Sunday, April 4, 2010

At Last! Binky Answers Your Top 10 Questions About Ice Dreams!

Johnny Weir performs to "Bad Romance"
at Ice Dreams in Bensenville, Illinois
(c) 2010 Getty Images



So here's the thing: I have much glitter and glamor to share from my adventure in Bensenville (which is likely the first time the words "adventure!" and "Bensenville" have ever been used in the same sentence). Let's begin here, with these sparkly little tidbits:

1. Did you, in fact, meet Johnny Weir? Like really meet him? And did you then immediately throw up on him? Why yes! And no! No vomiting! For which I'm sure he is really, really grateful. And may I offer to the court this incontrovertible piece of photographic evidence, which yes, I already posted yesterday on the blog and will probably continue to post every. single. day. on. the. blog. for. the. rest. of. my. life. I'm also using it as my desktop background, having it made into a mousepad and a set of fifty coffee mugs, enlarging it to poster size so it can be hung in a place of honor above the fireplace, creating a calendar with it in which it will be the only photo every month, and will most likely use it as our Christmas card photo every year from now on after I Photoshop my husband into it somewhere. 

2. Did Tara really take this photo? Yes, indeed she did, even in the midst of complete chaos and way too many sweaty people. And I can't thank her enough. But I keep trying, by e-mailing her every hour on the hour...

3. OK, you met him! But DID YOU SMELL HIS NECK? Which seemed to be the number-one question on Facebook after the show. And the answer is: Um, no. Because he is a person, not a gorgeous mannequin designed for our pleasure (although the Chinese factory is really making headway on that project, I hear!), and I am a little old-fashioned about personal boundaries. Yes, he probably would let people smell his neck, because he's incredibly accommodating. But I leave that to some other fan, braver than me and from whom it might seem less creepy.

4. Were the reports of a mongoose infestation seriously overstated? Yes, thank God, although I brought along Lizzy's mongoose repellent just in case.

5. Did you meet Richie and Elkin? Yes! And they were just as kind and courteous in person as they are on the phone. Although we didn't get to talk much because it appeared to me that they had to spend most of their time hustling from one end of the building to the other wearing headsets, clutching clipboards and walkie-talkies, and having this same conversation over and over: "Can you hear me?" "No. Can you hear me?" "No. What channel are you on?" "I don't know. What channel are you on?" "What?" "I can't hear you. There's too much static." "Turn the knob to the left." "What? We learned that Bob has left?" "Who's Bob?" "I don't know. Where's Tara?" "What?"

6. Were there any conservative Christians on Ice wearing bondage gear, like some kind of bizarro-world Fox News S&M party as seen at Smutty's Stars on Ice recently? No. Just family-friendly Johnny Weir, to whom every little kid flocked as though he were the Pied Piper, and from whom every parent wanted an autograph. As far as describing the show as a whole, I would place "Ice Dreams" pleasantly in the middle of the continuum between "Bigots on Ice" and "I Dream Endlessly of Johnny Weir."

7. Was the Sundance crew there filming? Which might mean the longed-for Season Two is in the works? There were lots of people with various kinds of cameras. I have no idea what that means because I am an ex-Lutheran, and we only know what we're told and are not able to draw conclusions on our own.  We don't even clap or stand or sit unless somebody tells us to. And nobody told me anything. Although there was an enormous amount of clapping and standing any time Johnny was on the ice, which leads me to the conclusion that this was clearly not a Lutheran crowd. We even clapped and whistled and screamed whenever we could just barely see the outline of his right shoulder looming off stage, thus effectively drowning out whatever the truly gracious Dorothy Hamill was trying to say at any given moment.

8. Is it worth spending the money to see Johnny skate live? Yes. It is worth getting a second or third job, selling everything you own, and living in a cardboard box. Whatever it takes. I have watched endless videos of his competitions and exhibitions, all of which are brilliant. And none of them compare to seeing him live. You can really see that he draws energy from the audience and that it informs his performance in real time, while he's skating. His Russian piece was exquisitely, hauntingly beautiful. And Bad Romance? So, so, SO hot! My daughter observed thoughtfully that while other skaters skate to their music--sometimes even rather well-- Johnny is so clearly in a class by himself because he inhabits the music. He uses every beautifully executed jump, every flick of the wrist, every piece of footwork, every head toss, even every position of every finger, to completely embody the song. It is absolutely amazing, and the power of the live performance does not translate to video. Although it's close enough when I have the shakes and I need me some Johnny crack NOW.

