VHS Review Volume I: Mosaic (2003)

Image Ah, Mosaic. The nostalgia I have attached to this video is pretty much unmatched by any other video. This video, aesthetically, reigns supreme. Like a Chopin composition, this video is intricately assembled, technically impressive, and stylistically in a league of its own. This is in my opinion Castrucci’s best work. This was, without a doubt, assisted by the fact that the lineup was one of the best in skate history. Some of these skaters may have kooked out in later years, but at this time the team consisted of a mix of legends and current heavyweights, sprinkled with a few young bucks. Let’s run through the video.

INTRO:

Boom, here we are, intro. Animated snake rolls up into shape of video camera. Love it, brings me back every time. Gonna be honest, I must have watched this a hundred times before I had seen the DVD version, but the bonus feature on the DVD of Tim O’Connor commentary always sticks with me, and is all I can think of through the video now. Back to the point now. Awesome intro song, Tim’s frontside ollie at FDR, classic. The animation and general presentation of the skaters doesn’t feel cheesy, even though they were clearly getting pretty artsy here. Gets me hyped for it to start without fail.

Danny Renaud:

Yeah, I honestly don’t think that there has ever been a better first part. Song is Cymande – Crawshay. Could NOT have been a better fit. At this point Danny was a young dude, going for it with smooth style. Trick selection is on point, for me most notably in his lines at city hall. Perfect back three down the set. Other take-aways for me include the nollie flip down the set, hand draggin’, switch back tail down the rail, back noseblunt ender where he narrowly escapes the ledge on landing, but most of all, I will always remember his line cruising down the street as the piano solo comes in. Just a real feel good part that gets you hyped to go skate a sidewalk.

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Tim O’Connor/Brian Wenning:

I feel like some people hate Tim O’Connor, which I guess I just don’t really understand, but this guy has been a personal favorite since his Eastern Exposure footage. He’s got a good style, sometimes a little sketchy, but I think in a way that defines him more than hinders him. His footage here is limited due to a broken ankle, so they paired him up with Wenning who had been filming for The DC Video at the time. Another good track for the part, this one is RJD2. I gotta say, I’m not a huge Wenning fan, especially during this era, but I tolerate him for the Tim footage. Best clips in this part for me are Tim’s 5-0 ollie over the gap, back 5-0 fs shove out (pure innovation), and then his ender with the nose manual nollie down the 9 stair. Oof. Good stuff.

Fred Gall:

Ok, so this part holds a bit of sentimental value for me in that my first board was a Habitat Fred Gall board. I actually laugh thinking about that, because I had absolutely no idea who he was. I remember watching this part for the first time and thinking “holy shit, this is that dude.” I was hyped. Another super memorable intro with the old dude warning them about cars coming through and Fred almost jumping directly into one. Unforgettable.  Fred’s part is, I think, Fred’s peak park. Ripping footage, about as clean a style as you’re going to see with Fred, but a ton of powerful switch tricks, a good mix of street and tranny, and just a dirt-dog style. Love him.

Rob Pluhowski:

Rob Pluhowski for me in this video was just the underdog guy. I rooted so hard for this guy after watching his part. It truly spoke to me. The recurring theme in this video is trick/spot selection, but in my opinion Pluhowski really took it to the next level. He really doesn’t do any tricks that are technically mind-blowing, but everything he does is done with such speed and finesse that it makes the part very enjoyable. Take-away tricks include gap front shove manny and gap kickflip nosemanny, along with his ending line with the varial heel, great looking pushes, and a speedy nollie flip off the inclined dock.

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Ed Selego:

Ed is a dude that I feel they just tucked right in the middle of the video. His part is short and sweet, and if I am going to be honest, it’s probably the least memorable of the video. I really like Ed Selego, and he has a few solid clips in this including his ender 50-50, but I do always wish his part were a little bit longer.

Kerry Getz:

Moving right along. Kerry Getz, a considerably criticized skateboarder, especially around the time of Skate More (2005). Ok, I feel like a lot of people hate on this dude, but I actually have always enjoyed his skating, especially this part. The copy that I originally owned used Psychotic Reaction as this song, which I thought was soooo sick. I think they changed it to some cha cha crap for the DVD, but I’m not concerned with that. Opening line: switch crook, switch heel, fakie frontside halfcab filp, then 180 THE FOUNTAIN GAP. Are you kidding me?? Come on. I know a ton of people have done hard stuff there, but at this time this dude took the crown for doing a trick over the gap in a line. Kerry comes through with a good mix of street clips from stairs, to decent sized rails, to some high-level technical manual/ledge footage. I personally loved the kickflip up the kicker to nose wheelie in Barcelona. Ollie up the ledge to lipslide the long flat rail at Love was great, and then also, at the time, the double flip over the rail. Hey, I was a kid, double flips were rad. I still back ‘em.

