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‘Togacinco’ Premieres at the Ritz

In Culture
FRONTSIDE: Saratoga skater and Toga Crew founder Ryan DiBiase shredding the gnar in Togacinco. (Photo Credit: Aaron Pettigrew)

FRONTSIDE: Saratoga skater and Toga Crew founder Ryan DiBiase shredding the gnar in Togacinco. (Photo Credit: Aaron Pettigrew)

Ryan DiBiase was blown away that 225 people showed up to The Ritz in 2017 to see his latest skate video, Toga 4. By then, he’d been doing it for a while, but that one was quite the jump.

He premiered his first video, More Like Toga, in 2011 at a friend’s house to a crowd of five people. Its follow-up, Toga Party, premiered in 2012 at a different friend’s apartment to twenty. Seventy-five came to see Toga 3, which he screened at his own house. But the leap to Toga 4 was particularly amazing: suddenly, he was seeing strangers show up.

“That was huge. I saw a bunch of random heads that were out,” DiBiase says. “It’s a good, kind of butterflies in your stomach feeling. When your part comes on and everyone’s cheering for your shit, it’s crazy. Everything you’ve worked for; this is crazy right now.”

Now, after three and a half years of hard work—some during the pandemic—DiBiase is back with Togacinco, his fifth and final skate video. It’s the most work he’s ever put into a Toga video, the product of roughly 500 hours of footage. As with Toga 4, the film premieres at The Ritz, this time on Friday, Nov. 19th.

“[After this] I’m just going to take a breather and focus on photo stuff,” DiBiase explains. “Do some serious work and focus on life.”

DiBiase started skateboarding in 2009. Before long, filming himself and his friends became a natural part of the activity. He called it the Toga crew as a reference to Saratoga, where he grew up (nothing to do with Animal House).

TogaCinco—which is nearly an hour in length—is a departure not only from the style of the previous Toga videos, but from the standard skate video format itself. For the previous four videos, DiBiase created montages around specific skaters. The scenes in Togacinco, meanwhile, are created around skating locations, spots from all over the bay and beyond: Oakland, San Francisco, Brentwood, Santa Cruz and San Diego.

 

With the feel of a diverse, interesting playlist, the film creates a near mesmerizing quality. Viewers will sometimes watch several skaters in a row attempt the same trick, utilizing different techniques to varying degrees of success. The locations vary from actual skate parks to gonzo city locations, where the excitement is in seeing the creative ways they use the environment for tricks.

“Our San Diego trip was awesome. That was our first proper trip for filming,” DiBiase says. “We had all traveled before and gotten little clips on our phones and stuff. But with this it was like, okay, this is a filming mission. We rented a minivan for the homies. Airbnb. It was on. That was a huge moment of the video.”

Part of the reason that the video is divided up by location was that there were just so many people in it. The Toga Crew is an ever-changing entity. Sometimes friends of friends would show up on a shoot day. If they got a good trick in, they might make the cut. Additionally, with three and a half years of filming, people would come and go, some even moving out of the South Bay.

“Toga’s never been one solid crew,” DiBiase says. “It’s always morphed into whoever’s kicking it with us at the time. Homies getting more serious with their girls or some of the younger homies graduating from college and moving back to their hometowns. People popping back. San Jose State is a big commuter school.”

As long as three and a half years feels under normal circumstances, it feels particularly long now with everything that went down over the last year and a half. For DiBiase, watching the video brings up lots of nostalgic feelings: it’s a weird, scattered document of his whole life since 2017.

“It’s like a net. Whatever you capture in that time is what you get. Surprisingly, all the stuff flows together really well,” DiBiase says. “[When we started] I met my girlfriend and now we’re serious. I was living with a bunch of buddies, now I’m with her. I’ve kind of been settled in a more routine kind of life. I’m steady with this new job and just focused on trying to do my best in all pillars of life.”

Togacinco 
Fri, 8pm, $5
The Ritz, San Jose

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