ANDY KESSLER REST IN POWER

Uncategorized August 11th, 2009

I am simply too fucked up over this to write anything of merit right now. I loved Andy, I grew up looking up to him and considered him and a select few others my wise elders for better or for worse. Andy was someone I was proud to be friends with and to be associated with. He was a righteous person and I will miss him for the rest of my days. Andy I love you my brother say hello to all our brethren up in heaven.

When You Fall Off, Get Back on the Board

Betty Alexandra Bastidas for The New York Times

This was in the NY Times a few years ago:

On a recent Saturday night in SoHo, at a benefit for Andy Kessler - the skateboarding legend who spearheaded New York’s answer to Dogtown with his Zoo York crew - the Grammy-winning record producer Dante Ross was enraptured.

Standing in the Blinde Design eyewear studio on Crosby Street amid a crush of skaters, street artists and gate crashers, he gazed at a skateboard created by Mr. Kessler that featured a photo of a man with an Afro and the words “Space is the place” and “Ali.” “This board’s the one, man,” he said reverently. “I’m bidding on it. This is like a physical manifestation of the legacy of Zoo York.” He wasn’t referring to the skate gear brand.

Behind him skaters in their 30’s and 40’s swooped in and out of the bowl that Mr. Kessler and his friend Chris Mearkle built in the Blinde studio two years ago. The scraping noise of the wheels blended with the echoing brass of New Hype Jazz, the band of Jaime Affoumado, known as Puppethead, one of Mr. Kessler’s skating buddies. A giant screen broadcast the stunts within the bowl - 50-50 grinds, hand plants, frontside airs, backside airs and ollies - to those outside it.

On April 29 Mr. Kessler was skating in the bowl when he “took a spill,” as Blinde’s owner, Rich Walker (who designed the sunglasses for “The Matrix”) described it. Mr. Kessler explained, “I came off the wall hard at 10 feet and got pitched to the flat bottom.” He added, “I hit so hard that the force dislocated my femur, pushed it through my pelvis and broke my kneecap.” Three months and $51,000 later, with a plate and five screws holding him together, he was back on his signature skateboard (which is pointed at the front like a surfboard), riding the mean creviced streets of New York.

Mr. Kessler, who supports himself by building skate parks and doing production work for photo shoots and fashion shows, has no medical insurance. When Mr. Walker offered to have a benefit party to help pay his medical bills, Mr. Kessler agreed but suggested that the artists “use my boards as the canvases,” adding, “Most boards look like tongue depressors, but with my board, you know the nose from the tail.”

Within four weeks 60 figures from the surf, skate and art worlds had worked up boards, including Julian Schnabel, Mickey Eskimo, Lance Mountain, Zephyr and Wes Humpston. “This evening is a real representation of a lot of people coming together and really showing a whole lot of love, man,” Mr. Kessler said. At last count the party had raised $20,000 for him, with sales continuing.

After Hurricane Katrina, the organizers threw in some pieces to help victims ($2,000 so far). “What happened to me was my own personal accident,” Mr. Kessler said, looking embarrassed. “There’s no comparison.”

The board Mr. Kessler designed is a tribute to Marc Edmunds, known as Ali, who coined the phrase “Zoo York” in the 70’s, to capture the spirit of the urban skating movement. At the party, guests elbowed through the crowd to inspect the decks, like Mike Diana’s lurid cartoon of a girl mouse and a boy wolf cavorting in an open wound and a painting of a cloudy woman emerging from an eyeball, made by the street artist Infinity, whose crew the Avant Squad created a wall-size mural for Hurricane Katrina relief.

The youngest artists in the show, the brothers Louis and Jack Shannon, who are 14 and 12, met Mr. Kessler four years ago at the Hudson River skate park in TriBeCa that Mr. Kessler helped build. They hovered at the narrow rim of the skate bowl Saturday night as legions of aging boys in cargo shorts lemminged into the bowl.

Louis described the board they had made: “I did a silk-screen of Andy’s pelvis in two pieces. You can see the metal implanted in it.” He continued, “Jack drew an interlocking pattern of designs around it.” They held their boards at the ready, but Dogtown East was out in force, and they would have to wait their turn.

8 Responses to “ANDY KESSLER REST IN POWER”

  1. ANDY KESSLER REST IN POWER Says:

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  2. Cycle Says:

    I just got a call at 3 am about this! Andy was a serious influence in the fact that he never stopped doing what he loved. I would catch him still cruising down the street on his board or at the Autumn bowl carving away and I would say to myself I hope I can keep it going as long as he has. He had some serious history behind him. I am glad we shared some conversations and some beers. His inspiration will live on, and I will keep pushing on. Thank you Andy!

  3. NaylonP Says:

    I found out about this last night. I had just gotten back from a memorial service for my late-grandmother.
    Over the 4th of July weekend I camped with Andy and a bunch of friends at his spot in Montauk. We had an amazing time. He told me not to roll around in the grass because of the ticks. I didn’t listen. No shit, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease three weeks later. He was the only one who called me to ask how I was doing. I truly believe homeboy is flying right now.

  4. Frank151 » Blog Archive » RIP Andy Kessler Says:

    [...] You can get a little background on who he was and what he meant to the people he influenced via Dante Ross’ blog and [...]

  5. andy kessler skateboarder | Fooner Says:

    [...] DANTE ROSS » Blog Archive » ANDY KESSLER REST IN POWEROn a recent Saturday night in SoHo, at a benefit for Andy Kessler - the skateboarding legend who spearheaded New York’s answer to Dogtown with his Zoo York crew - the Grammy-winning record producer Dante Ross was enraptured. …Read More [...]

  6. Bee Shaffer | Gadget Look Says:

    [...] On a recent Saturday night in SoHo, at a benefit for Andy Kessler – the skateboarding legend who spearheaded New YorkRead more at http://www.danteross.com/blogs/dante/2009/08/11/andy-kessler-rest-in-power/ [...]

  7. andy kessler skateboarder | todaytrend.co.cc Says:

    [...] DANTE ROSS » Blog Archive » ANDY KESSLER REST IN POWEROn a recent Saturday night in SoHo, at a benefit for Andy Kessler – the skateboarding legend who spearheaded New York’s answer to Dogtown with his Zoo York crew – the Grammy-winning record producer Dante Ross was enraptured. …Read More [...]

  8. stacy fine Says:

    Dante,
    I’m with you there. Go tomorrow. You’ll get closure. I met the EMT that rode w/ Andy. Go to my blog at Reality Sandwich.com Take it easy.

    Stacy

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