rollzine issue.06 // december 2009 ROLL ZINE is an open forum publication created to document the subculture of rollerblading. Art Direction and Design: Brandon Ballog Editor: Brandon Ballog Contributing Editorial: Bruce Bales and Brent Hopkins Staff Photography: Brandon Ballog Contributing Photography: Bruce Bales, Dan Brown, Andrew Hall, and Megan Petersen www.rollzine.org
contents Editorial Video Review Music Feature Chris Shields Profile Fine Arts Perspective Shane Conn Mini-View Montage
02 – 09 10 – 11 12– 21 22– 35 36– 43 44– 51 80+
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life after death the ongoing purpose of rollerblading.
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I awoke Sunday, August 30 in a haze of Southern California desert. I had been expecting the bad news for a few days now, and my worst fears were realized when someone close to home passed away from a motorcycle accident. And this was not just some ordinary friend or acquaintance, it was a rollerblader well respected in the Ohio skate scene. While James Short and I were never close friends, his death had an immediate effect on my close friends from college and home. When anyone in rollerblading passes away unexpectedly, there is an unified bond within our large community.
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Resting amongst the desert heat, I took the somber news very personally. I actually felt alone and secluded from the world. My cell service faded into the sprawling desert all around. I wanted to reach out, but I was not able to call them for support. It was calm, uncomfortably hot, yet peacefully scenic. I thought about love and life, death and destinations unknown. My own mortality felt extremely small in the scope of reality. What I would give to climb atop these rocks and watch the sun decline into the oblivion we all face. To scream and no one would hear. To die and no one would know, only to awake dreary and dirt covered. Brush off my eyes and see the hope on the horizon. I exited the Joshua Tree a different person than who entered.
I was in a vacuum and the world continued to turn while I was trapped in this void. Someone died, and we are left to continue out our lives. His brain swelled to an untimely death. Only in the sublime could I accept these facts and try to see optimism in his passing. He was never conscious but dying as each minute passed. Is that how it ends? A slow creep that unconsciously bursts? What does it all mean to die before your time? It’s it even our time to own? Or is it God’s plan?
Or is there no plan at all, just victims of circumstance? Can our logic on life comprehend that we are flawed and may never actually understand our purpose? We eat, drink, fuck, love, fail, prosper, and die. To what extent does it matter? Is it about the now? What we feel and do until it runs its course? Are we all vain? I think about this as I arrived back in the comfort of my San Francisco apartment. I pour back another drink and light another cigarette. When will I run out of time? Why did James leave us now? And is there a method to this madness that forces us to do something in his honor. Does he live on just in our minds or in our actions? The least we can do is continue his legacy and love of rollerblading. He skated with a purpose and with innovation. Hopefully the marks he left will inspire us to elevate rollerblading in a way that would make him proud. 4 · r o l l z i n e · I ss u e 0 5 · Au g u s t 2 00 9
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facing the music why i miss charles dunkle Images: stills from Roces’ Face the Music 2006 and Rejects Issue.07 video supplement 2005
often my daily ritual of returning home from work to take a bathroom break involves reading my aging collection of Daily Bread issues. It’s nice to see how much and how little blading has changed in the decade since I started skating. Usually I just peruse the pictures and spots long famous or deceased. Occasionally I read an interview that resonates as being timeless. The first issue of staple bound Daily Bread (preempting its demise) featured a raw interview with the infamous Charles Dunkle. This was circa 2006 when Roces was on the comeback and the rock-and-roll vibe of rollerblading was flourishing with the likes of Mike Lily and Micah Yeager rocking it (to much criticism) in Road to Nowhere. While it’s no secret I love this time when tight pants became the norm, but more the stage where people like Charles Dunkle could voice their opinions. I criticize One Magazine for being too safe and boring, but Justin Eisinger was in full character in the late days of Daily Bread. Reading the interview with Dunkle, I was reminded of a certain rawness that has disappeared in our scene.
