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The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News

July 15, 2019 Edition
(C) 2019 Portland Ice Skating Society

Hot on the heels of our "Worst Cooks" special, we have another 
edition. While we've all been watching "Worst Cooks" over the 
past few months, Tonya's been quite busy doing other things, so 
let's get stuck into it. We've got a report from the Domestic 
Violence Clinic fundraiser that she attanded back in March, a few 
Instagram posts from Tonya, a recording from Tonya's appearance 
at the South Lamar Alamo a few months back, and some more Tonya-
themed artworks. We'll finish up with an overdue remedy for a 
too-long oversight with our Jayson awards, and give perhaps a 
taste of something to come in the near future.


Back in February we reported that Tonya would be speaking at a 
fundraiser for the University of Oregon Domestic Violence Clinic 
in Eugene on March 14th. The Clinic is part of the University's 
School of Law and provides free legal services for students and 
low-income people who are victims of domestic violence, sexual 
assault or stalking.

Since then, several articles about Tonya's appearance at this 
event have turned up. The first two are from the University's own 
sites and feature interviews with Merle Weiner, the clinic's 

It's the first time Tonya has given a speech on this topic - 
Weiner decided to invite her after seeing "I, Tonya" and is 
excited to hear her message of hope and the importance of asking 
for help. "This is really a story that needs to be heard more, 
this background that [Tonya Harding] has with violence," Weiner 
said. "She was a low-income survivor like so many of our clients 
— she could be one of our clients."

The second article contains more information about the Clinic and 
part of an interview with Tonya:

   When Merle Weiner, Domestic Violence Clinic director and 
   Philip H. Knight Professor in the School of Law, approached 
   Harding and told her about the work being done by the clinic, 
   Harding said she knew she wanted to be involved. For most of 
   her life, Harding experienced domestic violence, and for the 
   first time she wanted to use her platform to bring awareness 
   to the issue.

Not everybody was happy about Tonya's invitation: "U of O you can 
do better than this!"; and "Um. Excuse me. This is insulting to 
survivors" were some of the cooments received after the 
announcement, according to The Oregonian. But despite this, 
Weiner decided that Tonya was the right speaker for the event - 
because, as she puts it, "No one deserves to be a victim of 
domestic violence – ever". Weiner sees Tonya as complex and 
resilient, and as someone who is still dealing with the long-
lasting impacts of abuse:

This link below contains the full interview. But be warned - it 
contains some pretty intense stuff, including discussion of 
suicide and sexual abuse:

And here's their "I, Tonya" review from a few months ago as well:

On a more upbeat note, Tonya has posted a photo on Instagram from 
her appearance at the Clinic:

   This is Sam hey me and the girls hanging out Sam, Anika, Abbey 
   and Baylee at The Domestic Violence Clinic in Eugene Oregon go 

Another Instagram user has also posted a photo of their encounter 
with Tonya at the event:

   Had a great Thursday night at The 20th Annual Gala and 
   Fundraiser for the Domestic Violence Clinic in Eugene. Met 
   Tonya Harding, talked with Jenny from Silvan Ridge Winery (and 
   tasted their delicious Malbec) and checked out all of the 
   wonderful auction items that Willamette Valley Vineyards 
   generously donated.


If "Worst Cooks" wasn't enough for us (and since when can we have 
enough Tonya?), we had more good news back in April - or so we 
thought - when two short clips were posted on YouTube of Tonya 
being interviewed by RuPaul Charles on the set of his upcoming 
chat show. These were filmed last year and were the first new 
video footage of Tonya we'd seen since "Worst Cooks" (which was 
shot in July) - and it's pleasing to see she's looking better 
than ever!

RuPaul's show aired for a three-week pilot season on selected Fox 
stations last month, and Tonyaphiles eagerly awaited a chance to 
see the full interview - but much to our disappointment, Tonya 
was nowhere to be found! All the episodes have now been uploaded 
to RuPaul's YouTube channel, but no Tonya:

We very much hope that the full interview will make it's way out 
into the world eventually, either because the show gets picked up 
for a full run, or that it will be uploaded at some stage.

It wasn't the only time Tonya was MIA recently - an appearance at 
a sports memorabilia convention in Chantilly, VA. at the end of 
March was also canceled at the last minute. Fortunately, you'll 
be pleased to know that it was not because of any family crisis 
affecting Tonya, just some business issues.


Tonya's been active on Instagram over the past few months. At 
Easter, we were treated to a great photo of Tonya decorating 
Easter eggs for her family and friends. We'd much rather have the 
Tonya Bunny instead of the Easter Bunny!

