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Carmageddon: 'Planking' the 405 Freeway

July 17, 2011 |  4:55 pm

Planking Stephen Estes, 23, saw the empty 405 Freeway as an opportunity to start "planking." LA Now reached the USC graduate shortly after he struck this pose (and before he tweeted about it) to discuss what appears to be the first "Carmageddon plank."

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in Los Angeles and I'm an entrepreneur. I started a vitamin company.

Can you explain what "planking" is, other than a yoga pose that imitates a board?

Planking is essentially to lay flat down with your arms pointed straight and your legs straight, in a unique geographic location. If it’s been done before, it’s not cool. All over the world people are planking on stairs and mountains, at Wal-mart -- the goal is just to keep it unique.

So what would not be considered unique?

Like on top of a car -- that’s been done before. [See Editor's note at the bottom]

You always name the plank. I called this the “Carmageddon plank.”

What other places have you planked?

I have never done it before. I saw the opportunity when we were driving down Sunset and I ran over and did it.

How did you get on the 405 Freeway given all the closures?

All the other entrances were closed but at Sunset we were able to get on so I just hopped on and we grabbed a shot while I could.

You say "we," who else was there?

I was there with my mother. She took the photo.

What does your mother do?

She's an author and philanthropist, Donna Estes Antebi.

Los Angeles Clipper Blake Griffin apparently just started planking, but other celebrities have gone much further, such as actress Rosario Dawson, who planked on an elephant and on Jimmy Kimmel's desk during his late-night talk show.

Are there particularly cool "planks" you have spotted online?

I don’t think any I have seen are as epic as this [Carmageddon plank]. But there are some where people planked on escalators, or where a professional soccer player falls on the ball into a plank position, which was kind of an inside joke to people who know what planking is.

I think it’s time to take this movement to another, more epic, level.

Some people have attempted to plank atop buildings or other hazardous places and died -- particularly in Australia, where planking has become a craze. Is planking dangerous?

The key is obviously to be safe. In my scenario, despite how seemingly unsafe it looks, there really were no cars coming.

Did anybody try to stop you?

No one was telling us we couldn’t be out there.

What’s next?

I guess I’m going to have to top this one. I guess I’ll have to find the next Carmageddon.

Well, you know, the demolition crews are expected to return in about 11 months to demolish the other half of the Mulholland bridge...

It won’t be unique then. This is my official debut.


Carmageddon ends: 405 Freeway reopens

Why drivers stayed off the roads during Carmageddon

Carmageddon: JetBlue passengers, race participants describe experience

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

[Editor's note: Planking cars can, in some cases, get you arrested or injured, especially if the car happens to be moving or a police cruiser. Some have also criticized planking as offensive, saying it imitates the way slaves were packed into plank beds inside ships.]

Photo: Stephen Estes, 23, planks on the 405 Freeway just before the 'Carmageddon' closure came to an end Sunday. Credit:  Donna Estes Antebi.

Videos: Actress Rosario Dawson planks on Jimmy Kimmel's desk.  Credit: TMZ.  In Australia, where planking has become a fad, visitors at a Melbourne mall climb atop the escalator railing to strike the plank pose. Credit: YouTube.

You say "we," who else was there?

I was there with my mother. She took the photo.

What does your mother do?

She's an author and philanthropist, Donna Estes Antebi. She has a book, you can find it on Amazon.com called "The Real Secrets Women Only Whisper." She kind of has an online following. She also lives in Los Angeles.