“VIRGIN BLACKTOP: A New York Skate Odyssey” is an uplifting and sometimes heart-breaking coming-of-age story about a funky crew of suburban New York City kids. To be specific, they were Rockland kids. When they met in 1977, they had nothing in common except a passion for skateboarding. Despite their vastly different ages, races and economic backgrounds and with their parents hands-off approach, they formed a competitive, traveling team of spirited outsiders called the “Wizards”. Now, nearly 40 years later, they remain lifelong friends but their lives have followed very different paths, from boardrooms to jail cells. Virgin Blacktop: A New York Skate Odyssey is an uplifting character-driven story about boys skating across boundaries to become men.
Nyack Village Trustee Donna Lightfoot Cooper will welcome the audience and introduce filmmaker Charlie Samuels and other Wizards who are present before the film.
Playing for free in Memorial Park, next to the river and under the stars, starting at 8:00 PM on Friday, August 19. Rain date, Saturday, August 20. Bring your own blanket, or better yet, lawn chairs.
A discussion with filmmaker Charlie Samuels and members of the Wizards will be held on Zoom, on Tuesday, August 23, at 6:00 PM. Registration (name and email) is required HERE
“Virgin Blacktop explores the lives of Samuels’ diverse skater crew that met in Rockland in 1977. ‘It’s been almost 40 years since we named ourselves the Wizards – we placed in State and National competitions and one of us went on to be the first pro skater in New York City. Now we are fathers and husbands and our lives have spun off in different directions, but we’ve stayed passionate about the sub-culture of skating.’” – Bill Batson, Nyack News and Views (2018)
“The footage of The Wizards at exhibitions and competitions is a time capsule of long-lost Rockland: There they are in front of Bamberger’s in Paramus, New Jersey; at the Nanuet Theater-Go-Round, riding up a wooden ramp they had transported to the site on the roof of a car; slaloming down the hill on Nyack’s Remsen Street, with the Tappan Zee Playhouse as a backdrop. When they formed in 1977, The Wizards were: Nyack’s Kermit Taylor (who later changed his name to Jamaal Bey), Stephon White, and Umberto Brownlee; South Nyack’s Joe Humeres; Grand View’s Chris Kinzel and Jonathan Bell; Upper Grand View’s Ramsay Lewis; and Sparkill’s Samuels. Bell was 16; White and Samuels 15; Bey and Kinzel were 14; Lewis and Brownlee 12; Humeres 11. Before long, the towheaded Michael Offen, of Upper Nyack, whom Samuels used to babysit, was allowed to join. He was, Samuels says, ‘the best 7-year-old skater on the East Coast.’” – Peter D. Kramer, The Journal News (2018)
Get in Touch. Get Involved.
Rivertown Film Society
58 Depew Ave
Nyack, NY 10960
Get in touch. Get involved.
Comments? We'd love to hear from you. Want to help out? Learn more about volunteering. Want to stay informed? Subscribe to our newsletter .
Thank you to our funders
Rivertown Film is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts and from Restart the Arts, a regrant program of Arts Westchester, with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.
And our corporate sponsor
Your ability to access all of the information on our website in a comfortable manner is extremely important to us. Rivertown Film is committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of technology or ability. To access these features, look for the 'wheelchair' icon.