In April, Tonya posted a commemorative message on Instagram to 
mark the tenth anniversary of the passing of her father Al. 
Although her father sometimes had to leave home to find work, he 
never completely disappeared from her life as was implied in the 
movie and remained in contact with her by phone even when he 
wasn't there in person:

Our photos page also contains some pictures of Tonya scattering 
her father's ashes in a nearby river in May 2009.

She also marked Father's Day with what appears to be a previously 
unseen photo of her and her dad. From the look of I'd say it was 
probably taken sometime in the early - mid 90's:

Proving that she's a dab hand in the woodwork shop, Tonya has 
also made this wooden cabinet:

Most recently, Tonya has posted this photo of herself all dressed 
up for Independence Day! Who needs firecrackers to celebrate the 
4th of July when you've got Tonya instead?


More material from Tonya's appearance at the Alamo Drafthouse at 
South Lamar back in August last year continues to show up. Here's 
a recording of the full 27 minutes of Tonya's post screening 
interview (audio only):

Highlights include:

- Tonya describes landing the 3 Axel: "like 320 pounds of 
pressure on one foot, and everything in your body goes 
'uuuuhhh' - and then you go 'Yesss!!!!'".

- the effects of the movie on her life: "this movie has truly 
brought my life back to where it was before". It enables people 
to meet her and see what she's truly like. "Truly an amazing 
feeling when the truth does come out". "My son will grow up 
knowing his mommy's not a cheater. That's the most important 

- Describes how the movie came about. Had five 2 to 3 hour I/V's 
with Rogers. Describes watching the film with producer Bryan 
Unkeless the first time: "I frickin' laughed my ass off! I wished 
I coulda done some things, in that movie that I couldn't, or 
didn't, or wouldn't". "If you walk out of the movie feeling like 
I did, then it's a success".

- Dancing With The Stars: "when I got that call I frickin' 
cried". Found skating hindered her dancing, because she can't 
glide like you can on ice.

- explains how she met her husband at a karaoke bar.

- differences between film in real life - never shot at Jeff with 
a shotgun, mother never smoked on ice - glad that "Sharp Edges" 
has resurfaced as it backs up her claims of mother beating her. 
Dad left for work at 15, not 11, but never truly left her. 
Learned she was on Oprah the same day her dad died.

- people have written to Tonya saying "my daughter wanted to 
commit suicide, but she saw a special on you, and realized 'if 
you can do it, so can I'".

- favorite skating song, "Wild Thing" by Tone Loc.

- favorite costume she made herself - white costume, v-neck, 
iridescent, fluffy sleeves and fluffy skirt.

- favorite one of all - 1991 Skate America LP, white with gold - 
"I designed that".

- favorite activities: "hunting, fishing, 4WD, my husband and 
son, loves landscaping, anything to do with outside,...tractors, 
trucks... beer, belt buckles."

- how has figure skating evolved? "you can skate to anything you 
want" - Tonya reckons new Code of Points system fairer as it's 
more objective.

- was told she couldn't have kids because of medication and 
accidents on the ice.

- once you apologize, it should be done, shouldn't have to do it 
over and over.

- How has life changed since the movie? Happy, DWTS, (hints about 
Worst Cooks, unaware that it had already been announced). "I get 
to meet all these new people all the time, hold my head up high, 
and walk around, and go yeah, I am her, I am Tonya!"

Tonya then finishes off by autographing a guy's girlfriend's 


Tonya has always been a muse for artists, and the trend has 
accelerated in recent months since the release of "I, Tonya". 
Recently it's produced two interesting mash-ups:

If you've ever wondered what would happen if you combined 
"Portlandia" with an R-rated version of The Muppets, you don't 
need to any longer. The result is "Avenue PDX", a spinoff from an 
earlier puppet show called "Avenue Q". And yes, there's some 
Tonya in there:

As the Oregonian reviewer says:

   "It’s hard to beat a puppet version of Tonya Harding singing 
    'you’re worse than Jeff Gillooly' to Jack, as he reaches the 
    rock bottom of his shaming. That’s just savage."

Meanwhile, what do you get if you cross two cult movies: "I, 
Tonya" and Paul Verhoeven's "Showgirls"? Why, "I, Nomi" of 

Although as raunchy as you'd expect, the show also features a 
feminist message according to performer April Kidwell:

   In a world where females are often portrayed as two-
   dimensional, Kidwell says that both the fictional Nomi and the 
   real-life Harding share complex characteristics: “They do 
   things wrong. They’re fallible.”

   Kidwell points out that Harding, Berkley and the film 
   Showgirls have all been demonized in the past. But she says 
   they’re all experiencing a public reappraisal, from which a 
   more nuanced story can be told. “I feel grateful to be a part 
   of that. And to help shift the conversation and be more 
   accepting of women who have flaws. We’re all humans, and 
   hopefully, we all choose to grow.”