Alien Montage:

Ok, so here we have some really great footage from AVE, a couple clips from Danny Way, but the real stock pile comes from an (at the time) relatively unknown skater, Ted DeGros. I don’t know what happened to this guy, but I fell in love with is footage. Best looking tre flip, and also the frontside 5-0 varial flip out on the ledge blew my mind. The thing almost looks like a forward flip. So good. If you’re out there Ted, I love you. Also, Papa M – Krusty for the song. Yes.

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Steve Berra/Heath Kirchart:

Looking back at this part is always so interesting for me. To be honest when I first saw this part it wasn’t a standout part for me. I don’t think I had seen This Is Skateboarding yet, and that’s when I really started to get into Heath, and Berra just seemed like a decent skater. I knew that the skating was good, but it was a short part with a lot of single tricks so I didn’t really get into it. I go back and watch this part now, however, and wow, there is actually a lot of great stuff. Just to see Heath switch ollie over a picnic table in a line is worth watching the part. I don’t think I could find a single person who backs Berra after his kook-out and flat bar street footage, but this part actually has some gnarly stuff. Frontside flip over the rail into the bank, backside flip, half cab flip, and full cab flip down the set Mike Carroll back smithed in Yeah Right! (forgive me for not knowing the spot name). I just want to get it out there, Steve Berra has a damn good backside flip. All in all, another really good part.

Jason Dill:

I could literally talk about this part for an hour, but I will spare you. Best part in the video, hands down. Spoon – The Way We Get By for the first section and Someone Something for the second section, with the Directions in Music track in the middle. If you are going to watch one part to get an understanding of the artistic vision of this video, it is this part. First section filmed exclusively at a DIY spot in LA (aside from the last clips filmed on the banks, second section in Barcelona. Perfection. No single tricks in the part. My favorite tricks are the frontside crooks around the bench, the fakie varial heel in his last line of the first section, the switch front three on flat in Barcelona, and then finally the nollie backside heel on in Barcelona in the bench line. Yes, three of the four are flatground tricks. They are that good. Dill is a legend because it would be hard to say that this part, being so good, probably comes second to his Photosynthesis part as a personal best.

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Anthony Pappalardo:

Another two section part (deservedly). First part coming through with Forget the Swan by Dinosaur Jr. as the song. I hadn’t heard Dinosaur Jr. before this, so this was huge for me. Pappalardo really came through, rocking the baseball tee and beanie, doing some of the most stylish tricks I had seen at the time. Something about his shoulders reminds me of Gino, sleepy style. His manual line at Flushing Meadows is memorable for me, I had never seen anybody skate it that way before, and it looked really fun. I love the ollie up to backside flip off of the kicker to bike rack, fakie flip down the Brooklyn banks set, and then he really gets next level in the second section with the nose wheelie into Grant’s tomb, and the switch back 50 down Clipper. Oh yeah, don’t forget that he was the first to go at the Love gap switch. Classic part.

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Stefan Janoski:

I remember first seeing Stefan in a 411 skating to Vast and wondering who in the hell this guy was. I was super hyped that he was going to be in this video and couldn’t wait for the part. It did not let down. Stefan’s style is so clean, and he does some of the most technically difficult ledge and flip tricks, in lines. Let’s talk about thing switch flip backside 50 50 down a rail. Um, ok, yeah. I personally loved the backside wheelslides on ledge. I have still not seen people going to this one, hopefully as a sign of respect for one of the best dudes to ride a board. Great song, great part, gnarly ender with the switch frontside 50 down the long rail. Good job Stefan.

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Danny Garcia:

Ok. Here we have our last part. Now just take a moment, and think back to all of the previous parts. If you were Danny, how would you feel? There’s no way that you are going to top a whole host of legends and legends to be. Danny was also a young dude in this video, who I compared to a Rodrigo TX type. Super technically talented, with a very clean style. The problem for me with this part is that because of all of the other great parts in this video, his ends up feeling a bit boring, monotonous, and underwhelming. I think that in any other video it could have been a standout, but sorry Danny, if I’m going to keep it real, I usually skip to the credits.

CREDITS:

ALRIGHT! We’ve made it through the video, and here we are just soakin’ it all in listening to one of my favorite songs of all time, Northwest Passage, by Papa M. I love this credits section, it really has it all. Good throw away footage, like Dill doing a 180 to fakie manual in the rain, some feel-good friend stuff, and just a bunch of other fun stuff that didn’t make it into the video. For me a good credits section really makes the video worth watching and this video for me is one of the only ones to come close to a Girl/Chocolate credits section. Great stuff. Mosaic, a true classic.

-Dave

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