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Discourse with Hudson Lehr

Discourse was a first-of-its-kind parkour event held in early April, 2022, in sunny Los Angeles. Hosted by Hudson Lehr (@hudson.lehr) and his family, as well as close friend Wyatt Pace (@wyattstereojumps), the occasion aspired to expand beyond a traditional jam, and include big name parkour photographers in a professional photo gallery exclusively for their benefit. This decision has the potential for a marked shift in the culture of parkour gatherings, from a celebration of movement and the air of competition, to a love and respect for the art that exists to support the movement and the opportunity to contribute to the future of the artists responsible. I could go on, but I was lucky enough to speak with Hudson Lehr, one of the minds responsible for Discourse, and discuss  his point of view on the event. 


Me: For those who don’t know, what was Discourse?

Hudson: Discourse was a three-day long parkour jam with an art gallery featuring photographs from Noah Heath, Casey Wilson, Maxwell Gorman, Emily Ibarra, Ryan Kelly, Abel Orozco, Vincent Vinciguerra, it also had live music from Wyatt Pace, Rocco Deleo and Gabe Le Neveu.

Wyatt Pace, Rocco Deleo and Gabe Le Neveu playing music

Me: What sparked the creation of Discourse?

Hudson: Wyatt and I went to the Join or Die Jam, and it was super fun. The actual jam was fun, but just seeing everyone and hanging out was the best part. We got back to LA and we realized how much we missed everyone, and wanted to host our own jam out here. We thought that incorporating parkour photography into the jam in some way would be so cool. We figured if we were holding an art show, then we might as well go all out and have live music and stuff too. 

My grandpa Carl is an art dealer and has a friend, Rick Royale who owns Royale Projects, an art gallery in downtown Los Angeles. We were only able to hold our gallery in his space for three days, but it worked out really well and everyone was happy with the show. 

 

Me: What do you hope to accomplish by putting on events like these?

Hudson: I mean, everybody making money in parkour, which is great. Parkour isn’t very profitable at the moment. I think events like these can definitely be an avenue for people to make a little bit of money. But also just having people together is just really fun. I see with some jams in LA, there’s like these Saturday jams that everyone goes to, none of them would like, ever be friends with each other outside of parkour you know what I mean? Jams like these bring the community together, everyone gets to just hang out, have fun, share ideas. Everybody just collaborates to make something together.

Me: Who was instrumental in bringing Discourse to the community? Hudson: For sure my mom, she really did so much. She got us the space, put everything together, and hosted people. Without her, Discourse definitely wouldn’t have happened. Wyatt Pace did a great job, he picked people up from the airport, he helped me make flyers and advertised. Ryan Kelly, he made the website and helped out with everything he could. Between all of us, we got everything put together really well. 


Me: How long had this event been in the works before the big weekend?

Hudson: We started talking about the idea in December of 2021. We were hoping to do it sometime in January, but then Omicron hit, so we had to cancel. So we rescheduled for April 1st, but it basically took shape in December. 

Me: So it wasn’t like a year-long discussion or anything? That’s impressive, I know trying to drum up an event here in Salt Lake is like pulling teeth. 

Hudson: I feel like the main thing is like, the Norf Boys already wanted to come train in LA because they’re friends of ours. Then when word got out that a jam would be happening and Noah and the guys would be involved in an art gallery, all kinds of people wanted to come too. Once you have some well-recognized attendees, people really start taking notice. 

Me: Have you hosted any other jams?

Hudson: No, never. I still can’t believe it. It’s still so surreal, I mean, I’m getting interviewed by the Motus Projects, it’s crazy. 

Me: Did you hear Giles’ little spiel about Discourse on the Motus Prodcast? Hudson: Yeah I think so. 

Me: He basically said that this is the kind of event that he wishes he could attend because these are the significant moments that have the potential to bring parkour into the public eye and push the culture of the sport, as opposed to just enjoying the movement all the time. 

