September has been a rough month for a lot of folks. We lost the entire Silverfish site, including all the archives. The plug has been pulled and for many skaters, the loss of this site, strikes them at their core. There were MILLIONs of posts and a lot of great info. There were also trolls, hackers and other folks that for whatever reason, helped to create a path for the final demise of the site. Of all the thoughts that folks had about Silverfish, I think this post from Toronto local Chris Barrett resonates with me the most: Then, just last week, Brad Edwards was untimely taken from the skate world. Brad had a such a great personality. A big heart and love for skateboarding that was endless. He will be missed. Then, this morning I learned that Dennis Dragon passed away a few days ago. Here is the info from Skate and Annoy – click image to be taken to the site.To add to this, today marks the 3rd anniversary of my father passing away. I seriously can’t believe three full years have gone. I wrote about the experience of skating in the halls of the hospice. As surreal an experience as you can hope for. Again, click the image to read the full articleDespite all this discussion of death and loss, I am writing to let you know that there is something coming down the pike that will absolutely blow your mind. It’s a new documentary on skateboarding that literally took over 2 decades to put together. The film is called Virgin Blacktop and it is truly pure stoke.
Back in 1976, Charlie Samuels began filming his friends skateboarding. Forty years later, this is his love letter to skateboarding. I got the same feeling watching this film as I did with my experience with the documentary about the Z Boys. I happened to be in the audience in September of 2001 when Stacy Peralta unleashed his documentary – you know the one that was actually inspired by Spin Magazine. Here’s a little section from the piece you might not know about – and yes, I was the one (along with Paul Schmitt who told Spin about the book Concrete Wave that led to editor Dave Moodie asking to see the proofs – which eventually led to Greg Beato writing the article! If you skated, or know someone who skated during this time, be prepared to have a flood of memories hit you like a tsunami. The documentary Dogtown and Z Boys was able to give people a glimpse into a culture that was primarily only known by skaters. It resonated with lots of other folks too. The Dogtown skaters were legends back in the day and the film was an amazing tribute to their efforts. The vast majority of skaters like me who were really into the scene back then will see so many similarities with the skaters who appear in this film. They weren’t really featured in the mags – and if they were, it was minimal coverage. Only one (Joe Humeres) really became a well known skater (in the area of freestyle). Virgin Blacktop is literally dripping with emotion and goes along way to explain the camaraderie that is found with skateboarding. I am not going to give too much away in this mini-review. But I will say this, with all the deeply unsettling things that have been part of this month, Virgin Blacktop was a tonic for my soul. This film cuts deep and it will have skaters and non-skaters absolutely spellbound. Just last week there was a sneak preview of the film in France. It took the Best Documentary Award at the Paris Surf & Skateboard Festival. My sense is that this film will turn Sundance on its head! Charlie Samuels poured blood, sweat and a tremendous amount of tears into this incredible film. Our plan is to ensure that skaters everywhere get a chance to see it and experience the way it really should be seen: with friends in a theater. I cannot stress how profound this film is – it is an absolute masterpiece that will make you want to get out there and skate.