I recently learned that Keith Mann, arguably the most infamous and outspoken Animal Liberationist, was diagnoseed with a form of cancer called Follicular lymphoma. Mann who was diagnosed in 2013, has decided to forgo modern cancer treatment methods, most of which have come about through animal testing. His decision to take this path is surely controversial for many, (no matter the stance on animal rights) and certainly if you’re familiar with Mann’s brand of activism he may even come off as masochistic or arrogant.
Though it certainly is eerie, if you watch the the BBC (Hardtalk) interview posted above; In 2007 Keith was emphatic that he would not use cancer treatments gained by animal testing if he was afflicted. Call that principled or eating humble pie, Mann is setting an example. One that he does explicitly say that he only imposes on himself.
I first discover Keith Mann in 1996. I was newly vegan and very engaged with the ideas of Animal Liberation. Angels of Mercy documentary had recently been released and I picked it up at a hardcore show. Best Wishes to Keith and his family. Thank you for the inspirations and the countless lives you have made better through action and sacrifice.
Marco Schott sent us this (really) short film he made with his friend Fabian. All of us have felt the pain of a bad slam and hopefully most of us are able to get back up again and keep skating. Lest we be relegated to relegated to the purgatory of, “I used to skate…”, brush yourself off and have some fun. Thanks Marco for the rad video! His site has some cool videos too!
from Sieben’s 2014 show, “It Will Happen Again” at the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin photo: Sandy Carson
If you follow skateboarding, flip through the pages of Thrasher and Juxtapoz, or browse the shelves of Target (though on this last one you’d be a little mistaken) you’ve certainly seen Michael Sieben’s unique brand of zombified skateboarding youth, woodland animals, and anthropomorphic abstractions. Sieben’s graphics and illustrations have a lowbrow creature quality that follow a lineage back to the greats like Ed Roth’s infamous Rat Fink, often accompanied by banners or slogans of teenage irreverence and self -deprecation. The appeal and appearance of slack, no big deal, and whatevers’ that pervades Michael’s work veils the rich expression of youth and imagination. Maybe thats why we dig his art so much! He is also a really funny dude!
Kevin Marks asked Michael a bunch of questions a little while after we put him on the spot for a trick in our skate video, PDX to TX to PDX.
Michael is part of Agent Provocateur, a group show of subversive skateboard artists now showing at the Subliminal Projects in Los Angeles. The show runs through February 21st.
“It Will Happen Again” at the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin. 2014 photo: Sandy Carson
What year did you first step on a skateboard? I got a yellow plastic California Free Former board for my seventh birthday in 1980. I dorked around on it here and there but got more serious about ‘boarding around ’85 or ’86 when I got a Nash Executioner for Christmas (by request). I quickly realized that it was subpar and got a lawn-mowing job so I could buy a Rob Roskopp street model. Jim Phillips rules.
What or who led you to that skateboard? I was super into BMX as a little kid, but I remember going over to some dude’s house and he had a tiny quarterpipe in his carport and a Nash board. I don’t think I ever rode my bike again after that day. I’m not exaggerating. I quit riding BMX that same day and dug my old plastic board out of my closet. Done deal.
Describe your skill level on a skateboard… Getting worse by the minute. But honestly, I’ve never been very good but I’ve always loved the challenge.
Who would you point to as your favorite skater from the 80’s? the 90’s? the 00’s? and currently? ’80s: Natas and Gonz ’90s: Hensley, Rick Howard, Lotti, Ocean Howell and Mike Daher ’00s: All my friends. I kinda quit idolizing strangers during this period of my life. That being said, I’ll sit and watch any footage that pops up of Grant Taylor. Magic-carpet ride.
Why do you like ditch skating so much? Bank skating has always been my favorite terrain, for some reason. Also, there’s tons of ditches in Texas, so not skating them would seem rude to me. But it’s the same ethos as street skating vs. skating in a park, I like that ditches are naturally occurring and there’s nobody there to enforce any arbitrary rules.
Blunt transfer into C-Tech Ditch photo:Shaun Mefford http://shaunmefford.tumblr.com
Can you pick your favorite ditch of all time? C-Tech, for sure. (Although It’s called C-Fan now.) My dad used to drive me there when I was a kid and he’d read books in the car while I skated.
Is the C-Tech ditch still alive and well? When did you last skate it? Yeah, it’s still running. I skated it about a week ago.