Top: Gap to grocery cart to face Bottom: Launch to royale to massive 180 off
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He was so brash and thick headed to a
his blading, I realized I miss Charles Dunkle
point where he actually was more punk
being a staple of our industry. I don’t know
than any of us. Anyone who allows his
where he is today, or how often he blades,
friends to drunkenly throw knives at
but I beg for him to return to the forefront of
himself at 5 am is totally badass, not to
being the biggest asshole in rollerblading.
mention stupid. The more I read, the more
Sean Cullen may be controversial, but his
I was motivated to watch his video sections
personality is less confrontational, almost
circa late Rejects and Face the Music. After
passive in it’s originality. Dunkle is more
getting respectfully drunk and juiced on
straightforward, fast, and blindly confident.
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He may go down as the only blader to do it big
on blades and in life. It keeps us all in check
on the sketchiest terrain. Add the vomit, the
instead of being antsy for the next reason to
grime, punches to the face, blackout drunk,
rebel. We don’t need a reason, we need to
and rumored finger biting/removal from a
remember Charles Dunkle.
skateboarder who stood in his way, and you have the recipe for hate. I love it. I want more
Text by: Brandon Ballog
of it. Call it destructive or misguided but we need some chaos again. Charles Dunkle lead us in our ways of masochist mutilation
Top: Double set 180 over the fence Bottom: Bleeding profusely from knife wound. au g u s t 2 00 9 · iss u e 0 5 · r o l l z i n e · 9
Stills photographed from DVD
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In Motion Blade Video Series Vol.2 It’s nice to see the concept of a video series is returning to rollerblading since the passing of VG with the birth of the Fade Nation and In Motion series. In this second installment, Sacramento bladers/videographers Casey Bagozzi and Fist offer a comprehensive dvd showcasing new talent in Northern California. David Lineback leads off the profiles, and I’ve always been a big fan of “Sexy David” with his flowing red locks of blading madness. He throws down some solid tricks on some big rails with ease. The subsequent profile of up-and-comer Danny Malm is a nice compliment to his recent section I reviewed for the Apple video last issue. Danny has a rawness and fury that really accents his rock-and-roll style. Dustin Dixon provides some comedic relief for a quick fun section. Then one of my favorite bladers, Sean Keane has a quick section showing off his Rollerblade set-up. Keane is a power ripper. Doing super long and balanced front torques, and effortlessly lacing an alley-opp topsoul down a high ledge. I’m always amazed that Sean does not have a bigger exposure given how talented and consistent he skates. Will Cosgrove follows through with a standard section, but it leads directly into the highlight profile on Shawn Oberg. He is best introduced by the comment,
His teeth are so yellow because he smokes so many fucking cigarettes Oberg is the type of old-school skater who evolved not only to get really good, but evoke his own individuality. He is not afraid to make taboo tricks like negative mizou or pudslide a regular part of his trick vocabulary. He skates fast and moves fluid. He’s the Sacramento version of Ricardo Lino. My favorite trick is a steezed out backside pudslide to backslide backslide on the same foot. A well deserved profile for someone with no sponsors. Cough Cough. So overall In Motion has some solid profiles and is interweved by some fantastic montage sections featuring many of the Bay Areas finest bladers and some socal exposure. They’ve started something great and I look forward to future installments. au g u s t 2 00 9 · iss u e 0 5 · r o l l z i n e · 11
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thursday kill the House Lights aThepost-harcore Post-hardcore bandband I didn’t want to likre-i that e, but nvented fell inthelovescene with. theycould and couldnot notbebeigignored. nored. Stills from Kill the Houselights DVD
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screaming a curdling howl of a breakdown By taking the filth and the fury of punk into a blend of hardcore and emo, Thursday transgressed the styles that preceded them. Inventing a way to evoke everything that is loud into an anthem quality made them leaders in a stale genre. Creating songs the audience could scream along for years to come. Love them or hate them, Thursday did something no other post-hardcore band before them accomplished. They melded the right amounts of style and emotion that can only be compared to a band as diverse as Fugazi. Whether singing high pitch at the peak of a chorus, or screaming a curdling howl of a breakdown, Geoff Rickly has something to say. To dismiss Thursday for lacking integrity is ignoring the intensity that they bring. Progressing from their roots of screamo, their subsequent recordings effectively progressed their sound to include epic crescendos of vocal power and intricate guitar work that could only be appreciated by fans of My Bloody Valentine or Godspeed You Black Emperor! A band that only gets better with age, and a back catalog standing the test of time, Thursday will always be one step ahead of the scene and imitators they spawned.
