story and photos by Upstate Mike
Last week i was given the dubious honor of attending the WORLD PREMIERE of “The Art of Flight” at the Beacon Theatre in NYC. Since I have moved on from the big shitty, I was psyched to get back and see my friends, as well as check out the spectacle that was to be this event. After attending basically every premiere in NYC in the past 4 years, I fully knew it was going to be a shit show. A bunch of skanks, a couple actual snowboarders, a pro or two, but mostly a bunch of toolbags with no reason to be there. With this movie, I expected it to be the worst of all time…especially since I heard that tickets were selling on Craigslist for $80. To see a fucking snowboard video! Idiots.
I was actually mildly surprised at how many people, and who, came out, however. The place was totally packed, including the balcony that I’m pretty sure Ab Lincoln got shot on. Everyone from Justin Timberlake, to Darrell Mathes, to local NYC dirtbags, to a whole lot of toolbags in suits were out in full force. What surprised me the most though, was the complete lack of enthusiasm that was showed by this audience. At most premieres it’s a whole lot of beer drinking, cheering, clapping, and name-calling. Not this one. Not at some snobby movie theatre on the Upper West Side, where beers are $9 and the people working there looked disgusted that they had to serve people other than old rich Jewish ladies. There was only mild-mannered applause, with the exception of drunk some jock from New Jersey that was directly behind me screaming that “T-RICE IS MY HOMEBOY!! KILL THAT SHIT T-RICE YEAHHHH.” Whoever you are, I hate you, and I’m pretty sure Travis is not your homeboy.
I really, really wanted to hate this video. I did. It’s just so easy to hate on. Helicopters, crappy electronic music, neon outerwear, and Red Bull. Done. But it’s hard to not respect the amount of time and money they have put into it. A lot of the shots probably cost at least $5000 and took a few days to shoot, which is fucked. I respect that. I get pissed when I buy a tank of gas, drive an hour, and don’t get a shot. I can’t imagine having a pack of helicopters and planes following me around in the middle of nowhere after a week of waiting for the right snow, and then maybe getting a shot or two. I also respected the tricks that went down — some crazy backcountry stuff that I will never, ever see in my lifetime. Seriously next level shit. Everyone in this video is amazing at snowboarding.
But you cannot call this a snowboard video. It’s basically a Warren Miller ski movie about snowboarding. It didn’t get me psyched, in fact my ADD kicked in after Travis Rice was narrating about some town they stayed at and how ghetto it is, straight up Warren Miller style. I think what appealed to me the least, besides all of the dubstep and super slow-mo helicopter shots, was the fact that 99% of kids will never be able to ride that shit. This is what makes videos like Ice Coast Kills Shit, Videograss, and Keep The Change so fun to watch…the fact that kids can watch it, and picture themselves doing that trick someday or hitting that rail, and then go out and try to make it happen.
After any premiere, of course comes the after party. This is where everyone really tries to outdo the next guy. I’ve been to a lot of corny after parties in my day, and this one was right up there. Companies: when you are looking for an after party spot, please keep your clientele in mind and try to make it somewhere they would actually go to. I’m pretty sure dudes that snowboard wouldn’t go to the Stone Rose, a cheesy ass club in a mall on the Upper West Side.
When we got to the party, there was a huge line outside because it was “closed to VIP only until midnight.” But this line consisted of many of the riders in the movie, and other very important people in the snowboard industry (excluding myself.) This a red flag that a real shitty time is ahead of you. After I was given a stolen wristband from some chick so I could cut the line, I walked past the heavy security inside to find a scene straight out of Shredder’s lair in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…crappy 90’s art, cheesy red and purple lighting, and a mini-ramp in the club. I didn’t stay long, but it seemed like people were regardless having a great time thanks to the free drinks and good music. I got to watch Billy Rohan and dudes from 5Boro kill it in the mini, gave JF Pelchat a high five because we were both finally in, had a couple free beers, and walked my ass to the train.
The production quality of The Art of Flight is extremely impressive. The snowboarding is just as impressive. The amount of money put into the world premiere is even more impressive. Should you buy this video? Maybe. You should at least let your friend that’s kind of a tool but he’s a good dude buy it, then watch it. Defintely. Will I buy this video? Nope. I like to get psyched to go ride after watching a video, not bummed that I will never ride in a helicopter. I saw it once and that’s cool with me. But thanks for the free hangover!