By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
The Icehouse itself is one of the dopest venues I've ever visited in the Valley. It really was an icehouse back in the day, way before there was anything like A/C. From the outside, it looks like some tall, stone mausoleum. The inside is all gutted out, with the big main room lacking any roof whatsoever. Two other rooms to the south and west lead onto a loading dock out back where there's a fenced-in "beer garden," and down below, a large, enclosed dirt area where a low bandstand is set up.
The exhibition itself takes up the main, roofless chamber, and, needless to say, it's off the friggin' chain. I'm blown away by all the different ways in which the decks have been transformed. Steve Yazzie carved up his deck into a bow and arrow, and Left Coast artist John Kiebler turned his into a working electric guitar. PHX artist Marc Marlowe's is made to look like a skinned fox, Phoenician Koryn Woodward's has kind of an H.R. Pufnstuf thing goin' on, and P-towner Ted Troxel's has been reassembled into a Voltron-esque turtle. Some of my faves are the simplest, such as the 'Nix's Colin Chillag, whose deck sports a chubby kid in tears with the phrase "Skateboarding is not a crime!" Or local dude Eddie Shea's board titled Floater, in which the black outline of a baby floats on a dark, purplish surface.
There are plenty of hot art chicks on tap, like this Japanese gal Yuko Yabuki who's got long straw-colored hair, a tan, and tattoos all over her arms and shoulders. Unlike most babes at the Icehouse, or anywhere, for that matter, she actually approaches me first.
"Hey, I saw you at Sadisco!" she exclaims. "You were supposed to buy me a rum and Coke."
I vaguely recall making such a promise long ago at Jugheads during a Sadisco night, then bailing to avoid a dent in my billfold: "I did buy it, but when I came back around, I couldn't find you," I lie. "What do you think of the show?"
"I have a skateboard in this show," she informs me with a blank expression. "Want to see it?"
It's nearby. On it is a black skull with black octopus tentacles and a big silver tongue wrapped around a coffin.
"This is Suicide Star," she tells me, then points to circles on the silver tongue. "These are his pain pills. It's about people who are really into what they're doing, they don't care if they have pain or whatever. They just keep taking drugs and continue. What they do might kill them, but it's going to make them a star in the end."
Nutty. Sort of a shrine to the Freudian death wish, I reckon. Freaky Japanese art chicks intrigue me, with their sense of independence and intelligence. Too bad the feeling isn't mutual, because there's more than one hottie in-house esta noche. Take Keiko Murakami, who's of Japanese descent to be precise, as she was born and raised in the Zona. Pixie-ish with a blond-black Mohawk, she has a playfully deviant deck, which she calls After I blew wise monkey 4 . . . I assumed position 3. It's populated by a group of drunken, foul-mouthed, cheese-cutting cats and simians.
"I purposefully tried to pick a really dirty title," she says, laughing. "The cat is my alter ego, and he wants to be one of these wise monkeys, but then he farts in the hot springs. On the back, you can see that the monkey who caught him gets a coconut in the balls."
"Hmmm, if you hadn't pointed all this out, I would have had no idea," I comment.
"I like the potty humor," she explains. "And playing off Japanese culture. What I can get away with. I figure it's okay because I'm Japanese."
No, I didn't just talk to the cute Japanese gals. Actually, I'd almost need another Inferno to do everyone justice, but I should mention this Native American cat Doug Miles, owner of Apache Skateboards in San Carlos. His deck is a graphic, poster-like rendering of Marlon Brando as Don Corleone in The Godfather. I ask him why he chose Brando, so he schools me.
"A lot of people forget or are too young to remember that Brando was a big supporter of the American Indian Movement," he relates. "So I did this one of Brando and called it Chief, because in The Godfatherseries he was sort of the chief of his tribe."
With the evening's end, so ends the show, though the decks will be for sale online at www.moltenbrothers.com for the next two months. If you missed it, stay tuned, because the Molten Ones are promising a bigger, better "Deck II" show, same bat time, next year.