SLAP magazine
june 1997

the Story of GLEN E. FRIEDMAN

"When Friedman locks on to something it's absolutely scary. He's one relentless motherfucker." Ice T

Random selection has chosen a crumpled curio of the Seventies for inclusion into the history books. In it Bobby Piercy leaps from skateboard to skateboard over a brace of siliconed Playboy Bunnies supine in their polyester party vestments and furry rabbit ears. Piercy's role as the symbolic manifestation of the winged god Mercury is quite clear. The Freudian significance of the girls all laid out for display is more perplexing. Were our boys fronting for some pussy or is this a high camp tongue in cheek ruse? Piercy is said to be long vanished with his unrecovered body still missing in action. This professional skater has reportedly been officially pronounced dead by the law. The vividly nubile young Bunnies are old faded hares by now. Only the photographer survives intact to tell the tale over twenty years later. A graphic document somehow has prevailed over the capricious ravages of time and its creator needs to know why. The lensman muses over Bobby's strange disappearance, running clues into the ground much like the salt of the earth migrates towards the core. "The federal government's witness relocation program, that could be the answer."

"Friedman's always been crazy." Tony Alva

He can recite litanies of specifications and data on command that tend to irritate both the unwise and the unholy. Envision having your sumptuous daily repast at Mickey D's enlivened with the admonition that "You think they're building homes down in the disappearing rain forest? NO, they're clear-cutting to graze cattle for fat greedy Americans who need ther Big Mac's, that's why the quality of the entire earths air will be shit soon. Do you know that a family of four can take showers for A YEAR with all the water that is used in the production of just one pound of beef?" Quotations from obscure sources such as the first century Talmudic scholar Hillel occur in these discourses from Glen with regularity, "In a situation where there is no righteous person, try to be a righteous person," "Not all who increase their wealth are wise."

"Glen was up in the mountains working with these snowboarders from the company Generics who had never met him before. I started getting phone calls from Utah from all kinds of people. Each was asking the same question" "Who is this guy and is he for real?" I told them just wait until he comes up to speed. Then you're really going to be in trouble." King James Cassimus

In his capacity as a photo documentarian he has been known to turn down job offers from large multi-national corporations like Coca-Cola ("Their shit just isn't correct-fuck'em!") and Vans ("They wanted to print an old shot of Minor Threat in an ad because Ian was wearing their original skate shoes. He had those shoes on because He liked them, not to be in an advertisement. To commercialize that moment after the fact would be the antithesis of punk.") Friedman is deeply irreligious. If Glen were a Catholic he would be a Saint in training. As it is he is the peripatetic wondering Jew who wanders wide in a compulsively driven search for the essential. His Zealotry amazes some and abrades others.

The G.E.F. method has yielded countless images that are now regarded as classics. That is a laudable achievement in itself. Virtually alone amongst skateboarding's historically significant image makers, Glen still chooses to stay involved with the sport. Recent Friedman skate shots still exhibit that unique spark of stoke that characterizes his vintage works.
As his interests broadened G.E.F. also extrapolated musical and artistic treatises which later became templates for others to follow.

"The bottom line is that he was there at the beginning of so much cool stuff in so many different areas it's not funny." Henry Rollins.

His graphic documents of the movement reveal the science of defiance upon which all are based. The point of view, in your face grainy realism mixes suburban pathos with urban dread from a co-conspirator's perspective. Friedman's dense slurry of A-Type, B-Boy, hip hop, old school, punk, OG, Dog Town sensibilities is punctuated with hard New Jack aggregate. G.E.F. was there, went through the drill and departed long before most everyone else even showed up. And he did it better, Glen got the goods and was gone.

C.R. Stecyk

(6 full color pages with many previously un-published photos and extensive captions by G.E.F.)