Can you elaborate on your managing editor position at Thrasher? What sort of things do you work on now for the mag? I manage the content of the magazine, so I’m responsible for collecting and editing all of the words that are in each issue. I work very closely with Michael Burnett and the guys in the art department. I’ve been reading Thrasher since I was 12 years old, and getting to work for the mag as a full-time gig is an honor.
Does it all seem manageable from Austin? Taking more trips to SF? I’ve had the job for a year and a half and haven’t been to SF yet. Not that I’d mind to head out there; I love that city. But it’s really easy to communicate with the dudes in the office by sending pdfs back and forth. I’m kinda boring myself right now.
Besides drawing and skating and family – what other things play a big role in your life? Friends, haircuts, reading, watching movies, Topo Chico, Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, tacos and traveling.
What do you stand for? Doing what I say I’m going to do.
How did your Peta2 design (only monsters test on animals) come about? I was contacted by Peta2 to create a sticker design for any animal-rights issue I cared about. I was honest and told them that I’m not vegan or even vegetarian, but that I’d be totally interested in working on something dealing with animal testing. I don’t know. Maybe I’m a hypocrite. Probably.
Did you have a pet growing up? Do you have a pet now? Yeah, I had a dog when I was little and a cat when I was slightly-less little. My wife and I had two cats until they got too old to be cats. We recently rescued a beagle and named him Willie. He killed a squirrel in our backyard the other day. He’s kinda a wild ass.
Have you had your ass beaten for being a skateboarder? Nope. But I’ve always been a smallish man, so maybe there’s just never been any sport in it. I think when I was in high school and everybody had quit skating, I was just more of an anomaly than any type of threat.
Do you ever get comments on the graphics you drew for the TAMPA AM OLD MAN BOWL JAM? My dad said he liked them.
Do you have any memories from your trip to Tampa Am? Yeah, I remember watching Grant Taylor skating (this was probably 2004?) and I thought to myself, “That little kid has got it. Whatever “it” is.”
What’s the most memorable place skateboarding has taken you? Honestly, probably to Austin, TX, where I met so many lifelong friends. The community I became a part of here in 1996 has shaped me to be the dude I am today. I’m grateful.
Favorite episode of Internet shack? Probably the Civil War episode. Grind a musket.
How did you pitch it to Volcom or did they come to you with the idea?They asked me if I’d be interested in doing an internet show with them. The idea terrified me, so I said yes, I make a conscious effort to do things that scare me. I think it helps you grow. Anyway, right around this time my buddy Mike Aho, who works for Volcom, moved back to Austin and we collaborated on the show. The two of us wrote all of the episodes and Mike filmed and edited everything. He did the heavy lifting. All I had to do was some bad acting. And take the brunt of the hateful Internet comments.
Agents Provocateurs show 2015. photo: Kevin Marks
Anything else you’d like to discuss? Yeah, I’d like to talk about how I believe that horizontally-striped shirts are going to be the next big thing in skate fashion. It’s on record.
Thanks Kevin for this great interview, you can follow his adventures at Traveling Free Box. Photo credit at C-Tech Ditch goes to goes to Shaun Mefford. Check out his tumblr page for some great skate and music photos. Sandy Carson, shot the skate shack photos from “It Will Happen Again” at the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin. His photography site features some amazing images including a photo project called “Just Do It“, exploring a Trap-Neuter-Release program in Central Texas.
For more of Michael’s work check out his site, and keep reading Thrasher.
Where do you like skating? I like skating everything across the U.S., primarily the Pacific Northwest. I love exploring and traveling, it keeps skating fresh.
Why did you go Veg? I chose to go veg, when I had a drastic change happen to me and had my “freedom” taken from me. I had a lot of time to think about how much I value my life and the endless opportunities I’ve been given. I had been introduced to veganism, through friends and the “straight edge” culture, I’m involved in. It seemed only right. I hated being locked in a cage, someone telling me, when I could and could not eat or sleep. I have compassion for a living being, one who does not base choices of money or personal gain.
What is your favorite thing to skate and why? I love to skate tight concrete ramps with noping and big bowls with pool coping! You feel the grinds against your feet, it’s perfect balance between control and chaos. Hills are a feeling you can’t explain to people who don’t skateboard. Spines, because the possibilities are endless(i.e. Wade Speyer).
What shoe are you skating in now? I’m currently wearing the Servant “Loiters”. Really digging that company! The got sick insole artwork and all vegan.
