The Cool Kids

Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta, Bay Ridge, 4/11/01

Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta, Bay Ridge, 4/11/01

I’ve shot many celebrities on the street, outdoors in NYC: Paul Rudd, Roman Duris (not together) on my favorite loading dock (now inaccessible, covered with a construction shed), around the corner from my studio; Vanessa Williams (gorgeous in a short, slinky dress) at magic hour in Lincoln Center’s plaza, in front of the fountain and a glowing Metropolitan Opera House.

New Yorkers are cool–stare a little, don’t trip over my light stands or annoy the makeup artist with questions, and keep moving.  But the largest, most wowed reaction came, ironically,  from the coolest group of spectators, hipster kids at a skateboard park in Brooklyn (an amazing location found by publicist and friend  Sara Finmann Serlen), when we arrived with two of their gods, original Z-Boys, Stacy Peralta and Tony Alva, to shoot portraits of them together and individually (and for Stacy’s solo shots, Tony whipped around in the background).

After seeing Peralta’s influential skateboarding documentary, “Dogtown and Z-Boys” (2001), I never looked at a swimming pool the same way again, knowing (if you have skills) that there’s more fun to be had when it’s empty than when it’s full.

Beginning today and running for three consecutive weekends (through September 23), BAMcinématek, is presenting “Skateboarding Is Not A Crime”–24 films representing the best of skateboarding in cinema from the 1960s through now.  The series opens with George Gage’s seminal 1978 film, “Skateboard” (Gage will be present for a Q&A following the screening) and includes “Thrashin’ ” (1986) with a young Josh Brolin, Larry Clark’s directorial debut, “Kids” (1995), Spike Jones’ video, “Yeah Right!” (2003), Peralta’s “Dogtown” and his more recent “Bones Brigade: An Autobiography” (2012), and “The Motivation” (2013), which follows eight of the current generation of skateboarding stars  as they get ready for the Street League Championship world tour.  Also screening is Gus Van Sant’s immersive “Paranoid Park” (2007), hynotically shot by the great cinematographer Chritopher Doyle, about a teenager whose life unravels after he accidentally causes the death of a security guard.

Gus Van Sant, director, "Paranoid Park"

Gus Van Sant, director, “Paranoid Park”

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