9. What three words would you use to describe what he is like in person? Wow. Limiting myself to three words is FAIL. I can't do it. I would use all these words: Unbelievably gorgeous. Beautiful inside and out. Extraordinarily sensitive and perceptive. Other-worldly. Intense. Focused. Highly sexually charismatic in a way that completely transcends gender. Very fine-boned, yet muscular and powerful. Accessible, but guarded underneath. And my strongest impression, though I was not expecting it to be the strongest: Vulnerable. And fragile. I think that perception may have been enhanced partly because he was so very, very tired.

10. Is there anything else you can tell us? Please please please PLEASE? Possibly, but then I'd have to kill you. And then someone would have to kill me. And then there'd be no more blog, which I think we'd all agree would really be a tragedy. So please bear with me, and stay tuned!


Special thanks to my kids, who helped me with this post.
Because if anything, they're way wittier than I am.
Also: Please, no offense intended to any Lutherans, past or present!
copyright 2010 / Binky and the Misfit Mimes / Lynn V. Ingogly / all rights reserved

8 comments:

germansoulmate said...

I admit, I´m addicted to your blog right now and I´m so happy there finally is a little piece of what you experienced. Thank you. Have saved and printed out to read again in peace.

Just one thing that connected to what I perceived from Johnny, especially by watching BGJW, aside from the other great descriptions you dwelled on:

"And my strongest impression, which I was not expecting: Vulnerable."

I´m not surprised at all. You can see and feel his vulnerability by watching him (especially his eyes) and listening closely to what he has to say...on and off the ice... and some more particular moments on BGJW. That´s all I´m able to watch. I won´t watch him in real life ever. Sadly.

I especially like your "Because he is a person" which we hopefully won´t ever forget.

I´m still happy for you to have had this great experience and I am looking forward to whatever you are going to tell.

Thanks for your great blog.

suzij77 said...

Thanks again Binky! I felt many of these emotions on Thursday as well. I felt rather selfish having Johnny sign my VIP pass and take pictures, as you said he looked exhausted. I'm a nurse, and it came to the surface immediately. I wanted to sit him down and give him food and water :) When he took the ice for Bad Romance, I felt weak-kneed. I have NEVER felt that way at any performance, ever. He really transcends the ice, it's like a fog came over the arena and we were all spellbound. I was bummed I didn't get to meet you, maybe at the next Johnny-a-thon. But, of course, he is as you said, a person, first and foremost, so if there isn't another opportunity like this, I simply hope he's happy. No matter what he's doing. But you and I both know after sharing airspace with him that he truely is a star on the rise. Go Johnny! Be bad, be good, just be you, it works!

auntyamyj said...

Hey Binky, as usual a beautifully written piece. I am so happy for you and your children that you were able to have this experience. Of course, I'm hanging on to your every word because I feel like I really need to make it happen to see him skate live before he decides to retire.....
I agree with Germansoulmate about not being surprised with you impression of him being vulnerable. There are moments in the BGJW series that you can see it and feel it. Of course I feel most very artistic, soulful, creative people are very vulnerable. It's what helps us relate to them and vice versa. I'm also not really surprised that he is as gracious and as kind ( I almost typed KING ;))as one would expect. What a joy for you and thank you for being so gracious yourself and selflessly sharing it with the rest of us through your artfully written blogs. You too my dear are an artist!
Happy Johnny Dreams,
Amy J.

Maggie St. said...

I love your photo! Glad to see that we can just be ourselves...with just a slight touch of insanity thrown in...around Johnny.

OMG! Johnny is human? Sometimes it's far too easy to look at a celebrity and forget that they are simply another person also.

It says so much about Johnny and his family, to be so sensitive to those around him, to be able to quickly adapt to others' feelings and to put all of his fans and admirers at ease. That makes me feel less apprehensive when I finally do get to meet him!

1. Not vomiting when first meeting people is good, although it's one way to guarantee they will always remember you.

2. ♥ TARA ♥

3. Oh. Gee. Well, in my defense, I did ask Billy Boyd and Craig Parker for their permission before I smelled their necks. Craig Parker smelled WONDERFUL, I believe he uses something from D&G. Billy Boyd smelled like a wet rat. (joke from the now defunct BB Board)

4. Long before I knew of Johnny, Evan; I decided that my 'safe' word would be Orange. Not that I've ever gotten to use it once in 52+ years.

5. Will Richie and Elkin be taking their act on the road? I'd love to meet them someday - they're world famous in Weir-dland!!

