Tuesday, December 21, 2010


gettin up there... from David Thomas on Vimeo.

NIck Peterson is OLD. from David Thomas on Vimeo.

So anyway, after sleepily writing a bunch of unintelligible nonsense (favoring choppy, semi-intelligible nonsense, of course) trying to make deadline for "DOUBLE FEATURE FRIDAY", I have narrowly avoided a catastrophe that might have turned my wildly popular new blog column into a laughingstock. Whatever the hell it was I had written Friday night before I fell asleep on the couch with my hand half-way inside a bag of BBQ Frito's, I've taken and modified into the new smash hit off-shoot you are currently reading. And yes I realize that it is not Monday, lets just say that this blog does not hold "days of the week" in the highest regard.

Dirty Tony is one of the several nicknames of our pal Dave Thomas, although I think Jack Donze might be the one individual who actually knows what it means. From the way it sounds, its probably better that he keeps it to himself. Dave has been working day in day out to bring us short, puzzling anti-edits that will make you laugh, nervously, as you scratch your head and shift uncomfortably in your chair. Anyhow I think Dave is pushing the boundaries of what can be done in a minute with what would often be considered "unusable" or "throwaway" footage. In the same spirit that I write this column and our pals Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David do comedy, Mr. Thomas edits his little heart out and makes something out of nothing.

These days skateboarders,and humanity in general, over-stuff the internet goose full of useless, uninspiring content and minutiae as if expecting it to eventually yield a delicious "1's and 0's" foie gras. Short edits of spare parts like the kind Dave utilizes (with a very different aesthetic) seem to be becoming the norm just to stay in the public eye, even as baby relevancy and baby craftsmanship are being thrown out with the bathwater. What i'm trying to say is at least Dave keeps things interesting by cranking the absurdity dial up to 11.

But i'm not trying to give into my instinct to get sidetracked and deliver a sermon on the matter, I'm trying to write about Dirty Tony's kickass Birthday videos we have here. There is one for David Uthus and one for Nick Peterson and although they are both short videos of these two skating and commemorating their day of birth, one must note a very clear duality separating them. Let us consider the aspects that define these works.

David's birthday video is dark, claustrophobic, and a bit frightening while Nick's is bright, lighthearted, and playful. Because David and Nicks birthdays are so close together and because David Thomas is a goddamn film making genius I have to assume that there is some sort of deeper intent in this variation of mood. Birthdays can be a time for many things, but as you grow older, the desire to be celebratory and do awesome shit like binge drink yourself into a coma on your buddies' tab might give way to a tendency towards the more heavy and ponderous aspects of aging, lame shit like regret, getting closer to dying, and not being able to pull the girls like you used to. In Nick's video he seems to be embracing the birthday debacle and seems to be having the time of his life skating at a well-lit park with his friends, doing that weird bouncy thing he calls "dancing", and getting stoked on the finer side of aging like growing a bushy beard to store trail mix in. he is still pulling off some sweet stuff and doing so with style that can only be attained by years on the board, and he realizes that as well. They say style ages like fine wine but for a mountain man like Nick it has aged like small batch bourbon in oak cask.

In Davids video he is alone at a desolate un-lit skatepark with only a dim camera light to guide him through what seems like some sort of existential nightmare of a session. As opposed to Nick's video, which featured a club-ready birthday jam, David's is sound tracked by a faceless and repetitive dance track in which a cold chorus of detached and mechanical sounding voices ironically dispatch "Happy Birthday." over and over again. The atmosphere of dread only heightens when a low, anonymous verse in between taunts David by not asking but Demanding that he "blow the candles" and "eat your cake, eat your cake". The torture reaches a high point when the deranged singer contemptuously shouts out "cmon, your older, CMON your older, CMOOOON YOUR OLLDAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!".

Dave Thomas's editing only reinforces David's anguish by manipulating his movements by reversing and repeating, apparently suggesting that David is merely a puppet of time and slave to an angry god whose torment knows no bounds (Dave Thomas). As if that were not enough, Dave humiliates David with a funny photo of him wearing a helmet at the end. Why, we ask, must David's birthday be such a miserablist exercise in torment and helplessness? Is it because daviduthus.com is finally up but not even close to being complete? At 28 years of age, has his skateboard become a now meaningless relic of his youth and passion? Are birthdays just another rung on the ladder towards the abyss for him? Has he gone goth on us?
These are burning questions we ask ourselves momentarily and when no easy answer presents itself, flee from. But for poor Mr. Uthus they are the inescapable reality of his infinite pitch dark blackness.