"I, Nomi" recently finished playing in Vegas (where the original 
film was set), at the Majestic Repertory Theatre. It's also 
coming to coming to NYC on July 25, 26, & 28th. And yes, the 
people behind the THNK1994 museum (who are big fans of both Tonya 
and Showgirls) have been informed of it and are going. For more 
details, visit:

And if you're a Tonyaphile in the Washington DC area who *still* 
hadn't got around to seeing "I, Tonya" yet, or you just wanted to 
see it again (and who doesn't?), there was still a chance to 
catch it on the big screen. On Wednesday, July 10, it was the 
subject of an outdoor screening on the corner of First & Pierce. 
And what's even better? The price - it was completely free! So 
there really was no excuse for not going along:


Earlier this year saw a Tonya-inspired multimedia dance 
presentation by Kota Ezawa on display at the Herron Galleries at 
Perdue University in Indianapolis:

Simply entitled "Tonya", it consists of three giant video screens 
showing a digital animation of choreographer James Kirby Rogers 
recreating Tonya's Lillehammer Long Program, shot from three 
different angles. The soundtrack incorporates not only the 
"Jurassic Park" music but also the audio commentary from the 
original routine as well:

   "Taken down from its pedastal, dance in Tonya is the 
   expression of a blurred identity, a shifting mirror that 
   obscures who the portrayed subject is, or could be," explains 
   the German-born Ezawa in the wall text. "Removed from their 
   original contexts, the images and the sound are more memorable 
   in their isolation and simplicity. Rogers becomes a symbolic 

The reviewer wasn't completely convinced that the whole thing 
really said anything, but it did evoke some sympathy from him for 

   "I also thought of the tragedy of it all when it all goes   
   awry, as in the case of the disgraced figure skater Tonya 

And as far as we're concerned, any artwork that does that 
deserves to be in the Louvre right next to the Mona Lisa.

We've also come across more Tonya fan-art on Instagram:

Josetrekkie -
Josetrekkie-draft -

Tonya slouching in a chair has proven popular:
Tophun1986 -
Julia Leon -

Jose Hortas - pays tribute to Margot with this minimalist design: - "I,Tonya" skate & cigarette poster:

Cesar Escher - another film poster. Well, at least he's got an 
artist's name:

Itzel Hdz (americangoldfiinch) of Saltillo, Mexico, has two cool 
cartoon drawings of Tonya:

Amanda Albert - "Break a leg! Here’s another design I did for 
GRIME WAVE. Makes for a great card."

NotesOnFilm - film - another smoking Tonya

Felix Espejo - "Just watched @itonyamovie Pretty good. So 

Esther Sitver - two drawings of Tonya skating:

not_an_arttist - watercolor of the mirror scene

thesonnysite - Lillehammer Tonya, plus three others:

Angeline McCrory (somedaysangeline)

RubyRubyDoobie - Valentine's Day card

sjdoodlez - cute cartoon Tonya:

Aleksandra - "this lady has been stealing all my recent nights"

Tonya's triple axel has proven inspirational for many:

Joshua Hagler takes the abstract approach with "Triple Axel 
(Letter to Tonya H.)", mixed media on canvas, 2018. At 96 x 102 
in, or around 2.5m square, it's a big bugger:

An earlier, smaller version:

"Triple Axel (Letter to Tonya H.) v.1" ink, oil on polyester film 
mounted on wood panel, 2018 18 x 24 in. (46 x 61 cm)

Ankita Athalye - triple axel Tonya

Arichanart - 3 axel sketches

Lil Icon - a Guns 'n' Roses fan has created this diptych entitled 
"Triple axel/Triple axl" (get it?) - click on the arrow to see 
the second part.

veron nikki - no I don't know what the goat thing is.

Carol Santana

Dixon Place - (Toe Pick)

Dana magicdanna_draw

MagicDanna - Tonya, Jeff, LaVona

Ryan Gajda - 3 faces of Tonya. "And I thought Margot was 
brilliant - she's so good at controlling her expressions. So I 
thought I'd draw her three times."

Zaina badaxxartist - this infrared heatmap picture of crying 
Tonya is a tribute to "Tonya" by Brockhampton. "This is my 
favorite song on Iridescence". Done in the style of the album 

arpoot - This is a painting inspired by the legendary figure 
skater who’s also my role model in skating @therealtonyaharding

Sadie Art - line drawing of Tonya at Albertville

Whitney L. Anderson - "Tonya vs Nancy Democracy edition" - 18x24” 
colored pencil. This appears to be some political thing: Tonya in 
blue = Democrats, Nancy in red = Republicans? Would explain why 
the dresses are the colors they are. If so, they obviously don't 
realize Tonya's a Republican:

Karyn Peters (younique_art1) has created a color pencil sketch 
and animated gif of Tonya. 

Karyn says she's a "Big fan of the movie because it doesn't shy 
away from the truth of abuse. I myself went through it and her 
courage motivates me to keep going and do my best. In my opinion 
everyone is entitled to mistakes in life cause no one is perfect 
and can only imagine how much pressure she was under. The 
olympics isn't play play it's about representing a country. She 
is definitely a talented - ice skater it's a shame we only got to 
see her when she was at her peak in her career. Who knows if she 
continued there might have been more hidden potential but guess 
there is a reason for everything."

Studio Bolide, of Paris, France did this for Tonya's birthday 
last year:

"L'important dans la vie, c'est de savoir redresser la barre" 
(The important thing in life is knowing how to get back on 

"Aujourd'hui nous fêtons l'anniversaire de Tonya Harding. 48 
années remplies de triple axels, barres de fer, lacets cassés, 
gants de boxe et de danses avec des stars... Une vie déjà bien 
remplie en somme!" (Today we are celebrating Tonya Harding's 
birthday. 48 years filled with triple axels, iron bars, broken 
laces, boxing gloves and dances with stars ... A life already 
filled in sum!)


Recently one of our Special Duties Section operatives in England 
alerted us to the following Instagram post:

According to our operative, the account also previously had a 
clip of Tonya "in a posh red suit and ice skates walking around 
in what looked like an office", but this has since been removed. 
The only clue as to what might be going on here is this rather 
cryptic comment from Tonya herself, which reads:

   I would like to thank all of you who were on the set for the 
   film shoot today it was truly amazing you all were wonderful 
   and you all made me wonderful thank you very much

The account owner is one Jere Warren, who works as a Social 
Advertising Manager for Conversion IA, an ad agency in Brentwood, 

So could we be seeing Tonya in some kind of advertising campaign 
soon? If so, the fact that advertisers no longer see her as toxic 
to their brand would be quite gratifying and mark another major 
milestone on Tonya's road to public rehabilitation.


Long before the term "fake news" entered the public lexicon, 
Tonya was a victim of it, and regular readers of "The 
Portlandian" will know that every so often we mark these pathetic 
journalistic efforts with something called the "Jayson" awards. 
But these have nothing to do with with a maniac running around in 
a hockey mask hacking up slutty cheerleaders with a chainsaw. 
Rather, these are named in (dis)honor of a New York Times 
reporter by the name of Jayson Blair who was discovered to have 
fabricated many of his stories a few years ago.

It's been a while since we've dished out any Jaysons; thanks to 
"I, Tonya" we're pleased to report that the attacks on Tonya's 
character that were a regular occurence even just a couple of 
years ago have now largely dried up, with an almost 180-degree 
change in attitude by the media. Nevertheless, there are still 
some occasional lapses - and recently we saw a big one. So this 
issue we've had to dig deep in the Special Duties Section's vault 
and drag out this monstrosity that we hoped we'd consigned to 
history's trash can.

In case you haven't already guessed, it concerns Mariah Bell, an 
American figure skater who was accused of deliberately slicing 
rival Korean skater Eunsoo Lim with her skate blade during a 
practice at Worlds back in March. The incident was widely 
reported, from the US to the UK to Canada and New Zealand, with 
the inevitable comparison to the earlier "Incident" from back in 

It was all a big beat-up by Lim's agent to get cheap publicity - 
as Christine Brennan explains in her article below, Bell had the 
right of way, and probably didn't even realize she'd made 
contact. The idea that a skater would deliberately crash into 
another skater to take them out is about as sensible as a driver 
in the Indy 500 purposely crashing into a competitor during the 
warm-up lap - they'd cause as much damage to themselves as to 
their rival. It didn't take long for the ISU to clear Bell of any 

Any of these articles would easily take out the Jayson for their 
pointless, irrelevant and desperate attempts at trying to drag 
Tonya into this non-event. But we think that one effort stands 
head and shoulders above all others, and it's from a writer with 
a long history of anti-Tonya slurs who, strangely enough, has 
never "won" a Jayson. It's a situation that is long overdue to be 
remedied, and we'll take this opportunity to do so now.

She just can't help herself, can she? As soon as we saw the title 
and the author, we knew there'd be a cheap shot at Tonya in 
there. As it turns out, she couldn't even make it past the first 
paragraph. Yes, even by the abysmal standards of Christine 
Brennan, the queen of Tonyaphobic "alternative facts", this is a 
new low. Plus, given that Brennan was pointing out that the 
collision was NOT deliberate, it makes her mention of Tonya even 
more irrelevant.

So Christine, this Jayson's for you. Sorry we took so long. But 
see it as a kind of belated lifetime achievement award.


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