before I make it my own. For example, I will try to count how many feathers are in the secondary coverts in the wing of a bird and the sea urchins may only live at such and such depth, and have so many spines, and only be this color, OK, but what happens if I turn it into something else? What would it look like if I did this or that? If I made that area bright red, how would that affect the overall feeling? So I play around with it. Can you explain a little bit about your process? Your choices of paint, method of composition? I have developed a very complicated technique for painting. I still don’t know how to describe this process, especially because it is always evolving and changing. But basically it goes like this: mostly I paint very watered down thin acrylic layers on maple panel so the grain of the wood is mostly showing. Usually this involves drawing a subject on the wood first, then covering it up with masking tape, cutting the contours of that shape out with an X-Acto blade, so it remains protected. Then I do a series of washes and figure out the environment, using small pieces of sandpaper to sand out the ‘highlights’. Take the tape off, then go in and paint the subject with the detail, tiny brushstrokes. It isn’t that different to watercolor, where you use the white of the paper as your “white”, and you add darker and darker shades around it. Since the grain is always visible - the paint seeps into the grain, so I can’t afford to make a mistake - I have to have a pretty good idea of what the finished piece will look like before I begin. In a way it’s a fun puzzle to get the right sequence and I’ve been at it for about 8 or 9 years now because it continually challenges me.
I’m fascinated with how relationships between organisms are expressed in your work. When you create these compositions, are you thinking about actual biological relations (like predation, symbiosis) in addition to how forms and colors integrate visually? Yes. Once I understand these ‘natural’ relationships, my mind races to find other examples found in nature to explain the way that I feel. Some of the images I create are very unnatural, if not then I make it so. In some ways, I am speaking in metaphor. If there is a universal visual language that I can find in this world to communicate what I believe is true for all living things. A blueprint? A code? I want to try to explore that… Do you think your works, in a way, relate to human relationships? Or put another way, what can humans gain from a reflection on other life forms? What have you gained? Absolutely. That is a good question. The visions derive from my basic human desires and needs. A few years back I painted a ‘weak’ baby Booby bird tied to an open bleeding heart, floating in a sea of blood. I read somewhere that the Blue Footed Booby mothers, if faced with short food supply, will choose to feed the biggest strongest of their babies while the weak get pushed to the edge of the nest and waste away. Makes sense, though it is unfair to say that this particular adaptive trait is ‘mean’, it still hurts. It is what it is. If times are tough, you better make it out with one than chance it and lose both babies right? At the time I was experiencing a lot of confusion in a relationship, so I had to create this image as way to make sense of my situation. Later the same year I painted two seahorses connected by frozen tendrils; completely dissolved of their strengths. Seahorses have great metaphorical powers because the roles are reversed in many ways between the males and females. I am exploring similarities with my subjects, so it’s important for me to understand what I can about them first, in turn I understand myself on a neutral, distinctive and honest level. Hopefully my paintings reveal this.
The Silent Dredge acrylic on maple panel, 43” x 35”
words by nicholas brown
obin Nishio is one of those idiosyncratic artists whose personality is totally ingrained in his work, a trait that might not be so remarkable if it weren’t that the bulk of his work is client-driven.
A graduate of Sheridan College (and former classmate of a handful of regular Color contributors), Nishio is known equally for his skill as a draftsman and his utterly perverse sense of humour. Take for example the t-shirt he designed for streetwear label Mishka, which features children’s fantasy icon He-Man enduring sadomasochistic acts performed by Skeletor and his henchmen. The hilariously obscene concept is one thing, but few willing to produce such a work possess the drawing ability to truly do justice to Tom of Finland, the piece’s inspiration (if you don’t know the name, Google it). Nishio’s recent body of work is a change of pace from his commercial assignments, allowing him a sustained engagement with a set of themes based around the blood relationship within a nuclear family. Stylistically, this involves recurring motifs of regal imagery – floral patterns that evoke British family crests and Italian Renaissance patterns – set against contrasting images of pigs and other abject creatures. Compared with the rest of his work, the effect is more subtle but no less perverse. The stunningly rendered compositions convey a sense of ambivalence towards the concept of the family as united by anything other than blood and tradition.
