Winter Games, the Kevin Pearce documentary, and a neat show about Winter Sports at SMMOA
Yutaka Sone & Benjamin Weissman: What Every Snowflake Knows in Its Heart, Tuck with Loose Straps 2007
In the midst of California’s worst drought on record and with snow days the norm back East, we do dream about snowfall. Until we next get to dash away for a ski weekend, we’ll have to be content with watching the X-Games on TV (starting tonight, through Sunday on ESPN3).
The New York Times Magazine featured an article about snowboard superstar and Burton magnate Shaun White last week, but the news today is that he’s pulled out of the X-Games to train for the Olympics. Check out his new hair, and be sure to finish the article to the very end where there is mention of his long-time rivalry with Kevin Pearce, a beloved snowboarder who suffered a devastating brain injury after a fall on a huge half-pipe a few years ago. A film about his remarkable recovery is available on iTunes this week.
Here is our Quick Review of The Crash Reel. Watching the film made us fall in love with Kevin for many reasons – his passion for the sport, and his family’s closeness are primary to building up viewer affection for this moving story. The joy felt by Kevin and his posse as he reaches the apex of his career (#1 in the world, often beating out Shaun White) is infectious, but the devastation of his injury and the long, slow path back is heartbreaking. The second half of the film deals with the trauma of Traumatic Brain Injury (and the film’s website has a page to help you learn more). Kevin does recover but eventually wants to ride again. What’s sad is that he can’t perform the most basic tricks and the film becomes a cautionary tale about the dangers inherent in the most risky sports and the struggle to accept the change in the consciousness of athletes and their families. WARNING: The Crash Reel is for mature teens and adults, because it tracks the athlete’s crash and recuperation and contains upsetting images of his fall, including a series of impossible-to-watch falls at the end of the film.
Yutaka Sone & Benjamin Weissman: What Every Snowflake Knows in Its Heart, Untitled
If you are a skiing family, as we are, it’s both thrilling and nerve-wracking to watch your kids gaze adoringly at the skiers and snowboarders whose need for speed surpasses any seeming intelligence about safety. “They have years of training!” is my constant refrain to the kids, but the truth is that some of our family’s happiest memories have taken place slope side and there’s little denying the thrill of being outside and heading down the hill. Get them started early, give them the skills they need and put a helmet on their head! Side note – recent research about helmets says that despite widespread use, head injury rates remain steady. Which means that being smart on the hill is still the #1 factor for safety.
And remember – everyone falls. Here’s a shot of Shaun White on the ground just last week at Mammoth. (Harry How/Getty Images)
Speaking of true spectator satisfaction — the Sochi Olympics start in under two weeks, running from February 7-23, 2014. Women are allowed to compete in Ski Jumping for the first time this year (11 other sports debut this year, as well). Besides the thrills on the hill, human rights activists all over the world will watch closely to see how Russia handles themselves before, during, and after the Games.
Looking for some snow inspiration here in town? There’s a neat show at the Santa Monica Museum of Art: Yutaka Sone & Benjamin Weissman: What Every Snowflake Knows in Its Heart. It’s the brainstorm of two ski-nuts/artists who met at Mammoth Mountain and includes plenty of paintings and sculpture glorifying snow and other outdoor passions. We can’t remember the last time an artist took such a radical look at sport as a subject matter — with a ski lift right in the gallery, no less!
Come down this weekend when SMMOA is hosting a Snowflake puppet show — The SnowFlake Man Puppet Show + Workshop will take place Saturday, January 25 at 4:30 PM. Watch award-winning puppeteer Sarah Frechette bring main character Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley to life, and then try your hand at creating your own puppet.
And while we’re on the topic, has anyone tried the snowball-like Cloud Cakes at the new Bo Nuage?