Jonathan Adams ollies up to X-It Skates’ to watch their first skateboarding video: City Slackers.
If you’ve been waiting to see something at Empire Theatres that’s local, subversive, and upsetting to most (if not all) standards of taste, instead of the usual fare of Hollywood schlockbusters, this week your prayers are answered. The team of misfits and ne’er-do-wells at X-It Skates on Old Pennywell Road has completed its first video, City Slackers, and they’re pulling out all the stops with a grand theatrical premiere this Sunday (August 27) at Studio 12.
City Slackers is going to be more than your typical skateboarding video, however, as Dave Hiscock, owner of X-it Skates, is quick to point out: "It’s more of a movie … Kind of like Trailer Park Boys meets skate video."
In other words, the video intersperses its skating sequences with a series of twelve loosely-connected skits, giving each of the skaters on the X-it team a chance to branch out into the hallowed art of thespianism.
This fictional side of the movie is largely the product of the imagination of Sean Power, one of the team’s most dedicated skaters and "senior-employee-slash-almost manager" at the shop. Power wrote the script and also turns in an audacious gender-bending performance as easy-on-the-eyes news anchorwoman "Joanie-Marie Pleasemen." Hiscock himself stars as "Mayor Andy Smells," a loud, cigar-chomping, balls-scratching, and just plain dirty-looking, um, well, fartbag essentially. Any resemblance to real persons living or dead is probably intended and should be inferred.
"Basically, anyone that denied us in the making of this movie, we’re gonna be poking fun at," explains Hiscock. Hence the filmmakers have their revenge on NTV and the Mayor, who both refused to let the filmmakers use their property in the production of City Slackers. Which is not to say there aren’t more reasons for holding these entities up to ridicule. "Then, at the end, there’s a big ‘no thanks’ goes out to all these people, and we have a list of people that didn’t help us out."
How can you fail to admire such candour?
The plot of the movie, insofar as there is one, follows a series of City workers (street painters, parking ticket patrollers, etc.) whom we find neglecting their civic duties by various unsavoury means—for example, sleeping and/or drinking on the job. Mayor Smells shows up to personally admonish these public servants, but is usually persuaded (with sufficient bribery) to look the other way.
The movie was shot on digital video at locations throughout St. John’s, and edited by James Desautels, a newcomer to skating videos, whose lack of exposure to the genre, Hiscock says, has turned out to be an advantage: "The benefit from his point of view is, where he hasn’t seen a lot of skateboard videos, and hasn’t done any before, he’s kind of put a whole new look on it that other people that are into that wouldn’t have seen."
The movie also features an intentionally canny soundtrack of what sounds like techno surf music, lending it an atmosphere which Hiscock likens to "bad porn."
"It’s really Grade B acting, you know—really cheesy," he says. "We’re trying to make it look that way, and it’s going across really good like that."
Depending on how many people they offend, this may turn out to be both the first and last chance you get to see anything this chaotic and insane within a five-mile radius of the Avalon Mall. City Slackers could even be the tasteless St. John’s skateboarding B movie to end all tasteless St. John’s skateboarding B movies. At any rate, it promises to be good, raunchy fun for skaters and non-skaters alike. Fun indeed for the whole family!—unless perhaps your family includes anyone who works for the City, or a certain beloved local TV station. Probably best to leave them home that night.
There will be two showings of City Slackers at Studio 12 on Sunday evening at 6:00pm and 7:30pm. Tickets are $7 in advance at X-it Skates or $10 at the door. Door prizes will be given out. Apologies will not.