War Pigs, 6” x 8” blue pencil on arches
116 DAVE NOLAN ollie [ o ] worona.
MITCH PHILLIPS heelflip [ o ] woytowich.
KENNY ANDERSON backside smith grind [ o ] mikendo. 119
KELLY HICE backside 50-50 [ o ] dufresne.
HILLIARD SULPHER crooked grind [ o ] dufresne. 121
122 PAT Oâ€™ROURQUE frontside bluntslide [ o ] gils.
DANNY FUENZALIDA 360 flip [ o ] downhoney. 123
124 DANIEL SHIMIZU backside lipslide [ o ] humphries.
TYLER BLEDSOE 360 flip [ o ] humphries.
126 SCOTT DECENZO switch ollie [ o ] caissie.
ZANE CUSHING half cap kickflip [ o ] connor. 127
words and photosby jeff comber
oronto has seen a rise in the number of independent coffee houses that put quality and taste ahead of franchising opportunities and world domination. Located at the intersection of Bathurst and College street, Manic Coffee may still be the new kid on the block but it has already set the bar for quality and the kind of environment that threatens to suck hours out of your day.
Sam James, shop manager.
Manic has become more than just a place to get your caffeine fix on the way to work. It’s a community hub embraced and supported by local artists, students, skaters, designers, and cyclists (the latter partly due to the shop’s willingness to let people bring their bikes inside). So what is the appeal that this shop has that others don’t? Honesty and a true love for coffee. Owner Matt Lee has fostered a baristaoriented concept, encouraging the staff to give their input on everything from the look and feel of the shop to the marketing, music, and design. Every barista is encouraged to expand their coffee knowledge in order to understand the full process (roasting, training, and tasting) to create viable careers in coffee. Lee even went so far as to send barista/manager Sam James to Chicago to train with their roaster, Intelligentsia, for the Canadian Barista Championships. 128 facesnspaces.
When it comes to product, they hold up a standard that is unprecedented in Toronto. Their drip coffees are exclusively single origin, meaning the beans are sourced from a single estate as opposed to a blend. Every coffee that comes into the shop is judged by the employees using a method known as ‘cupping’, which is similar to wine tasting. The shop uses innovative methods of brewing, such as their Clover machine that brews a fresh cup with every order – no pots festering on the burner here. Going against the grain of coffee house norms is another reason for Manic’s unique feel: no Wifi, no cell phones at the counter, no ‘long shots’, no espresso to-go... these are all designed to encourage conversation and ensure the best coffee experience. However, they don’t want to come off as pretentious coffee snobs. Each and every one of the shop’s principles is there for a reason, which the staff is always happy to explain.
With the staff being so well educated in coffee it’s only natural that customers travel across town to ask technical questions. This interest has led to the development of coffee tasting and brewing courses developed for the new year. Another interesting feature of the shop is the curated magazine rack. These themed collections of magazines are chosen by staff and close friends. Old copies of National Geographic, Teen Beat, and Big Brother adorn the same rack, giving the sense that you’re walking into someone else’s living room. Manic Coffee is located at 426 College Street, Toronto. MANICCOFFEE.COM
Matt Lee, owner.
