Stab Magazine | Cluster Premieres in Los Angeles
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Cluster Premieres in Los Angeles

Story by Theo Lewitt | Photos by Life Without Andy Like, just now, Kai Neville premiered Cluster, the latest in his line of post-modern surf features. Hosted by Huf, the new-to-surfing footwear studs you’ll see slapped on Craig Anderson’s sticks, the film hit the big screen in the historic theater at the Ace Hotel, downtown LA, a […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Story by Theo Lewitt | Photos by Life Without Andy

Like, just now, Kai Neville premiered Cluster, the latest in his line of post-modern surf features. Hosted by Huf, the new-to-surfing footwear studs you’ll see slapped on Craig Anderson’s sticks, the film hit the big screen in the historic theater at the Ace Hotel, downtown LA, a theatre built in 1927 for the hurdle-hoppin’ United Artists Corp, the first truly independent entertainment company (founded by the likes of Charlie Chaplin and co). The castle-like ode to experimental film would be the perfect vessel in which to reveal Kai’s blend of avant-garde surf-art to the mass of surf-socialites.

The line outside the Ace stretched half a city block and comprised of American Spirit smoking devotees, young and old; five-panel strapped groms to pomade slicked #trenders. All pants were flooded the proper two-to-three folds and where beards were an option, beards were worn. Women were a-plenty, mostly beautiful, mostly with leather, mostly with bangs and ‘bout two-dozen with felt-brimmed hats. Gotta shade yourself from that dim blue theatre light, amirite? Fashion statement of the night was a toss-up between the Metal Neck Army’s norm-core garb and Anthony Kiedis’ weed-leaf blasted, rainbow-striped track-jacket. Noa Deane rocked a white T with a rainbow centered on the chest. Rainbows – the new black.

To introduce the film, skater Austin Gillette took to the mic, calling the film’s cast of surfers on stage for a proper introduction. While facing the two-storied audience, Dane Reynolds appeared the most normal and least awkward of the lineup, something we haven’t yet grown used to. Seeing Noa Deane and Dion Agius on stage together set attention spans on high alert. Dion seemed to be wearing the same wife-beater he wore during the Surfer Poll. His speech, however, he did altered significantly, thanking Kai for setting the precedence high in surf film-making, and, thus, giving them all jobs. MC Gillette finished what Noa started at the Turtle Bay, leading the crowd in comparatively well received “Fuck the WSL” chant. Noa made no comments. The introduction came to a close with Creed McTaggart (aka Encino Man, aka Brendan Fraser) taking a knee and downing a stein to celebrate his 21st birthday. And then, the film.

The surf footage is crisp, the framing tight, and the airs lofty. That said, other than Conner Coffin’s section, the film didn’t get going until Jack Freestone’s part about halfway through. No fault to the surfers themselves (which were each going as mad as ever), but with more home-video-esque lifestyles than surf clips, it wasn’t surprising that the crowd’s hoots n’ hollers were sparse. Freestone’s part, however, had the room singing Australian Crawl’s Reckless, while Creed’s pairing with Bowie made for a proper Life on Mars duet. The crowd respectfully held applause til the song wrapped, an honour deserved of both Bowie and Creed’s performance. Noa Cobain’s part, set to none other than a Courtney Love jam, was antithesis incarnate. While his airs appealed to the mixed surfer-skater crowd, this has been the most talked-about section, however, Filipe Toledo’s backside full rote at two-foot Venice Pier last week might have been a better closer. Sorry.

Standout performer? The Seal Tooth was phenomenal. In this picture, he was adamant about featuring no air reverses. Partnered with Coffin, the two surfers strung together baffling-turn combos. They showed a delicate case of why we need a contest here and there. Not that we’re opposed to high-flying action, especially if its after a Pipe spit a la John John Florence (inexplicably absent from the picture), but there is such a thing as aerial overkill.

That said, in the age of the internet surf-flick, the independent long-play is a rare breed. Support projects like these.

Doco-style piece with Kai Neville coming soon.

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