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

October 19, 2019 Edition
(C) 2019 Portland Ice Skating Society

Welcome to another edition of "The Portlandian". There's not much 
Tonya news on the radar at the moment, so we thought we'd take 
this opportunity to play catch-up on a lot of odds and ends that 
have built up over the past few months. We have some news about 
more rock opera performances, confirm a long-standing Tonya rumor 
(and debunk a more recent one), and look at the cars of "I, 
Tonya". We also dig up some old Tonya skating performances - and 
reveal how decisions made by a bunch of engineers designing a TV 
system back in the fifties resulted in "I, Tonya" getting the 
color of one of her costumes wrong - and mull a foray into local 
body politics.


Tonya has already proven she can dance and cook, having appeared 
on two "reality" series over the past few months, "Dancing With 
The Stars" and "Worst Cooks In America". Now there's speculation 
she may be adding singing to the list by appearing in a third.

The past few days have seen a rumor floating around that Tonya 
may be the Penguin character on the Fox show "The Masked Singer", 
an Idol-type singing contest featuring celebrities disguised in 
costumes. This theory stems from several clues that feature in 
two videos:

Certainly some of the clues seem to fit ("I was told I was not 
pretty enough, smart enough...", "career is over", references to 
ice and "getting colder"), and the hit list contains things like 
"exes" and "the press". In addition, the scene of the Penguin 
sitting in front of a mirror could be seen as referencing the 
similar one in "I, Tonya". However, only one of the clues, 
"career on ice" could be seen as specifically referring to an ice 
skater, and only if taken literally. The rest could apply to 
dozens of people.

Against this, references to "funny enough" and "comedy club 
owners" tend to suggest a comedian - and Tonya may well have 
reason to dislike comedians who have for years made her the butt 
of their jokes, but would seem to have nothing against the club 

We think the most credible of the various theories is that it's a 
woman called Sherri Shepherd from "The View". The references to 
"permission slip", "Jesus came first" and "secretary" apparently 
specifically fit various things she's said and done over the 
years. Plus, she's described as a comedian in Wikipedia. On the 
other hand, we can't think of how any of that stuff connects to 

Still, when it comes to Tonya, "any publicity is good 
publicity" - at least if it's positive. If the speculation keeps 
Tonya's name in the public's mind, why should Tonyaphiles care if 
it's completely off track?


New performances of "Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera" are in the 
works for the new year. February will see it make its debut in 
Florida, an event that's gonna be the coolest thing to hit the 
Sunshine State since Miami Vice. And a 2020/2021 tour is also 

The Florida performances will be directed by Mark Danni and take 
place at TheatreZone in Naples on the following dates:

   7:30 p.m. on Feb. 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15 & 16, 2020
   2:00 p.m. on Feb. 8, 9, 15 & 16, 2020

Tickets can be purchased here:

Not much is known about the production at this stage, with 
casting still to be announced. We recommend you keep an eye on 
this site for further info:

Meanwhile, another review of the CD that was issued a few months 
ago, featuring selected songs from the 2018 performance at 
Feinstein's 54 Below in New York earlier that year, has also 

The review is very positive - just some of the highlights:

  "All of the performers are outstanding with just the right 
   accents and attitudes. However, additional attention must be 
   paid to Broadway veteran, Tony nominated Nancy Opel who deftly 
   segues between the 'mothers of all mothers' the mother of 
   Tonya and the syrup voiced 'mother of the Ice Princess - 

  "If you are a person who is sick to death of hearing about the 
   Tonya and Nancy knee event and subsequent scandals - you're 
   still going to enjoy this fun, rock opera. A tough subject in 
   history about two youngsters with superb ice skating talent 
   and the golden dream of their handlers."

  "I was prepared to suffer through listening to this recording 
   and was totally surprised that every part of this recording is 
   deliciously entertaining. It's a well done hoot. It's not easy 
   to resuscitate a well known historical as well as a scandalous 
   event to the stage and a subsequent recording and make it 
   fresh, clever, entertaining, funny and topical. Competition 
   never goes out of style."

  "The lyrics are insightful, and sad. The success of these 
   athletes brought their parents what they wanted although 
   nobody ever considers what would make the performers happy. 
   They are an expendable commodity. As long as they win, they 
   are adored."

  "The expert musical compositions and in between commentary 
   results in the listener having a better understanding and 
   compassion for both skaters."

  "Fabulous technical work on bringing this from the stage to a 
   CD. As far as live recordings captured at Feinsteins/54 Below 
   this one is technically the best. There are no dead spots or 
   even a minute instance of one entity overpowering the other." 

