Agenda Long Beach 2014: Babes, Dudes

I used to like attending ASR at the San Diego Convention Center. It was a great chance to see friends in the skateboarding world trapped under the same roof, and we got a couple of Giant Robot articles that way.  Of course the action sports retail trade show was famously ditched by vendors who refused to be gouged by the show’s organizers, but these days it’s been somewhat  replaced by a streetwear version. I’d never attended an Agenda show, but my friend Sophia Chang suggested I check out this week’s Long Beach event since she had curated a group exhibition for it. The Babe Show was totally worth the registering, driving out, and braving the crowd. It was a cool mix of familiar favorites (Deanne Cheuk, Esther Pearl Watxon, and Sophia) and artists that are new to me (Eri Wakiyama, Chocomoo). If you’re attending on Wednesday, definitely visit it at Booth E37.

Right around the corner from Sophia’s show is Keep Company. Can’t miss the puppies and kittens at my friend Una’s indie vegan shoe booth. She says the new kitten print (above, right) is her most-liked Instagram subject ever, but I kind of like the desert boots.

So cool to see pals like Una and Sophia ruling at what they do at the trade show. But I have to say Agenda is largely a sausage party in the ASR tradition. And it’s one of the best. I caught Justin, Mike V., and Drew at the Resource Distro booth. Buyers were pretty stoked on the gnarly new Elephant decks and Paris trucks.

More rippers at their booths. Saw Don Nguyen near the Vol. 4 display, which was right next to Boba Fett and Slave Leia booth bimbos. Usually I see him at metal shows with LSDJS, so it was cool to catch up with him in a bright and not-as-loud environment. Meanwhile, Jeremy Klein was holding it down over at Hook-Ups with candy and soju. I don’t drink but I’ll always be grateful for his supporting Giant Robot mag by advertising on the back cover…

Not everyone is stuck in a booth. I ran into the Heel Bruise guys (Rich Mulder, Isaac Ramos, Thomas Yu) just cruising around the hall, and we’re hoping they can help out with the next Save Music In Chinatown show. Rad! Also around the floor was my longtime friend Alyasha Owerka-Moore and Zephyr Skate Shop legend Jeff Ho. Doubly and triply rad!

Another legend, J. Grant Brittain. I first met him on a shoot with Kien Lieu in San Diego and I’ve seen him now and then at photo shows, skate events, and trade shows like Agenda. And then there’s Kelly at DVS, Do from Reed Space, artists Hannah, Donny, Benjie, and John from Selector! Homies everywhere from either side of the catalogs. It really pays to leave the house once in a while.

Tomorrow will be a blast. If you’re going, have fun. Maybe I’ll see you there next year.