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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 
champion skater.


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 


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- 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.


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
Fax: 773-878-4514

if you wish to attend.


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 


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 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 
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[1], get-video[2], 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 
( and the Wimpy FLV 
player (
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.


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.


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 
three years.

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 he was asked:

   Clear your mind and answer: Nancy Kerrigan or Tonya 

His reply:

   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 (

   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.


Last issue we asked what the connection was between Tonya and the 
Rolling Stones.

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.


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