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I awoke Sunday August 30 in a haze of southern California desert. I had been expecting the bad news for a few days now. And my worst fears were realized when someone close to home passed away from a motorcycle accident. And this was not just some ordinary friend or acquantince, it was a rollerblader well respected in the Ohio skate scene. While James Short and I were never close friends, his death had an immediate effect on my close friends from college and home. When anyone in rollerblading passes away unexpectedly there is an interesting bond within our large community.
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Photo courtesy of Matador Records
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every once in a while an artist
merges the past with the preset in a way that sounds both nostalgic yet entirely new.
Jay Reatard’s short career has successfully crafted a strong catalogue of songs that reflect early punk aesthetic with modern pop. Flying V and afrolike hair, Jay Reatard is an unlikely savior for punk integrity. Yet the self-destructive nature of his music and musing reflects the core values of no future and nihilism. The peak of selfishness may be his standout song “My Shadow” which is featured in the Vicious Team Video. An anthem-like garage-punk song that rips and tears its fist pumping bridge on way to a screaming chorus of self loathing. It might be the best punk song of our generation. But Jay Reatard is not completely hopeless, as his punkpop tendencies redeem his intent from a destiny of dissolution. He cares too much to not care at all. He is beautiful and destructive, channeling the Buzzcocks and the Adverts in all the right ways. Instead of being a rip-off, he is the perfect homage to the past. The best is yet to come from this tortured genius. 18 · r o l l z i n e · I ss u e 0 5 · Au g u s t 2 00 9
Photo by: John Allen (Flickr)
my shadow may be the best
punk song of our generation
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Further Seems Forever "The Moon is Down" Best track “New Ye ars Project"
Chris Caraba. When you hear that name you think of skinny little emo boy crying out “deep” heartfelt breakup songs behind an acoustic guitar. But before he was making your 16 year old sister wet (noting this I did play a lot of Dashboard songs for girls in highschool), he was actually in Further Seems Forever. Although the emotions were not hidden during his short stint with this band, they definitely came across a lot differently. This little guy with a bad
ass pompadore and sleeve tattoos, had a little bit of angst and bitterness in his gut as he belted out lyrics of longing deciet, and all those things we all think sometimes even if your too much of a pussy to admit it. The album was released in ‘01 on Tooth & Nail, 2 months after Caraba had left the band to pursue Dashboard full time. So you may know this or not, but it’s worth checking out. I know Brandon and I have rocked to this album a few times around Columbus while BRUSIN’ (boozin and cruzin if you didnt know) and fuck, we know good music man. — Brent Hopkins ps. why does the restroom at the Red Brick always smell like vomit and peppermint schnapps?
*all music reviews scribbled on bar napkins.
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a pl ace to bury str angers "e xploding he ad" Best track “ I l i v e d my l i f e t o s ta n d i n t h e s h a d ow o f yo u r h e a r t "
Neo-shoegaze has had it’s share of ups and downs in trying to make a fleeting 80’s style of noise and distortion seem new and relevant. While some bands have only mimicked the style, A Place to Bury Strangers has reinvigorated the genre by retaining the best of the past (The Jesus and Mary Chain), and juicing it up with more energy and noise. On their first album they broke the scene open with key components of dark distortion, drooning vocals, and thunderous drums of electric influence. The danger of following up their intitial success would be how to progress the sound outside its origins. “Exploding Head” basically defines itself. While parts are more polished than its predecessor, the clarity and explosion of sound makes it more loud in a new way. A lot of shoegaze bands tend to discover the soft road, but A Place to Bury Strangers hits higher a frequency with new tuning. The hooks and choruses offer more structure and variety in a Cure-esque manner to accompany the loud freakouts. The last track builds to a mammoth build-up of effects and guitar waves that will make your ears bleed with joy. — Brandon Ballog
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Wallride to Fakie
Respect is a heavy word. It’s weight burnt off by the evil and egos all around us. What respect has been lost can still be found in some. Photos and Interview by: Bruce Bales
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Box Wallride to Fakie
And I have learned from him. He has taught me about style. He has shown me the great secrets of Pittsburgh. Chris has been steel in an ever-changing scene. Yes, he still hangs around, now in golden USD’s and his usual military style gear. I doubt he’ll ever go away, even if we want him to. He is a Pittsburgh staple. He is a rollerblader. He is the Cheese. — B.J. Bales 1. First and foremost, who are you? What defines your existence? I suppose I would say that I am an observer: that guy who is standing outside of the in-crowd taking notes on how not to fall subject to the madness. My existence is defined by being eclectic. I like the idea of being part skater, part nerd, part artist etc.
