Coffee sipping pilot of a red FBM frame and a Nikon camera.
Posts from Steve:
Road trip street and park sessions with Shane Leeper, Kaleb Bolton, Dillon Leeper, Garrett Anderson and Latane Coghill, wandering route 17 South through the Carolinas, Savanah Ga. and eventually to the legendary Kona Skatepark.
Photos and video By Kaleb Boltonread more read more
Video By Kaleb Bolton, Brick Construction by Creson Dude!read more read more
“Drinking black coffee, staring at the wall…”read more
I stepped onto the runway of the somewhat rustic airport in Djibouti, with Rooftop right behind me saying ‘Welcome to Fuckin Africa’ – as I quickly learned the reality of my new surroundings, The whole trip had been in inhospitable climates, this would be the most extreme of it. It was the middle of the night and the heat and humidity hit me in the face like laundromat exhaust air that didn’t smell like fabric softener. The whole place had a weird muggy haze, an unfamiliar sultry mix of a shoreline meeting an arid dusty peninsula.
Before going through customs, I stopped for a bathroom selfie with Morgan Wade from the Djibouti’“Ambouli International Airport, probably close to a hundred degrees, at midnight between the coast and the desert. The walls were sweating with humidity, We were in a conflict zone between Somalia and Yemen, at the same time as the Secretary of Defense. The Mirror, so dirty it barely held a reflection.
Standing in line at a small waiting area attached to where we flew in, my eyes wandered, dark, brooding men, in beret’s holding automatic weapons were security, military men, on a back drop of painted cinderblock walls, off white from years of cigarette smoke, anxiety and crazy weather. Some of the painted bricks had a clearly visible fault line making it’s way towards the ceiling, zig-zagging the staggered stack of the blocks, too stark to be a shadow, but not alarming enough to cause concern, just enough to notice while you wait.
This whole trip, we’ve had DV status, (distinguished visitor) which to my understanding was the same as the generals and real life celebrities. I thought it was kind of funny from the get go that we had military orders on behalf of Armed Forces Entertainment, from the Secretary of Defense, and now we were all in the Horn of Africa together. Regardless, we had to go through the customs protocol to legally enter another country, so we were separated and waited in a small room, one or two people at a time, in late night uncertainty and tired eyed worry about how it will play out.
We were allowed entry and were soon at the exit area awaiting transport to the base, which shared the same airstrip, loitering outside with locals, faux generous – half squirrelly, trying to hustle a few bucks, by offering to carry our luggage, everyone declined. A few moments later we were in another security checkpoint, this time to enter the base, and run by Americans, with almost no language barrier, except for the heavy southern drawl. Camp Lemmonier was being run by the Arkansas Army National Guard, under Navy command.
In-between the Gulf Of Aden and the Red Sea, on the Bab-El-Mandeb Straight, we were just miles from Yemen, and even closer to Somalia, next door to Eritrea and butting up to Ethiopia. We were Amidst Operation Enduring Freedom- Horn of Africa, and if I’m not mistaken, it was a hub for some serious special forces activity, something I am entirely unfamiliar with, and won’t pretend to know anything about. Many of the guys from Arkansas had an entirely different air about them then their more solemn contemporaries that largely kept to themselves.
I spent the next day or so staying in some con-ex condos, braving the heat for short walks around base in between tasks and before our first show. I was as out of place as I’ve ever been, staring at a Muslim cemetery, and burial ground, a tiny field of stones surrounded by military operations. Soon We would be gone, having nearly just enough time to realize how far from home we were. The only part of Djibouti I actually got to see was from the deck of a Navy Patrol boat warehoused on a trailer. The elevation changed just barely enough to notice the outskirts of a small city beyond the razor wire fencing, and sandy debis
News headlines about a mission out of this base immediately after we left reported casualties. Looking back,The over all vibe at Camp Lemonnier was as thick as the air we were trying to breathe, the heat stress flag status on the Horn of Africa was at its highest. A Black Flag hung from a pole, and here I am staring at a wall.read more
After A long drive, it’s the kind of
place, like an oasis, or a mirage
in the desert, that just reached
out to you – Motel Vacancy- twenty nine
dollars for the night, on a dimly lit well
worn billboard to the right of the
highway. It’s the kind of place you find
in West Memphis or Gary, Indiana,
where the front door is locked, and
appears to be frosted glass, but it’s
covered in smears from a dog’s nose
being pressed up against it.
