A large crowd packed the block an hour and a half before doors were scheduled to open for the world premiere of the highly-anticipated Girl/Chocolate collaboration "Pretty Sweet" on Friday night. The Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles, Calif. was abuzz with skateboarders from around the world and industry folks eager to check out the first partnership of the two teams in almost a decade.
Since its opening in 1926, the Orpheum Theater has been home to icons like Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Little Richard, and last night it housed the all-time greats of skateboarding.
Legends like Jason Jessee, Matt Hensley and Christian Hosoi waited alongside the likes of Mikey Taylor, Daryl Angel and Chima Ferguson, who were posted behind youngsters Flip's Curren Caples and Ben Nordberg. The excitement was palpable.
Everywhere you turned in the landmark theatre there were reunions between fellow team riders and old friends. Hustling to get a seat, I lucked out and ended up next to Real Skateboards founders Jim Thiebaud and Tommy Guerrero. Sitting in front of me were Anti Hero's Frank Gerwer and Peter Hewitt, along with Real's Justin Brock and Peter Ramondetta. Directly behind me were Skateline's Gary Rogers and legendary skateboarders Jovante Turner and Sal Barbier.
The 30-plus members of Girl and Chocolate team and filmers took to the stage to a cheering audience. Girl Skateboards co-founder and skateboarder Mike Carroll warned the attendees that this was their "instagram moment," and that after this opportunity to get a shot, all phones and cameras needed to be stashed for the screening. With the team onstage Carroll turned the MC duties over to Odd Futures' Tyler the Creator, who introduced the film as the team riders made their way to their seats.
The theater went dark and silent as the image of the Girlfilms spinning globe followed by their lead in for "SHT Sound." The place erupted when a tribute to fallen Chocolate team rider Keenan Milton came onscreen and then faded to black.
"Pretty Sweet" opened with an impossible Scorcese-like tracking shot as filmmakers Ty Evans and Spike Jonze left the audience wowed from the very beginning.
The first part belonged to Vincent Alvarez and set the tone for what's to come. "Pretty Sweet" is every bit a Girl/Chocolate video, but this one is all about the kids. Alvarez's intensity, Cory Kennedy's innovation, Stevie Perez's precision are complimented Raven Tershy's agility on street and in transition, while Elijah Berle's ender had Gerwer in front of me holding his head in amazement. Gary Rogers' mind blew sometime during Sean Malto's seemingly endless barrage of tricks.
Veteran Girl/Chocolate skaters Marc Johnson, Kenny Anderson, Jeron Wilson, Brian Anderson, Jesus Fernandez, Mike Carroll and Eric Koston laid down a serious assault, reminding you how these two board companies got to where they are, but this video was clearly an introduction to the next crew, who'll carry the torch in years to come.
However, it's impossible for the OG's to pass the torch to the kids when Guy Mariano is still holding it. Five years ago to the day I witnessed Mariano's comeback in Lakai's "Fully Flared," but his part in "Pretty Sweet" is a testament to Mariano's perseverance and longevity.
Also, with cameos from Will Arnett and Jack Black and skateboarding at a level that had previously only been witnessed in dreams or in a video game, in all, they did it again.
For a rundown of the "Pretty Sweet World Premieres" check it out here . The video will be available for download on Itunes and on deluxe edition DVD and Blu-Ray on November 27th.