Burning Witch Crippled Lucifer (Southern Lord)
Before the art world embraced Sunn O))) and epic flame wars hair-split metal into a million shards on the interweb, there was Burning Witch: pounding, hypnotic, suicidal doom, with notes hovering in a thick dope fog swirling around floor toms and abysmal, knotted shrieks. Reissued a decade later, so one no longer has to rely on dodgy torrents or collector prices, Crippled Lucifer collects their two sole releases, 1996’s The Towers... (produced by Steve Albini) and rift.canyon. dreams with extra tracks from their split with Goatsnake for posterity. Using a minimalist’s approach that foreshadowed Sunn 0))) and the protracted bluesy despair that was Khanate, Burning Witch is wink-wink about the fact that metal is an idiomatic form of performance that relies on the grand gesture, creating a dirge ideally suited to those special, psychically unclean moments before the pills kick in... its all in good fun - there’s a bong rip embedded in one of the tracks, after all - but Burning Witch use negative space in a such way that it can put you into one. Well worth falling backwards into. —Christopher Olson
Peanut Butter Wolf
Hailing from the ivory towers of Columbia University and the windswept cliffs of Cape Cod, these well-heeled, well-read, and curiously-named nancy boys have blown up the blogosphere with their unexpected brand of reggaefied, African-influenced indie-pop. With their highlife guitar lines ornamented by breathless string arrangements, you might think of Paul Simon’s Graceland or the greatest hits of Belle & Sebastian, but with a wry, laconic punkiness that’s a little bit of early-80’s London and a lot of right-now New Yorker’s cosmopolitanism (Ezra Koenig’s lyrics roam from Brooklyn to Dharamsala, collaging Louis Vuitton with reggaeton). With a sound so bright, so clean, so unfussy, and so maniacally catchy, they’ve already attracted a tsunami of hype bigger than almost any indie band since The Strokesmania of 2001, but I’ll be surprised if they can’t safely negotiate the riptide of fickle and overenthusiastic press. These guys are smarter than a barrel of Arctic Monkeys and even if they aren’t tough, they seem like good boy scouts. If the ship goes down, they’ll have their life vests on. —Saelan Twerdy
b-ball zombie war (stones throw)
You wonder what basketball game—or Zombie War—Peanut Butter Wolf had in mind when assembling this album, commissioned by video game producer Take-Two Interactive for their 2K8 sports series. Split between intricate bangers like “See (suite)” by Supreme Team (Madlib and Karriem Riggins) and spaced-out oddities like Arabian Prince’s “Professor X Saga,” the album is more a statement about the diverse Stones Throw sound than background music for a fast break. Two tracks from J-Dilla’s Donuts get brilliant lyrical treatment from Q-Tip, Talib Kweli, MF Doom, and Guilty Simpson, though Wolf’s heart clearly lies in the album‘s weird second half. Ponderous electro-funk like Dam-Funk’s “Sidewayz” and an underproduced offering from CX Kidtronik will either inspire a fantastic high or test your patience. But everyone can get behind Aloe Blacc fs soulful crooning on “Find a Way,” which will cripple even the sternest of b-boys. Concocted by an irreverent producer for his unwitting corporate backer, B-Ball Zombie War has all the joys of a zany, hairbrained caper that pays off big. —Chris Dingwall
Times New Viking rip it off (matador)
For those not in the know, Times New Viking are a three-piece that have released two lower-than-lo-fi albums on Siltbreeze and are now signed to major-indie label Matador. Times New Viking certainly don’t fit the current Starbucks-friendly, glossy indie-pop mold that Matador has been cultivating for the last few years (ie. Cat Power and The ew Pornographers). Funny thing is, they bear a striking resemblance to a couple Matador bands of the early 90’s: Pavement and Guided By Voices. Rip It Off, as with their previous two releases, is filled with the same fuzzed-out, speaker-straining, garage-y pop-rock that those two bands were once infamous for. The only difference is that Times New Viking haven’t upgraded their sound like said bands eventually did. In fact, TNV have gotten even more lo-fi and seem to revel in burying their infectious hooks beneath a mountain of distortion, a refreshing sound compared to most of the slick, chart-topping “indie-rock” currently invading mainstream music. Those longing for the salad days of indie-rock will definitely find salvation in Rip It Off. —Mark E. Rich 130 soundcheque.
