Salute to the Real: PEPE MARTINEZ To the casual observer, Pepe’s magic at Pulaski was a pious offering with really only 20 publicized and recorded tricks. He was not a filmer’s skater and he only really put out one part if you can call it that. In fact, his visible accomplishments focuses on the lesser known aspects of (pep’s) oeuvre. But, and this is a big but, his signature style consisted of a much overlooked yet right in front of your face part of skating, the push,hence in a world where idol status is questionable, especially in skateboarding, the gods unanimously proclaimed Pepe’s push the most pleasurable. I showed some Pepe clips to some new skaters at a spot once, it didn’t speak to them, but what do they know? Their idea of a good skater is Arron Jaws Hamoki.
The abominable snowman of current skateboarding, chez Jason Dill, would probably say the same. Then as now, Pepe was a sentinel in bringing about a feeling of decadence, dashing, and direct example conveying the idea as Jason sometimes put’s it “How skating ought to look”. So be prepared to fight if you don’t agree with his stature as one of the best 90’s skaters EVER. An unbiased opinion would be: second only to Joey Bast, who wore Nautica windbreaker kits and skated Market St. Blocks with the best of them. When I think of Pepe Martinez, which is very often, I am instantly overcome not by memories, but by an oozing of style left behind on Pulaski’s marble ledge edging that surrounds it’s rectangle shaped design. The main ledge still has a thin film of the glide of his wheels, still there, almost like a mass particle cluster of his energy, No homo, invisible on the plaza where he used to land technically devastating movements of body. Some people would call watching him skate a matter of inspiration, I just call it fuel. And, when it comes to fuel. I am a serious consumer. Pepe was one of God’s own prototypes, taking style to a high powered mutant level. One could never consider him for mass production and therefor be mass consumerist cash cow ala Dylan Reider. If you ever saw Pepe in his final years , he was fashion forward and had a more tailored snappy garb, than young Reider of today.
He was bespoke, an example of what it really meant to hold the dreams of children. Riding a passageway,if not trail blazing, while he opened the door to his city so everyone else could pass thru. Too rare to live in that world spotlighted to the point of being bland, the Washington DC beltway was the perfect incubator to hone his skills,hence it was an easy parlay to the next stages of development in his skating career on time and in accordance with his same age peers i.e.,Koston, Kalis, Creager. Yet, what Pepe was doing trickwise was a mystery as DC had been veiled in a sliver lining of impresario. Like the great Sphinx, nobody knew the exact path Pepe took to get to the level of the stylishness, arguably championed on either coast. His excellent command of the English language with three simple words on his Slap cover,”DC, go Hard!” sums it up. Now, with the current generation that has no interest in the preserving of names from the past. Pepe’s legacy is practically an invalid, bearing not even one page of decent images on google, aside from a few post there is almost nothing on his life. Almost lost, not forgotten hopefully . Do I think its a good thing that Pepe, with all that he was and all that he wanted to be, with all that was on his mind at the time of his last days, ed.note- he had brain cancer with the prognosis of a youthful death and never told anyone to bum them out, becomes a legend, a real presence in what went down in the 90’s……..hell yes. ed note: the pulaski phone- back in the late 90’s. cell phones existed, but if you wanted skate with the crew that came downtown to the fort Pulaski, from about 1pm to 6pm there was this grey area of time where you might get left in the lurch, this was not condoned as most didn’t want to make the uneducated guess of grudging thru suburb traffic only to find their would be no one there skating or that the spot was locked down, this was due to tailgating theatre uptight patrons from across the street eating their lunch on the main ledge who had the park police on speed dial if you came up on the plaza. But like an old buddhist saying goes,"If you patiently wait on the riverbanks, you will see the body of your enemy eventually float by" So a lot of people just skated flat in front of Gus’s Stand or the starbucks, to kill time till the full-on pulaski session which commenced at dusk most days.(202)452-???? what ever I can’t remember the last four numbers, but I do remember calling that shit just to see who was downtown skating at Pulaski. When someone picked up, It was always a kind of magical roll of the dice. Pepe called the phone once. Long live pay phones and Pepe