  "The sound placement is perfect. There was the potential of 
   sounding cheap with distracting and uneven sections - as is 
   prelevant in so many club recordings. This CD is stunningly 
   awesome. That didn't happen by accident. There had to have 
   been a lot of technical know how and that deserved to be 


The miracle known as Youtube continues to yield more old Tonya 
footage not seen since its original broadcast. Here's some more 
that we don't think you've likely seen before.

First up we have Tonya's 1989 Skate America performances, which 
took place exactly 30 years ago on Oct. 18th to 22nd in 

   Short Program:

   Long Program:

Tonya finished first in both the Short and the Long, resulting in 
her taking home the gold medal.

Although the Long Program has been on YouTube before, this was 
shot by different crew. You see, although it may seem hard to 
believe now, back in the 1980s the networks frequently only aired 
the Long Programs, not the Short Programs or the Compulsory 
Figures (which were abolished the next year), and even then not 
all of them. So the USFSA hired crews from outside, such as Ledin 
Video of Michigan and R & J. Video of California to come in and 
shoot alternative footage that the skaters themselves could order 
as a record of their peformances. It was most likely the Ledin 
crew that shot this footage.

This footage also reveals something else: that contrary to 
what is shown in "I, Tonya" her dress is blue, not purple. The 
error is probably because the costume designer likely 
consulted this clip of Tonya at the 1987 NHK where she wore 
the same dress:

   1987 NHK LP:

Why the difference? The old NTSC analog TV system that was used 
in both Japan and the US at the time was notorious for color 
problems (TV engineers in Europe, which used other better 
systems, used to sneeringly refer to it as Never Twice Same 
Color). So Tonya looks a bit green and her dress looks purple in 
the NHK clip.

Next we have Tonya in action at the 1990 NHK, which took place 
November 23-25 1990, in Asahikawa, Japan. This is her Short 
Program, performing to "Two Tribes" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood:

David Mueller shot this footage, complete with HiFi stereo sound, 
of Tonya practising at the now-defunct Clackamas Town Center rink 
in Portland in June 1996 for her unsuccessful "Tonya II" 
comeback. He says:

   Looks like Tonya Harding is back in the news. (Did she ever 
   really leave). So I thought that I would share with you my 
   ‘Close Encounter of the Tonya Kind’.

Last issue we dug up a few old Tonya interviews. This time, 
here's a couple of recordings of news broadcasts of the Nightly 
News from KBVR-TV, an Oregon State University student station in 
Corvallis. There's no visuals, and only a brief mention, but it's 
an important piece of Tonya history to see how even a student 
station covered things at the time:

1994-01-25 - general roundup of happenings in the case:

1994-02-01 - Jeff pleads guilty:


And now something for the hard-core Tonya nerds.

"I, Tonya" isn't a movie noted for its cars, but if you've ever 
wondered what car is being driven by Jeff (a 1987 Cadillac 
Brougham) or the skating judge who Tonya asks about her low 
scores (a 1985 Volvo), or by Shawn's team of hit-morons on the 
way to the Cobo rink (a 1982 Pontiac Bonneville), this site has 
the answers:

We can also see that Tonya's pickup truck was this 1983 Ford F100 
hired from movie car rental company Southern Picture cars:


Before "I, Tonya" hit the big screen, there was, of course, 
another Tonya film, the 1994 quicky TV movie "Tonya & Nancy: The 
Inside Story" starring L.A. Law's Alexandra Powers as Tonya and A 
Nightmare on Elm Street's Heather Langenkamp as Nancy, which 
aired on NBC in late April 1994.

We are pleased to announce we are now able to confirm a long 
standing claim that this movie was released on home video in 
Japan. We've been aware of this rumor for years, and now finally 
we have proof in the form of this rather faded cover:

To date, this is the only official release of this film on any 
home media we're aware of - all the DVD copies out there appear 
to be bootlegs.

But you won't need to dig out the VHS machine from the attic and 
learn Japanese to watch this - you can see it here:

A review that compares it with "I, Tonya" (see the comments as 
well, along with his review of "Breakaway"):

You can also read our own review from 1999 here:

In 2006, the Neo-Futurists theatre group in Chicago staged a 
reading of the screenplay, which you can view a clip from here:

But what if VHS had never died and was still going? At least one 
person has apparently wondered this - they've produced their own 
fake "I, Tonya" VHS packaging, in both US-style cardboard sleeve 
and plastic clamshell case versions (though why they've put a 
Warner's logo on it when it was a Universal video release is 
somewhat a mystery):


And now it's time for our regular roundup of Tonya-themed 

First up is Mary Jo Millar of Camas, WA. We have previously 
written about Mary's work ten years ago in our Feb 2, 2009 

Here are two items she did back at that time:

- spoof ad for an ice princess costume:

- Queen of Nice, showing Tonya as a sexy girl scout selling 

Mary's work often emulates old, retro-style 1950s advertising. 
You can see more of it at this site for a brand of coffee:

Don Draper of Mad Men couldn't have done better himself.

