With Element skateboards as the presenting sponsor of the Villa Villa Cola video Getting Nowhere Faster, 411 Productions producing and distributing it, and skateboard videographer Lisa Whitaker, “the Morgan Wonder Twin powers,” the multitalented Lori Damiano, and the best female skaters in the world all contributing to it, we knew that we could make an awesome skate video. Little did we know that when Debbie joined the video team, we would make a masterpiece.
Debbie is a woman we met, or rather adopted, eight years ago. It’s strange to call her a woman considering she’s only three feet tall, but she’s definitely a woman-size D from the looks of it. What’s even stranger is that we didn’t even know her name until this year-it floated in on the wind, and now it’s as though we’ve always known it. Her name? It’s Debbie, Debbie Escalante.
Our first meeting for the making of the Villa Villa Cola video was held in the Hart Attack motor home-tour boat for the 2003 Girls Tour. Debbie wasn’t there. In fact, Debbie has never attended a VVC meeting. She wasn’t even mentioned during that first meeting of the minds, but somehow she became a star of Getting Nowhere Faster. You may remember her from Villa Villa Cola’s first video, Striking Fear Into The Hearts Of Teenage Girls. She didn’t have a speaking part, but she did some awesome stunts-a 50-foot-high jump from a suspension bridge, and she was hit by a car while standing in the road half naked. To tell you the truth, even after all that, we had never considered her for a speaking part.
We had many important and official things to prepare and do prior to filming, such as location, scout skateable mini-golf courses, build a time-portal tunnel, make a human-sized gingerbread man and a wearable cupcake costume, organize a parade in Canada, and find the Creepy Friendly motorcycle gang.
So Debbie was the last thing on our minds when she showed up at our first shoot where we were masterminding the construction of Tiffanyland Skatepark. If ever there was a scene that Debbie would be perfect for, this was it. The park was complete with palm trees, lots of bright colors, whoop-dee-doos, windmills, and lighthouses. We sent Deb to wardrobe. She refused to wear any of the costumes picked out for her, even the little cowgirl costume that we all loved. She slouched and sulked in it until even we agreed that it wasn’t the right fit. We were so fed up that we allowed her to wear just the masking-tape-constructed bra and panties that she was actually wearing when she arrived.
The stars of the Tiffanyland scene-Amy Caron, Elizabeth Nitu, Van Nguyen, Faye Jaime, and the Gingerbread Man-drifted onto the set. Tiffanyland came to life, the camera started rolling, the unskateable was skated, balloons were lost, Elizabeth’s skateboard was stolen, Faye and Amy threw rocks at the Gingerbread Man who was scaring small children, while a serious-minded mini-golfer tried desperately to get rid of us. In the midst of all this chaos, Debbie flew in on feathery white wings. Wings weren’t the only things she was wearing-she had an entire arsenal of beauty products strapped to her body complete with hair dryer and curling iron shoved into gun holsters and an ammo belt filled with lipstick strapped around her chest. The kids who were freaked out by the Gingerbread Man hadn’t seen anything yet.
This must have been the turning point when Debbie was given a voice and we accepted her as a star, but at our next VVC meeting in Lori D.’s truck bed, Debbie’s questionable reinventing of herself wasn’t even mentioned. We were too busy flexing our new business vocabulary, reinventing the wheel, looking at the big picture, nailing things down, and tossing around blue-sky ideas. What we had was synergy, which didn’t include the bright ideas of a plastic doll.
Due to the grand insistence of Van, our next two scenes incorporated dance-naturally, Debbie wanted to be involved. While we were distracted with scoutiing out Dance Dance Revolution contests for the best freestyle DDR freaks, kidnapping Elizabeth from the fourth grade, flying Lauren Mollica in from New York for her role as dance instructor, and getting Amy’s three Camaros running for the shoot, Debbie had found a partner in crime-a local rancher/cowboy who fell in love with her at first sight and was equally eager to be in the video.
We didn’t sit on this new development for long on account of our deadline for the video looming in the not-so-distant future. We needed skate footage-fast. Lisa Whitaker went right to work pulling in footage of girls from Brazil (Patiane Frietas), to Australia (Esther Godoy), and an impressive list of local heroes including Vanessa Torres, Amy Caron, Cara-Beth Burnside, Jen O’Brien, Lyn-Z Adams, and Alex White among many other shred-getters. Meanwhile, Debbie and The Cowboy had pulled a villainous cupcake person into the plot and onto their team. We were able to outsmart the troublesome trio during the Dance Dance Revolution scene, but they caught up with us during our synchronized dance where they totaled our performance on account of Debbie’s music tastes. It was time for another meeting. We all squished into my full-sized bed on the farm while Ginger, the orphaned lamb, bleated loudly at my bedroom door. What became apparent in that meeting was that we had no control over the direction of our video, or was it even our video?
We surrendered, packed our bags, and headed North for a Canadian parade. We pulled our caravan across the Canadian border and right into an alley where we envisioned the parade bouncing off the apartment buildings and pouring into the streets. What we didn’t see-couldn’t see-was the revealing of the Gingerbread Man’s true identity and how this and other unexplainable events would lead to the startling conclusion of the tragically beautiful Getting Nowhere Faster video.
Debbie Escalante R.I.P.