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

November 12, 2014 Edition - ANNUAL TONYA BIRTHDAY EDITION
(C) 2014 Portland Ice Skating Society

Welcome to yet another issue of The Portlandian, the Internet's 
leading source of Tonya news. Today's issue is actually a double 
celebration, because it marks two milestones - not only is it 
Tonya's 44th birthday, but it's also our 90th edition.

Unlike last year, there's no exploding whales this time round, 
but we do have more than enough to make up for the absence. We 
meet a whole pile of Tonya impersonators, analyze Tonya's rising 
status as a 90s fashion trendsetter, watch some previously unseen 
videos and revisit Tonya's old rink - plus, Tonya goes bananas 
and we've got a special guest appearance by the Fuhrer.

We haven't got any Tonya news to announce (though as always with 
Tonya, things can change quite rapidly), but our sources tell us 
that she, along with her husband Joe and her little boy (who 
turns four in February) "are doing great and are very happy."


In recent weeks a plague of fake Tonyas have been making an 
appearance. If they're not trying to look like Tonya, then 
they've got the same name.

For instance, did you have trouble deciding on a Halloween 
costume? Well, you could have gone as Tonya & Nancy. It seems 
that even in recent years performing these "tributes" is still 

Most of these tend to be lame-assed attempts at re-enacting the 
Clubbing, with crowbar-wielding "Tonyas" bashing bloody-kneed 
"Nancys", with obviously historical accuracy playing second 
fiddle to bad taste, kind of like people who dress up as ebola 
doctors. But there are some, such as these next two, that appear 
to be serious Tonya tributes (no crowbars). Don't know who the 
dude is in this one - perhaps he's meant to be Jeff:

A former senior member of Tonya's fan club says that the fake 
Tonya in this next one looks very much like the real one of 
yore, and we agree. The girl in this one is almost a spitting 
image. We bet her friends probably told her that, which was no 
doubt the inspiration for the costume:

Meanwhile, back in August, a "Tonya Harding" - but fortunately 
not our Tonya - was arrested near Jacksonville, Florida for 
shining a laser at a police car:,0,4878216.story

Like our Tonya, she's blonde, and quite hot-looking, but that's 
where the comparison ends. Her husband (no, his name's not 
Gillooly) was also busted for driving with a suspended license - 
the 12th time it's been suspended for various reasons according 
to the arrest report. The cops also found dope, pills and three 
kids in the car, which initially attracted their attention when 
they discovered that the license plates belonged to another 

Hey guys, here's a hint: when you've got a car with dodgy license 
plates, containing illegal drugs, and you're driving while 
disqualified, don't make things worse by shining a laser at the 
fuzz! When you're in a hole, stop digging! They sound like 
perfect candidates for that Dumb Criminals show that our Tonya 
used to host.

Also in Florida, another, presumably different Tonya Harding was 
spotted, but this time made the news for a more positive reason - 
she was helping out with 4th of July fireworks sales for a local 

The report states that "Tonya Harding and Rebecca Gravel recently 
were staffing a tent near the Paddock Mall. They were raising 
funds for Just Entertainment, a non-profit group affiliated with 
Extensions Dance Studio in Ocala."

It's the second year the group has sold fireworks for July 4th. 
It also sold fireworks ahead of the New Year's Eve holiday last 

Like our Tonya this particular Tonya also has a four-year-old 
child, but a daughter. And her daughter also likes an activity 
that's similar to figure skating and also expensive - Harding 
told the reporter that her child would not be on the dance team 
if not for the funds raised through firework sales. "She loves to 
dance, but it's very expensive," Harding is quoted as saying, 
citing contest fees and the costs of costumes, shoes and travel. 
Just Entertainment helps out with those costs.


First it was the opera, then the rock opera, now we have another 
singing Tonya clone.

The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles has created 
"Tonya Harding, The Musical", which premiered back in April with 
subsequent performances in July. The next performance is 
scheduled for the 20th of November. So if you missed those 
earlier ones, here's another chance to catch it:

Please note that this is NOT the same as the opera/rock opera 
that has been performed previously - it's a totally separate 
thing by a different bunch of people, and with a ticket price of 
five bucks, isn't likely to have the same production values. 
According to the blurb:

   "Tonya Harding: The Musical is the harrowing and infamous 
   story of Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding, told through her 
   perspective in the form of a musical. 

   Watch as Tonya's life unfolds before you. From the lows of 
   growing up in Oregon with her eccentric mother (bird 
   included), to the highs of winning '91 nationals, immediately 
   to the lows of being over shadowed by little miss perfect 
   Nancy Kerrigan and her marriage to sleaze ball Jeff Gillooly. 
   The story you thought you knew. The story of a small town girl 
   with a big dream, who was willing to do anything to make it 
   come true." 

It also states that "Tonya Harding the Musical" has performed to 
sold out crowds, and has been featured in MusicalsinLA, LA 
Weekly, E! News Online, and was featured as LAist's "17 favorite 
events". The show was also featured on E! network's "Live From 

The show claims to be pro-Tonya, with the Facebook page featuring 

The Upright Citizens Brigade is Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian 
Roberts and Matt Walsh. It initially started out as a show on 
Comedy Central that ran from 1998-2000. In the wake of the show's 
success, they then founded the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre 
and Improvisational and Sketch Comedy Training Center in New York 
City. In 2005, UCB expanded and opened the UCBT in Los Angeles 
and began offering UCB Training Center classes on the west coast.

"Tonya Harding: The Musical" can be seen on Thursday, November 
20, 10:30pm UCB Sunset 5419 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027, 
along with a performance of "Seinfeld: The Purge". Ticket price 
is $5.00


And finally in our roundup of Tonya lookalikes, we have some that 
aren't even real women, let alone real Tonyas.

Earlier this year LGBT-themed cable channel LOGO decided to 
do its own re-telling of the story using drag queens, entitled 
"Ice Queens". The director has now put the whole thing (all two 
minutes of it) up on-line for anybody to watch:

The "Nancy" drag queen is actually pretty close to the real deal, 
but the "Tonya" drag queen is mis-cast. And that's got to be the 
gayest Jeff ever (perhaps his surname is "Gayllooly"). Still, at 
least they don't blame Tonya for the mess.

At this rate, could Tonya impersonators soon outnumber Elvis 


Back in July, a miracle occurred: "The Oregonian" had Tonya 
listed in a poll for Oregon's Greatest Athlete:

Amazingly for the Oregonian, they actually accompanied it by a 
fair, neutral write-up and a decent picture (of her performing as 
Mrs Santa Claus at the Clackamas mall rink in December 1994). The 
contest was conducted as a series of "face offs" between two 
athletes (in Tonya's case baseball player Dale Murphy) with the 
winner going on to the next round.

As expected, Tonya did not win, an outcome not helped by the 
stupid format - a participant in a minority sport like figure 
skating is never going to do well against a baseballer, even 
without the taint of scandal. Nevertheless, Tonya still got 86 
votes or almost 13% of the total:

   Dale Murphy  87.26%  (589 votes)
   Tonya Harding  12.74%  (86 votes)
   Total Votes: 675

So apparently there are still some Tonyaphiles out there in the 
Oregonian's readership (and maybe even one on their staff, too).


A couple of items in recent months prove that Tonya's fashion 
sense - the source of hoots and derision at the time - is now 
already considered retro stylish as interest in the 1990s 

Firstly, in April, a hard-core Tonyaphile by the name of Dayna 
Tortorici was motivated to create a limited edition facsimile of 
the famous NO COMMENT! sweatshirt that Tonya wore during the 

Tortorici was inspired to re-create the iconic sweatshirt after 
watching the ESPN Tonya doc "The Price Of Gold". Another 
Tonyaphile, writer Durga Chew-Bose, posted a screenshot of the 
shirt on Instagram, to which Tortorici replied, "Dude lets make 
these." They then recruited Teddy Blanks (a friend and a designer 
at CHIPS NY) to re-create the logo, and made a dozen to give to 
their friends.

