Free Pegasus @ REDCAT, 6/12/08

Free Pegasus7.01pm, June 12, Losanjealous, CA. DF careens through another tunnel, hopelessly lost in the city planning nightmare that is downtown LA. Desired destination: LA City Music Hall, and in particular, the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, or REDCAT (get it? it’s an acronym) for the premiere of “Free Pegasus”, a film about skateboarding in Barcelona. It’s totally going to be like Dogtown & Z-Boys meets … um … Barcelona.

7.10pm. After countless trips through tunnels and down infuriatingly unhelpful one-way streets, an impromptu and unwelcome tour of Little Tokyo, and enough swearing to melt the tender hearts of a thousand Mormon babies, DF hangs a left, ascends a random upslant, and all of a sudden the music hall rises before him in the crepuscule, looming like an unthreatening alien spacecraft.

7.15pm. REDCAT is easy to find tonight; just follow the cortege of boarders along Grand Avenue and down Second Street. The crowd milling about is decked out in skater-casual. DF feels uneasy in his de rigeur tuxedo, and sidles up to the bar for a nerve-soothing beverage, whereupon he is informed that the drinks are on the house. No, bartender, there is no need to console me. These are tears of joy.

7.20pm. Readers, did DF ever tell you that when he was in the seventh grade one of his classmates fell bewitched by skating overnight? This was not an uncommon occurrence in late twentieth century SoCal, but in this case the classmate was so eager to telegraph his newfound avocation that he wrote “Skate or Die” all over his books, backpack, etc. Or at least he tried to, but actually wrote “Skater Die” on everything. The next day, DF helpfully pointed out in front of the entire junior high that he had actually inscribed a very pro-establishment slogan all over his person and effects. Ah, the memory of his hot tears of humiliation always brings joy to my heart.

7.38pm. Empty cups litter the bar and deep basso pilsner belches ring through the REDCAT lobby. DF is amply liquored up just someone says the show is about to start. Show? Oh, right, this is a movie premiere. DF stands, steadies himself, and wanders theaterward.

7.45pm. The movie “Free Pegasus” is played. There are skaters and they are in Barcelona. They skate and the moves are, comme on dit, sick. The crowd oohs and applauds. It amazes me how the kind of stuff the Bones Brigaders could barely pull off back when I started paying attention to skating in the 80s is now pretty commonplace. Sic transit gloria mundi.

8.10pm. If there is a more beautiful city in the world than Barcelona, I haven’t seen it. Paris in springtime looks like a pig’s ass compared to BCN any day of the week. Oh how I wish LaVerne had picked me and not Starry Knightz for the big transfer to the Barcelona bureau of

8.24pm. Wait, that’s it? Dang, that movie was short. But hey: sometimes the stars that burn brightest, burn briefest. And maybe this is the booze talking, but that was thirty-six minutes of some goddamned fine moviefilm. The title’s a bit unfortunate, but Free Pegasus showcases two very beautiful things—the fluid elegance of high-level skating and the Mediterranean charm of the world’s most beguiling city—and blends them into a brief delicious ocular smorgasbord that is satisfying to the soul as well as the senses. I give it four thumbs up.

8.31pm. The bartender generously pours DF a gratis nightcap and he staggers out into the cool eve as skaters roll past him and into the confusing bastard of a maze that is downtown Los Angeles. You know, skaters never have to pay for parking, don’t have to worry about one-way streets, don’t rely on absurdly expensive fossil fuels. Hey, perhaps DF should take up skating!

11.20am, June 13, Our Lady of the Angels Hospital, extensive traction ward. Fortunately, my left hand has a couple unbroken bones so I can finish this dispatch on time. Kids, let this be a lesson to ye: however intriguing it may seem to learn skateboarding, don’t have your first practice session in the middle of Sunset Blvd. at eleven at night, drunk off your ass. Ouch. Typing hurts. Well, as the Catalans say, adeu, dear readers. I’ll holla back atcha when my bones have knitted.