If I’m slipping through hot, humid underground turnstiles at 10:00 p.m. to catch a ride to a party, I must be in New York. The subway tunnels smell faintly of pee, but I don’t mind much because I get to hang out with all the cool folks behind Life And Limb: Skateboarders Write From The Deep End, just out on Soft Skull Press.
While this skater-writer anthology was first envisioned by Colorado skater-scholars Justin Hocking, Jeff Knutson, and Jared Jacang Maher, the project expanded to include a bucketful of others in writing, editing, art, and photo capacities, including Mark Gonzales, Andy Jenkins, Dave Carnie, Ed Templeton, Angela Boatwright, Jocko Weyland, Andreas Trolf, Steven Church, Lori Damiano, Jeff Parker, and even yours truly. The result is a beautiful slice of skate culture that cuts through stereotypes and defies simple classification as “skate writing: Jenkins’ tale reflects on lives that have perhaps become too safe, Church writes about a man who eats an entire tree a little at a time, and Knutson’s chapter recalls the discomfort of taking a bus across America.
The Life And Limb launch party at the Autumn Bowl (also known as the Tylenol Bowl) in Brooklyn was in a near-perfect venue: a couple subways from The City, a walk down dicey abandoned industrial streets, through a lone lighted door, only to find myself in a dank alley again! Then I heard it—music, and the welcoming sounds of speeding wheels on masonite. I entered yet another lighted door into the warm indoor skatepark, happy to see a crowd of skate people after so many days of manic Manhattan. The huge bowl upstairs was the most popular stop—tons of viewing area as well. Downstairs is the smaller ramp, which served as stage to those reading excerpts from the book, funny-as-hell acoustic skate-crooner Rob Hiliger, and later, spicy lady punk-rockers The Boxes. The party had a huge turnout—Guinness flowed, as well as handshakes, hugs, and back-pats. A big round of applause to the book and party organizers—I hope this is just the start of more skater-writer books to come! For more info on Life And Limb and the book tour this summer, go to softskull.com.