Out & About: Tradesmen LA

entry

When I moved to Los Angeles 6 years ago Lincoln Boulevard was a stretch of road that was to be avoided at all costs. From the end of the Marina Freeway to the on ramps for Interstate 10, Lincoln was jam packed with traffic, used car dealerships and stores peddling junk of one variety or another. As the gentrification of Venice began to kick into overdrive and spread east, Lincoln began to suck a little bit less each year. Now it is home to westside staples like Wurstkutche, Superba Food & Bread, General Store and Tradesmen LA.

 

untitled-5624

Tradesmen first opened in June 2012 and I was admittedly tired of the “#menswear” scene. The whole made in America, “heritage this” and “archive that” had worn out it’s welcome in the years following the economic downturn. Large brands that couldn’t have given less of a shit about their heritage 10 years ago were going overboard on the Americana vibe and it was just a massive turn off to the fashion industry as a whole. But then a funny thing happened, I realized that while I enjoy quality made products, for me “#menswear” has always been more about the people. The reason I’d moved to Venice in the first place was for the community vibe that is sorely lacking in pretty much the rest of Los Angeles.

From the first time I walked into Tradesmen I knew the store was a labor of love. After all it pretty much had to be what with it’s location on a street known for shady used car dealers rather than it’s local retailers. It’s unusual location seems much less so now, especially with a Paul Hibler project sitting across the street. With every passing year Lincoln Boulevard continues it’s march towards asset rather than eyesore, though the traffic will continue to suck for the rest of time.

untitled-5621

The men behind the space are Ruben Leal and Doug Behner. Over the past couple years I’ve stopped in a number of times just to chat with Ruben and see what’s new. It’s always great to have a place to go check out product and never feel like the proprietors are going to wring your neck if you don’t buy something. This is the vibe I always hope for with retailers because when I do buy something I feel good about it. There are a ton of stores in Los Angeles and around the country that all offer the same products but it is the manner in which they treat you that separates the bad from the good. Sure that might seem like stating the obvious but if you’ve ever been into one of those “cool guy” shops and felt like the staff was staring down their nose the whole time, then you know why it’s worth mentioning that this isn’t one of those places.

untitled-5629

Tradesmen makes great use of it’s space, it’s light and airy, a welcome change from the exposed brick and steel that dominates so many spaces. Within the space you’ll find denim from Baldwin, Tellason, Levi’s Vintage and Rouge Territory. Shirts and accessories from Save Khaki United, Jungmaven, The Hillside, M. Nii and Aloha Sunday. They also stock high end Japanese camping brand Snow Peak, Kletterwerks backpacks, MCMC fragrances (Dude No.1) and Ursa Major grooming products. To complete their inventory and cover you head to toe they offer footwear from Chamula and Birkenstock as well as Wigwam socks. All said, I think their stock is eclectic without being all over the place like many stores. It’s always a good sign if you can walk into a place and dress for a night out on the town or an adventure off the beaten path.

untitled-5617

 

As with any fashion trend, there comes a tipping point, a moment when people let out a collective groan and declare said trend, “so over”. That’s all well and good because it’ll weed out the people who thought this whole thing was a trend in the first place. The way I see it, there’s nothing trendy about making the most out of essentials and basics, it’s just common sense. I’m not an advocate for the $50 tee shirt but if that’s what floats your boat then go on witcha bad self. At least this generation seems to agree that a really well made pocket tee with no graphics is worth the money rather than the bedazzled nightmare-inducing garbage of the mid aughts.

untitled-5632

 

If you’re ever in the neighborhood you’ve got to stop in and check this place out. Chat with Ruben and Doug, try some stuff on or just admire the space. 

Cheers.

untitled-5618

Tradesmen LA

1807 Lincoln BLVD.

Venice CA, 90291

424.835.4397

 untitled-5623 

 

Must Watch: 544 Park

Cole Barash: 544 Park from Positive Productions on Vimeo.

