Speed DemonsWhen used in advertising or marketing, the word "extreme" should be as useless as the phrase "alternative music." Each is too often used to describe mainstream products, the sort of stuff created only to exploit the youth culture for profits. But, unlike most things called "alternative music"--which ceased being exciting (or an alternative to anything) about the time Collective Soul hit the scene--everything labeled "extreme" isn't trite or overexposed. Though advertisers have repeatedly used the word in ads with vibrant seizure-inducing graphics to sell everything from hard candy to nail polish, the mainstream media hasn't been able to kill the coolness of the myriad sports that use "extreme" to separate themselves from ordinary pastimes.
When used to describe sports, "extreme" still means "edgy" and "dangerous," at least in sports like skateboarding, motocross, bicycle freestyle, snowboarding, bungee jumping, and skydiving. Proof is found in the injury reports of those sports, where the traditional scraped knees and shins are replaced by broken necks and separated shoulders.
Adrenaline Theatre has helped document the frontiers of freestyle motocross athletes in its Crusty Demons of Dirt series. The sixth one, Crusty Demons--The Next Level, is a new 40-minute film by the appropriately named Fleshwound Films. Building on the burm and rooster-tail foundation of traditional motocross, the riders in Crusty Demons--The Next Level handle heavy motorcycles as if they were acrobatic baton twirlers as the filmmakers follow the globetrotting tradition of the classic surf film Endless Summer by shooting in locales like Peru and Kauai. Rider Carey Hart even completes the first back flip in the history of freestyle motocross. That's what extreme really is--taking things beyond rational levels, not a way to sell hair dye.