Hudson: I really think we accomplished that in some sense. Anthony Russo bought some of the prints, and so did Rodney Mullen. It’s crazy. I think Rodney Mullen just loves any kind of extreme sport, and he bought some stuff. I think it went really well, I’m really happy with it. 

Me: What is it like hosting other athletes in your home, considering some are 10 plus years your senior? 

Hudson: Hahahaha it’s always really fun, but sometimes it can get a little bit annoying. Like when I have homework or something. Dude, I love Rasheed so much, but I was trying to do homework and he was in the bathroom playing the same song on repeat like 50 times. I thought he died or something, it was ridiculous haha. But other than that, having people around is always sick. They picked me up from school one time!

Me: Hahaha okay, I want to hear about that.

Hudson: Hahaha oh my god. Okay so Noah Heath was picking me up, an he was just like shirtless, for no fucking reason. They were training before that or something, but anyway. Noah was shirtless and they were blasting some world music or something, so it was in a different language. I get into the car, and the teacher who has to sign me out, my math teacher, asks Noah, “Are you supposed to be picking him up, etc.?” She was all confused, and he responded, “Oh he’s my brother.” And Noah looks nothing like me, but she accepted it and Noah drove off. Later she asked me if he really was my brother and I had to make up this ridiculous story about how we adopted him or something.   

Me: That’s amazing and it’s going in the blog hahaha. Were there any unexpected challenges to arranging a combination art gallery parkour jam?

Hudson: Um… Hmm… It went pretty smoothly. We were all super worried about having like a hundred parkour people in a super nice art gallery, we thought they were gonna fuck shit up, but everything went great to be honest. There were little things that we thought could have maybe been better, and we’ll take a look at that for the next one, but for the first one it was great. It’s crazy. 

Me: What was the process of choosing which photographers to involve? 

Hudson: It was just people we liked really. Noah was already coming out, so it just made sense to include him, and we love his photography. He is one of my favorite parkour photographers. Casey Wilson is amazing and has an awesome eye. He has a photograph of Egg taken in Minneapolis that I think is just the shit. Emily Ibarra is an OG obviously, she was hyped on it too, it was crazy. Ryan Kelly is an awesome photographer as well, I love his San Fran stuff, we had to get him in. I think some of the Unknown people coming out, like Vincent, were really cool. We reached out to a few artists, and then when it was established that this was happening, people started messaging us and asking if they could get their photos in too. I remember when we were setting up the gallery, Vince’s prints weren’t there, somehow they’d been left at my house. The only person there was my sister, and she couldn’t find it, so we had to send someone all the way back, and they found it in some obscure part of my house. Thankfully it all came together. 

Me: Jams like Discourse have been lauded as culturally significant occasions. What are your thoughts on the impact that events like yours have on the community?

Hudson: I think it’s great haha. I don’t know what else to say. I’m just surprised that everything worked out this well. I think it’s really important that people have the ability to make money from their photography and other things. I hope other people take that into other jams. We want to have another next year. 

Me: I think the idea has caught on, at least a little bit. You have events like Hubbable offering $15 per clip to videographers.

Hudson: I think paying people for their stuff is just a good way to build the awareness of other ways people can make money in parkour. Especially so that people don’t have to just do stupid stunt stuff. 

Me: Do you plan on hosting other events in the future? Hudson: Yeah definitely! 

 

In a world where corporate interests (coughRedBullcough) have proven to interfere with and infect the landscape of our sport, it’s jams like Discourse that give me optimism for the future.  Hudson and the rest of the creative team behind Discourse managed to do something extraordinary with their event. They created a space where art and parkour generously overlap– Discourse is the mature older sibling that other jams should aspire to be, bringing culture to the forefront and benefiting those who use their passions to forever capture and showcase the sport we all love. For more Discourse, check out the video below from Noah Heath aka North Street Boogie.

 


All photos and videos courtesy of Hudson Lehr and Noah Heath