Or just say whatever you want about skating Veg… Skateboarding to me, represents adaptation and progression. The constant evolution of tricks, the struggle to find and skate spots, the community/ friendships. Skateboarders are forward thinkers, a culture that thrives on do-it-yourself mentalities and collective thinking. Veganism isn’t new. Maybe people just haven’t questioned what they call “normal” or “healthy”. Question what you’ve been taught. Give veganism a try!
Matt sent this Vegetable Shredder in a little while back and I’m so glad to finally post it. His push on going Vegan is certainly one that most of us never experience and I’m glad he shared that with us. If you’re veg and shred, send in a some photos and the answer to all these questions to firstname.lastname@example.org Don’t forget a mailing address so we can get you some rad stickers.
DC Crisis TX is vegan in several colorways just in case you didn’t want some more black skateboard shoes. Sounds pretty crazy I know, but we aren’t all goth all the time. The Crisis has a low-key look with its solid toe-cap and minimal stitching. I really dig the how the top of the toe-cap comes right up to the laces. It gives it a smooth look and maybe some diversion on ripping that bottom lace.
The Crisis TX has a spandex lining for a comfy soft feel on the foot. The spandex lines the padded collar too; a little less heel and lower ankle chafing if thats something that boils your grits. Oh and these are cupsoles, for all you vulc-haters.
(NOTE: The Dark Blue colorway may have a piece of leather on the heel. All other color ways in the TX line are good.)
Direct Action Everywhere launched their newest campaign “Truth Matters” last month. Touched off with an open-investigation of one of Whole Foods top rated “Humane Suppliers,” the group is aiming to highlight the misleading advertising by companies like Whole Foods Market looking to greenwash their image. More and more companies try to brand themselves as health or humane with branding practices that don’t add up. Whole Foods tries to convince the consumer that a 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating where “thewell-being of the animal is the primary focus; efficiency and economy are secondary.”
It is as if they would have us believe, they got into the animal slaughtering business because they care about animals. Check out the video. Direct Action Everywhere isn’t calling for a boycott on Whole Foods Market. Instead they are insisting that if Whole Foods wants to sell animals, they should stop lying to consumers. They want companies to stop trying to get people to feel good about eating animals or emptying their wallets for an illusion that some how these “5-steps” make any difference in a violent end.
Justin “Figgy” Figueroa’s premier shoe from Emerica has a Vegan colorway! The all canvas model is a low-cut with some skate-tech hidden inside. The Figueroa looks pretty damn slim but has an internal fit-system so you can rock the shoe with no laces! (though some short laces are included) The most comparable shoe we reviewed would be the Laced but with a whole lot more support in the midsole and padding in the collar. These look like great shoes and the blue is a nice alternative from black. You know, for the days you don’t wanna go all-goth.
Where do you like skating? The bowls at Volcom skatepark in Costa Mesa.
Why did you go Veg? I was at a 108/Gather/7 Generations show in Santa Barbara and saw videos of animals being tortured on factory farms. It was impossible for me to act like those realities didn’t exist after seeing the videos, so I stopped supporting an industry that didn’t give a shit about animals.
What is your favorite thing to skate and why? Any bowl, pool, tunnel, ditch or mini ramp. I’m a surfer so I like to flow and go fast, like surfing an endless wave.
What shoe are you skating in now? Vans originals and low top Converse. I’ve had the Ed Templeton Transist shoe (very uncomfortable for me) and éS Theory canvas shoes (the comfiest but a little more bulky).
Or just say whatever you want about skating Veg… If you enjoy boycotting fucked up industries and want to limit your dating pool even more, try being straight edge! But seriously, it’s nice to know that other vegan skateboarders exist. Thanks Kerry!
I met Erica at a Zine Fest in San Francisco. She was heckling me and my young friend while we skated around the yard. If you’re Veg and skate, copy down these questions and send them in to email@example.com Don’t forget a mailing address so we can get you some rad stickers.
Portland Wheel Company just dropped their new video Supply The Night. Our friend (and Vegan shredder) Chris Klich rips it up! Plenty of good old North Western transition in here, like the gnarly Orca Island Park. If you never got to skate Brooklyn Street you’ll get an eye-full.
Etnies Fader LS is a classic skate shoe and available in a vegan colorway for the first time in awhile! The black canvas upper features reinforced stitching around the ollie areas to give a little more life. The tongue is lightly padded to keep those feet feeling good and the collar has a nice cut to keep those ankles free.
Etnies gum cupsoles provide some great durability and support and if they’re anything like the our review pair of the Marana you’ll get some excellent skate life!