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Big Brother Art Critic - Pete Smolik pilfered style from the 1400's

December 2, 2008

Big Brother Skateboarding Mgazine cover July 2001

It's amazing the stuff you find when you take some time to sort through the crap you've accumulated. I discovered a box labeled "old skate mags". I wondered if it would be full of old Transworlds that I could easily part with and free up some more space. No such luck. The box was full of old Big Brother Skate mags - "keepers" for sure.

For those who refuse to acknowledge the history of skateboarding prior to your flat feet on your first board, Big Brother Skateboarding Magazine was a former publication of Larry Flynt (yeah, the porn-publisher of Hustler fame). It was one of the most revered skate mags out there and was outrageous as hell. Nobody could come close to the manic insanity of Big Brother Skateboarding mag. I still miss it even though some of it's talented staff formed The Skateboard Mag.

Anyway...
Remember the hoopla about Pete Smolik's return to skateboarding with the debut of Mystery's first video release, Black and White, in 2007? He had dropped off the public radar after doing a bunch of ads for Shorty's. Upon being interviewed, Smolik seemed rather surprised that he had "been away from skateboarding". Apparently he had been skating the whole time, but wasn't in the public eye. Whatever...

Pete Smolik Sponsored by Botticelli?

The point of all this rambling is to set the stage for an amazing letter of the Month sent in to Big Brother Skateboarding Magazine regarding a Peter Smolik look-a-like from the 1480's (a while ago, eh?). The issue is from July 2001 - hence the fascinating tale of my sorting through old boxes of crap to discover this gem. And wouldn't I be remiss if i didn't mention Larry Flynt's other amazing publication, Taboo? Yes, it was a dandy filled with naked women doing all sorts of crazy things that Hugh Hefner could only dream about with his bleach-blonde floozies.

Sandro Botticelli (1445 - 1510) was an Italian painter of the Florentine school during the Early Renaissance. His painting, Portrait of a Youth (below), bares a stunning resemblance to Pete Smolik. But the true beauty to this discovery made at The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, is the accompanying letter.

Botticellis portrait of a youth

Hilary Schmilary is to be congratulated on several levels for this insightful letter of a type rarely sent to skateboard magazines. They usually get either "I'm in prison and it sucks" or "There are no skate spots in my town and it sucks". Pointing out the hand gesture, hat, time machine notion and style-biting make this letter brilliant. Why can't more people concoct this kind of letter. Even editor Dave Carny was speechless and had no harsh reprimands or odd sexual diatribes to delve into - now, THAT is a compliment all in itself.

Botticellis portrait of a youth Botticellis Birth of Venus Painting

Without trying to sound like an art historian, which I'm not, you may be more familiar with Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" painting in which this fetching blonde is covering her chest in a Renaissance-era hand-bra pose that's become a modern day staple of all porn photo shoots, along with the single-handed pie-cover.


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