The person behind the counter is never
awake, always watching Montel Williams
or Judge Judy, drinking a pepsi and eating
take out. Typically they are more
concerned with the license plate number
on your van, than the five other kooks,
loitering outside of it. Twenty nine dollars
plus tax divided by six, is roughly five
dollars and sixty cents, and no one ever
has it…or at least exact change.
The six of us, almost offset the
ominous presence of the hookers, hustlers
and meth heads lurking in the parking lot,
but not quite, and the two dudes behind
the dark tinted car windows, half way
rolled down, are always just as sinister as
any bad guys in a cartoon or a bad TV
show. If you do make eye contact, it’s
wise to gesture a respectful nod, and keep
Usually, when walking across the
second floor terrace, after toting your
luggage and a half way unfurled sleeping
bag up the stairs, you pass a window, with
the curtain left open, probably on purpose,
and some guy is naked, on one knee, at the
end of the bed, which is still made, going
down on a woman, who’s back is arched
and never as pretty as the women you saw
in the movies. Everyone sees it, no one
wants to look, and no one can look away,
nothing is ever said until we are inside the
room, but everyone’s shoulders raise in
quiet laughter, as they pass, trying not to
get caught peeping. ‘Did you see
that…?!’ …of course we all did.
Once we end up in the room, sleeping
spots are claimed, not surprising, no one
is too concerned about getting a bed, and
NO one gets under the covers. A quick
scan of the room, under the flickering of
old florescent lights, you notice the
brown dried blood spatter on the wall
near the bathroom, that doubles as an
open air closet, which will soon be a bike
rack. When the TV clicks on, it’s always
a cerebral crime drama, and you are
thankful you don’t have one of those
ultraviolet black lights the detectives use,
because where we are staying is
DEFINITELY a crime scene, whether it’s
some deviant crime against nature,
something violent, a place for gun and
drug transactions. The less you are sure
of, the better you will sleep. And no one
ever really figures out what that stain on
the carpet is from.
As you wind down and try to
decompress, usually whipped from a long
day and a longer drive, giving your
surroundings a second glance, you’ll notice
the shadow where the wallpaper seams
meet, as they curl down a little bit where the
walls meet the ceiling. The shadow is only
ever there as long as the strobing fluorescent
will cast it, and you will almost always think
it’s a bug crawling on the wall.
Once the bags are dropped, half the
group you are with usually wanders off to
find cheap beer, and weed. By the time
people reconvene on the balcony
overlooking the seedy parking area, with
brown bagged bottles of Falls City, Steel
Reserve or worse, somehow someone
always just found a drug dealer from the
eastern block of Europe or Boston, that
offered to sell them women, weapons,
drugs or electronics. Of course they were
in their room, and there was a baby in a
makeshift play pen, and the Mother’s
sister or friend on the bed drinking cheap
wine and wearing pink pants. Even the
Gideons can’t save these people.
If a cop or security guard wanders by,
because someone lit off fireworks, they
almost always tell you to stay in the room
after dark, once they’ve sized you up. The
idea that we are the least fucked up people
on the premises is mind blowing, but so
is the fact that no one confused the sounds
of lady fingers with the distant gunshots
that are all too common.
By the time you decide to actually get
some rest, you are probably too rattled by
what you have just witnessed in the last
two hours. It’s hard to relax. In your mind
you replay the twenty nine dollar
rollercoaster ride through the cheap motel
parking lot and the dregs of society, and
wonder which side of the tracks you are
on. It’s a five dollar and sixty cent thrill
ride to sleepy town, but at least they left
the light on for us, in this dark corner of
Group efforts yield the best results… DIY doesn’t mean by yourself.
Shot by Matt Hovermale!read more
The spot is no longer, but this video Honda Shozu’s PFK (Pure Fun Keep) “Skate Support Center” is amazing-
“He discusses his motivation for building this mysterious concrete wonderland and his stoic philosophy of sacrifice and challenge.”
By Phil Jackson.read more
A weekend of photos starting at Berkely Springs West Virginia DIY and making it’s way with the FBM crew to Front Royal!
Shot by Matt Hovermale!read more
Fun, friends, bikes and a blood moon with Cody Diggs, the Halahans and a solid crew on a summer day in Scituate Rhode Island…
Build your own fun!read more