When T.C. Harding, Brent Postupak and Jason Pearce created North East Skate Crew in 1996, Postupak chose purple as its color.
In celebration of the group’s 20th anniversary, Harding went back to its roots to co-produce the skate crew’s latest film, “Purple.”
“It has multiple meanings,” he said. “We’re honoring where it started, honoring Brent (who died in 2010). Hopefully we’ll be around for another 20 years.”
The full-length skateboard video screens at a premiere party at Downtown Arts, Wilkes-Barre, on Thursday, Dec. 29, with doors opening at 6 p.m. and the film airing at 8:30. Tickets are $5, and a portion of the proceeds benefit the local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“Purple” is the 12th skate video produced by North East Skate Crew, or NESC, with Harding and co-producer Jonathan Borthwick at the helm. It is a compilation video of nearly 25 skaters, with footage from Boston to Florida, California and Colorado that also pays homage to the prior films and the group’s lasting success.
About 50 people helped create the film, including skaters, videographers, photographers, editors, volunteers and those organizing the premiere.
“(The film) is a celebration of skateboarding,” NESC member James Gidosh said.
For its first film, NESC hosted the premiere in a private home. When 150 people showed up, the members realized that was the last time they could host an event on their own.
From then on, they held many premieres at the now-shuttered Cafe Metropolis, and even over-sold the largest theater at R/C Wilkes-Barre Movies 14 with 580 guests.
“We know how to throw an event,” Harding said with a smile. “People do show up, for whatever reason. It’s not just about skateboarding, but also about the creative landscape of NEPA.”
Local bands Sucker and Royal Hell will perform during the pre-party, and photography and other art by NESC members will be displayed. A bake sale and raffle basket drawing also will take place to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“We’ve had some people from the crew succumb to the disease, so it really hit home for some of us,” Harding said of their beneficiary. “It’s also a big issue in the area for kids in general. With the power of the internet, people can be bullied 24/7. And it’s something people don’t want to talk about.”
NESC also will collect coats to donate to the Clem-Mar House, which helps people suffering from addiction.
Although the public’s love for skateboard culture hasn’t improved much in 20 years, the NESC founders found it important to create their own organization for an activity they held so close to their hearts.
“There was so much politics with parents and coaches in (organized) sports, but with skateboarding you and your friends dictated everything,” Harding said. “We were taking a stance against people telling us skateboarding was bad, because we all had a passion and love for it. And the proof is in the pudding; here we are 20 years later and still going.”
For many, NESC is a close-knit brotherhood. The 30-somethings of NESC, like Harding and Gidosh, paved the way for the younger generation by supplying a support group of like-minded people. Gidosh said he never envisioned the positive influence they would have on some of the younger members, but he is happy for it.
And the all-ages aspect of the sport is apparent during “Purple,” with featured skaters ranging in age from 17 to 40.
The Other Side in downtown Wilkes-Barre will host the film’s after party, with local DJ sets from Conscious Pilot, Poison Thorn and Fantasy Camp plus a surprise guest DJ. Tickets for the 21-and-older event are $5 or $2 with the ticket from the video premiere.
“Skateboarding has always been there for me in the toughest of times and in the best times. It’s always helped me,” Harding said. “There were definitely points when I thought I was too old to be skateboarding, but when skateboarding isn’t in my life, it seems I’m at my worst, and when it is in my life, I’m at my best.”
— charlotte l. jacobson
IF YOU GO
What: NESC presents “Purple”
When: Thursday, Dec. 29, 8:30 p.m.; doors open at 6.
Where: Downtown Arts, 47 N. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre
Details: The pre-party starts at 6 p.m. with local bands Sucker and Royal Hell performing. The film airs at 8:30. Tickets are $5, and a portion of the proceeds benefit the local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
What: After party
When: Dec. 29, 10 p.m.
Where: The Other Side, 119 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre
Details: Tickets are $5, or $2 with film ticket from the premiere. The event is 21 and older.