The Magnetic Fields distortion (nonesuch)
Stephen Merritt may be the greatest living songwriter in the tradition of Gershwin and Cole Porter (i.e. gay show tunes that you secretly enjoy as much as your girlfriend does). So prodigious are his talents that they apparently bore him into writer’s block unless he can rouse himself with the self-inflicted challenge of a concept to hang his work on. Hence his Showtunes album, his songs for Lemony Snicket as The Gothic Archies, his I album (a set of songs all commencing with that most narcissistic of letters) and most of all, the 3-CD 69 Love Songs that established his reputation. This time he’s taking on wallof-sound fuzz-pop in the tradition of Phil Spector and the Jesus and Mary Chain. His usual cleanliness and craftsmanship get a boost from loud and dirty guitars, and that JAMC sound gets the witty lyrics that the brothers Reid were never quite clever enough to write themselves. In other words, it’s perfect formalist bubblegum, populated by the usual motley mob of Merritt characters, plus Stephen as his usual hangdog self, drunk and out of love just in time for Valentine’s. —Saelan Twerdy
I feel like Ladyhawk are the working-class heroes of my generation. From Neil Young to the Tragically Hip, every era seems to turn out some drunk Canadians who head into the dark night of the soul to capture the average man’s blues without any rockstar bullshit. For Ladyhawk, life’s made of one heartbreak after another, the suburbs you never want to see again, and the teenage memories that you keep revisiting, no matter how humiliating they are. If their first album was already a hungover downer, this one is the blind-hammered night terrors. With song titles like “Fear,” “Corpse Paint,” and “Ghost Blues,” you know this is best enjoyed in a dark place while pumping your fist into either the air or a wall. It’s also much, much better than their debut. That album mostly hung on its awesome single, but this one is a slow burner, every song a fresh hit of bummedout, classic-rock-inspired glory with guitar abuse that ranges from gentle fingerpicking to Dinosaur Jr. shred and shimmering, My Bloody Valentine-esque space riffs. If you ever hit rock bottom, line up a round of Shots and hit back. —Saelan Twerdy
Blood on the Wall liferz (social registry)
It’s been said before, but Blood On the Wall feel like your buddies. They don’t dress better than you, they aren’t better-looking than you, and they’re not trying to invent the future of music when they get on stage. They just want to play the kind of noisy, bratty, fuzzed-out jams that soundtracked their youth – and possibly yours, too, if you’re in the same age bracket as them. I’m talking about early Sonic Youth, The Pixies, and The Jesus Lizard: the kind of manic squall that sounds like awkward adolescents trying to wrench themselves free from their own bodies and minds with nothing but noise. So, by the same token, Blood On the Wall are not the kind of band that really shows “progress” from album to album. They called their last disc Awesomer, even though it was pretty much exactly as awesome as their debut, and when they call this new one Liferz, the point is pretty clear: they’re never going to change and they’re never going to stop, which is terrific news for anybody who ever enjoyed flailing around in a crowded basement. —Saelan Twerdy
BEACH HOUSE devotion (carpark)
I was a little worried before I put this one on for the first time. Beach House’s debut album was one of my favourites of 2006, a precious find that I kept close to me at all times. This Baltimore duo spins radiant dream-pop out of cracked vintage organs and slide guitar, conjuring the bittersweet mood of a seacoast abandoned after summer vacation. Their blissed-out fogsound redefines every possible usage of words like “woozy” and “hazy,” but Beach House are considerably more than just mood machines: Victoria Legrand’s throaty voice is a fit daughter to any of the last century’s leading ladies of nightsong (Nico, Billie Holiday, Hope Sandoval). But with such a specfic sound, so perfectly nailed the first time, it seemed like there was no way they could produce a second disc that was as good. Much to my relief, they haven’t dropped the ball. Devotion predictably tries a few new tricks (a live drummer instead of sampled beats on a few tracks, some more country-fied styles on the slide guitar), but it’s mostly just more of the same perfect songs, and I couldn’t be happier.
in the future (scratch/jagjaguwar)
