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Tuesday , December 14, 2010
Style Icons: Tony Alva & Jay Adams & Stacy Peralta
"When I skate, it's toward the Nugent, Hendrix, Zeppelin style," says teenage Tony Alva, in a book I bought after watching Catherine Hardwicke's Lords of Dogtown on cable and falling in way-intense-yet-superficial love with all the Z-Boys. It's a really cool book, that book. I keep it on a table by my full-length mirror and now the cover's grossly coated in mineral-makeup dust and smudged with eyeliner shavings.
So: I don't know all that much about Tony Alva. When I think of Tony Alva, I see Victor Rasuk, who played Tony Alva in Lords of Dogtown. That movie's cheeseball and cornball and sometimes it's such sappy pap, but it's beautiful too and I love it to death. Lords of Dogtown changed my life more than maybe any other movie I've ever obsessed over, partly because it altered my taste in dudes*, and also cuz it spurred my seven-zillionth rediscovery of Southern California, made me wanna be by the beach all the damn time, made me say: "OKAY SERIOUSLY TIME TO LEARN TO SURF" - and then I did! Two years later, anyway.
But the life-changingest thing is how Lords of Dogtown is "Ted Nugent for Girls," it's a world where boys skate to Ted Nugent and girls wide-eyedly watch and so now they've got Ted Nugent in their ears too. And they dig it, I think? Even though they'd rather be hearing Cher, or whatever. After I'd seen the movie 17 or 18 times I made myself a mix CD that was "The Nuge" and Jimi Hendrix and Foghat and Nazareth and Deep Purple and Alice Cooper; it was a very key first step in my evolution into an adorably anachronistic weirdo who mostly only ever listens to songs recorded prior to 1982. I think that's one of the most important elements of my personality now, my cautious affection for Ted Nugent, or at least for Ted Nugent's songs. Dude's like the nastiest dirtbag ever, but I really dig his tail:
And I don't skate, so it doesn't make sense for me to say that "When I skate, it's toward the Nugent, Hendrix, Zeppelin style." A few things I could say instead:
"When I drive all the way to the Starbucks at Malibu Country Mart and drink shitty coffee and eat a red raspberry muffin and work on my book, it's toward the Nugent, Hendrix, Zeppelin style."
"When I walk up Sunset on a Sunday night carrying a giant salad in an L.A. Dodgers bowl I bought at the 99-cent store, it's toward the Nugent, Hendrix, Zeppelin style."
"When I sit on a bench right by the skate park in Venice and sporadically spy on the dudes while writing love stories about licorice twists, it's toward the Nugent, Hendrix, Zeppelin style."
I'm probably also "toward the Nugent, Hendrix, Zeppelin style" when I sleep, run three miles on a treadmill, feed the cat, check the mail, run across the street to 7-11 for Cherryheads and Diet Dr. Pepper, and so on, and so forth. Life is so sleazily sweet for me now, every damn second of every damn day, thanks to Tony "Mad Dog" Alva and Ted "Terrible Human" Nugent.
*To elaborate: Skaters are hot, and I appreciate how skating's a subculture in which the dudes always dress like dudes. A little while back my friend and I decided to start a movement called MANPANTS NOW, the goal of which is to get more 20- and 30-something dudes to dress like dudes instead of like weird girls, and it's so comforting to know that we'll never have to do any skater outreach whatsoevs.
P.S. Oh and Jay Adams and Stacy Peralta, they're the ones played by Emile Hirsch and John Robinson in Lords of Dogtown. They're so cool too. I relate to Stacy the most. "How many 16-year-old surfers wear watches, man?" asks dreamboat-meanie Heath Ledger (uh, Skip Engblom) when Stacy ducks out of a skate sesh so he can get to work, in one of the first scenes of the movie. And I'm all: "This 16-year-old surfer wears a watch, man."
I mean: you know what I mean.
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