Great piece of work here from two of the most talented guys I know. Cole Barash has been a wiz kid behind the lens for over a decade now and Robbie Grieb continues to raise the bar with his digital film skills. Grieb’s shots of NYC, accompanied by Alexandre Desplat’s “The Cold Blooded Murder Of Deputy Vilmos Kolvacs” and Barash’s honest words make for a highly entertaining little edit. Make sure to check out Cole’s interview with Monster Children to get more background on “The Kid” and find out what makes his work a cut above rest of the lens-jockeys out there.

Monster Children: People

Out & About: Visiting Shinola HQ

Image

This past March while on location in Detroit, I had the good fortune of being invited to take a look around one of my favorite brand’s headquarters. Having been following the resurrection of the once ubiquitous brand since 2011, I was eager to see behind the curtain. Was Shinola in fact a company hell bent on restoring faith in American manufacturing or was it simply another attempt to capitalize on the “Americana” movement? My assumption was that no brand based in Detroit would survive if it were the latter and having a look at Shinola’s inner workings confirmed what I had hoped to be true – Shinola is the real deal.

Continue reading

Video

BreakTheIce In Detroit

Back in February I went to Detroit with some friends and shot a series of videos with Coors Light. Noted graffiti artists RISK and SEVER were on as well to add some flavor to our chosen urban zones. While there I got a chance to check out some of the best food Detroit has to offer like Vinsetta Garage and Star Deli as well as take a private tour of Shinola’s factory, more on that soon. Enjoy this video, which I had the pleasure of editing and make sure to pick up a 6’er of Coors Light, if that’s your sort of thing.

Cheers!

Video

#happymotoring: 2014 Buick Regal GS

First episode of my new automotive web series that focuses on the soul of a car rather than the technical data. I know what you’re thinking, “Andrew, cars don’t have souls, especially red ones”. Technically you’re correct, machines do not in fact have souls but they’re a product of someone’s artistic vision and I think to some degree that translates to having an inkling of a soul. Philosophical debates aside, i hope you enjoy this episode and will stay tuned for all those to come.

Cheers!

Necessaries: Burton Stash Pant

Image

Sweatpants suck. These are not sweatpants, these are what sweatpants want to be. These are the pants that stayed away from fast food and didn’t gain the freshman 15. They studied hard and graduated with a degree in superior comfort. I thought Uniqlo had the most comfortable off duty bottoms ever in their faux shearling sweatpants, but Burton came in and threw down the fucking gauntlet. Made from clouds and kitten laughs, the Stash Pant is the Phantom Drophead Coupe (google it) of loungewear. Seriously, you will not want to take these off once you put them on which could potentially make for some awkward moments in public but it they’re well worth every look glare. Here’s what Burton has to say about their magical pant.

“These technically advanced sweats are fully loaded and feature everything from chafe-free architecture to UPF 50+ protection against ultraviolet rays. Stretch properties give you contortionist-like mobility, while quick-drying and ultra-breathable DRYRIDE Ultrawick™ jersey fabric with a funk-defying antimicrobial finish ups the comfort ante.”

As with most amazing products these are sold out on the website but it’s worth checking with your local Burton stockist to see if they have a pair but I’d recommend getting two if possible because your girlfriend or flavor of the week will constantly be stealing them.

 

Cheers!

Video

Sun Mtn Sessions IV

For the past four years between December 26th and 28th Bromley Mountain has played host to the Sun Mtn Sessions. The freeform snowboard camp run by Tim Benasich and myself, focuses on progressing freestyle skills by way of using the excellent natural terrain found at Bromley, as well as educating riders on the rich snowboard heritage of the area. Many of the scene’s top athletes and personalities got their start at Bromley and jump at the chance to stop by during the holiday season.

Though heavy rain stole away the ample early season snow that Bromley had received, this past year proved to be as fun as ever. A day of snow, a day of sun, a day of man made mountains that proved incredibly entertaining, that was Sun Mtn Sessions IV.

The closing party once again featured excellent wood fired pizza from Sammy’s in Manchester,VT and product giveaways from Burton Snowboards, Vestal Watches, Smith Optics, The Nice Life Apparel Co, Vew-Do Balance Boards and 3L Apparel.

Proceeds from the camp are donated to J.I.S.P. which helps get local kids to the mountain and into a group instruction program. Special thanks to Burleigh Sunflower and the Bromley Mountain Snowmaking Team for making sure the conditions were the best they could be.