This storm has been brewing for a while. We warned you. We tried to prepare you. But now, my friends, Black Mountain has risen from the plain and towers above us all. Now is the hour to bow down to the last living prophets of true rock n’ roll as they summon all the great spirits of the past to their aid. No longer will the astral ambitions of Pink Floyd be separated from the down-home realness of Neil Young. No more will lovers of caveman riffs and florid vintage synths be condemned to roam the dusty vinyl bins of history. Stephen McBean and his band of outsiders have come at last, straight from the streets, with a true album of scope and depth for the starsailors and headband-wearers, young and old alike. In the Future contains worlds within it’s sprawling double-LP length. Nothing is left out. In troubled times, at war with ourselves, Black Mountain raises a banner against false idols. With a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, they will march us out of the darkness and into the future. —Saelan Twerdy
bees made honey in the skull of the lion (southern lord)
Earth made their name as the doomy, feedback-mongering godfathers of dronemetal (or at least as the guys who invented the thing that Sunn0))) do), but it’s been a pretty long time since they trafficked in true heaviness. Their last proper album, Hex, was a blood-drenched take on dusty Americana twang, but while it exuded a vaguely Satanic menace, it never approached the crushing volume of their early records. Bees Made Money continues the trend away from overt metal tendencies towards a more diffuse and atmospheric variety of experimental rock. Earth head honcho/guitarist Dylan Carlson is even joined on four of these seven songs by multitalented jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, who offers (weirdly enough), some of the darker, more fuzzed-out riffage on the disc. The lack of “metal” on Bees, however, isn’t by any means a lack of power: every achingly slow note arrives backed by a million tons of tension, advancing with the inexorable force of ancient gods striding across the firmanent. Guaranteed to flex your ear muscles. —Saelan Twerdy
8 diagrams (motown/universal)
The Wu return after a six year absence and the untimely death of their wild-card Ol’ Dirty Bastard. ODB’s shadow looms large over 8 Diagrams and the result is a more somber and reflective atmosphere than we are used to hearing from the normally aggressive group. The RZA helms most of the production and has drawn on his recent soundtrack work (Kill Bill, Afro Samurai and Ghost Dog) and replaced the slashing beats and pounding bass of Wu-Tang past with restrained string samples, dramatic orchestral stabs and haunting horns, which give the album a cinematic feel. Despite recent squabbling in the media within the squad, the Wu come together on the rhyme front remarkably strong, particularly Method Man, who gives his best performance since the debut. Unfortunately, due to the lack of any crowd pleasing club anthems, and the abundance of more heartfelt and weighty material, 8 Diagrams may not please all fans of the Wu. But for those who go back to the album will find that this is actually one of the Wu’s most dramatic and engrossing records to date. —Mark E. Rich
The Heliocentrics out there (now again)
From the album’s title to the spoken interludes—a flight attendant on a spaceship—Heliocentrics want you to know just how “out there” their concoction of jazz, funk, and hip-hop is. Led by drummer Malcolm Catto—famously sampled by Madlib and DJ Shadow—and produced by Stones Throw’s Egon, the Heliocentrics’ sound is a case of mistaken identity. This is not your dad’s abrasive, freewheeling, and metaphysical astral jazz, but your older brother’s likeable, propulsive, and percussive Afrobeat—more Fela Kuti than Sun Ra. Take “Surius B,” where a dead-serious horn section sneaks around a bottomless rhythm, evoking the sonic atmosphere not of a spaceship but of a submarine. Electric and psychedelic accents do work to prevent long jams from disintegrating into utter shapelessness, but this capable eight-man outfit is geared towards making grooves that run funky, run deep. Though Out There fails to reach its extraterrestrial destination, its earth-bound jams are nothing to scoff at, and everything to dance to. —Chris Dingwall
Dead Meadow old growth (matador)
That which dies gives its substance to new life. Decaying plant matter enriches the soil. The fern is one of the oldest varieties of plants still living on the earth and one of the first kinds of vegetation to re-emerge after forest fires and other natural disasters. The longest-lived trees are redwoods, which develop deeply furrowed bark and beardlike colonies of mosses as they witness the passing of millennia. Thus, from a Dead Meadow has sprung an ancient forest, where sunlight dapples the undergrowth as hoary vegetal beings communicate in a language too slow for humans to comprehend. Dead Meadow sounds old, not just in their borrowing of classic, super-heavy psychblues tropes from Hendrix and Cream (that’s only 40 years), but in their primeval downcastness, the wizened mournfulness of James Simon’s vocals, with their lyrics lost in texture. Most of all, they exude age in their colossal Triassic power -- their surging boogie is sludgier than the primordial soup. Take a ride with Old Growth’s enviro/stonerrock and evolve all over again. —Saelan Twerdy
Ghostface Killah the big doe rehab (island/def jam)
If the new Wu-Tang album comes off as solemn and introspective, then the Ghostface album is damn near celebratory (see “Celebrate“, the album’s lead single). Ghost has hit back with a cleaner and more cohesive effort than the much-celebrated Fishscale, thanks in part to the production team of Sean C and LV of Diddy’s Hitmen crew, who worked their criminally smooth style on Jay-Z’s true comeback record, American Gangster, and who produce five tracks here. Stirring soul samples coupled with Ghostface’s novelistic detail in storytelling combine to create gritty and convincing tales of street dramas gone awry. Guest appearances by Method Man, Raekwon, U-God, Cappadonna, and a bevy of other Wu affiliates prove that any recent cracks in the group’s armor are merely temporary. For those a little bummed on the fact that the Wu has softened a bit in their old age, Big Doe Rehab should assure even the most hardened of fans that NYC’s true finest can still bring the ruckus. —Mark E. Rich
made in the dark (emi)
Listening to Hot Chip’s third full-length, it seems amazing that, when they first debuted in 2005, I took them for kind of a joke band. They’re five pasty white guys from London, writing quirky little songs about soft drinks and unselfconsciously imitating Stevie Wonder and New Order. At this point, though, when their mastery of studio techniques and electro-pop songcraft have become totally undeniable, Hot Chip’s distance from the aloofly cool, faux-Lou Reed posturing of the UK rock scene is what makes them so refreshing. Plus, they’ve gotten more ambitious. Alexis Taylor is England’s best white-soul singer in decades (he’s certainly a match for LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy) and the band’s compositions have achieved staggering density – the only proper response to Made in the Dark is the excited anticipation of seeing what incredible sound is coming next. Made In the Dark might be 2008’s Kala: an all-inclusive dancepop album that sounds totally fresh and new, with a little bit of something for everybody to love. —Saelan Twerdy
I’m not going to be eloquent or full of prose, or write in some manner full of witty praise. This one’s coming at you straight and simple: Jason Auger’s (Re)Public is a great video filled with some brilliant skaters, such as Adam Green, Gab Ekoe Gonzales, Spencer Hamilton, and many other talents. The video contains stunning editing along with some animation that Auger actually did himself. Montreal, the city we all love to love, is the main locale although Vancouver also figures heavily, and the video features many new spots that I wouldn’t even think to skate because of how rough and gnarly they are. Some spots are so rough, however, that the skating tends to feel slow at times, but who am I to judge? Go buy the video, watch it, and then sit there on your couch wondering when the hell you’re going to make a great video of your own. Go out and do something. Auger did, and man, he is a great animator. —jay revelle
Planet Earth is nothing short of being the most extraordinary and breathtaking nature documentary ever made. From the highest mountains, to the deepest ocean depths these 11 episodes in total each showcase one of the earth’s natural habitats. The narration of David Attenborough draws the viewer into the film through his fantastic, humbling voice, keeping not only your eyes, but your ears glued to the film. Unfortunately for those watching the American version, the delightful Attenborough is replaced by the incompatible Alien star Sigourney Weaver. This series took five years to make, and features the best of the best in cinematography, high-speed photography, and high definition television, revealing natures stunning splendor and intricacy, and enabling the filmmakers to capture breathtaking shots. These include several never-before-filmed animals and locations, including breathtaking shots of over a hundred sailfish hunting en masse. For anyone with a passion for the beauty that our planet possesses, this series is a must-see. —gordon nicholas
in living the true gods (stones throw) Stones Throw has few real competitors for the throne when it comes to indie-rap dominance. Their flagship artists – Madlib, MF Doom, and Jay Dee (R.I.P.) – are enormous, untouchable talents with their fingers in a million pots, and the label’s second-stringers (Oh No, Aloe Blacc, Guilty Simpson) are pretty respectable too. Stones Throw’s main appeal is that they’re really good at staying out of the conflicts that typify the underground/mainstream split in rap: they don’t put out preachy, “conscious” rap, and they don’t do blingedout coke rap either. It’s not about drugs and money, and it’s not about getting a message across. It’s just about music, pure and simple. Which is why a collection of Stones Throw videos is kind of a weird idea. None of their artists do ass-shaking club videos (though Oh No’s “Move” on here does have a muscle car and a live panther) and they don’t really have the money to do any flashy, high-concept stuff, either. Mostly, they settle for animation. J Dilla’s “Nothin’ Like This” and Madlib’s “Take It Back” both get funny, psychedelic cartoon treatment, and MF Doom (as Madvillain) is basically a human comic book character, even though his “Accordion” video is just him rapping in a hallway. Probably the coolest stuff on In Living the True Gods are the extras: a J Dilla interview, Quasimoto live footage, and some footage of Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf in the studio way back in ‘92. —saelan twerdy
