skateboarding (86)

Skating, Beer, Blues, Hot Rods and Harleys

Sunday afternoon on my way home I stopped off in Santa Cruz at Verve Coffee, and who should walk in but my son Will. He had his 16-year-old niece-in-law with him and they were carrying skateboards. After coffee, we went out and skated along East Cliff Drive, from 41st down to 30th or so. “Do you realize Dad, that you’re skating with someone 60 years younger than you?” Ulp.

   Then, on the way up the coast, I stopped off at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Co., got a beer, and listened to blues singer Pamela Rose, with a very good band. Here were a couple of vehicles parked outside.

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Incredible Evening of Music

OK, I’m not going to say it was the best musical event I’ve ever attended. (Even if it was.) No.

   I got back from skateboarding (on 2 new skateboards) on some nice down-sloping neighborhood streets in Soquel with a new friend, Tim (another story, was it fun!) about 6:45 last night.

   I saw in the local paper that Hills to Hollers, a group of three women, was playing that night at the Kuumbawa Club – – “American roots music.” Moreover, it started at 7 PM, my kinda time for a musical event. I hustled over to the club and heard the sweetest 3-part harmony as I walked in. It was an utterly magnificent evening of music, a rare time when every single person in the packed room was on the same wave length.

   The women, (l-r in pic) Barbara Higbie, Linda Tillery, and Laurie Lewis are unbelievably skilled musicians. Fiddles, mandolin, guitar, banjo and a jazz/blues piano solo by Barbara (fiddler at left) above, that left everyone stunned.

   Bluegrass, blues, spirituals (as opposed to gospels), soul, every single song brilliant. Linda, at drums, grew up in Texas, said that when she was a little girl, her mom played Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” over and over, and Linda did a unique cover, channeling Hank’s poetry and pain into a gorgeous rendition.

  There were times when the harmonies were so beautiful, I’d close my eyes and breathe deeply and feel like I was about to go airborne. Really.

   They talked about roots stuff. Like in the 1700s, hand drumming was outlawed (in every state but Louisiana), so the slaves transferred the rhythm of the drums to vocals. That spirituals quote the bible whereas gospel is a 20th century invention. Jesus is not referred to in spirituals. Then they did “Let Your Hammer Ring.” The group is so new they’re not to be found online. I don’t know where they might play next, but there’s an event in Berkeley on June 12th to raise money for Linda’s knee operation, with Linda and a bunch of other musicians:

   I got out of there at 9, went to Bookstore Santa Cruz, then got a root beer float at the Penny Ice Creamery, was back at motel by 10 PM.

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Ride Down Mountain This Afternoon

It’s a hard climb up, maybe a few miles, but the downhill is FUN! Curves and speed and vistas, coasting. When I let go of the brakes on this (Stumpjumper) bike, it seems to accelerate. Whoo!

   I got about halfway down, going at a pretty good speed and I heard “On your left,” and wild Indian on a bike came flying, I mean flying, past me. My first impression was of the long hair blowing in the wind, this guy was dressed not like a cyclist, but in plain old clothes. Goin’ FAST…No helmet. After he flew past, my jaw dropped even further as he started jumping. Front wheel up, back wheel off ground, rotate in air, lining up so landings were right.

  Wild and beautiful, the level of his skill and grace. Never seen anything like it. I screamed a whooo and he answered whooo. This was poetry; athleticism, coordination, daring — and joy.

   I caught up with him at the bottom; he and buddies were heading in a car to the local skate park. I followed and watched him on his bike and homie Sam on skateboard just shred the place. 

He’s 18 and his name is Trevor “Ratman” Perelson. He said he had a website. I asked the name and he said, “Well it’s a vulgar name…” “What is it?” “Well, I was a lot younger when I named it…” “OK, OK, what is it?” The enthusiasm is exhilarating, they’re exploring the world with such zest…We talked for a while. We had things in common, like him and Sam “…seeking secret spots…” It was really my first solid contact with the teenage generation, looks like a whole new deal. I feel privileged to connect with people so young (almost a 60 year age difference here). Evolution…

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Starting Out Skateboarding

Hi, there,

Just saw Lloyd on Boing Boing talking about skateboarding. Truly inspirational. I’m 40 and have wanted to take up longboarding for a while, since I surf and need to keep training in the off-season. Can he please recommend to me what board is a good one to start with, and prefeably something not too pricey?



Lee: There are lots of good boards out there. I like the Loaded Boards, they’re made of bamboo, assembled in the USA, and designed for carving, fun, and even dancing. (They are LONG boards, not the boards used by kids in the streets and on the ramps.) I have a Bhangra with Orangutang wheels and love it.

I also have n Indo Board, which is great for practicing balance at home. 

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My Skateboard Appearance on Tomorrow’s Tuesday Night News

Mike Shumann, sports anchor (among other things) on local ABC News, did a story on me skateboarding a few months ago and it’s appearing tomorrow night at 6:45 on Channel 7, ABC News in San Francisco. Also at 9:50 0n Channel 13.

I spent a great few hours in Golden Gate Park with photographer Abe Mendoza on a Sunday morning, and then Mike came out and we sat in the sun and talked. He did his own filming, a Renaissance kind of newsman. Mike was a wide receiver with the 49ers in the Joe Montana days; he’s the real deal.

   I get all this media attention as a skater but in reality my skills are quite minimal.  It’s just that I’m so old. I’m in awe of real skateboarders, they are unbelievable (and muchly under-acknowledged) athletes –coordination, grace, guts.

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