Words: Harrison Gordon

According to Wikipedia, there were surveys done in Europe and the United States to determine opinions on colors, and in doing so, they found brown to be the least favorite color of the public. The study also revealed that brown is often associated with plainness, poverty, and shit. The name Brown Cinema wasn't chosen for those reasons.

The title stems from the color wheel you learned about in elementary school. When a primary color is mixed with its complimentary color, something happens. Purple and yellow, orange and blue, red and green… they all blend together, respectively, to create the color brown.

Rather than dwelling on what other people think of the color, we—Keegan Valaika, Scott Blum, and I—have come together as the metaphorical primary colors. The people we invite along for the ride are the complimentary colors, and Brock Nielsen aka Butters, the artist, blends us all together to make Brown Cinema.

Unlike most professional snowboarding projects, cast mainly from brand and media-dictated decisions, we weren't paired up by our sponsors. This cast of riders and filmer came together because of personal relationships, and that's it. At this point, we've been friends for over half our lives.

Keegan, Scott, and I grew up in different parts of Southern California. Considering the amount of time and effort it takes to commute to the mountains, it's strange that we ended up as professional snowboarders. The obsession with snowboarding likely developed out of its hurdles. We couldn't walk out our front door and go snowboarding, as we could skateboarding, and that made time in the mountains just a bit more special. And so, we are forever weekend warriors, even though we now snowboard for days on end, regardless of where they fall within the week.

Last winter, we went to every snowboarder's wet dream and/or happy place, Japan.

We snowboarded at the beach, in the mountains, at temples, underpasses, and wherever looked good to us. We ate, drank, slept, partied, hiked, bowled, laughed, and made new friends and enemies everywhere we went. Our good friend Teddy Koo was our official guide, and over the course of our stay, we had the pleasure of meeting up with other Japanese snowboarders like Kohei Kudo, Masato Toda aka Munchies, and even Kazu.

Keegan Valaika in Japan. PHOTO: Perly

Keegan Valaika, Japan. PHOTO: Perly

Keegan Valaika

He's humble, sarcastic, creative, and intelligent. Everything he does is effortless, while at the same time he's completely going for it. Keegan's naturally gifted at most things, and the way he approaches each situation depends upon his mood. Often his jokes go over my head, and he can be quite the ball buster/button pusher if you let him. No matter what medium he chooses to express himself through—painting, music, drinking, snowboarding, skateboarding or surfing—he is always putting himself out there in the most honest of ways. He is as authentic as they come.

Sammy, Japan. PHOTO: Perly

Sammy, Japan. PHOTO: Perly


Our friend. Our knight in shining armour. He isn't a pro snowboarder, filmer, or photographer by trade. But he could be anything he puts his mind too. Sammy actually runs his own dog collar business, Dogswag. You may have seen his stickers. However, he makes most his money by doing what I'll call "landscaping" in Northern California during certain havests. Without him, our trip would not have been the same. Sammy is one of the kindest and gentlest souls I've ever met, and at the same time he has this wild side, intrigued with all kinds of tomfoolery and mischief. Without a doubt, the MVP of Brown Cinema.


Scott Blum. PHOTO: Dominic Rawle

Scott Blum, Japan. PHOTO: Perly

Scott Blum

He knows what he wants to do in life, on a board and off. He's calculated, aggressive, and flowing at once, which is pleasing to witness. It looks like he doesn't give a shit, and he might not. He lands more tricks than most, but it seems like he's more interested in experiencing what a trick feels like than the outcome of riding away. He is perceived as a badass by people that do and don't know him, yet he's the type who stacks his elderly neighbors' firewood and often goes out of his way to be kind to others.

Harrison Gordon. PHOTO: Dominic Rawle

Harrison Gordon, Japan. PHOTO: Perly

Harrison Gordon

My spirit animal is a sloth, and that says a lot about my personality. I don't really believe in that shit, but this time it's fairly accurate. Most of my friends would say I'm slow, but I just don't like to rush. What's the fucking rush? My life revolves around snowboarding, skateboarding, family, and friends. Currently rebranding myself as not a complete pothead.

Butters in Japan. PHOTO: Dominic Rawle

Butters. PHOTO: Perly


He has the ability to be driven and focused for extended periods of time, then completely in outerspace the next minute. Butters is consistent, reliable, funny, and smart. He seemingly has no idea that he is one the best filmers and editors in the game.  He's the one driving, and he likes to drive fast. His taste in music varies widely, and his talent on a skateboard is impressive.

Teddy Koo, Japan. PHOTO: Perly

Teddy Koo

One of the funniest people I know. He loves to have a good time which attracts all other types of good time-havers. Smart, perceptive, and bilingual, Teddy speaks perfect surfy, skatey, snow-bro English in addition to his native Japanese. He's gnarly, stylish, and has no clue how good he actually is. He even triple corked one time while on Adderall. Teddy makes me smile more than most people.


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