Tuesday, December 6, 2011

(Kill)joy video review

As you might have read, Killjoy, the new BMX vid from the Utah cobras, premiered at the Tower theater the other night to a packed house much like their last vid "That's It." Though, this time around, the crowd appeared somewhat older and wiser, as did the vid.  Where That's It showcased the incredible creativity of the Utah scene, it was also youthful and a little rough around the edges. Shawn "Elf" Waters (riding and directing) and Jordan Utley (editing/producing) and the rest of the Utah gang stepped up their game emphasizing story, technicality and (even more) creativity in their effort. Killjoy was preceded by a short Odyssey BMX video, produced by Joe Rich, based on a roadtrip the Mike Aiken and Tom Dugan took through  Idaho and Montana, ripping up the parks along the way:

With an amplitude rarely matched by others, Dugan is clearly at the top of his game, skying concrete features with a similar and complimentary style to Aitken's.  Aitken's performance is triumphant, for a different reason: today, he is alive and has relearned how to ride a bike after a near fatal fall and head injury, which resulted in a three week coma, right side paralysis and broken eye socket, jaw and sinuses. In fact, his Killjoy segment was nothing short of profound, with Aitken's karaoke stylings of Dylan's "Like a rolling stone" sung with a depth and poignance that left the crowd barely able to watch. After that, the crowd was visibly uncomfortable during the rest of Mike's segment, especially as he crashed a few times, at least once hitting his head on the ground. I don't think that BMXer has moved a crowd like that.  Thanks for sharing Mike and Elf.

Other segments were inspirational for their creativity and solid editing.  I was particularly impressed by Cam Wood's segment with a playgound spinney thing 3, step down fakie slideout 3 and parking post scamper ghost ride.  That's what I mean, until you see it, it's hard to imagine, after you see it, words fail you. Elf's segment was also triumphant with a mix of innovation and trickery, including a segment ending rail slide made almost impossible by interference between an axle peg and adjacent wall. Fahzure really appreciated the fitting accompaniment, "Poison" by the MC5, about whom Dave Marsh, then editor of CREEM Magazine famously said, "They were the best band that any of us had ever seen. When they didn't conquer the world, it was very confusing."   Here's another favorite by the fab 5:
While it appears that Mike (and others) have picked up on the helmet wearing, especially where the amplitude is greater and the surfaces harder, BMX, Freeride and DH all carry significant risk. Tara Llanes, TJ Lavin, Stephen Murray, Jay Eggleston, Chris Canfield and Ty Pinney have all suffered head/spine injuries, in recent years. Those that know him, know Fahzure is a big proponent of plastic and foam, having recently taken to wearing a Leatt cervical brace. Here Fahzure tests the limits of foam and plastic (warning, this is not pretty), which did their job allowing him to get back up and stick it:

While these riders (Fahzure, excepted) have become the source of inspiration and have rallied communities around them, their injuries are not the sort of inspiration anyone wishes for. This holiday season, after buying a copy of Killjoy (try your local S&M or Animal retailer), consider giving the gift of a helmet, some plastic and foam or consider adopting their use for the ones you love, spreading a little more joy and a little less killing. You can also assist those who have gone down by making a donation to the Athlete Recovery Fund, the organization supporting extreme free sports athletes trying to get their health back. Let's be careful out there.

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