See you in December for our 5th Anniversary year featuring a concert by hologram Tupac and The Muppets!

Olympic Course Breakdown + Shaun White, Ultimate Core Rider?

Picture 1

Click to watch the course preview on WhitelinesMag. This Russian rider is sketchy as hell and a terrible  filmer but at least he was able to get this online. 

Adding slopestyle to the Olympics isn’t about elevating the sport to the highest level or welcoming snowboarders into the world class athletes club. If it was they would have flown Gunny and the SPT crew out to Russia to build a course designed by the riders themselves. If you’ve ever done a slopestyle competition you know that some courses feel right and some don’t, it’s a matter of flow. This course appears to have zero flow, looks like whoever designed it played Cool Boarders 4 and their expertise ends there. Everything is so jammed together it’s like they expect riders to hop from feature to feature making for really large combo points.

Most people don’t know what the hell I’m talking about since most people can’t seem to understand the basic fact that slopestyle is just the competitive form of what we call “taking a park lap”. So for those less informed and for those who want to understand why I think the course looks to be shit, let me break it down.

The top rail section is a mess, they tried to recreate the gap to down pipe with stairs setup from Mammoth but half assed it and added some useless rails on the side plus the first of two ride one boxes on the course…RIDE ON BOXES.

The second section looks perfect…for skiiers. They can do their sideways slides or oppo sideways slides to 620 out on any of those features. If one rider in the contest can miller flip that center tube I’ll be really impressed. Not as impressed as I’d be if Magoon was there and rode under it, hopped to the left then frontboarded the down of the flat down but impressed none the less.

The third rail section immediately following (and I mean immediately following) the middle section has the second of the ride on boxes, a wave rail borrowed from Snow Summit’s 90’s collection, a flat down tube and a gap to down rail with a lip that appears to be as high if not higher than the rail. Again, nicely setup for skiiers so they can twirl on and twirl out.

The final rail section has a gap run in on the left to an up flat tube, might see some cool switch ups there but I doubt it. There’s a Russian Matryoshka doll, which would actually be cool if it popped out smaller dolls should a rider bonk it, but instead it’s just there in the middle, poorly setup far from the lip at an odd height hanging out, alone. To the right there’s a gap to another box which will be the mandatory “NOseslide” feature for the ladies.

There is zero room for creativity (that’s ok, judges don’t reward it anyway) and overall the rail section looks like a mishmash of various crappy USASA setups from the Sugarloaf years. Bottom line, nothing I see out there looks properly thought out. It’s sad because the first time slopestyle is on the world stage, it’s setup in a linear, stogy fashion that will no doubt produce a bunch of the twirly, tappy, SSX type of riding the FIS want’s to see.

Now how bout those jumps. They’ve already had two degrees taken off the lip and they’re big. Is that a bad thing? No, hell no. Snowboard contests need big jumps but they need to be properly built big jumps. Have these jumps been built properly? Sorta looks like it and most of the riders have no complaints. It’s really the only part of the contest I’m looking forward to because the easiest way to separate the men from the boys is building big jumps.

A lot of today’s slopestyle riders have been coddled with foam pits and small, poppy contest jumps. It’ll be fun to watch who can hang on these grown man jumps. I know Sage Kotsenburg actually rides his snowboard to train for snowboarding and he does it at Park City and they certainly know how to build big ‘ol jumps. Then there’s NH dirt Chas Guldemond who’s been hitting massive jumps since before some of his competitors were even riding.

I’m hoping that judges will reward big clean flat spins because that’s what these jumps look to be ideal for and something that both those boys are damn good at. In a way, these jumps could be a blessing in disguise for snowboarding because big step down jumps are not built for double, let alone triple corks.

Of course the BIG news this morning is that Shaun White (you may have heard of him) has dropped out of slopestyle and I for one do not give a rats ass. Yes it sucks that in dropping out he has effectively denied another person their shot at competing but it’s not his fault an alternate was not brought along, that’s up to the governing body of Olympic qualification, the FIS. This is what happens when assholes who don’t care about your sport get final say over how it’s run. They don’t care about snowboarding, they don’t care about snowboarder’s safety or course quality. They care about money, they care about making Coca-Cola, P&G, McDonalds and all the other corporate sponsors happy. I can’t wait to see what type of ad’s are run during the “prime” 10pm slot they’ve given slopestyle.

