New Film “Slime Dunk” Shows Oly Skate Scene
By River Gates
It has been an Olympia tradition to show Alex Cooper’s skateboard videos at the Capitol Theatre for long enough that they can be referred to as an “annual event.” His latest, “Slime Dunk,” premiered on Nov. 21, and the CPJ sent me to pay for my own ticket and grab the scoop.
The skateboard video has to objectively be the greatest traditional American expressive art-form of all time. They almost always have the same structure: kids between twelve and forty do kickflips and ollies over a set of five steps while hardcore rap, punk rock, and ironic Motown plays in the background, all shot through a fish-eye lens. And it’s always dope as shit.
That being said, in this, the age of crews like Shake Junt and goofballs like Chris ‘Mango’ Milic, there’s somewhat of a standard for being equally good at skateboarding and listening to music as committing wacky antics and just generally being absolutely insane. But the charm of the skate video rests in the collective consciousness that all skaters seem to share, and that is to only care about landing sick tricks to sick tracks, even if it means sacrificing their image, their skull, their nuts, or their deck in the process.
We showed up to what was billed as the premier of Alex Cooper’s “Slime Dunk” to find a colossal line wrapping around the block consisting of entire families of skaters; small shredders to old olliers. We discovered after looking at our tickets that Slime was to be preceded by the premier of two other videos: the snowboard equivalent of a Ron Fricke movie, Pirate Movies’ “Perceptions,” and Tom Carter’s stylized “Party Vid.” The entire evening was framed around the hosts giving away free merch, from raffling BRAND NEW SNOWBOARDS to just straight throwing shit into the audience. During the shit-throwing ceremony, a man in the row in front of me turns to me and tells me that he had been to something like this before, that shoes had been thrown towards him and he had to break a kid’s ankle to get them. He donated them to charity though, so that atoned for it, I guess. I don’t know why he told me this, but that’s just the kind of audience it was. Everybody was screaming, yelling stupid skate lingo, calling out their friends when they saw them on screen; it was an extravaganza of dick and fart jokes amongst the eternally young and shredding.
The lights dimmed, and on-screen came the image of a girl running around a deserted dormitory. She sneaked out the window. Everybody cheered. Then she started singing, and the projection stopped because this was the wrong movie. The audience went nuts.
Finally, they got the laptop they had plugged into the Capitol Theatre’s state-of-the-art projector and “Perceptions” began. Now, there’s a pretty large cultural gap between skate vids and snowboard vids. Snowboard vids are like the eternally young shredder’s college-grad older brother. Snowboarders prefer shooting everything in slow motion, favoring the lush environments and fetishism of foreign lands to the personalities of riders, and Purity Ring playing over a guy racing to not die in the avalanche he caused (in slow motion, of course).
The audience, particularly in the beer garden, was not so psyched on the nuances of the snowboard genre. Riffs were hurled everywhere from “CAN WE TURN THIS SHIT OFF” to “OH MY FUCKING GOD EVEN THE GODDAMN EAGLE IS IN GODDAMN SLOW MOTION FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.” The guy who broke a kid’s ankle yelled that he was going to go up to the garden and kick him in the face, but that didn’t happen, and people kept not-being-psyched until the video ended, and “Party Vid” began. But because I can’t find anything on “Party Vid” on Google to refresh my memory, I’m only going to talk about “Slime Dunk.”
Again, as long as you have dope tracks, dope tricks, and a fish eye lens, there’s no way to really fuck up a skate video. But there’s also significantly more involuntary vocal emissions of “AW SICK” when you see places you know, people you know, and even locations you accidently walked into the filming of. The shots of shredding were intercut with artsy introductory shots of our stars, Logan Devlin, Eugene Ibanez, Ian Wishart, Adam Barnes, Riley Kerr, Carlmelo Ibanez, David Jaques, Taylor Reed, Calvin Wagner, Dave Waite and many more. It didn’t take long for the video to establish the Jackass-esque flamboyant chemistry between this large, intertwining group of friends, further established by the audience screaming when they see folks they know, who were most likely in the audience, and I was unwittingly sitting next to. I don’t skate very much, and have yet to be able to ollie and not almost-die even with a helmet on, and because of this the actual trick aspect of vids is not as significant to me as it is with deeper enthusiasts. And yet, I was getting pumped when these dudes were carefully putting their boards against a wall, wobbly putting one foot at a time on them, and sliding onto the ground. I was straight screaming until I tasted blood.
“Slime” provides you with everything you need to get excited about a sport you don’t practice: running on top of unoccupied police cars, jumping off the 4th Ave bridge, the traditional shot of our heroes skating on private property, having an old guy come out and tell them to please leave and stop filming, followed by them using him as a ramp and kickflipping off of him; and most importantly, guys making skating look so easy, even YOU could do it even though you have yet to be able to ollie and not almost-die even with a helmet on. It’s not revolutionary, it’s not the next “Video Days,” but a great display of passion for the folk-song of 21st century youth: the dope-ass skate video. You can snag this hot shit at Northwest Snowboards in West Olympia, 35th Avenue Skate Shop in Federal Way, or online for only $5.