When land designer Abbot Kinney set out to create Venice, California, the European-style beach community of amusement piers son known as the Coney Island of the West, he had no way to foresee the eventual decay of Venice and neighboring Ocean Park and south Santa Monica. But when the piers began to close in the mid-1960s, Venice, like Brooklyn's Coney Island, became a place where pyromaniacs, junkies, artists, and surfers could excel in symbiotic disharmony. Up to that point, surfing was life for the beach boys and California girls, and skateboarding was a popular after-surf activity. Early companies and organized competitions were successful until the skateboard industry crashed in 1965, and the final pier of the Venice Beach area closed two years later. Skateboarding became an activity of outcasts, and the area became known as Dogtown, the last great seaside slum It was dirty, it was filthy, it was paradise,' says Skip Engblom, owner of the Zephyr Surf Shop, which became in 1972 a home on the corner of Bay and Main streets for the outsider surfer-turned-skater kids who had nowhere else to go. Engblom, with co-owners Jeff Ho and Craig Stecyk, became a mentor to the Z-Boys, encouraging their surfing and skating as a Captain Hook parent figure, killing Peter Pan and turning the lost boys into pirates.
[...] Her aggressive skate style did not fit into the male-female division mandated by the contest standards, because apart from her sex, Oki was a boy for the purposes of skating. Skating was always “boys stuff,” as Willard mockingly calls it, and the addition of Peggy Oki to the circle did not change that. Thus within the Boys subculture, it is fair to note that apart from Oki, girls will remain marginalized until dimension of sexuality is included in the study of youth subcultures,” and girls are seen as not outside the subculture, but as occupants of different roles within it, “negotiating a different space.” Under McRobbie's breakdown, the Dogtown girls offered a separate kind of resistance through roles that may not have included central skateboarding roles, but that certainly were crucial aspects of the Z-Boys subculture. [...]
[...] In short, the Z-Boys separated the signifier of skateboarding, which previously signified an everyday, safe amusement, and allowed it to signify their seize-the-day lifestyle. This signified expression of the Z-Boys' value system can also be read through James C. Scott's concept of infrapolitics. Whereas Hebdige discusses the hegemony as the total social authority exerted by certain groups over others, and therefore culture as an unstable struggle between discourses, Scott reframes this struggle on a political level. He describes infrapolitics as unobtrusive realm of political struggle,” or, in other words, a zone of negotiation or conversation in which the dominant elites (mainstream Social society, as well as the police) exert their guidelines and standards while the subordinates Boys) work beneath the surface to push their values—via hidden transcripts—into the accepted public transcript. [...]
[...] “They make everyday use of the useless artifacts of the technological burden, an employ the handiwork of the government and corporate structure in a thousand ways that they original architects would never dream By taking structures that represented a wealthier class and using them for their own purposes, the Z-Boys were indeed being political in vying for their own space. Certainly they wanted their actions to be a private rebellion or “disguised resistance,” as seen by the fact that the Boys did not want to get caught. [...]
[...] was saying, ‘this is where we are from; this is who we are.'” The Z-Boys' style as communication, and specifically as expressed through bricolage, works in a way to create a homology, or, in Hebdige's words, symbolic fit between the values and lifestyle of a group.” In Dogtown and Z-Boys, many of the skaters describe personal situations of broken homes and troubled childhoods, and they describe transferring their aggressiveness at home to their work on their skateboards. Each part of the Z-Boys subculture related to others in a network that fit together to order the world. [...]
[...] Subculture: The Meaning of Style. New York: Methuen McRobbie, Angela and Jenny Garber. “Girls and Subcultures.” Resistance Through Rituals. Ed. Stuart Hall and Tony Jefferson. London: Routledge, 1975/1993. Scott, James C. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. New Haven: Yale University Press Stecyk, Craig and Glen Friedman. Dogtown—The Legend of Z-Boys. New York: Burning Flags Press Willard, Michael Nevin. “Séance, Tricknowlogy, Skateboarding, and the Space of Youth.” Generations of Youth. Ed. Joe Austin and Michael Nevin Willard. New York: New York University Press [...]
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