Words & Photos: Christian Senrud
This past Thursday, Bones Brigade: An Autobiography premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival at the Arlington Theater to a packed house of nearly 2500. After its successful run at Sundance with a majority of sold out showings (something like five for six, if I remember correctly), Stacy Peralta and the Brigade returned to the West Coast home of the brand that brought them all together and defined what is encapsulated in Peralta’s latest documentary. Whereas with Sundance, the film’s audience was mainly outsiders, in Santa Barbara the majority of those in attendance were skateboarders who either lived alongside the Bones Brigade (literally or vicariously) or those like myself who received the benefits of their perseverance and innovations years later. I don’t know that the Sundance crowds were shouting out tricks or yelling, “We love you!” whenever their favorite Brigade member appeared on screen. At Arlington, the overall attitude was very much one of returning home.
The film picks up somewhat where Peralta left off with Dogtown and Z-Boys. With the dissolution of the Zephyr team and Peralta’s day as a professional in the not too distant past, he went on to become one of skateboarding’s first team managers and hand picked a crew of virtually no-named youngsters within skateboarding whom he could groom into a venerable super-team. Bones Brigade brings out the multitude of firsthand stories from Bones Brigade members Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, Mike McGill, Steve Caballero, Rodney Mullen, and Tommy Guerrero as well as creative forces Craig Stecyk, Stacy Peralta and George Powell. Additional members of the Bones Brigade (Barbee, Vallely, etc.) and other legendary skateboarders (Steve Olson, Duane Peters, etc.) make cameos to provide other angles on the history of the team and skateboarding itself.
The impetus for the film came shortly after the succes of Dogtown and Z Boys when Lance, Tony, Cab and the boys came to Stacy and asked him to do a film about their years. At the time, Peralta declined saying that he didn’t want to bridge the gap between author and subject, but after nearly ten years, he finally figured why the hell not and got the gang back together to tell their tale.
All in all, Bones Brigade was a resounding success. Whether you lived through those days or merely knew of these guys through the videos or their later video parts, if you were a skateboarder watching that film, you walked out of that premiere psyched and feeling like you knew everyone involved a little better. Definitely worth adding to the collection.
For other accounts of the film and the premiere check these: