Thursday, January 5, 2012
I have been immersed in the life and trials of skate legends of the 80's, and I love it. My dude and I were in a riptide of odd documentary flicks on the weekend, one of which was, Rising Son: The Legend of Skateboarder Christian Hosoi and whhhhhhoooooo! I was hooked. The kid has an amazing story, a VH1 behind the music kind of story if you will. The classic fame to shame story that has you wanting more at the end. (He was super cocky and a beautiful half breed, I had a crush.)So naturally I had to spread the word and ask my fellow movie buffs if they had seen it yet. My homie, "Mijo" was one of the first people I was able to nerd out with and ask, "hey Dude, have you seen this yet??" to which he replies, "No, have you seen the Gator story?!".
SIDE NOTE: I have to say, after we watched the Hosoi movie, my dude DID say we have to find the Gator movie. Gotta give credit where credit is due.
SO. With that being said, I now had two very creditable film buffs telling me I had to watch something. I see that as homework. Willing homework. So after looking all over netflix and apple tv I decided to go to the last hope in instant gratification, when all else fails, Youtube it. So I did. I found all 9 parts, and haven't really been able to shake it since.
Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator, was even better then the Hosoi movie. Hosoi was a champion skater at a very young age, rico suave, had fame and money as a teenager and then started doing crystal meth. Lost everything went to jail and then found God. Now the Gator story was along the same line. Same fame, same money, same groupies, but Gator became a product. He doing cameos on club MTV with Downtown Julie Brown. He had become more interested in the character of himself then the real deal. He went down a shame spiral after punching a kid that was bugging him for an autograph. His sales dropped in Europe, he started drinking heavily, he was in a tumultuous relationship with his on again off again live in girl friend Brandi. He would have fits of rage, punching cops and all around mayhem. At one point he jumped off of this hotel balcony while touring, woke up in a hospital wondering what had happened. When street skating got big he was thrown completely out of the loop. He was a vert skater that was now in a street skate world. He was a falling star. He could see his self induced shit hole getting bigger, so he (like Hosoi) turned to God. When he asked the church to help him seek therapy for his rage, they told him that he didn't need a therapist, he needed to ask god to release him of his demons. This was the first step down to a dark and misleading path. He was so pumped on his religion that he wanted his beloved Brandi to join him at church. She didn't feel the same way, so she drifted into the arms of another. He. Lost. His. Shit. He stalked and harassed her, he actually went to her house and told her that he wanted to kill her. He was very specific, he told her that he wanted to do every sexual act to her then dump her dead body in the desert.
He got a call from a friend of Brandis', Jessica Bergsten. She had been out of the party loop for a while and wanted to hang out. He too was really lonely and grasped at the chance to hang out with someone, a girl, on top of the fact that she looked alot like Brandi, "cut from the same mold" as he has said. They hung out at his house all day, drinking wine and catching up. Jessica was sitting on the floor of his living room and was thinking about heading out for the night. Gator told her to hang out for a second while he grabbed something out of his car. He went down to his car and grabbed "the club", (the anti theft device)came back up stairs to the living room and hit her over the head. He said that he hit her 3 times "just to knock her out", then brought her upstairs to his bedroom, tied her to his bed and raped her for hours. He said that she was asking "please let me go!". At that point he decided she was making to much noise so he put her in a surf board bag and put his hand over her mouth, she then stopped breathing. He took her and all the evidence of her murder in the now ready made body bag to the desert and left her there.
To me, Gator was the Charlie Manson of the hay day 80's skate world. Just as Manson killed the air of flower children, Gator killed the hope of ever seeing another wave of carefree kids just doing what they love and making a ton of money doing it. But who should we blame for this? Do we blame the hype machine that told him he was invincible? Do we blame his girlfriend for cheating on him and taking advantage of his financial support, causing him to flip out? Do we blame the church for disregarding his severe case of bipolar disorder that he was diagnosed with as soon as he was put in jail? Kinda. But in the end, he has no one to blame but himself. He should rot in California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo for what he did. It was pre meditated, it was shotty, it was just sad. What the number one rule? Never touch the body. jkjk But I do believe that this whole thing could have been avoided if he was told that the chemicals in his body are off and they need to be corrected a bit. He needed to be on medication. He was a really intelligent and gifted guy, he would have understood. His rage would be tamed and his anger would be positioned in the right place, at himself.
If you are a crime documentary fan, this is a must see. Below is my favorite part of the film. It's at the very end of the 10 min segment. Please watch the whole movie but for this video, skip to 7:40 - 8:37 then stop. Enjoy!
1. Mark "Gator" Rogowski and Cindy Crawford
2. Christian Hosoi and his personalized hammer head board
3. Gator playing guitar
4. Hosoi in his trade mark "no shirt and hair extensions" i <3 him...
5. Gator looking creepy
6. Hosoi in a hand plant