The best thing about being American is all the different flavors of bullshit they can serve in your bowl.
You name it, we’ve got it.
We’ve got enough guns to fight off any army and we have enough young men to die in foreign wars and enough religious people to picket their funerals. We have government agencies to regulate important facets of life like guns, legal drugs, illegal ones, and plants that grow on their own, as well as enough lobbyists to make them ineffectual. We have a government with documented proof they have no problem killing any of us and a police force empowered enough to ensure we don’t get out of line. And we fund them with our own money.
What’s the essence of the American Dream?
Buying enough shit to make you feel better about the emptiness that is your life.
Goddamn if it isn’t a great day to be an American! It’s just enough to get you out of bed, make you go to work, and afford enough luxury so you can buy into it all.
And still there’s rollerblading. It’s a way for us to insulate ourselves from reality for a while or to at least embrace the fact there’s something better out there.
Somewhere in the mix of corporate greed, hippie love, right-minded regulation, leftist Communism, and centrist apathy is Brian Freeman.
This 23-year-old Austin (a hippie oasis in Texas) native has been making a name for himself through Adam Johnson films and his contagious demeanor for the past few years now and we’re all better off.
Around here in the Bay, you can’t miss B. Free, nor would you want to since he landed with his family in May 2011. He just so happens to live across the street from my girlfriend and nearly every surface smooth enough to hold a sticker has one from one of B. Free’s sponsors.
Basically, if you’re ever stranded in Oakland, follow all of the Roller Warehouse, Valo, or Vibralux stickers until they come to a halt. That’s when you’ve met B. Free’s front door.
B. Free lives with his family in an apartment in a decent neighborhood in Oakland (Minus the guy that got shot out front a few doors down, but as the neighbors tell it, it was a hit and the guy at the halfway house had it coming).
Somewhere between Austin and Oakland, B. Free got a hold of The Alchemist, a book by Portuguese novelist Paulo Coelho. In those pages, a shepherd follows a spiritual quest to find his own destiny and it’s a story B. Free cites as a major inspiration for his general life philosophy.
In case you missed it, B. Free explained his whole ideal system in the newly-released Road to BFree, a television pilot fostered by Daniel Kinney, B. Free, Billy O’Neill, Chris Haffey, Ivan Narez, and countless other homies on the project.
Give it a look if you haven’t. If you don’t, the rest of my bullshit isn’t going to make any more sense than it normally does.
Filmed over a long weekend last October, the idea behind the show is to take people out of their comfort zones, live on whatever is available, and get some blading done in the process.
I’ll be the first to say that the pilot doesn’t do the entire premise total justice, but given the fact everyone worked on the dollars in their own pocket, I think it’s nothing but a testament to the spirit that inhabits the blading family.
If anything, it’s a foot-in-the-door, and if you’re good at what you do, that’s all you need. Unfortunately, the only audience it’s reaching right now is rollerbladers, and even in that process—as you may have possibly notice before—is that we’re not a group that’s easily impressed.
“It’s not trying to save rollerblading…” B. Free said in an interview Monday night.
“It’s trying to inspire people to do something.”
“The goal with the show is to slowly put blading in there, instead of trying to put blading in people’s faces.”
The project’s character lies in the characters it features. Should rollerblading be cast into a mainstream audience, there’s no better people to put in front of a camera. That’s what America wants.
Shows like Jersey Shore and other “reality” shows have one thing in common: they’re scripted. The people you see on screen are merely actors portraying stereotypes into a camera. They’re all fake and if you haven’t caught onto that yet, you’re a bigger fool than you suspect.
The best part of the Road to BFree project is that it pledges to stay truest to its form and roots, meaning blading, blading homies, blading experiences, and some damn good shit they’ll have to bleep out later on.
Let’s take a look at the lineup of people on The Road to BFree:
The Character of Being Free
Brian “B. Free” Freeman: An Austin-raised blippie who sees the best part of being alive as the chance to make a life out of it, he’s always optimistic and down for what a day can throw at him. The best part of his personality shines when given the opportunity to take what he’s given it and polish into something shinier than his gold bicycle. The kid gets it.
Chris “Superman” Haffey: To quote his profile on ThemGoodsDist.com: “Known for his jaw-dropping sections, extensive list of competition trophies, and even a world record, Haffey is truly a blader’s blader. He’s been called—more than once by way more than a few people—the best rollerblader in the world. He holds two world records, including one involving a shopping cart. If he weren’t so nice and humble, he’d be real easy to dislike with a resume like that.” That—and most importantly—he’s kept a good head on his shoulders. He’s the material that legends are made of.
Billy “Fish” O’Neill: Carved on the streets of NYC, Billy’s skating shows no mercy, but spend 2 minutes with the guy and you’ll meet someone with the charisma, depth, and intellect to rival the great philosophers and the energy to rise them from their graves. No matter how hard you try you’ll never fully understand Billy, but you’ll come up wiser regardless. And if there’s anyone on the planet who’s going to push you out of your comfort zone, it’s Fish.
I don’t know about you, but I’d watch the living hell out of that show long after reruns of Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead are long over. Besides, out of any show you’re watching on TV, wouldn’t these be the best outtakes you’ve ever seen?
The purpose of the pilot—and hopefully at least one full season—is about living the good life, which includes, in no particular order, blading, buds, road trips, shredding, and making due with what they’re given.
“It’s about what we’re naturally good at,” B. Free said.
The show focuses on the personalities of blading and those we meet along the way. It’s about inspiring others and with others in our sport—talkin’ about you Aragon, Shima, Julio, Damien, and others—and proving the best part of blading to be true: the homies you meet along the way.
The entire premise of the show is that the guys travel and live on what they’re given and they must survive in each city through their blading contacts (i.e. the hospitality of you and I).
“For me, it’s about people you can find to work together when you want to see your idea come to reality.” — B. Free
“We’re trying to get people involved. We’re trying to make sure the viewers can get involved as well,” B. Free said. “I just want bladers to do some shit.”
But it’s not about us.
It’s about getting blading on TV again, outside a mere competition format (sidebar: Hey now, how dope was the Blading Cup?), and getting into the early and impressionable minds of kids, much like blading did to us at such a tender age.
It’s about inspiring a new generation so that we don’t have to watch blading die within our own lifetimes.
A few online comments regarding the trailer talk about how the pilot “set blading back a few years.” If that was the case, we’d be better off. The state blading is now could use a time machine. Hell, a decade would be dope because it’d be 2003 and few would be concerned about the vitality of rollerblading because it wasn’t experience the drought it’s in now.
But it’s 2013. We can either embrace the change that freedom demands or we can continue to clamor to what’s left of yesteryear as we all continue to feel the pains of another year being alive.
Like many of us, B. Free chooses to look towards the future and wants others to do the same, which is the whole point of The Road to BFree: doing something you wouldn’t normally do otherwise.
“Not many people are worried about watering the seed,” he said. “You have to let that shit grow.”
I say let freedom ring.
Blade or Die,
— Brian Krans
P.S.— Blah fucking blah…money…blading….books.
P.S.S. — Thanks to Cody Sanders for helping watching out for typos.