2. “Cheeseburger?” I mean seriously, how the hell did you get that nickname? Seriously, it’s a 13 year old story, like a Frankenstein moment that came to life one day at a Wendy’s.
I never thought it would stick with me for this long. I have Shadyskates to thank for that one.
3. What got you started on the blades and how did your city help to keep you on them? I found skating at a young age like fate.
It just fell into place with me. I never gave much thought into longevity or the idea of being a skater. It was the peace of mind from a world I didn’t really connect with. It was natural. My city helped me out greatly. The scene back then was both scattered and united all at once: eight-hour sessions with kids who just wanted to skate hard and leave all the other bullshit behind. au g u s t 2 00 9 · iss u e 0 5 · r o l l z i n e · 2 5
4. Pittsburgh is one of the most unique cities in the eastern United States, what makes the Steel City so memorable? What about the rollerblading scene there?
Some of my best memories were knowing that every year I could expect to see pro tours stop at Shadyskates. I got to meet some cool peeps back then and session
as if it were the last time
I’d get to skate. 2 6 · r o l l z i n e · I ss u e 0 5 · Au g u s t 2 00 9
The rolling scene here has changed much. A lot about it I don’t like and a lot that I do like, but what hits me the most if the constant state of flux. It’s out with the old and in with the new, mixed with not forgetting your roots, stacked on top of who wants to be the next pro skater. It’s called Steel City for a reason among other things. Despite it all, people always find themselves coming back here doing good things. That is something I stand behind. au g u s t 2 00 9 · iss u e 0 5 · r o l l z i n e · 2 7
Soul through the kink
5. You’ve been blading a lot with Dustin Diamond lately and it seems like you guys are always chatting it up and having laughs. Tell me about the bond rollerblading seems to forge between friends. Why is that bond a particularly special one? Dustin freakin’ Diamond. What can I say about him other than he’s great peoples. He and I are from the same era of skating. We both have a unique view and understanding of things. I respect him as individual and look at him like brother.
The bonds of rollerblading are so diverse and amazing to me. Divided ideals and cultures come together when it seems impossible. A world apart giving daps, having drinks, and a good time with a world within.
6. You were connected more so to the industry in the past with companies like 9mm and Mainframe skateshop. How has rollerblading changed for you being an unsponsored blader? Being un-sponsored for the most part takes me back to the beginning. I won’t say full circle,
but I’m reminded of that boy who wanted to skate no matter what. (The down side is the hassle of replacing skates and parts.)
7. How are you dealing with getting older? Have you made any lifestyle changes to ensure you will be blading for years to come? As best as I can really. I’m 26 now so I have those thoughts in the back of my mind about staying able and capable.
Full days of skating are starting to feel different, (but knowing your limits along with stretching to stay agile have come to reality.)
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Farside Soul to Bank
8. What’s it like being a role model type for younger bladers these days?
It’s fresh to see yourself in
tomorrow’s skaters. I didn’t have someone around to talk to me about skating methods, set ups, and approaches for different tricks.
A ll I had was “ Q u e st F or T h e H oly R ail”, “ M r . M oos e K n u ckl e ”, e tc . Usually I will try to give them new ways to look at skating, the things they try, or give away old skates. au g u s t 2 00 9 · iss u e 0 5 · r o l l z i n e · 31
9. What element of rollerblading matters t
Opening your min
Creating something that make
(r e alit y ve r s u
Cross-grab Makio Stall
the most to you?
nd to new ways
es skating better off.
u s pe rce p tio n)
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Shout outs? To you BJ for being a good friend and helping me see this through. Spencer & Jennifer Slemenda, Dustin Diamond, Mike Franson, Roll Models is a hella good video, thank you for allowing me to be in it and for getting my last name right, Rollerblading, Haters, Pittsburgh, Roll Zine, and Brandon Ballog
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n i hr
3 6 · r o l l z i n e · I ss u e 0 5 · Au g u s t 2 00 9
r in ts
a s n
o s j de
t iv e
c s perspe f in e a r t
y r a
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Working in the fine arts atmosphere reveals the stigmas against contemporary work in a post-modern world. Many of these shortcomings fall victim to the nostalgia of what precedes art in the last few decades. Everyone believes that regardless of medium, everything done before was better than what is done now. We may have larger outlets in the digital age, but more outlets of criticism. The plague of post modernism is the failure to resolve the past; therefore, making us uncomfortable with the outcome.
transcend the boundary of art
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John Baldessari, a noted painter and printmaker likes to transcend the boundary of art and absurdity. Most of his work falls into categories of formalism and conceptual applications, but he consciously chose the medium to best exemplify his message. It’s no surprise his art reflects a Southern California
laughter of the world that bread the hardcore movement of american punk.
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In a society where visual stimulation and culture is framed through imagery, deconstructing imagery and reaappropriating it to a new meaning is a reactional statement. Baldessari is very acute in accessing these dualities of society and displays in often humorous dichotomy. His use of found imagery reappropriated to his means, reflects a narrative of recycling useless expression into meaningful articulation.
His conscience cropping or elimination of
information w i t h
c o l o r e d
on the subject ma reinforces this tra meaning behind the m
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g n i
ty c u r
a e m
oi ma a p c de r e e w n pr
n i n
d o t s
atter only ansfer of music.
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Juxtaposition of opposites or conflicting imagery is a strong tool in creating a message viewers need to piece a narrative of thought together. The process of printing and layering information is key in the color selection of the dots or how to crop an image. A tension builds on the protagonist action of one image against another. Money, power, greed, ignorance, anger, intimidation, and more are only a start of the symbosis of the color working its way into the composition as the subject matter. So as the first artistic perspective for Roll Zine, I suggest the reader research and experience the work of John Baldessari for themselves. Attention to details and meaning can be altered in ways that are both strong and even funny. So if there’s something to learn from the work of John Baldessari it’s being able to observe the world around you as a constant duality of reason versus absurdity. And in many ways it makes rollerbladers understand the ridiculous aspects of what we do (risk, danger, death) and what we accomplish for no other reason than to feel alive.
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as a consta
rld around you
d i t y.
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P i t t s b u r g M i n i -V i e w
anyone doing tricks on rollerblades I was thinking and trying
Even before I had ever seen
to learn stuff. Then I picked up a Daily Bread at a local sporting goods store and was
Interview by Brent Hopkins / photos by dan brown
Who are you? Well I’m Shane Conn also known as Wolfman you could say I guess? (apparently Kevin Yee is not the only one) How did you get that nickname? Well the first time I ever met Hawke Trackler, I introduced myself to him, and he responded with “No, you’re Wolfman” and it just stuck. Hah. I like it though, it’s a good nickname It fits. What got you blading? Well my parents bought me my first pair of skates when I was 5 and after I learned the basics, I immediately started trying spins off curbs and shit like that. Even before I had ever seen anyone doing tricks on rollerblades I was thinking and trying to learn stuff. Then I picked up a Daily Bread at a local sporting goods store and was hooked What are you doing right now? Haha im drinking beer with my good friend Dan Brown or do you mean right now with rollerblading? What do you think about ipods while blading? I absolutely hate it. I have tried to do it and cannot stand it. I like being able to hear and know what is happening around me without any type of distractions. Some people like skating with them. It’s all just personal preference I guess.
