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Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: October 7, 8:56 PM ET
The Half Cab and Skart Rock

Steve Caballero
Steve Caballero celebrates 20 years of the Half Cab shoe by playing with the Agent Orange.

With 2012 marking the 20th anniversary of the release of the Vans Half Cab, Steve Caballero's been busy coordinating a variety of projects celebrating the longevity and cultural cachet of his classic signature shoe -- including, most recently, the launch of a limited-edition Metallica model. Thursday's Half Cab charity auction at the House of Vans (HOV) in Brooklyn, New York, however, took the artist-collaboration concept from the creative sphere to the nonprofit world.

Hand-selected by Cab himself, 20 artists ranging from Taka Hayashi to Dirty Donny to Mofo and more were given a pair of natural-canvas Half Cabs to modify with their own vision. The finished shoes -- displayed at the HOV Thursday night as part of an anniversary party that included bands, barbecue and the "Twenty" photo exhibit curated by Lance Dawes -- are currently up for auction on eBay through Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. Proceeds benefit the A.skate Foundation, which provides autistic children a judgment-free creative outlet through skateboarding and which, much like the Half Cab itself, has seen support from both within and outside of the skateboard industry.

The scene at the House of Vans was a reflection of skateboarding's colorful history and a gathering of luminaries seldom seen in New York. Getting these personalities together in California might be common, but packing a Brooklyn warehouse with Hosoi, MoFo, Bryce Kanights, Chris Miller, Mike McGill, Jeff Grosso, Lance Mountain and even Billy Waldman -- who power-slid in front of me twice and said "Sorry, yo!" -- speaks to Cab's status in skateboarding.

Cab's always been passionate about music and is even credited with introducing the skate scene to Metallica, so a full-on skate-rock bill was assembled with G.F.P. (featuring Tony Alva), the Drunk Injuns (featuring Mofo) and Agent Orange, who recently added a new member: Steve Caballero. But even the biggest stars have their own idols: "When Cab told me he was joining the band," said Alva, "I told him to go out and buy a new rig and practice like hell: you're playing in Agent Orange now!"

It was a room of legends celebrating an icon. From the masked theatrics of the Drunk Injuns to the anthemic surf punk of Agent Orange, the show felt like it was taking place in the flat bottom of a ramp in Anytown, USA, in the '80s. In between sets, autograph seekers scurried amidst a barrage of camera flashes, but it wasn't fanning out; it felt like a family reunion. Everyone just hadn't met their distant cousins yet.

Even at this point in his storied career, however, Cab feels like he's living a highlight reel: "This year is definitely the year of the dragon. I was born in 1964, the year of the dragon, it's 2012, the year of the dragon, and it's been one of the most amazing years in my whole skate career. The 20th-year celebration of the shoe, the Bones Brigade movie coming out, playing with one of my favorite bands [Agent Orange] and having a collaboration with another favorite in Metallica: it's just been awesome."