St. Louis might seem a skateboarder's heaven. So much abandoned real estate, so few bodies to get in the way. But the closing of the University City Loop's once-great Altered Skates shop, the constant migration of top skaters to Southern California and the borderline-legal status of skating has hurt the scene. Throw in the absence of a city skate park, and it's no wonder that kids today waste so much time on those Yu-Gi-Oh! cards!
Local skater Joe Herbert wants to put the pop back in the ollie. After returning from LA in the late '90s, he began creating some public skate spaces -- clandestinely, of course. One was in an abandoned parking lot just west of Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital on Grand Boulevard. His materials? Found objects.
"I saw that this bank in Soulard had went out of business and had all this stuff laying out in their parking lot. A desk, a few handrails, filing cabinets: things I could skate on. I just took them," says the 27-year-old Herbert. Unfortunately, certain property owners caught wind of the enterprise and sent in the goons. "They bulldozed all the stuff. Sawed the handrails off and knocked the cinderblocks down."
Such setbacks have only fueled Herbert's skating mojo, however, and he recently produced what he says is the first full-length skate video of St. Louisans skating St. Louis real estate. Radical Dog Contest was shot mostly on Herbert's Canon GL1 and follows him and his buds as they cruise, jump, goof, smoke, tumble and get bloody. Think of it as Jackass meets Civic Progress.
Radical Dog Contest screens at the ESPN X Games Skatepark at St. Louis Mills Mall (5555 St. Louis Mills Boulevard, Hazelwood) at 5 p.m. Call 314-227-5630 for more information. The screening is free, but bring $14 if you wanna skate afterwards. -- Ben Westhoff
To the Extreme!
Supercross is superbad
How hot is Supercross? Motorcycle fans (or "treadheads," as the TV calls them) already know, but if that's not you, look at it this way: The THQ World Supercross GP is sponsored by Speed Stick, so don't be surprised if all the dirt-bike madness, jump tricks, mad racing and super-motor-crazed action gets your underarms worked into a lather. This isn't even the bastard cousin of NASCAR; this is the down-in-the-dirt mondo racing sport Vanilla Ice tried after his showbiz career fizznizzled. (As a point of reference, Mickey Rourke turned to boxing.) Too bad Nintendo's Excitebike didn't come with Ice as an option. The craziness commences at the Edward Jones Dome (Broadway and Washington Avenue; 314-241-1888) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 to $35. -- Mark Dischinger
Hoops Your Daddy?
The abrupt end of hockey has forced a shift in sports priorities, and so we've just recently jumped on the basketball bandwagon. Apart from the incessant squeaking of shoes on hardwood and the appalling lack of fighting, it seems to be an OK game. But to really be sure, a game must be attended. The Missouri Valley Conference Men's Basketball Tournament fastbreaks into the Savvis Center (14th Street and Clark Avenue; 314-241-1888) Friday through Monday (March 4 to 7), so we'll experience the pageantry and pomp then. The ten teams of the MVC battle for an invite to the NCAA Final Four, which will also play in St. Louis and is something of a spectacle itself (or so we've read). Matchups for the MVC have yet to be determined (visit www.savviscenter.net for times and teams), but ticket prices have been set at $20 and $26 a game, or $90 for all nine matchups. -- Paul Friswold
Let's say that the male timberdoodle -- a bird whose formal name is American woodcock -- is like your average teenage boy: a reclusive sort, even while trying to mate with as many females as possible. Not only do these birds wanna get with the ladies, but their springtime nocturnal courtship display is as full of impressive stunts as the "courtship display" of teens that's demonstrated year-round at the mall. Bring a lawn chair and see for yourself from 5:15 to 7:30 p.m. at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area (2360 Highway D, St. Charles); call 636-441-4554 for reservations for this free adult program, simply called "Timberdoodles." -- Alison Sieloff