El Rey Theatre
Los Angeles, California
February 1, 2003
February 1, 2003. First day of the month, first stop of the Emerica This Is Skateboarding Video Premiere World Tour. There were two showings on this night—one open to the public, and another open to industry heads and friends (that actually ended up being open to everyone, as well). Heath Kirchart and a dozen of his friends pulled up in front of the venue, busting all eardrums with their loud-ass Harleys. It was quite a sight to behold and the hundreds of kids packed in line were psyched. About 800 people filled up the El Rey Theatre around 6:30 p.m. for the first showing. The enthusiastic crowd ooohed and ahhhhed throughout the entire video, cheering loudly for hard slams and amazing tricks alike. This was a crowd that really knows skateboarding and they all displayed a great reception for the team.
The second showing was supposed to be guest list-only, but a proper line never really formed, so the typical skateboarder-type chaos ensued—pushing and shoving to get in and having a nice, rough time in general. Surprisingly, the owner of the theatre handled it well and everyone got in without too much hassle. There was a good amount of noise and cheering throughout the video, despite the typical "too cool for school" attitude of many people in the skateboarding industry. Everyone left with a good feeling, a few drinks in their bellies, and I even overheard quite a few guys say they felt like skating—a sure sign of an awesome video. Verdict: Emerica This Is Skateboarding video premiere #1 was a success!
Bash On Ash
February 2, 2003
The premiere in Tempe went off. There was a huge line of kids outside the place when we got there. Everyone was pushing and pulling, but it was friendly—no one got hurt. Well, there was one really stupid, drunk girl who claimed she was going to bed with Heath that night. She was crazy. She sat on one of the Harleys outside and when its owner told her to get off, she yelled, "I’ve got an appetite for destruction and a license to kill!" Then she got up and signed some kid’s ass. When he tried to look up her skirt, she punched him in the face and split. He took it in stride—pretty typical tough Emerica kid.
The night was full of pretty normal hi-jinks. Everyone was super-amped on the video and that energy spilled over into everything that happened. Afterward, there was a house party complete with an art "show" and the usual cop appearance, followed by some much-needed sleep. Here comes the whirlwind Emerica This Is Skateboarding World Premiere Tour. Are you ready? Are we?
February 6, 2003
Garrett and the crew at Timebomb rented out Atlantis for the premiere. It was a great venue, but, sadly, limited to eighteen years old and up, so even though the place was full of the skateboarding community, it wasn’t necessarily all full of young skateboarders. The older crowd in Vancouver wanted to see people from BC and some fights, of which there was neither. Everyone was in a state of numbness throughout most of the video—no one really cheered or made any noise unless someone slammed. Despite the large crowd, it was sort of a bummer that the team was there and most of the audience didn’t seem to appreciate their presence or the video.
That said, the Emerica crew made the most of the night, hanging out with locals, meeting girls, having fun and talking to whoever wandered into their paths. Heath had some interesting conversations about hockey with some of the Timebomb guys. Considering he was slagging their teams and country, they were pretty nice. Heath was right, though. Since Jimbo, the singer of the Dayglow Abortions, had been a kind host to some of the team when they were in Toronto last year, the Dayglows were the band chosen to play after the premiere. The crowd thinned out, but those who stayed loved the band and everyone left drunk, happy, or both.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York
February 8, 2003
New York, New York—the city so nice, they named it twice. The premiere tonight consisted of two screenings of This Is Skateboarding at a club called North Six in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Both shows were great—actually the best since the first premiere in LA. The first show was all-ages and the kids were appreciative and noisy—making for an all-around good time. The second showing consisted of a slightly older crowd, but they were, nevertheless, all skateboarders and were as loud as the kids. A noisy crowd seems to be the barometer by which we measure the "success" or "failure" of the crowd and premiere. Of course, sometimes we must take into account the culture of each country. Anyway, both New York premieres were good, played to packed houses and were a lot of fun—despite a lack of sleep and a hectic schedule.
After the show, everyone managed to find a party of some sort. Bagels on the Square called my name, courtesy of Sharon Tomlin, and we found a kind of tofu spread I’d never had before—it was great! Parties at Max Fish, Sweetwater, assorted lofts and other locations kept everyone up until the wee hours, followed by a last bit of sightseeing or shopping until our flight took off. Chris Senn and I managed to pay our respects at Ground Zero, which was kind of eerie, but nice to do. Oh yeah, it was also nice to see old friends in New York who came out to see the video and have a good time. Thanks!
February 10, 2003
The tour continued with two showings in London after a long overnight flight and a little bit of sleep. While a bunch of the crew slept, others did interviews and still others went shopping. Andrew found some stylish boots that he’d been seeking for quite a while. The venue was a nightclub called Subterannea and was a pretty cool place to see a band, and it worked for watching a video premiere, too.
A couple of bands played first, including Crossfire—an energetic post-punk combo who rocked some of the crew. Other skaters were next door skating at PlayStation 2, the skatepark under the Westway. The skating never stops with the Emerica team.
The first showing of This Is Skateboarding was for all ages, and a lot of the neighborhood kids mixed in with all the London kids who could make it on a school night. The crowd loved it, cheering for their favorites, as usual—although later we learned that proper English manners prevent too much hooting and hollering.
The second show was a little more raucous, as alcohol and maturity fought off that quiet English upbringing, and more of the crowd felt the vibe. The place was quite full and the reaction was good. A number of folks made the drive from around England to come check it out and gave This Is Skateboarding the thumbs-up.
La Boule Noir
February 11, 2003
The French premiere was in Pigalle, a cool, seedy neighborhood in Paris, and the theatre was half a block down from our hotel, which was right across the street from a skate spot where a handful of French skater kids always seemed to be enjoying a couple of steps and ledges. A pretty standard French dungeon club, La Boule Noir, was packed with people waiting to see the video, and it didn’t hurt that The Paper Chase, from Dallas, and Right To Life, featuring French skateboard legend Thibault Fradin on guitar, were playing.
With over 600 people in the club, it was a typically stuffy and aromatic affair, and the response to the video was mixed between people who didn’t get it, and people who absolutley loved it. It seemed like a lot of the loudest cheers were for tricks done on spots in Paris, where the skaters knew how burly Tosh’s bluntslide was, or how big the three-flat-three Erik bigspins is. The whirlwind is just getting going, and we’re off again in the morning to Berlin for a premiere tomorrow night.
February 12, 2003
Berlin is cold! It was about -10 Celsius (I think that’s about 5 degrees Fahrenheit, or something like that). Oli Beurgin hung up giant wheat-pasted posters promoting the event and the place was full—about 400 people or so. The premiere was in a cool old warehouse, and the German Emerica fans loved the video. They requested autographs in decent English, and I was once again reminded that skateboarders are usually quite a bit nicer than the general population in most countries.
Spanky and Herman have fans in Germany, too! Not too much drama went down—the team signed some autographs, answered lots of questions, watched the video, and everyone went home stoked. Special thanks go out to Monika and Kati, part of our crew in Germany, who did a great job with the premiere.
February 15, 2003
The Tokyo premiere was small, but played to an enthusiastic, cheering crowd. Koji and Akira rented out a cool gold bus and it was by far the most rock star-like treatment we’ve had so far. The team got fully mobbed with girls chasing them in complete chaos. Andrew Reynolds and Heath Kirchart escaped through a back stairway.
It was definitely fun for a while. Japan is very expensive—for example, a Coke in the hotel is $5.00—so everyone wears Chucks, Adidas and other simple stuff, but it seems Emerica is growing here.
Martin Place Station
February 18, 2003
Sydney, Australia is a great town with a pretty good skate scene. We arrived Tuesday morning in the Sydney Summer after twenty-two hours of traveling and some long weeks of cold winter weather. While a lot of the crew slept, Tosh and Senn went out and discovered a bunch of stuff to skate. The premiere was that night at Martin Place Station, a theatre / bar in a pedestrian mall, which is also a great skate spot containing the ledge where Wade Burkitt did that crazy 50-50 at the end of Misled Youth.
There are also some steps, a double set and a big four, so the team got there early and Herman and Tosh skated an impromptu demo right before the premiere. Heath upped the ante with some cash motivation for Herman to three-flip and frontisde flip a big set of four stairs. Everyone signed autographs and went inside for the premiere.
This was the first premiere for a while without a language barrier, so everyone kinda seemed to feel relieved and relaxed. The theatre was packed, plus they had TV monitors arranged outside so the overflow kids could see the video, as well. When Dustin Dollin and Tony Evjenth from éS Footwear arrived from Melbourne, the party was complete and the video played to its most enthusiastic crowd yet. Brock and Kevin from GSJ, our distributor, were there, as well as Jamie Bartie, Chris Ortiz and a bunch of other Australian and American industry heavyweights.
The only bummer was the kid who swiped team manager Justin Regan’s camera—pretty lame. After the premiere, everyone split to do whatever. We had a day off Wednesday and everyone had their own plans. I went record shopping while most of the crew went skating. I caught up with Tosh, Senn, Jon Miner and Patrick in time to push around town. We hit-up a cool bank spot, Tosh did a frontside bluntslide on a water ledge just in time for food before the flight to Hawaii for four days of relaxing—finally!
University of Hawaii, Honolulu
February 21, 2003
It was so nice to be in Hawaii, we really were able to enjoy this premiere. It was at the University of Hawaii and the nice, balmy weather helped slow everyone down almost to a typical Hawaiian pace. The theatre was filled with a mix of Hawaiian bro-brahs, hardcore skaters and curious co-eds, who made for a nice, appreciative audience. The English-speaking crowd was easier to communicate with and a lot of Emerica kids got to chat with their skateboarding heroes before watching the video. We got to meet a handful of the rep riders from Hawaii, finally—which was nice—and our hosts for the video were very cordial.
The next few days were spent enjoying a much-needed break from cold weather, constant traveling and numerous questions from fans—all good things in moderation, but these three weeks featured an abundance of each. Surfing, relaxing, pod work, skating and good ol’ chaos were the orders of the day, and were topped-off on our last night in Hawaii when Reynolds got a message that some locals "owned" the island we were visiting.
Heath served the guy with a message of his own, hard to the head, and that was a signal that we were ready to get back home. Home, where everyone stayed for at least a couple days before heading out again, skating, filming and doing whatever was put on hold for the duration of the Emerica This Is Skateboarding World Premiere Tour.—Mark Waters