During the late ’80s through the late ’90s, in a pre-gentrification New York, the city was still exhibiting its wild and untamed nature. It was an environment that was ripe for rebellion and upheaval as the young ruled most of the streets and 2 dominant subcultures that would never seem to blend on paper became inseparable. Using an astounding amount of archive footage from one of the pivotal members of the skating community at the time, Eli Morgan Gesner (who was constantly in possession of his video camera), director Jeremy Elkin takes a deep dive into the scene with All the Streets Are Silent: The Convergence of Hip Hop and Skateboarding (1987-1997).
The film starts in 1987 and introduces us to some of the main figures of the skate scene at the time including Eli himself (who also narrates), Howard Hunter, Justin Pierce, Jeff Pang, Mike Carroll, and more. We see how they live and how they congregate to skate and listen to music. Eli becomes entrenched with the management of the legendary Club Mars and uses this to get all his friends in the backdoor. Mars is where the group is introduced and mingle with DJ’s like Kid Capri, Dres of the group Black Sheep, Clark Kent, Red Alert, and the most unlikely of them all, Moby. But the biggest friendship that the group makes is that of DJ Stretch Armstrong, who shortly after starts one of the most influential radio shows in the history of East Coast Hip Hop, The Stretch and Bobbito show.
The film, and scene culminates with 3 lasting endeavours that have made their mark the world over. The fashion/lifestyle brands of Zoo York and Supreme both come directly from the scene, with Eli helping create Zoo York, and have both become billion-dollar worldwide recognized entities. There’s also the film that set out to document the scene and made minor starts out of Harold Hunter and Justin Pierce, Larry Clark’s Kids. Written by fellow skater and friend Harmony Korine, Kids is directly based on Eli and his friends, with almost all the actors, outside of Leo Fitzpatrick and Chloe Sevigny who were trained professionals, being complete unknowns plucked from the people around the scene, one of which was a young Rosario Dawson.
All the Streets Are Silent packs the film with traditional talking heads, bringing people like Fab 5 Freddy, Rosario Dawson, Kid Capri, Darryl McDaniels, Moby, Stretch, and Bobbito, and more to relive their times during those turbulent years and discuss their relationships with the skate crowd. But it also contains and a treasure trove of performances from pre-fame stars like Busta Rhymes, Method Man, Raekwon, and a young Jay-Z to name a few. Director Jeremy Elkin crafts a tight and fast-paced doc that covers a lot of ground but never feels like it’s skimming the surface for a second. For both Hip Hop enthusiasts and Skateboarders alike, this film is a trove of information and will not only fascinate and enthrall but should also be considered essential viewing to those interested in the subjects.
- Genre: Docmentary
- Release Date: 7/23/2021
- Directed by: Jeremy Elkin
- Starring: Bobbito, Darryl McDaniels, DJ Stretch Armstrong, Eli Morgan Gesner, Fab 5 Freddy, Harold Hunter, Jeff Pang, Kid Capri, Leo Fitzpatrick, Mike Carroll, Moby, Rosario Dawson
- Produced by: Dana Brown, David Koh, Jeremy Elkin, Khyber Jones, Ted Newsome
- Written by: Dana Brown, Jeremy Elkin
- Studio: Elkin Editions