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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.
TONYA SPEAKS AT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CLINIC FUNDRAISER
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
TONYA ON RUPAUL - MISSING IN ACTION?
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
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 INSTAGRAM ROUNDUP
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?
STILL REMEMBERING THE ALAMO
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):
- 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
- 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 INSPIRES TWO POP CULTURE MASHUPS
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
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:
MORE TONYA-INSPIRED CREATIONS
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 - https://www.instagram.com/p/BgG9oPolT81/
Josetrekkie-draft - https://www.instagram.com/p/BgCh_bYFZJZ/
Tonya slouching in a chair has proven popular:
Tophun1986 - https://www.instagram.com/p/BgE7rtND-4n/
Julia Leon - https://www.instagram.com/p/BnJ9RB4A8Rk/
Jose Hortas - pays tribute to Margot with this minimalist design:
kaleigh.ford - "I,Tonya" skate & cigarette poster:
Cesar Escher - another film poster. Well, at least he's got an
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.
Dixon Place - (Toe Pick)
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
"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!)
THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME?
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.
CHRISTINE, THE STRAWBERRY GIRL - CHRISTINE, BANANA-SPLIT LADY...
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
So Christine, this Jayson's for you. Sorry we took so long. But
see it as a kind of belated lifetime achievement award.
VISIT THESE GREAT TONYA WEB SITES:
PortIce - http://www.pdxiss.org
David House - http://www.tonyaharding.org
Charlie Main - http://www.charliesweb.com/tonya/tonya.html
Puppetboy - http://www.usapaul.net/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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