My curated program of skate shorts had its third and final showing at the San Diego Asian Film Festival on Saturday afternoon, and it still hasn’t gotten old. Having skateboarding-related or -inspired videos made by friends alongside indie flicks like Daylight Savings and old-school kung-fu classics like Five Fingers of Death is not only cool but important. It puts a niche genre into a larger context, and hopefully exposes skate video junkies to other forms of moving pictures while turning on film festival folks to the energy and aesthetics of skateboarding. (Above, left to right: Me, Wing Ko, Tad Suzuki, Eric Matthies, Ben Clark, Willy Santos.)
The best thing about editing Giant Robot magazine was being able to share the rad things that friends do. And make new friends that do rad things. That’s how I feel about my first sizable “solo” project, assembling (and sometimes even participating in) excellent shorts that friends have created and then complementing them with works by new friends. So while the Animal Style (Chicago) and Son of Animal Style (Honolulu, San Diego) skate video programs have given my crew an outlet for their hard work, they have provided me with fodder to keep engaged, keep pushing culture.
And is there a better place to do it than the Hawaii International Film Festival? No other fest balances East and West, high and low, or big budget and indie like HIFF. And while it makes sense for the latest iteration of the Animal Style program to show alongside the long-awaited Bones Brigade: An Autobiography, it’s even cooler that it is on the same roster as Cloud Atlas, Tai Chi 0, and The King of Pigs. It puts skateboard movies in the same conversation as “real” cinema. And with guys like Spike Jonze, Mike Mills, Jason Lee, and even Sam Lee coming from the world of skateboarding, why not?
Attending free shows in La Jolla and Santa Monica makes it seem like I’m living in some sort of Gidget beach movie paradise. Well, maybe I am. The photo above was taken two Friday nights ago, when we arrived at the San Diego beach town. Goh Nakamura, who flew down to perform at my brother’s wedding, was cool enough to play an hour-long solo set at the guest house where a bunch of us stayed. And although the evening was hot and humid, it turned out to be the longest and perhaps tightest set that I’ve ever seen Goh play, balancing his perfectly honest originals (“Daylight Savings,” “Sarah Rose,” and even a new one or two) with a few personalized-yet-respectful covers (The Cure, Bee-Gees) as well as a Van Halen-related story that I had never heard. Very cool. Yes, his number-one fan Eloise loved it, too, and so did my dad and everyone else in the house.
I apologize in advance for being the guy who puts up a blog about something cool that’s impossible to acquire. My brother getting married last week provided an opportunity for me to help make a print zine for the first time since Robot Power (the stapled-and-folded half issues between Giant Robot 17 through 21). The first couple of spreads had the ceremony program, thanks list, menu, and seating chart. After that, a full-on zine!
Serious Giant Robot readers will be familiar with much of the contents and vibe. It was conceptualized, designed, and laid out by San Diego artist and wedding speaker/guest Susie Ghahremani, who has been featured in the magazine and shown at the art galleries. Giant Robot readers will also be familiar with interview subject and wedding weekend contributor Goh Nakamura, who has also been in the pages of GR and performed at GR events.