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21 Apr 2010 | 3 Comments

An interesting article was written in today’s paper about the controversial local hero Brewce Martin and the premiere of the up coming documentary on his world famous skatepark/punkrocker commune, “Skatopia.”

Skatoopia Documentary Premiere

ATHENS, Ohio – A Parkersburg man who has created a hardcore skateboarding haven in rural Meigs County is the subject of a new documentary to be shown during the 37th Athens International Film and Video Festival, which opens Friday and runs through April 29 at the Athena Cinema at 20 South Court St. in Athens.

“Skatopia: 88 Acres of Anarchy,” about Brewce Martin, will be one of the competition films opening the first night of the festival. It will be shown at 9:15 p.m. Friday. It was produced by Headlamp Pictures of Plattsburgh, N.Y., by director Laurie House.

This year’s lineup features new independent films from around the world selected from an all-time record number of entries, officials said. More than 250 titles were chosen from 1,100 submissions by a selection process that started in October.

Martin grew up in Parkersburg where he was a paperboy for The Parkersburg News, covering a route in Vienna for a year in 1978. He won his first skateboard in a Parkersburg News and Sentinel contest for paperboys and at the age of 12 he went to city council meetings to try to get a skateboard park built.

He graduated from Parkersburg Catholic High School in 1983, the same year a half-pipe was built in City Park as the first local skateboard attraction. Martin went to college in Florida and has traveled around the world in the years since leaving Parkersburg, visiting 33 countries.

He returned to the Mid-Ohio Valley for a period in 1993, living on Progress Ridge Road. On Feb. 1, 1996, he started Skatopia near Rutland, Ohio, about 20 miles from Athens.

In the years since, Skatopia has become a mecca for hardcore, underground skateboarders. The place has been featured in mainstream and skateboard media, including Rolling Stone, on MTV and in Thrasher magazine.

Tony Hawk, Bam Margera and many other famous skaters have visited and are featured in the movie. Skatopia is featured in one of Hawk’s videogames.

In addition to a wide range of skateboarding terrains and other attractions, Martin has also created a skateboarding museum on the site, with many skateboards and other items he’s collected over the years.

The first production skateboards started coming out between 1959 and 1961, Martin said, growing out of rollerskates and scooters instead of surfboards, as many people believe.

“Life is a struggle, that’s what the film is about,” Martin said of “Skatopia.”

For years, he has been following his dreams but said any dream requires work, struggle and hardship to achieve and maintain, whatever it is, and there is always good and bad to be dealt with. Martin believes a little work on a daily basis adds up to a lot of accomplishment, which he believes is illustrated by what has been accomplished at Skatopia.

At the film and video festival, cash prizes are awarded by guest jurors in four categories: documentary, experimental, narrative and animation. Awards will be announced on the final day of the festival.

Competition shows before 5 p.m. are free admission. Admission to International Feature Showcase films that begin before 5 p.m. is $5 and all shows after 5 p.m. are $6.50 for adults and $5.50 for seniors and children. Tickets can be purchased at the Athena Cinema.

The full schedule of screenings is available at the festival Web site at www.athensfest.org.

- Wayne Towner

16 Apr 2010 | Leave A Comment

To celebrate Earth Day and continue our fund raising, we are having a can crushing party at the home of Katie Petrish this Thursday, April 22nd. Just stop by anytime from 3:30pm-8:00pm. We are going to have soda and pizza and a ton of cans that need to be crushed before we can cash them in.

To get to her house turn onto 22nd Street in front of PHS. Take this to Oak Street and her house is the big green one at the intersection, house number 2106, you will probably see some kids skate out front. Hope to see you there!

15 Apr 2010 | Leave A Comment

If you weren’t able to make it to our meeting tonight, we went over several new fund raisers. One of which is another department store discount card, sale, thing, I’m not even sure how to say it. We sell the cards for $5 each and get to keep all $5, which is great. The person who buys the card then can get up to 70% off on items at Belk. So if you would like to buy one, let us know. If you would like to help us sell them, let us know as well, we can always use all the help we can get.

The Parkersburg Skate Plaza Foundation, Inc

13 Apr 2010 | Leave A Comment

We just wanted to let everyone know that we are having our next meeting this Thursday, April 15th, at 7:00pm at the City Building like always. Hope to see you there!

1 Apr 2010 | 4 Comments

Well, we were recently awarded the previously mentioned $100,000 federal grant. Unfortunately, the city has decided to take the $290,000 we have raised for the skate park and instead use it to demolish aging buildings in downtown to build additional parking lots. Sorry everybody, it was a good run, but it looks like Parkersburg is going to continue as one of the few remaining skate park’less cities in the world.

PS: For anybody who doesn’t read the comments, this was all just an April fools day joke, nobody took our money and we are still waiting to hear back on the $100,000 federal grant.