Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Death Pedal 2: Immortalizing Fun

(Kareem Shehab, director of the Death Pedal series, holds up the '2' marquee piece at the historic Ken Cinema, where his film screened last Saturday. The following photos are by Matt Lingo).

In the spirit of the film Death Pedal 2, the day of the premiere was brutal, fast, and fun.

It all started around 2pm w/ a BBQ. What yielded were some damn good eats, but also the taste of San Diego spring. It was the warmest day in months and we all basked in it. All the homies were there, straight chillin' as some trick riders--Congo, Matt Spencer, Kareem Shehab, Gus Molina, Andy Compton, Terrence Patrick, Joe Kelley and more--were getting down on the stair platform. Matt Lingo and Marcus from Chula Fixed were documenting.

(Marcus from Chula Vista Fixed films Matt Spencer from Long Beach. Matt has a few fresh clips in DP2).

By 5pm there were about 80 heads partying, many from Long Beach and Riverside/Inland Empire-County, some from Arizona, a few from Tecate (Mexico), but most from SD. A handful of polo games went down but the attention suddenly shifted as Emerson from Bogus alleycats began walking around w/ the sign-in sheet for the race simply titled 'Death.' This was the event I was most looking forward to--besides the film, of course. The number on my Bogus spoke card read '619,' SD's area code; a sign that this was, in fact, a good day in the hood.

At sundown, 15 racers mobilized outside the park to get the info on Death. The race, advertised as a 'mini-alleycat' was crit-style; two laps from Felton down Adams Ave to Park to Meade and back to Felton/Adams. As soon as Joe Kelley yelled 'go!' I Usain Bolted to my Gios, jumped the whip, and started the hustle. Right off the bat I was in the top 5 and pushed my way to top 2 shortly after lap 1 completion. My buddy Michael Moody was leading. With a half lap to go he was about a half block up ahead of me. I tried to catch up w/ him at the Meade dip. At the top of the Meade hill I was about 10 feet behind him and a few blocks later I was ahead of him. My lead only lasted about 5 seconds before Michael snapped out of it and pushed back up ahead of me. I drafted him for a block and w/ three blocks left and a tech turn up ahead, I decided to go for an attack. I cut the corner to get the inside edge but it didn't matter! Michael was too f*cking fast! He came in 1st and I came in 2nd, about 4 seconds behind him! I was super stoked on the 2nd place finish.

After the race we rolled over to Small Bar in University Heights to continue the celebration. Killa Kareem, Katie, Eddie Kon, and the rest of the homies came through to meet us there. By the time we got our beverage and mac n' cheese on, it was time to head to the Ken Cinema, San Diego's most historic film theater still in operation.

(The Ken. Michael Moody (left-center w/ messenger bag) won the Bogus Alleycat Race entitled 'Death,' which took place before the premiere).

The turnout was huge. About 220 to 270 kids filled the seats of the Ken.

After Kareem stood up to thank everyone for coming, the film started and the brutality was quickly underway. Once the King Khan And The BBQ Show track started, there was no turning back. The pace had been set and the pace was fast as f*ck. The first full section went to Wonka who did not disappoint, as per usual.

After Wonka's section in NYC, Kareem transported us back to the West Coast for Corey Vulture's on-point section in a Los Angeles aqueduct. Following Vulture, was the 'Friends' section which featured about a dozen riders w/ different styles, from Matt Spencer's silkiness to AJ Austin's go-big antics.

AJ Austin was a segue into the Texas element of the film which focused on Eric Puckett and his brutal section, which turned out to be one of the most impressive.

At this point I realized one of Kareem's trademark--the sound. Kareem knows his punk rock. There's no question about that. What I dug was the way Kareem used the bicycle and all its thrashy sound effects to compliment the soundtrack. Every part of the bike sounded like it was mic'd. Instead of turning down the natural audio captured w/ the camera during filming, it sounded like Kareem actually turned the natural audio up, to embrace the thrashiness. Perhaps that's why Kareem chose to film Death Pedal 2 with thee most thrashy and brutal riders in the States.

Speaking of which, up next was Congo. Other than Kareem, I don't think there was a single rider who had as much fun filming as Congo did. His section was the most fun and the funniest. The dude is so light-hearted and hilarious that you can't not like him. Congo's style is probably more compatible w/ Kareem's style than any other rider out there. You could just tell that the two had a blast working together.

(Congo from Long Beach crushing it at the BBQ w/ this 180. Congo's section in DP2 was a riot).

(Handy w/ the camera and the whip. Kareem has a few riding clips in DP2, as well. This rail grind photo, shot a couple days before the premiere, shows why).

The final section went to Torey Thorton. Torey is the most creative fixed gear trick rider to be filmed. He's absolutely fearless, his style is unique, and only a few other riders come close to his technical skill. I won't spoil it w/ precise details, but the dude makes history. See the film to find out what I mean.

Kareem's Death Pedal 2, laced w/ animation from Shelby Hohl, supported by a cast of the most brutal riders out there, and set to a blazing fast and upbeat punk rock soundtrack was addictive and fun. Kareem has found his niche as a director. He doesn't take himself or his craft too seriously. The main objective of the Death Pedal series is pure fun. If the clip achieves that, it'll make the cut. The person who has the most fun on a bike wins. Death Pedal 2 is a film about that.

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