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Skate or Die: Celebrate National Skateboarding Day

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One of our very favorite Los Angeles historical moments is when Jay Adams and his Dogtown cohort bombed the Bicknell hill in south Santa Monica, inventing modern skateboarding and changing the face of SoCal sports, culture, and fashion. (How many pairs of slip-on Vans do you own?)

Salute their totally radical contribution today, and celebrate national Go Skateboarding Day. Get that old Bones Brigade board out of your closet. Roll on down to any one of the Southland's many skate parks - or make a little road trip out of it: Skatelab in Simi Valley is less than an hour away, and boasts a tight museum. Practice your ollie, get some exercise, and honor a bit of totally awesome LA culture.

Or just hit the streets and kick it with some teenagers at a local high school - the kids outside of Hollywood High on Sunset are usually out in the early evenings, and they're always rocking the best clothes. Latino kids these days are growing their hair out long like the (formerly) golden-locked Peralta and Adams, and god damn, but don't skater boys look great in tight jeans and Vans?

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If you're not the type to risk life and limb in the pursuit of a good grind, then do yourself a favor and check out Dogtown & Z-Boys (and not its lesser fictional version, Lords of Dogtown - which is really only worth watching for Emile Hirsch). More than just a sports doc, it's an in-depth look into the history of Venice and Santa Monica back in the days when living south of Wilshire meant you were from the wrong side of the tracks. Other great skateboarding movies include Gleaming the Cube, a 1989 skate-murder-mystery starring the inimitable Christian Slater, and Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator, another doc that relates the sad and sordid tale of Mark "Gator" Rogowski, a former skate star who is serving 30 years in jail on charges of rape and murder (check out a clip below the jump).

Dogtown still lives in the form of Horizons West surf shop, you just gotta look a little harder these days to find it.

Photo of Venice skater by malingering via flickr