Skate stories hit the screen
- Joseph Gallivan
- Portland Tribune - Features
Davy Griffiths' skateboard movie, 'The Art of Weightlessness,' contains some of the most inventive choreography imaginable. Bill Shannon is the lone protagonist, a male in baggy top and pants, an apparition on a skateboard. On crutches.
These are aluminum crutches with round rubber bumpers on the end, which he uses to push off and coast down city streets. Just when you are getting used to his arms being his legs, Shannon dispenses with the skateboard and pimp-rolls on the concrete, increasing the confusion as to what role his limbs really play.
There's a whole back story of New York City resident Shannon dancing in clubs on his crutches, choreographing for Cirque du Soleil, and actually suffering. He needs the crutches to keep Legg-CalvŽ Perthes, his hip-socket condition, at bay. But watching the film all you see is an urban angel moving in ways no one has seen before. (Shannon will perform at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art in September.)
Skateboarders have been shooting on the go since video cameras became portable. The Cut and Paste Skateboarding Film Festival shows there's more to it than watching some kid in a helmet roll back and forth on a ramp. In 'Concussion,' the spirit of 'Jackass' lives on in a sequence of bone-crunching wipeouts.
Organizer Noah Goldsmith, 24, says the 11-film festival has a policy of no logos and no sponsors, to de-X-Games it. 'We saw (skating) getting overrun by bigger corporations, so we're trying to maintain some integrity,' he says.
Goldsmith says the Pacific Northwest is known for having the best skate parks, and he sees Portland parents skating with their kids.
Also on the program will be the only copy of an early 1980s film, 'Late Air,' by Lee Daniel, the cinematographer for Richard Linklater ('Dazed and Confused').
Paul Fujita, 31, a skater and owner of Zeitgeist Gallery in Northwest Portland, hosted the festival last year and was impressed with the crossover crowd. Fujita especially likes the board graphic of Mark Gonzalez's firm Krooked, in San Francisco. On board and on screen, 'skateboard graphics are getting good again,' he says.