SOPHOMORE JINX ben stoddard, dave enrenreich (don’t sleep)
When Ben Stoddard and Dave Enrenreich started making last year’s Bigger and Better Things they ended up hooking up with more talented skateboarders than they had expected and their humble little homey video quickly grew into something uh, bigger and, well… better. This year’s follow up, while still holding strong to it’s deep rural roots has taken a step in the right direction firmly establishing the series as a West Coast staple. I did notice a few clips outside the Color office, which serves as a reminder of just how rough the Vancouver skateboarder has it. Despite that, there is some fairly epic shredding. This group is a hungry bunch. Bradley is better than most skateboarders. Alien rips despite refusing to flip his board in public. I am pretty sure that Mike Bald knows that Jesus is just alright. In Abbotsford, where crows go to die, people are still dealing with the environment. Stacy Gabriel and Derek Swaim are well on their way to establishing Kamloops as a skateboarding hotbed. Nate Lacoste is still keeping it extremely stylish. Kevin Wu and Chad Dickson hold down a couple extremely gangster parts and the friends section is deep and well rounded, possibly the highlight of the lot. —dylan doubt
BIG PUSH 2007
document magazine (blueprint skateboards)
As old man winter begins to loosen his grip on our snow-covered country, the itch to skate becomes more and more prevalent. Many of us have tried to ignore this need by replacing it with other vices such as snowboarding or enjoying a winter brew. But there are a few that refuse to let a little bit of ice and snow get in the way of a much needed session. Here are a few video parts that prove you don’t need perfect warm California days to throw down, as well as a non-skateboarding video to stimulate the ol’ brain. 132 videoreviews.
We bring you some classic snowy moments from the skate video marathon vaults. Rick McCrank gets awesome in ÉS’ Menikmati, Colin McKay spins for ski fans in Plan B’s Revolution, Ron Knigge dodges snowplows and snowpiles in New Deal’s 1281 and Angel Ramirez deals with the elements in Foundation’s That’s Life.
It has been almost two years since Blueprint’s video Lost and Found came out, but the lads at Blueprint have not just been sipping tea and eating crumpets. Blueprint has come out with a series of videos that they have posted on YouTube. One of the most recent videos was Document magazine/Blueprint Skateboards’ Big Push 2007. Much like Color Magazine/Red Bull’s Shoot to Thrill event, Document magazine holds a contest where four teams attempt to compile the best footage to be judged by the voting public. Although Blueprint did not win best video they still put out an amazing teaser. This video is chock-full of original spots and original tricks. For anyone who liked Lost and Found this is a must-see. —matt meadows
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Brooklyn KCDC 90 North 11th St
San Francisco Huf 816 Sutter St.
Calgary Group Seven 203-2115 4 Street SW
Saskatchewan The Tiki Room 2323 11th Ave
Denver The Denver Shop 2323 E Evans Ave
Seattle Goods 1112 Pike St
Halifax Pro Skates 5222 Blowers St
Toronto Livestock 116 Spadina unit G1
Los Angeles Brooklyn Projects 7664 Melrose Ave.
Vancouver Antisocial 2425 Main St
New York aNYthing 51 Hester St.
Winnipeg Sk8 225-1 Forks Market Rd
fourcornerpublishinginc. 321 RAILWAY STREET, STUDIO 105 VANCOUVER, BC V6A 1A4 CANADA
SANDRO GRISON editor / publisher
alex connor, angela fama, billy o’callaghan, brian caissie, chris glancy, dan mathieu, dan zaslavsky, downhoney, ed templeton, hanson ng, harry gils, jeff comber, jeff landi, jeff thorburn, joel dufresne, jon humphries, judah oakes, mikendo stanfield, owen woytowich, ryan lusteg, scott pommier, shigeo, terry worona, tim barber
DYLAN DOUBT photo editor
CALEN KNAUF graphic design
NICHOLAS BROWN arts editor
cairo foster, chris dingwall, christopher olson, jeff comber, jeff thorburn, julia lum, keegan sauder, mark e. rich, quinn omori
CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS calen knauf, porous walker, tiffany bozic
RHIANON BADER copy editor
PHOTOGRAPHER gordon nicholas
mike christie matthew meadows
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Publications mail agreement No. 40843627 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: fourcornerpublishinginc. 321 RAILWAY STREET, #105 VANCOUVER, BC V6A 1A4 CANADA
142 ALEX GAVIN drop in [ o ] mathieu.
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