I’m not mad at Shaun, you could even say he’s doing the most core thing possible in dropping out of the contest if his reason for doing so is really that he believes the course to be sub-par. We’ll never know if that’s the real reason, we’ll just continue to speculate and argue amongst ourselves, all the while losing sight of the real problem here, we’re being prostituted for corporate gains. It’ll keep happening too because most professional snowboarders are happy to “live the life” instead of forming a union like NFL players have.

With Shaun out of slopestyle the spotlight is bound to fall one someone and I hope that someone is Chas because he knows what I’m talking about and has spoken out about it in the past. I hope that when the mic is in front of him he speaks up and talks about how now more than ever snowboarders need to come together as one to push for change in competition. You might say I’m encouraging greed but I’m not. I’m simply saying that if you were risking your life every time you went to work, wouldn’t you want to be compensated fairly, especially if you weren’t in control of your job description?

For this brief moment the eyes of the world are upon our little community we call snowboarding, hopefully we’re able to show them that we’re ready to be taken seriously. That being snowboarder is about taking calculated risks and sometimes the risk isn’t worth the reward. On the other hand, maybe we’re just a bunch of stoned adrenaline junkies, doing Jackass stuff on the mountain and we should be so lucky as to get even the smallest piece of the Olympic pie.

* I know some riders have tweeted or made statements that put the course in a positive light. To each their own, I’m just saying from where I’m sitting, it looks boring and poorly thought out.

Necessaries: Richer Poorer Wool Socks

Image

Our ancient ancestors were tough people. They wandered a violent earth chasing down food that often fought back. They made clothes and shelter with what was left over from dinner and they did it barefoot. We have heated car seats, Amazon Prime and cronuts, fucking CRONUTS. Point is, there are a-lot of unnecessary comforts in our modern lives but quality socks are not among them. Richer Poorer now has a full line of tastefully designed wool socks that are as comfortable in Vans in SoCal as they are in Chippewa’s in Vermont. I know this because I’ve worn them in both scenarios and unlike many other brands, RP’s socks didn’t leave my feet sweaty or cold. Do yourself a favor, pass on the organic toilet paper and the vegan shampoo, pick up a couple pairs of these socks instead, then maybe get a doughssant. After all, some indulgences are just fucking worth it.

www.richer-poorer.com or click the pic.

*full disclosure RP are friends of the program but I don’t back bullshit products and if they were BS I’d put them on blast.

Video

adidas Snowboarding| Welcome: Kazu Kokubo

The “Welcome:” series from adidas Snowboarding is a perfect example of what good filmmaking is all about, honesty. From the first piece featuring Jake Blauvelt I knew this was going to be an exercise in truth, not just an extended commercial for adidas. It’s no surprise seeing as adidas has always had top notch skateboard content and a carefully cultivated team. I’m just happy that eye for special talent and individuality crossed over to their snowboard program.

It’s been nearly 11 years since I first met Kazu and having watched him transition from a quiet contest kid to one of the truly elite riders in snowboarding has been something very special indeed. I knew the stories of Jake, Eric, Forest and Keegan before watching their pieces and while that didn’t make them any less enjoyable, it did in some ways spoil “the moment”.

Though Kazu is a friend, I’ve never quizzed him on what makes him tick or the details of his childhood. Perhaps it is for that reason that Kazu’s piece is my favorite of the series. He grew up on the other side of the world but for some reason I’ve always felt a certain kinship with the guy and now I know why. If you think about it, a small town in Japan is not so different than a small town in Vermont. People work hard, value nature and a-lot of them drive Subarus. Hokkaido may as well be Japan’s New England, how’s that for an incredibly bold statement with no academic reinforcement?

All the cultural differences, the language barrier, they’re of little consequence when it comes to snowboarding because in snowboarding style speaks louder than words and Kazu has always had it in spades. Flipping of judges, straight-lining the pipe, refusing to conform to a clothing standard, that’s Kazu’s style, real, honest style and it’s something snowboarding can’t get enough of.