  "I am totally a Tonya apologist," says Tortorici. "The scandal 
  was informed by all kinds of prejudice... It's clear Tonya was   
  guilty of knowing who was behind the attack and not telling the 
  police right away - but it was a different time, and nobody 
  seemed to stick up and say, Well, of course she didn't, she was 
  married to an abusive man who threatened her."

The duo soon realized that there was a public demand for these 
things - helped along by an Instagram shout-out from Lena Dunham 
- and decided to sell the shirts on Etsy for one week. "This is 
by no means a How to Make It in America scenario" Chew-Bose says. 
"Dayna and I just wanted to make them for whoever wants. And 
after this week, we'll stop." The sweatshirts, available for $60, 
were on sale until April 7. It's a design that's now more 
relevant than ever in our paparazzi-infested & celebrity-obsessed 

Now scrunchies, another Tonya fashion fad of the 90s, are making 
a comeback:

Katalina Sharkey de Solis, who is managing director at an ad 
agency got the idea for a scrunchie comeback after watching the 
1989 film "Heathers". She then started posting pictures of 
scruncie-wearers from the 80s and 90s on Instagram, including 
some of Tonya. Now they are starting to show up on fashion 

This nice, pro-Tonya article also praises Tonya's no-nonsense 
looks - "A French braid finished with an oversize scrunchie? Hers 
was arguably the best in the game" - and has some previously 
unseen photos as well:

Tonya's fashion sense was widely derided at the time, but perhaps 
she was actually ahead of the trends. Often the difference 
between being judged as insane or as a genius is only a matter of 
twenty years and perhaps it is now Tonya's turn to have the last 
laugh as the fashion tides now turn in her favor.


Also getting a makeover is one of Tonya's favorite rinks, indeed, 
it's the one she started skating at. The rink at the Lloyd Center 
mall in northern Portland is to undergo major renovations that 
will see it moved to the center of the mall and become its focal 
point, but at a cost: it will now be rounder and about 23% 
smaller, something that has upset alot of local skaters:

"It's like making a three-hole golf course and saying, 'But isn't 
it beautiful?'" said Lisa Ewing, a 36-year-old who competes in an
adult league. "What good is a pretty picture if you can't use it 
the way it was intended to be used?"

"There is no tradition with the oval," said 67-year-old skater 
Tom Shanley. "Oval cuts out your ability to perform regulation 
routines. You gain speed in the corners." 

Lloyd Center's ice rink was the world's first shopping center 
rink when it opened in 1960. The other main rink in Portland 
where Tonya practised, at the Clackamas Town Center mall, closed 
in 2003.


Several months ago an outfit by the name of PDX Sports Videos 
uploaded seven fascinating clips of Tonya from late 1994/early 
1995 that as far as we can tell have never seen the light of day 

Tonya & her father interact with a guy who is apparently a famous
Japanese comedian. He presents her with a Japanese doll and a 
long overdue gold medal. She later gives him an autographed 
painting of herself, one of a limited edition created by Portland 
artist DeForrest in 1994:

A photo shoot showing a glamorous, sexy Tonya dressed in an 
evening gown and posing with a pickup truck. Some shots from this 
were used in "Esquire" magazine's August 1994 issue:

Tonya performing at a Portland rink, (probably Lloyd Center) in 
front of a bunch of fans, probably in the latter part of 1994 - 
proof what Tonya was still capable of at that stage when given a 

Another interview with Japanese TV. Although the interviewer 
speaks at one stage as if it is late 1995 it's pretty obvious 
that this was taken in late 1994 from what is discussed. He 
reveals that Tonya came 21st on a "people of the year" survey 
conducted in Japan, the fifth highest foreigner (Ronald Reagan 
came in 45th and Nancy (Kerrigan, not Reagan) barely scraped in 
on the list in 91st place). Tonya talks about her new fan club, 
her plans for the future, such as inviting Midori Ito to do a 
show with her, and presents the interviewer with a poster for 
"Breakaway" (which she says will be released in Japan in January 
next year). She says that she enjoys speaking to Japanese TV 
crews as the Japanese have always "done me justice".

A noticeably more, er, "top-heavy" Tonya practising her ill-fated
pairs routine at the Clackamas Mall (which at that stage was
undergoing a major remodeling) in late 1994. She also tries a few 
triple axels but falls:

Tonya singing in a bar with her friend Shannon Kuratli, shortly 
after the Oklahoma bombing, while another TV crew records the 

Finally, somebody has at last uploaded a copy of the ultra-rare 
TV movie "Tonya & Nancy - The Inside Story" that aired in the 
U.S. in April 1994. This has never been officially released on 
any home video format as far as we can tell (apart from an 
unconfirmed rumor of a VHS release in Japan). Alexandra Powers is 
uncannily good as Tonya and Heather Langenkamp's Nancy looks 
almost more like Nancy than the real Nancy:

Oh, I forgot to mention - just one teensy weensy problem: you're 
going to have to bone up on your Hungarian to make any sense of 
it. But what true Tonyaphile would consider the need to learn an 
entire foreign language a chore if it enables you to experience 
more of Tonya?


We in the Special Duties team have seen some pretty weird Tonya 
spoofs in our time but this next one really has to take the cake 
as one of the strangest.

The story begins with a 2004 German war movie entitled "Der 
Untergang" (or "The Downfall"), a dramatization of the last ten 
days of the Third Reich in Hitler's Berlin bunker, and which was 
nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. In a key scene at the 
film's climax, Hitler, finally realizing that the war is now 
irretrievably lost, explodes into a furious 4-minute tirade at 
his generals blaming them for his defeat:

But then a funny thing started to happen: shortly after the 
film's release, various parodies of the scene started appearing 
on YouTube, usually consisting of the rant embellished with 
ridiculously irrelevant English subtitles, making it appear that 
the Fuhrer is actually raving on about something quite different. 
Over the years literally hundreds of these parodies have been 
made, becoming a well-known internet "meme" in the process. So 
perhaps it was inevitable that we'd see someone do this:

And what does the film's creator think of these parodies? 
Apparently he's quite happy with them. Director Oliver 
Hirschbiegel spoke positively about these parodies in a 2010 
interview with "New York" magazine, saying that many of them were 
funny and they were a fitting extension of the film's purpose: 
"The point of the film was to kick these terrible people off the 
throne that made them demons, making them real and their actions 
into reality. I think it's only fair if now it's taken as part of 
our history, and used for whatever purposes people like."

Hirschbiegel says that people routinely send him links to new 
variations on the rant (he reckons he's seen around 145 of them). 
"Many times the lines are so funny, I laugh out loud, and I'm 
laughing about the scene that I staged myself! You couldn't get a 
better compliment as a director". Of course, since he's German, 
he has to play them with the sound turned off to get the full 

Would the Fuhrer have been a Tonyaphile? Who knows? But we think 
it's safe to say he's one fan Tonya would not be sorry to do 


Today, a rarity - the name "Tonya" getting mentioned in a song 
(at least, one that isn't about skating).

The song in question is a 1930's era novelty song for the ukulele 
entitled "I Like Bananas (Because They Have No Bones), the two 
most famous versions being by The Hoosier Hotshots and British 
uke guru George Formby. However, those versions had slightly 
different lyrics - they refer to a "Hannah" and rhyme it with 

The version we're interested in is by an artist by the name of 
Joe Brown from a 2012 album simply called "The Ukulele Album". In 
case you've not heard of him, we are informed that he was a long-
time friend of the late George Harrison and "did a knock-out job 
at the end of the star-studded 'Concert For George', singing 
'I'll see you in my dreams' ", leaving, according to one 
description of his performance, "not a dry eye in the Albert 

Joe's rendition replaces "Hannah" with "Tonya" - and rhymes it 
with "banonya":

Whether it is our Tonya that was the inspiration for this change, 
we don't know. But it speaks to the utter genius of the guy. Even 
we wouldn't dare to try and rhyme "Tonya" with "banonya".

And with that, we'll just close off with a big "Happy Birthday".


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