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Northwest Video Premiere, Phoenix AZ
By Chris Kelley

PBRWhenever I've run the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon (or any other river) the only beer allowed on board has been PABST'S BLUE RIBBON. It's a given, you will turn heads drinking another beer (insert Dennis Hopper's line from Blue Velvet here if you know it..). Its "river beer". Everyone knows that. Its also "skate beer". Basically, its "beer beer", a beer drinkers beer, the old stand by. But like skateboarding its also become trendy as all hell, but trends come and go, something good stays the same. So when I heard that the video premier of "Northwest" would include $1 PBR's and a free kozie (how the hell do you spell that word??) I was as good as there. Despite the fact it was to be held at the local Phoenix area s**tbagger/scenester tavern The Rogue. You know the type of place = filled w/ clones, all looking different the same way, the "new" Betty Page & Johnny Thunders come lately types. I hadn't been to a skate video premier since H-Street's Hocus Pokus?!! (really showing my age here) As a result, I was a little rusty w/ the obligatory high five that is mandatory at such skateboard Bro-DEE-O's. But after a few PBR's I was slappin' em like a true Bro-Ho and taking a trip down mammary lane w/ guys I hadn't seen in like 10 years.

Northwest CoverOh yeah, the video. Well, by that time I was about $20 ($1 tip a pop) deep into the econo barley pops so I don't have all the details. Overall it seemed structured like Fruit of the Vine and Skateparks of Oregon, etc. These guys are going w/ the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach. That's not necessarily a bad thing, hell, look at the Ramones. Also, the bar crowd was LOUD and the sound system was BUNK and just blew out a real loud bullhorn style "Wonk! Wonk!" like the teacher from the Peanuts cartoons. I couldn't hear anything really, the only thing I made out was, "...it all started w/ Burnside…" so I don't know what was said, but it seemed like it was a running commentary like "Fruit of..." and no music?

The skating can be summed up 3 words: RED, SHAGGY, & HEWITT. I feel real sorry for the other guys skating in this video because up against those guys they are pretty much F**KED! Those 3 are about as good as we've got = skateboarding distilled down to its highly flammable essence. No hammer program here, just abstract strings of ripping that leaves you going "…are you fu**king kidding me?!" Hewitt floats around Burnside like a firefly on crank or somethin'... flingin 'sparks & lightin' up in all the "wrong" (read: gnarliest) places in ways that the rest of us can only dream about. I think Jason Jesse pretty much nailed it up w/ his line, "Skateboarding has Peter Hewitt, skateboarding wins!" Red rocks the cradle and a hell of a lot more. And Dave "Shaggy" Palmer... s**t, I've wanted to skate like that guy since I was 13! He's been lurking far too long and its rad more people are getting to see him skate. All hail Shaggy!

When you are in a video w/ those 3 you might as well have your part full of bails and kickturns b/c that's about the only way you are going to "stand out". Hell, Ben Krahn and Chet Childress were in there and they are super rad... but... I don't really remember anything other than a long ass bluntslide by Chet, and a seriously long/casual, (but not really casual, he's just that good) run by Ben. Obviously there is some other great skating in there too but only so much cut through the alcohol haze.

In spite of the top notch skating the real stars of the show are the skateparks themselves. Dreamland and Grindline are making some seriously sick skateparks. Every time I see one of their parks its like, "Thank god! These guys have 'got it' all the way…now THIS is what a skatepark should be!" Hailey Idaho is more proof that pipe dreams can come true! Orcas Island WA, (and all of these parks) are demented works that were obviously made by people who instinctively understand what makes skateboarding the best thing ever...

After watching Hewitt and Co. wreck shop I kinda got that feeling you get after watching a Rocky movie = delusions of grander. Mix that w/ PBR barroom bravado and you have me and Jimmy Moore chest thumpin' arguing about who is the king of the f/s roll in. Somehow the subject of rolling in on the tombstone (what a fitting name!) of the new Upland Park came up…I said I'd do it?! What?! I'm a moron…thanks for the cheap beer fellas, it really helped me out...