Providence's Alternative Source!


This nostalgic (Behind the Music-esque) documentary traces the advent of the 'vert' (half-pipe) skateboarding that has become all the rage today with Tony Hawk and the X-Games. The punk acrobatics were the thrill-seeking conception of the Z-Boys, surfers from the rundown section of Venice known as Dogtown ("where the debris meets the sea") who transposed their intrepid style of wave busting to the tarmac when a drought struck California during the early '70s and the boys, in guerrilla fashion, bounced from back yard to back yard, turning bone-dried pool basins into impromptu skateboard parks -- until the cops showed. Trendy magazines of the moment caught up with their antics and catapulted the Z-Boys to rock-star status -- and as often is the case with rock stars, fame brought discontent and decline.

Filmmaker Stacy Peralta, one of the Z-Boys himself, plays down the dark side of the story, and though he's sincere, he seems less than candid. Many of the Z-Boy troupe, looking back, seem smug and condescending toward the present day. The real charge comes from the ample archival footage that poetically captures the era and its defiant derring-do. Sean Penn narrates, and Hawk and hardcore rocker Henry Rollins offer their two cents. At the Avon.

By Tom Meek

Issue Date: June 27 - July 4, 2002