Tonya's Triple Axel continues to inspire:

Marina Golondrina (Marina Canton) - a triple axel cartoon:

Frying panties - A little tattoo design I sketched for myself, 
based on Tonya Harding’s look from the competition in 1991 that 
she landed the triple axel in:

Camperdown productions:


a.crimer - instead of a Tonka truck, we've got a Tonya truck - 
with 3 axles... Part of the THNK1994 Museum's permanent 

Caz Watts, Toronto - LaVona & her bird:

Planum design - a fan made, minimalist design film poster:

carrasquermarcos - Tonya features in this very strange drawing 
entitled "Changer l'ampoule", (Change The Bulb) 2018, 160x120cm 
which was on display at the Time Capsule exhibition at the 
municipal gallery Julio Gonzalez in Arcueil back in March.

Pablos Pizza in Grand Junction, Colorado, made Tonya the theme of 
their "Pizza of The Week" in February:

Multifandom (lightbringxr) - she is the best - a Tonya photo 

ghazal (ghzoool) - a rare one that also references Tonya's boxing 
as well as skating.

skidaddle.__.skidoodle - "Welp, I tried... is it just me? Or is 
the face a little wonky..."

The Incident continues to feature, even if it's not always 

Vault art studio - "Ouch my knee":

kate roser illustrates:

Brent Engstrom (brentaengstrom) - garbagepailkids re-enactment

gabby.zermeno Guadalajara, Mexico - recreates one of the movie's 
more memorable scenes:

La Perle Kamikaze - pencil drawing of Tonya:

tamara.disalvo - Jan 2019

Estoy viendo peliculas pues temporada de premios y no me están 
flasheando tanto como otros años. Acá mi preferida del año pasado 
y una de mis preferidas de la vida. La mejor biopic en años, I 
Tonya (Voy a hacer de cuenta que esos brazos están mas o menos 
proporcionados cuando bien se sabe que no es así). (I'm watching 
movies as awards season and they aren't inspiring me as much as 
other years. Here is my favorite from last year and one of my 
favorites of life. The best biopic in years, I Tonya (I'm going 
to realize that those arms are more or less proportioned when it 
is well known that this is not the case)).

supergirl diaries - Corrine, from Melbourne, Australia, made her 
own Tonya costume last year. Now she's done this excellent 
Photoshop job of herself as Tonya skating in a competition:

cantalina - smoking Tonya sketch:

the bleualbum - another great drawing:

Karl Marks children's hour puppet workshop - Figures in Skating. 
His Facebook page describes it as "a traveling puppet show and 
crafting workshop featuring two dimensional paper puppets of 
famous and infamous historical and public figures":

Claudia Belvedere - "there's always two sides to a story" - 
another work inspired by the movie:

voidcatt - Sufjan tribute - crying Tonya:

Anna Cucurullo (ms_cucu) has a Tonya signed Easter egg.  "Happy 
belated #Easter from me and @therealtonyaharding  This signed 
Easter egg is from the 1992 White House Easter Egg Roll, back 
when I was just a lil bb".

Finally, some well-done, funny Tonya photo composites, including 
Tonya in Dirty Dancing, in the Whitehouse with President Trump, 
with some Power Rangers, in Star Wars, as a surgeon, at the 
Oscars, on horseback...


The past few weeks have seen the local Council elections take 
place here in Christchurch. And we did toy with the idea of 
standing a candidate ourselves. We even got as far as writing up 
a bio for Terry:

   Terry HALL

   Firstly, contrary to what some people may think, I am 
   definitely NOT standing for Mayor as a cheap attempt to 
   promote my Tonya Harding Fan Club (which, by the way, you can 
   view at

   I'm standing because, as a born and bred Cantabrian, I am 
   passionate about making a difference. I see the big picture, 
   walk the walk and as a team-builder, will ensure we have all 
   our ducks in a row and are all singing from the same song 
   sheet, with results-based governance and community-focused 
   outcomes. I will advocate a back-to-basics, common-sense, 
   bottom-up, people-centered, solutions-focused approach that 
   harnesses the social capital and transaction structures of all 
   strategic stakeholders, enabling and empowering us to face the 
   challenge of climate change with the goals, values, mission 
   and vision to create a dynamic, vibrant, innovative, eco-
   friendly, low-emission, zero-carbon, sustainable city.

   Again, I must emphasize that this is not about promoting my 
   Tonya Harding Fan Club (that's the one at Or getting people to sign up to the 
   free newsletter, "The Portlandian", which is the internet's 
   leading source of Tonya news. No, definitely not about that at 


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