A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

film and television
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS (article first published : 2003-07-9)

The good thing about Dogtown And Z-Boys, a well-received American documentary on surfing and skateboarding, is that one needn't know much about either to appreciate its entertainment value.

Narrated by Sean Penn, it marks the directing debut of Stacy Peralta, who was one of the famous teenagers of the 1970s known as the Z-boys, short for the Zephyr team. They were cocky, confident surfers and fearless, innovative skateboarders from Dogtown, Los Angeles - a sleazy strip of a coastal town. It was a gloomy place peopled with tough misfits and noted for its faded amusement park rides, which were abandoned and left to rust and crumble in the early 60s.

The Z-Boys thrived on the danger of risking their lives as they crashed into visible and hidden pilings scattered about their surfing area. And they were fiercely territorial, hurling rocks and glass at outsiders who dared to try to ride their waves.

The rebel lads of Zephyr - so-named because of the Zephyr Production Surf Shop established by one of their group, inventive surfboard-shaper Jeff Ho - took to boards on wheels as an alternative to surfing. And, at a time when skateboarding was still taking its grip on the world, the team was quick to get a step or two ahead of everyone else.

Individually and as a team these audacious, athletic youngsters set trends and re-wrote the rule book for the sport - perfectly showcased in footage showing their first official competition entry in 1975. Their bent-knee skateboarding, sharp turns and aerial manoeuvres at this competition left many wide-eyed in amazement, at a time when upright skating was the norm.

Taking their cue from famous surfers of the time, the Z-Boys continued to adapt new manoeuvres for skateboarding and in the process revolutionised the sport - even more so when, during severe drought in mid-70s California, they explored bold new techniques in the many empty swimming pools in the more affluent areas of Dogtown.

Peralta makes excellent use of photos and shaky archive footage of himself and famous mates such as Tony Alva and Jay Adams, splicing in recent interviews with them and other members of the Zephyr gang. The team eventually split up, leading to some members finding fame and fortune through endorsements, others to quietly fade from the limelight. And, in the case of the supremely talented Jay Adams, end up in prison on drug-related charges.

Delivered at a frantic pace, with a pumping, nostalgic soundtrack and some stylish editing, the documentary is a must for the skateboarding fraternity. And it makes for interesting viewing for anyone else, particularly those who have wondered what early influences led to the current fascination for extreme sports. Rating: 7/10 - Billy Suter




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart