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The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News
July 24, 2006 Edition
(C) 2006 Portland Ice Skating Society
In this issue we spend a night at the opera, look forward to a
night at the theatre, check in on what Tonya has been up to
recently, look at another source for Tonya's skating
performances, dish out another "Jayson" and ask whether
history is repeating itself with the USFSA's treatment of another
TONYA OPERA MAKES PUBLIC DEBUT
Without doubt the biggest Tonya-related story to happen in the
three months since our last issue has been the Tonya & Nancy
opera performed at the Zero Arrow theatre in Cambridge MA.
in early May. Here's a roundup of the comment it has generated:
Tonya's hometown paper, The Oregonian, has a big write up about
the opera. The main feature is a review by Katy Muldoon, which
primarily covers the background as to how the opera came about:
The article concludes with a description of how some members of
the audience held up big white scorecards reading "6.0, 6.0, 6.0,
6.0, 6.0.". Obviously they haven't moved to Code of Points yet in
Other items include:
- details of the cast and a timeline of evvents in Tonya's life:
- some multimedia presentations, one a shoort video clip from the
- and also a slideshow presentation by Exeecutive Editor Peter
Bhatia about Tonya's significance in putting Oregon on the map in
people's minds today (though he does get the date of the clubbing
PHOTOS & VIDEO
Another photo can be found at Yahoo!:
KATU, a Portland TV station, has an item that includes a video
The opera has also received wide coverage internationally. Here's
an interview on the CBC with Abigail Al-Doory about the opera:
Please note that the links to the RealPlayer file of the
interview at the top of the page are completely wrong. The
correct URL is:
which translates to:
The Tonya bit starts about halfway through.
Also from a Canadian site is this lengthy article by the AP:
Favorite quote about Tonya:
"She is the more fascinating character. And, also, it
sounds better to me," librettist Elizabeth Searle said at
rehearsal last weekend. "I don't think there's any way to
look at Tonya's history and not feel some degree of
This may not be the last we see of this production. At the
Nantucket Film Festival in June, Ms. Searle mentioned that agents
are hawking the project on both coasts and spoke of the
possibility of a "making of" documentary. Filmmaker Don Schechter
of Charles River Media Group recorded hours of footage that he
proposes to work into a documentary about the T/N incident.
Schechter also may even have a ready-made soundtrack for his
project: a band by the name of "Hello Monkey" (which is so obscure
it doesn't even score a single relevant Google hit) is apparently
so Tonya/Nancy obsessed it has a CD called "Blades of Steel"
featuring tracks with such titles as "One Blow on the Knee," "Oh,
Oksana" and "Catfight in Lillehammer". "They really want to go
out on tour with us," Searle said in an interview.
Don't expect to see Tonya on tour with the show if attempts to
get financial backing are successful, however. In a recent
interview her opinion was:
"I've only seen bits and pieces, and I really couldn't care less.
You know what? People, get a frigging life. I have better fish to
As for ourselves, we have two comments about it all:
1) We can't believe that they got rid of Shawn Eckardt. I mean,
the guy is a gift from God to a writer. They should have had a
whole aria in which he waxes on about his James Bond lifestyle.
2) The opera sorely needs a sequence in which a Christine
Brennan-type skating journalist gets brutally clubbed to death
with a baseball bat, preferably while some cool, retro 70's pop
music is playing in the background, Tarantino-style (Lena
Zavaroni would be a good choice for this; see http://www.lena-
zavaroni.net. Or perhaps some Mouth & MacNeal). Yes, I know that
this didn't happen in real life, but since the opera doesn't
claim to be factual the writers should exercise a bit of artistic
license here and indulge skating fans fantasies.
MORE TONYA THEATRICS
Perhaps inspired by the opera, the Neo-Futurarium theater in
Chicago is staging a Tonya-related performance later this week
as part of its "Bride of the Neo-Futurarium" season:
"Bride of the Neo-Futurarium" is an event where actors perform
readings of scripts from bad movies. One of the films being
featured in the current season is the 1994 TV movie "Tonya &
Nancy - The Inside Story", the performance of which will take
place on July 27th at 8:00pm.
The director, Logan Kibens, is described as having been "once an
obsessive Kerrigan fan" while as Neo-Futurists Dina Connolly and
Sharon Greene star as Tonya & Nancy respectively.
As the director is apparently a rabid Nancyboy we don't expect
the interpretation to be sympathetic to Tonya. On the other hand,
it seems to suggest he's no longer a fan, so perhaps it might be.
The Neo-Futurarium is located at:
5153 N. Ashland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640-2831
Show Hotline: 773-275-5255
Office/Administrative Phone: 773-878-4557
if you wish to attend.
POOR HEALTH CAUSES CANCELLATION OF TONYA APPEARANCE IN CLEVELAND
It's been a quiet few months for Tonya herself, who has
unfortunately been plagued with health problems.
Last month, for instance, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported how
Tonya was forced to cancel a planned visit to that city for the
International Sports & Entertainment Festival at the convention
center. Tonya called promoter Bob Ibach the Thursday before the
weekend convention after having been hospitalized the previous
day due to contact with somebody who was sick.
"She sounded horrible on the phone," Ibach said. "She said the
doctor advised her not to fly. She was very apologetic."
Tonya's agent Linda Lewis also informs us that Tonya did do an
interview last month for an episode of a show called "Where Are
They Now?" for Australia's Seven Network.
In a May interview with Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune,
Tonya also expressed the possibility that her pro boxing career
may be over: "I'm at only 63 percent (breathing capacity), and it
hasn't gotten any better than 65 percent". "I'm taking
medication, but the immune system doesn't get any better, and I'm
fighting colds all the time. Even if I don't fight again, at
least I had a good run".
Tonya has, however, managed to lose 29 pounds (13 kilos) over the
past few months as she attempts to shed the weight increase
caused by her medication. "Lots of salads, walking and jogging
five days a week," she says. "I want to look good."
On the subject of the GSN documentary her comment was: "People
got to see me as me, instead of how others see me".
Tonya concludes the interview on an upbeat note: "I've been
waiting so long for something good to happen to me". "I'm feeling
better about me. I'm looking forward to what's coming in the
THE T-FILES: PART 3 - YOUTUBE
In the third part of our series about sources for Tonya skating
footage, we look at a site that has become one of the hottest on
the net in the past few months - YouTube.com.
YouTube is a service that allows people to upload short videos,
and there are quite a few of Tonya, around 60 or so when we last
checked (and none of them you-know-what).
To save them, you can use http://zfreez.com/web/Ut.htm.
Alternatively, you can fish them out of the computer's cache.
In IE: look in the computer's cache folders (typically in
c:\windows\temporary internet files\ unless you've moved it
somewhere else) for a file of several megs whose name begins with
"get_video" (e.g. get_video, get-video, etc).
In Firefox or Mozilla: hey, if you're using this you're obviously
a computer geek, so you don't need us to tell you what to do.
When you've found them, copy them to a suitable location, then
rename them to somereallydecriptivename.flv
In order to play them, you'll need a Flash Video player. Two that
we have found that work for us are the Riva FLV player
(http://rivavx.de/index.php?downloads&L=3) and the Wimpy FLV
The Wimpy player, which is available for both Mac and Windows,
works off the browser's Flash plugin and seems to work best, but
it's interface is, well, rather wimpy, and there doesn't appear
to be anyway to associate it with FLV files so that they will
open by clicking on them. The Riva player can do this, but it's
Windows only, playback seems jerkier on slow machines and it
doesn't seem to play some later versions of the FLV format.
A "JAYSON" FOR THE AUSSIES?
Readers of the Portlandian will know that every few months we
dish out what we've dubbed the "Jayson Awards" for examples of
shoddy Tonya-related "journalism". Well, a prime candidate for
one has to be this article in the Sydney Morning Herald by
Dominic Knight. He's reviewing one of those celebrities-falling-
down-on-ice-type reality shows that seem to be the rage these
He gets off to a bad start when he can't even get past the title
without screwing things up - he makes the classic skating newbie
mistake of mis-spelling Christopher Dean's name with an "e" on
the end, which of course instantly reveals him to skating fans as
a totally clueless idiot who doesn't know one end of an ice skate
from another. Then he launches into the standard anti-Tonya
twaddle with the following quote:
Is all this implausible? Not judging by my favourite
celebrity humiliation-fest – Celebrity Boxing, from the
redoubtable Fox network in the US. Who wouldn't want to
watch Danny Partridge taking on Greg Brady? Even better was
Willis from Diff'rent Strokes beating the crap out of
Vanilla Ice. Capped off with Bill Clinton's "friend" Paula
Jones getting hammered by Tonya Harding – who's clearly
extremely violent, given her plot to injure Nancy Kerrigan.
Unfortunately there's no prize for getting a "Jayson". We don't
give out tacky-looking Oscar(R) knockoff-type statuettes. But I'd
certainly suggest that one prize that should be awarded would be
for the reporter to be assigned as a war correspondent to Baghdad
for 12 months, preferably dressed in a tee shirt with one of
those Danish cartoons printed on the front.
COMPULSORY FIGURES: IS JOHNNY WEIR GETTING "TONYA'ED" BY THE
Back in April, a strange report appeared on a blog site called
"Deadspin" about an interesting omission in the publicity
material for the upcoming U.S. figure skating nationals in
Spokane, WA. next year:
The report noted that although the official brochure and web site
for the event had been released, current U.S. men's champion
Johnny Weir was nowhere in sight on either of them! The report
also pointed out that every other major skater - Kwan (who didn't
compete at the Olympics, Worlds or the 2006 Nationals), Cohen,
Meissner, Belbin & Agosto and Evan Lysacek - were represented,
but not Weir, despite the fact he has held the title for the past
An oversight? Or something more sinister? The Deadspin writer
certainly thought so, saying:
Word within skating circles is that the USFSA is hoping to
replace Weir as mens representative for the sport with
Lysacek, whom they deem more 'socially acceptable',
regardless of the fact that he is nowhere near the artist
or technician that Weir is. I can't think of another sport
where authorities have this kind of power over the career
of the athlete regardless of their talent and record.
The story was quickly picked up by other media, including the NY
Daily News, who unsuccessfully tried to contact the USFSA, but
did report that a small picture of Johnny was hastily pasted into
the site a couple of days later.
Some people on rssif wanted to give the skating establishment the
benefit of the doubt. After all, it was possible that the site
was prepared by some web designer who knew nothing about skating
and who just picked a bunch of photos they thought looked nice,
and Johnny dipped out. Which sounds like a credible explanation
at first. But apparently his picture was also omitted from the
brochure, and neither was he mentioned in the written copy for
either the brochure or the site. And one assumes that someone on
the organizing committee (if not even the USFSA itself) would
have to sign off on the site and the brochure before they got
released, so if it was an oversight, it's a pretty big and high-
level one. Who did they have proofreading this stuff before they
approved it - Stevie Wonder?
Weir has been a controversial champion, well-known for making
headline-grabbing remarks. And although Weir has never formally
issued a statement about his sexual orientation, it's genearally
believed by skating fans that if he's not gay then the moon is
also made of green cheese.
Weir has also said one thing that definitely won't win him any
friends in Colorado Springs: he's a Tonyaphile. In a recent
interview with delawareonline.com he was asked:
Clear your mind and answer: Nancy Kerrigan or Tonya
Definitely Tonya. She was the first American to land a triple
axel in an international competition and she wasn't a
completely bad person.
When the reigning US men's champ suddenly turns into the
invisible man overnight, you've got to start asking questions.
Deadspin's source is supposedly some skating insider who claims
there is a conspiracy inside U.S. figure skating to get rid of
Weir. If so, it would be entirely consistent with claims that Jon
Jackson makes in his "On Edge" book that there is a deliberate if
unofficial policy by the USFSA to "de-fag" the sport's image by
getting rid of anybody who is too "flamboyant" (translation: too
gay-looking) for their taste. If you stay in the closet you'll be
tolerated, it seems, but start skating to the theme from
"Brokeback Mountain" or a medley of hits by Bronski Beat and
you'll be on thin ice.
If this is correct, then it would seem that history may be
repeating itself, with the USFSA using the same tactics against
Weir that it used against Tonya when she wouldn't fit their
image. We'll leave the last word on this to the Falls Church News
Press in Virginia, who wrote in a lengthy article on the
possible anti-Weir campaign (http://www.fcnp.com/608/weir.htm):
But there is a mood in the Internet world now that is
incensed at the very notion of powerful, vested self-
interest establishment types trying to screw over those who
don't like to play by their rules, even if they have the
talent to be the best. The very American notion of fair play
and respect for individuality runs very deep in this land, and
every bit as much for fans of figure skating.
Therefore, there is no mistaking the rumblings of an on-line
organized boycott of U.S. figure skating events in the coming
season short of credible assurances that the leaked reports
are either not true, or that steps have been taken to correct
the problem they exposed.
GETTING STONED - PART TWO
Last issue we asked what the connection was between Tonya and the
The answer is: Mick Jagger was in a film called "Freejack" in
1992 with Emilio Estevez (the director, Geoff Murphy, is a Kiwi,
by the way). Emilio's uncle Joe Estevez played "Grey", the hitman
in the low-budget gangster film "Breakaway" that Tonya had a bit
part in in 1994.
There's also a second connection between Tonya and the Stones:
Tonya's ex-agent Michael Rosenberg was involved in organizing
some of their tours back many years ago.
Seems it's hard to avoid the Tonya connection no matter who
you're talking about.
VISIT THESE GREAT TONYA WEB SITES:
PortIce - http://www.geocities.com/portice
David House - http://www.tonyaharding.org
Charlie Main - http://www.charliesweb.com/tonya/tonya.html
Puppetboy - http://www.tonyaharding.us/tonya/
Valerie Smith - http://www.olywa.net/radu/valerie/LilHam.html
Swan Lake - http://members.tripod.com/~TonyaHarding/index.html
Blades of Gold - http://members.tripod.com/tmhfan/index.html
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