6. As much as I like viewing fans photos of themselves with Johnny, my heart simply melts every time I see a pic of a kid with Johnny. What a wonderful man they have to look up to!

7. This lapsed Roman Catholic, now leaning more towards Universal Unitarianism hates all the get up, sit down, kneel on hard wood moments. I prefer to sit in my seat and silently *squeee!*

8. See Johnny skate? Send daughter to college? College is SO over-rated. I should know, I met my husband at one. BAZINGA!
I believe your daughter hit the nail on the head with her description of how Johnny becomes the piece he is performing. Besides my initial reaction to his "ILYIHY" pink & black corset costume - (OH DADDY!) - his skating moved me as no one has ever done before. In the span of a few minutes, I was transcended from a messy computer room watching him on a small dusty TV set to feeling that not only was I on the ice with him; that Johnny was pouring his soul into his skating, telling his story JUST TO ME.

9. *sigh* I want to be his personal foot massager. And make him homemade chicken soup, tuck him into bed, and read him a good-night story. Then a chaste kiss on his forehead while wishing him sweet dreams.

10. Hóka-héy. Today is a good day to die!
But then I wouldn't get to read more of your blog, enjoy your friendship, or even get to see Johnny. So, I will be patient, will go vacuum the carpets, and get into the zen of clean, straight lines while awaiting further posts.

OM. ॐ

Anonymous said...

Dear Binky,

THANK YOU!! I rushed to my computer today, wondering if you'd posted and yes, you had.

Johnny is such a superstar - people screaming at just a glimpse of his shoulder!! Wow! Hope that makes him feel truly fabulous. :-)

Thanks for yet another lovely blog post - I'm listening to a radio interview with Johnny as I write this and thinking how cool it must have been to hear his voice and laugh in person. So happy that you got to meet The Glittering One!

- Robin

billntracee said...

You are spot on with everything. I felt like I was there all over again... what a wonderful feeling!

Misfit Mimes said...

Thank you all for your wonderful comments--I enjoy reading all of them! And everybody has such interesting things to say. Really, really appreciate your taking the time to share here, and thank you for all the blog love! More to come... :)

PumaJ said...

"Other-worldly. Intense. Focused. Highly sexually charismatic in a way that completely transcends gender."

Yes, my perception, exactly, of Johnny when I first watched a vid of him skating. I was completely taken aback by him. Honestly, I thought, OMG, has one of the Tuatha de Danaan come back to life?

Seriously, though, it is pretty unusual for anyone to be able to so bring so much of their Beingness into what they do. I had certainly not seen such in any other figure skater ever and I'd been paying attention for all but about 6 out of the past 50 years or so.

Historically, I've always watched the Olympic figure skating, but I missed the 2006 Torino games. In the past I've also watched some of the skating competitions when they're on TV. I do remember seeing Johnny some years back, but my professional and personal plates were so full I was too distracted to notice much. It has only been now, that my life is much calmer and more focused that he has again come to my attention.

Johnny "really" came to my attention by default after I'd checked on Sasha Cohen and her bid to again qualify for the Olympics. In doing so I realized that I knew nothing about any of the other skaters, so set about watching vids on YouTube. I don't remember which one of Johnny I watched, for by now I think I've watched every single vid available. But, that first one I saw just totally blew me away. I mean really and truly blew me away. I think I watched the vid 3 or 4 times to make sure that I wasn't imagining what I was seeing.

What I've noticed since is that when Johnny is really anxious and/or tired, it is very hard if not impossible for him to let so much of Himself as a Being of Spirit in (Lynn, I'm sure you know what I mean).

Yet, ofcourse, Johnny must also walk the path of an ordinary human in many ways. Just as the rest of us must do. One can see how over time he is maturing in his ability to strike some balance and integration between his mundane life and that which is so much More.

I certainly applaud him and support him in his efforts to find that balance/integration, and definitely am tickled and delighted by his "thumbing his nose" at convention in his process. I, also, feel great compassion for his struggle in that process.

Gosh, I don't mean to sound too "out there". I am really just trying to say that I recognize, celebrate, and support the unique wonderfulness that is Johnny.

Lynn, you are such a gifted writer. I appreciate your humorous observations of the world very much. Sometimes, I just "crack-up" out loud whilst I read what you've written. I am thrilled for you and your kids that you were so gifted with the time with Johnny and his friends.

At Johnny's Facebook page, I'm Judith, BTW.