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Rail and Ledge Soul
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I wouldn’t really say I live a rock n’roll lifestyle. I mean I go to school and have a job
So when your not blading what are you nodding to your head to right now? I like all kinds of music. Lately, you can catch me listening to music like Biggie and Wiz Khalifa to stuff like The Felice Brothers, Brand New and Jimi Hendrix. New Brand New or old? All Brand New. They are an incredible band. Their new album Daisy is the best one for sure. It is in heavy rotation in my car right now. So you skate rock-and- roll and your drinking underage right now, do you live the rock-and- roll lifestyle? Haha I would not really say I live a rock-and-roll lifestyle. I mean I go to school have a job. I am not out partying all the time or anything like that, but I like having a good time you know? I stay focused on everything I’ve got to do. What you doing right now with school? Well I am in community college right now getting my basic classes done, and I work at a screenprinting shop full-time along with school. When I am not at school or work, I am always skating. So is Oh He Know’s your first profile? My first profile was in the Jolly Jolly Heartbreakers video that came out last year. OH he knows will be my second DVD profile.
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Are you juiced on this profile? For sure! I’ve never been happier with my skating. This profile really fits me. Hawke did an incredible job with the filming and editing. What are your biggest influences in skating right now? Biggest influences? Right now for me it’s kinda of strange. I get influenced off of the people I skate with more than anyone else. It’s really hard to put into words. You forgot to mention me. I used to be really influenced by my favorite pro rollerbladers. But lately I’ve been trying to do my own thing and skate in a way that very few people do or think. Haha and of course you Brent. Have you ever read Roll Zine before? Oh man worst question! Haha no I havent. I’ve been to their website before, just never actually read the magazine. Well I guess you will once you have an interview? Haha yeah for sure. So why should people buy this video even though its not in HD and is mostly “up-and-comers”? This was the talk of the week on Be-mag so what do you think? I think people should buy the video because it shows our scene and our work that we have put into it. All the people that talk shit on be-mag have no idea what the video is actually like. The trailer doesn’t show how incredible the skating in the video really is. everyones section turned out amazing. As for it not being HD? I could care less if a DVD is HD. I don’t own anything that plays HD movies anyways. Haha most of us dont. Yeah exactly! I don’t get why that’s an issue at all. It’s almost time for the bar, so any last words, thanks, or shout outs? Haha I wish I was able to get into the bar! Oh well, soon enough. Yea I’d like to thank Rollzine for giving me this interview. Brent for taking the time to ask these questions. Hawke Trackler, all of my friends from Pittsburgh, Ohio, and everywhere else. I’m gonna keep it short, I need to go drink a few more too.
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Wallride to Fakie
Soyale 路 Davenport, IA
photo by: andrew hall
AO Pornstar 路 San Francisco, CA
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by : bruce
e d 路 Disaster Royal n o m ia D n ti Dus
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Jon Lee 5 6 路 r o l l z i n e 路 I ss u e 0 5 路 Au g u s t 2 00 9
360 路 Walnut Creek, CA
AO Unity 路 Monroe, PA
photo by: bruce bales
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Phil Austin Launch to Parallel 180 路 Moline, IL
photos by: bruce bales
Backslide 路 Monroe, PA
photos by: bruce bales
AO Fishbrain / Fishbrain 路 Pittsburgh / Upper St. Clair, PA
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Sweatstance 路 San Diego, CA
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photo by: megan peterson
Royale to Pole Mute 路 San Diego, CA
photos by: megan peterson
True Savannah 路 San Diego, CA
thank you... to the loyal contributors who really made this issue happen. Sometimes I’m able to generate a lot of original content myself, but other times my availability is greatly hindered by a busy work schedule. I was beginning to worry about content for this issue until people like Bruce Bales, Brent Hopkins, Dan Brown, and Megan Petersen helped step up to author their own content. And in the end, issue.06 is more diverse and covering rollerblading in new territories. We did two issues in 2008, three issues in 2009, and hopefully next year I can make this quarterly. Happy Holidays.
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