Debacle Atlanta Premiere
Posted on Monday, June 22, 2009 by
Words by Ryan Clements
But driving to Hotlanta from Tampa is pretty damn far...we're talking eight hours here. So it's definitely worth hopping on a plane to get there. And before we knew it, Barak and I were walking around the baggage claim area looking for the sign that said, "Clements, Wiser, Montesi." You know those signs that those drivers/greeters are always holding up in the airports, right? Well, it's a really cool feeling when one of those signs actually has your name on it, and rolling with John Montesi makes it all the better.
The driver had us to what they call Midtown at our bad-ass, historic hotel, Georgian Terrace, in no time. He told us a little about the city along the way, and sticking out in my head is the fact the Fox Theater across the street from the Terrace is where Gone With the Wind premiered. That's not where Debacle premiered. Too bad. That would have been some serious history.
The afternoon consisted of viewing some of the new SB stuff that's coming out in the not so distant future, and sticking out in my head is the Omar shoe. It's definitely unique and pretty much in Outer Space. You'll see what I mean. We socialized with the other shops in attendance and then made it over to a restaurant called The Vortex for an early dinner. Right around from The Vortex is Atlanta's famous skate shop, Stratosphere, owned by Thomas Taylor, father of ripper Grant Taylor. That part of town is called Five Points and it reminds me of a cooler, hipper Ybor. Hopefully someday our Ybor will grow up into Five Points.
Time flew by as we downed the brews and discussed the state of skateboarding, and before we knew it we were on our way to the actual Premiere. As we pulled up in our generic bus that was carting us around town, we were the spectacle as we unloaded one-by-one to an on-looking crowd of drunk, raging skateboarders. Atlanta skateboarders know how to party and have a good, hootin' and hollerin' time. I didn't have a chance to move as I was greeted by so many friendly locals, welcoming the SPoT guys to their city. So many of the faces looked familiar...guys that I see every year at the Am and Pro, but don't quite know their names, were coming up to say hello. Skater after skater was rolling up on cruisers and the party was flowing in to the driving lanes of the shopping center.
It didn't hurt that there was a nice, little dive bar next door to the theater. I was thinking, "Are the cops going to roll up here?" as I looked around and saw everyone getting loose, running outside with beers, and turning the party up a notch. But nope, nothing happened...other than everyone enjoying the good vibe. ATL has something Tampa doesn't. I'm not sure how to pinpoint it, but the skate scene is different. Montesi and I were discussing the situation and could only conclude that they have a little more solidarity. There are older guys skating with the younger guys and it's a family feeling. Maybe it's because they haven't had a skate park for the past 16 years to help cultivate the scene. Sure, now they have Progressive, Hazard County, and more recently TNT, but these parks are relatively newer. Stratosphere has been around forever and certainly does its part, but there is something else that ATL has that Tampa doesn't. Once again, I stress, I can't pinpoint exactly what it is...
Prior to viewing Debacle we got to see a local flick that featured everyone from local kids skating rails to 40-something's skating pools. There were parts from complete unknowns to the same ATL guys featured in Debacle. The theater was hot, standing room only, people sitting in the aisles...you can picture the scene. The line to the men's room was 20 people long...had to unload all of those tall PBR's. It was a down-home, southern ruckus to say the least.
After Debacle everyone headed to the After-Party at some hotel bar down the road, but I rode with Big Al and Derewenko for a pit-stop at The Claremont first, ATL's most legendary dive bar featuring cheap drinks and strippers. You've really got to go there for the experience, but I've been to a lot of dive bars and this one definitely takes the cake. 50-year-old strippers, skinheads, black couples, punkers, "regular" people, regulars, the homeless...it was quite a scene.
After a short stint at The Claremont we met up with the other 100 or so that were at the official After-Party and had a few more. Before I knew it, we loaded the bus, slept, rode to the airport, and flew home. It was about a 30-hour trip in all. Thanks to our friends at SB for hooking it up so proper and showing everyone a good time. Hi-fives to all the fine skateboarders of ATL...we truly appreciate your hospitality.