Chris Franzen Interview

March 2, 2014

photo: Blabac

photo: Blabac

The genesis of this interview took place about five years ago, when Chris emailed me after reading this post.

 In the years between then and now, a certain subdivision of skate nerdery concerning who has done what over a Cali picnic table flourished. A legend grew of someone switch 360 kickflipping over one.

 Off flat.

 A few months ago, Chris posted a sequence on his instagram account of him switch 360 flipping over a picnic table. It was as if a new dead sea scroll was unearthed. It seemed like a good opportunity for an interview, both about the trick and about  LA County. The video has earned status as one of the most celebrated #lowimpact vids ever, yet its creators are still shrouded in mystery.

 In the following interview, Chris tells his story, provides a perspective into the inner workings of the industry around the turn of the century, and elucidates a window back in time to a definitive era in Los Angeles.

 Where are you from and how did you get into skating? 

I am from Breckenridge, Colorado and I started skating in 1985. I remember being infatuated with skating after seeing the movie Back to the Future.

note graphic

note graphic

Describe a typical day skating in LA in the late 90’s when the pit, USC ledges, etc. were all active spots. 

Skateboarding’s funny; no matter where you go, it’s super territorial. My prospective was heavily clouded with drugs, but I remember it always having a heavy overtone of competition at all the popular spots. If you were able to ignore the competitive aspects and just enjoy the actual moments skating, it was amazing.

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A War To End All Wars

May 12, 2012

I read Catch 22 in fifth grade. Although I have forgotten most of the characters and plot, the quote “man is matter” has resonated throughout the years.

I think about this truism often. Whether machine guns from a German fighter plane shatter one’s glass machine gun turret in a B-25 or one falls on one’s shoulder while f/s grinding and one’s knee lands on one’s board, thereby tearing a piece of one’s shoulder muscle like an Airhead®, the end-sum game is the same. We consist of a bunch of bones and junk.

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In all honesty, when I started this project two summers ago, I did not consciously intend for it to take as long to complete as the Menace/All City/City Stars video. I’m not nearly that “meta.”

However, it certainly seems appropriate. I had the outline on my wall the whole time; other shit just kept coming up. Now, the time is right. I will try to post five exhibits per week until I get to exhibit “AA.”* Who knows if I will adhere to that schedule, though. Again, this doesn’t seem inappropriate. Setting and reaching short-term goals and building them into long-term goals is not very menace tech.

To refresh your memory, the original post, including a rationale for this shit and exhibits A-G, can be found here. Read the rest of this entry »