STOKED: THE RISE AND FALL OF GATOR
June 20, 2003
Photos by Dan Levy
The LA premiere of ‘Stoked – The Rise and Fall of Gator’ sold out early and at promptly 9:30pm, the DGA theater was packed. The crowd included Duane Peters, Corey Parks, Pineapple, Reuler, Chicken, Hackett, Tony Magnusson, Steve Berra, Brad Ellman, Jeff Greenwood, Jeff Bender, Eric Britton, Bart Saric, Big Bruce, John Ransom, Rob Fortier, Mike Lohr, Jim Greco, Rita Nadhazy, Ray Allen, Big Mike from Vision and the great Jason Jessee.
It was a heavy night and the film told a gruesome story. The movie was done without narration except for short phoned in clips of the voice of Mark ‘Gator’ Rogowski A.K.A. Mark Anthony. The ‘Gator’ narrative unfolds through interviews with Tony Hawk, Kevin Staab, Steve Caballero, Lance Mountain, Billy Smith, Dave Duncan, Jason Jessee, Stacy Peralta, Steve Olson, Craig Johnson, MoFo, Brandi McClain (Gator’s ex-girlfriend), Shepard Fairey and many others, each offering a slice of the story. The documentary, which took over six years to make, includes 34 interviews.
‘Stoked’ is skateboarding, the ’80s, fame, fortune, scandal, greed, alcohol, sex, drugs, fluorescent spandex, streaking, world tours, Prince, bros, pros, hos, disappointment, rage, religion, sadness, abuse, rape, murder, revenge and pure insanity. After seeing the initial 60 minutes of this too-real-to-feel-good documentary, you’ll spend at least another 60 minutes reflecting on what you just experienced. Director Helen Stickler did a superb job with the presentation. Stickler’s courageous display of impartial journalism forces you to arrive at your own conclusion.
Was the tragedy of ‘Gator’ brought on by a distorted reality, manic depression, the greed of the skateboarding industry, teenage fame, the death of vert skating, alcohol and drug abuse, the fall from the limelight, the friends who turned their backs on him, the girlfriend who dumped him, the younger skaters who heckled him, the media who manipulated him, the sports agents that pimped him, or the fans who forgot him? You decide.
Personally, I would have gone with less input from Stacy Peralta and more of Jason Jessee’s unique mannerisms. Jessee stole the show with his witty one-liners and 100% honest commentary. The film’s content may be offensive to some with it’s intimate look at a tale of murder but the story is an undeniable part of skateboarding history. Ironically, ‘Stoked’ will make you feel the exact opposite. Classic ‘Gator’ footage, vintage photos, controversial content and thought-provoking insights from those that thought they knew him…
‘Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator’ will be released in August through Palm Pictures. Palm Pictures will open it in theatres in NYC Aug 22 and LA Aug. 29, expand to other cities in September, and release on DVD in early 2004. The dvd will feature archival clip outtakes, and interview outtakes.
Mark ‘Gator’ Rogowski: Former Professional Skateboarder, Inmate
Tony Hawk: Skateboarding Icon, Media Figure, Former Professional
Skateboarder, Company Owner
Stacy Peralta: Director, Former Pro Skateboarder and industry leader
Lance Mountain: Professional Skateboarder, Company Owner
Steve Caballero: Professional Skateboarder
Jason Jessee: Professional Skateboarder, Company Owner
Steve Olson: Professional Skateboarder, Model/Actor
MoFo: Former THRASHER Magazine staff photographer
Carol Leggett: Journalist, Former friend to Mark Rogowski
Ed Templeton: Professional Skateboarder, Company Owner, and Artist
Tod Swank: Former Pro Skateboarder, skateboarding industry leader
Harry Jumonji: Former Pro skateboarder, model/actor, and inmate
Kris Markovich: Professional Skateboarder, Company Owner
Mike Vallely: Professional Skateboarder, Company Owner
Brandi McClain: Former fiance to Mark Rogowski
Michelle Chaves: Former high school friend to Mark Rogowski
Randy Janson: Former Gullwing Trucks team manager and skater
John Hogan: Former Vision skateboard team manager and skater
Rich Cook: Former friend to Mark Rogowski, skater
Brad Dorfman: Vision Skateboard Company President and Founder
Billy Smith: Former Professional Skateboarder
Craig Johnson: Former Professional Skateboarder
Jeff Newton: Former Zorlac skateboard company owner
Dave Duncan: Former Professional Skateboarder
Kevin Staab: Professional Skateboarder, Company Owner
Shepard Fairey: Artist, Skater
Bill Silva: Promoter, Former agent to Mark Rogowski
John Jimenez: Defense Attorney to Mark Rogowski
Richard Castenada: Sargeant, Carlsbad CA Police Department
Don Detar: Detective , Carlsbad CA Police Department
Terry Jensen: Assistant District Attorney, Vista CA
Cory Johnson: Journalist
Check out Stickler’s award-winning short film ‘Andre the Giant has a Posse’ at www.insound.com.
for more information go to www.stokedmovie.com
See the next issue of Juice Magazine for the feature interview with ‘Stoked- The Rise and Fall of Gator’ director, Helen Stickler.