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The last year has been a dream, working with students at MIT Media Lab. Part of what makes that place so special is their ethos of nurturing new perspectives, a culture of unorthodoxy—a bit rogue, in the best of ways. The closer I get with them, the more they remind me of the skaters I admire most, especially in terms of the Heart it takes to push yourself at those levels while striving after your own ideas, often into the unknown with real risk. Coping with failures takes such a common toll that a group of MIT students & researchers created FAIL! – Inspiring Resilience, where respected peers share their failures. I spoke there last Oct and now, Thursday (7/2) I’ll be back with an MIT Physicist, Allan Adams, at 5pm EDT for an online chat, in case you’d like to join. Just to hear Allan speak is amazing—brilliant, with a heart of gold. Link in bio.
@georgeharrisonofficial ( of @thebeatles ) started this foundation nearly 50 years ago to HELP others; now, they’re donating $500k plus $1 for every one of us who shares a little bit of what makes us who we
are, to help kids, doctors, and other artists who are struggling through these heavy times. I’m
grateful to @dhaniharrison & @dzonshine for not only making this happen, but for the way they’ve
taken me in over the years—they’re as good as people come. Stay Healthy!
#innerlight2020 For more information go to materialworldfoundation.com (link in bio)
Some months ago, I was made a Director’s Fellow at MIT Media Lab, which is known for “inventing the future.” Having spent a couple of months there to get a sense of what they do, what was most special of all was getting to know some of the students doing the work, many of whom are earning their advanced degrees in science—guessing the average age is roughly 25-30. Although the skills they bring are quite different from what we do, the spirit that drives them combined with the pressures at that level forge a Character remarkably similar to what I see in some of the greatest skaters I know, which I think makes some of the friendships so natural. Given this resonance of common striving, I’ve been asked to speak this Friday (18th) at MIT FAIL!If you’re around Boston, I’d love to see you there—good people, all ‘round.
JSB is the former Chief Scientist of Xerox & Head of Xerox PARC, which developed the stuff that made computers accessible to us all—even the graphic user interface (GUI). He and Ann Pendleton-Julian wrote this 2-volume set, Design Unbound. Through a wide range of real-life examples, they integrate philosophy and science to navigate today’s world, because of its hyper connectedness; i.e., they figure we’re better served by looking at it through the lenses of ecology and architecture for fluidly interacting systems, in lieu of old static models. Ann was an MIT professor of architecture having escaped from starting out as an astrophysicist, while JSB began in the fields of complex systems, AI and cognitive science; together, they harmonize with such synergy & insight in these 5 books. JSB and Ann don’t “teach” us; rather, they awesomely lay concepts out for us to learn, even suggesting paths, since the chapters interact differently depending on how you read them.
Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” and this little book, Pragmatic Imagination, explains how to put that to work through the lens of science, architecture, jazz, writing, and most importantly, skateboarding. OK, it doesn’t mention skating, but it articulates the relationship between creativity & imagination as we adapt tricks to the world around us in a way that never dawned upon me. Beyond that, it adds a mind-blowing scope and detail to the same creative outlooks that have reshaped the world across every field—often, with a kind of diagrammatic prose. And for good reason: the authors, Ann Pendleton Jullian and John Seely Brown, are some of the greatest minds of our era. By some kind of miracle, I was paired with JSB last May at MIT to share perspectives; we’ll visit Stanford in a few weeks to do the same. Check out how this book fits within their masterpiece—free downloads, too. www.desunbound.com
Chris Haslam embodies what makes skating an art more than it will ever be a sport. His skating speaks volumes about who he is in ways that are obvious to anyone who knows him. Beyond that, his creativity and control have etched his place among the best skaters of any generation. No matter what the terrain, he finds something new for it, spending the last decade and a half as a nomad seeking out places to see his ideas through, not for the sake of being different or trying to stand out, but for the unvarnished compulsion to do things his own way and push into the unknown. That’s who he is as a person; he does it for the sake of doing it, nothing more—one of the truest skaters I know. This came out a month or so ago, in case you haven’t seen his newest part. https://bit.ly/2GbWwbf
When we watch certain skaters, we get a glimpse of who they are. In a real way, the essence of our community is composed of bits from everyone who contributes because we give of ourselves through what we do. This is central to who I am and why, for me, the business of it has to be kept separate. Over 30+ years, my affiliations with companies—even my own—have changed many times; my loyalty is to skateboarding and the friendships forged through our mutual striving—not businesses. Friends are friends, regardless of who they skate for. Today, I’ve been with Globe longer than any other company for many reasons, primarily because of who they are as people combined with their dedication to skateboarding and those of us who’ve lived-it for most of our lives. They have, too. I’m grateful for their help in building this new shoe; it’s the one that works best for what I do. https://bit.ly/2Tce4Gn
Last Thursday, @mid90smovie premiered at the courthouse. It felt natural and open with legit skaters cruising around, plus food trucks and a screen in front of rows of folding chairs. Plenty of staples from the community there: Jacob Rosenberg, whom Mike T raised up filming Plan B, sat in front of me—roots and talent, in spades. He and everyone I spoke to basically said the same: There is a raw purity to Mid90s. Nothing feels forced; it weaves a story with legit skaters, just being themselves. It’s not my story, yet it captures an essence of not only mine, but so many dudes I’ve known over the years. I see movie critics approve, only it’s insane how they miss the point: like someone alien to you describing your hometown—or family—by seeing a picture. Which bats home the rarity and uniqueness of the belonging we find in skateboarding, by being who we are, doing what we do. I’m grateful someone of Jonah’s caliber not only gets it but used such skills to create this and put it out there—for all of us.
My visceral reaction when I hear someone is making a movie about skating is... I wish they wouldn’t. Call it cynical or too close to home— just call it experience: They all pretty much suck, wrecked by people who don’t get it from the start, then pump it out for mass consumption and leave us stuck with the perception. For those who’ve spent their lives skating—living it—it’s hard not to take that personal. I’m no different. So, when I heard @jonahhill was making a movie about skating a few years ago, I didn’t know what to think. For all his talent and success, I never knew him to be a skater and had no sense of his motive, so an ambivalence took hold. Soon enough we crossed paths, and I witnessed for myself. Somehow Jonah’s movie success seemed to yield clarity on what skating gave him from the start. He’s says it straight here: http://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_share.aspx…
Jonah never claimed to even be a decent skater; rather, he lit up talking about skating and hanging out at the (West LA) courthouse as a kid. It seemed as if he wanted to pay a tribute to skateboarding. Then, one of today’s highest-paid actors, described pros of that era with a respect boarding on awe. In a fit of genuine reverie, Jonah began rifling off clips from 20-Shot Sequence I’d nearly forgotten, mentioning nuances that legit skaters would note, yet still expressed in slang of that day. When he talked about how much Kareem’s company, Menace, affected him and contextualized it with the music of the era, it only validated his sincerity and perspective. Not long ago, the trailer came out, which shows where he’s coming from—it opens nationwide Friday, Oct 26th. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Igfhy3Q5CeI
If there’s one name you may know from BMX, it’s Mat Hoffman—a genuine Legend. Mat was pioneering the concept of mega-ramps back in the early 90’s—blasting 20+ foot airs. Years later, it was through Tony (Hawk) that I got to know Mat, who is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, especially in his humility. Tony can go on for hours telling stories about Mat, mostly from tour—they’re INSANE. Brains and Bandsis bringing Mat & me to Westport, CT on September 7thto talk & hang out; Everclearwill be playing with free beer from Cisco Brewers—all for $30. Check the link if you’re nearby. http://tiny.cc/rodneymullenAlso Tremaine &Spike’s doc on him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m28nJEevCZw
Last October I posted shots of @electricmudofficial . They’re like family to me, so when they asked for another to promote a show for the CK4 Foundation at San Diego’s Music Box, I didn’t even ask what it stood for—I just shot a quick trick. They said the foundation helps SEALs and their families, but it didn’t connect until I watched the video: CK4 stands for Charles Keating IV, the American Hero that my friend called ͞Chucky͟ in his email, reeling at his loss after the firefight which could’ve easily taken both their lives. Over the last 10 years, the handful of SEALs I know have turned out to be the people I admire most, who stand up and ask for the hardest, most dangerous missions when our leadership calls for war—from the left or right, whether right or wrong. At least one of these will be on onstage on Aug 11th; show starts at 6pm, if you get the time. You never know who you’re standing next to, in that crowd.
Charlie Keating was one of about 14 more SEALs sent in to help; together, these 25-30 SEALS vanquished the ISIS fighters in a firefight that lasted for hours. Praising the one American casualty, spokesman for the Command, Col Warren, called Charlie Keating an American Hero… Words like Heroare bandied about so much that they lose meaning; movies riddle us with stories and images which… Generally, are far from it. And yet heroes quietly walk amongst us, sometimes closer than we may realize. A 30min video on www.ChuckHeavy.org paints out the life, character, and family of a real-life hero. Charlie grew up skating, surfing, and goofing around like any of us—seemingly always laughing. Only driven by conviction, he chose a different path because, “It was the hardest thing to do.” The final song from Matt Hensley’s band is just another of the threads that binds him to our community, too.