Monday, October 4, 2010

A Banner Day at All That Skate

See it here first! Fan video of Johnny
in the Men's Group Performance Saturday night in yes!
The famous "Safety" pants from Japan!
About which there is nothing safe!
Very special thanks to Nicole Davis for the video!

And here's Johnny in the same number
(and the same outfit, praise Weirsus)
from Sunday's performance, with special thanks again to Nicole!

Quote of the Day:
"His signature Lady Gaga Pokerface exhibition program
was everything that Johnny has shown to be off ice.
There is a juxtaposition between elegance and dirty
that works somehow in this program, and the only way
to put into [it] words is to say that it is like
that indescribable outfit that you saw on 'Project Runway'
and secretly want to wear to church on Sunday morning."
(Read the full show review here.)

Another video of Johnny's Poker Face performance
that hopefully international fans are NOT blocked from viewing.
Fans Judith Dale and Michael Mazzella
are visible in the front row from about 1:32 to 1:43!

Our story begins two weeks ago, with the inception of the Signapalooza project. In seeking to blanket the Staples Center with signs of support for Johnny, we encountered these rules that were seated stiffly on the Staples Center website, wearing tight little smiles and glaring at us over their half-glasses:


Unless otherwise specified by teams and / or event officials / management, STAPLES Center welcomes guests bringing small signs, flags, banners, and posters inside the building to show fan support during events. The following guidelines relate to these items:

*Item may not be larger than 11" x 17" in dimension

*Item may not be hung, attached, or displayed on any part of the building

Which sort of makes the word "banner" in the first paragraph seem a bit out of place, like that really tall, skinny kid in 7th grade who was contantly ducking his head through doorways and had nowhere to drape his legs after he folded himself into one of those ridiculous little half-desks. An 11" x 17" "banner"? Really? It's like the Black Knight of banners ("It's only a flesh wound").

So I called Staples just to confirm, since what's a skating event without huge banners draped over every available surface and maybe also wrapped gently around Stéphane just because we could then all die from the cuteness?

And they handed me on up the ladder until I eventually landed on (in?) the phone of a lovely woman who said that yes, the 11" x 17" limitation was official policy, but that event producers are allowed to set their own rules and that it was expected that All That Skate management MIGHT lift the ban on banners. And she advised that I keep calling back about every two days until they had a definitive answer for me.

So I did. And she was very polite about it and laughed at my jokes and never once asked me to dear God PLEASE STOP CALLING THIS NUMBER.

In the meantime, word of our potentially banner-less event reached the Chinese Angels, who are amazing in so many ways but are particularly adept at achieving perfection in extremely large orchestrations of group support (think Beijing Olympics opening ceremony), and who also seem merrily undeterred by pesky little things like rules. I love them.

So, in an incredibly kind and generous gesture, they had not one but THREE beautiful vinyl banners made as a gift to Johnny's American fans so that we might never be caught banner-less at a US show again. They based them on this beautiful design:

Update: Here are two of the three banners! Very special thanks to Chinese Angel Yunyun Li for providing these pics (and for everything else!)!

And then they asked to whom these should be shipped.

Thus it was necessary to recruit some top-secret ninjas. In between calls to my new best friend at the Staples Center (I'm going to be in her wedding!).

I was able to locate two volunteers who were willing to do whatever it might take to get a banner into the venue short of getting themselves killed or thrown out of the show (the second fate obviously being far worse). Plans were discussed with a third-party co-conspirator, which I share here for the first time: REDACTED and then REDACTED. So if that REDACTED takes place, then REDACTED and we could REDACTED. But worst case, REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED. OK! That should work.

So shipping arrangements were made, telephone numbers exchanged, travel plans cemented, and eventually two ninjas and three banners all arrived at the same location in LA.

(Side note: The Chinese Angels spent some time frowning at and being dissatisfied with the banners. They had to go with vinyl I think because it was the fastest production option, but they were not happy. So soon they'll also be sending along yet another absolutely gorgeous banner. Made of fine silk-like polyester. Just FYI.)

And then things got a little complicated.

Thursday: Banners arrive in LA, all eye-catching and colorful and hopeful. And big. Really, really big. Small, medium, and the size of God. Aaaaaaaand: My confidant at the Staples Center whispers from a janitor's closet that the final answer on banners has at last come in from the producers, and it's also big. A big, fat, NO.

Commence Operation Banner Ninjas: High-Stakes Smuggling.

Friday: Ninjas arrive. Very late at night. And discover that the banners are indeed at the hotel, which is in a much seedier part of town than might be suggested by the cheery hotel website. Also the largest banner measures about 16 feet x 7 feet, and weighs more than both ninjas combined plus Johnny. They plot.


10:45 a.m. Third party receives "banners-are-on-their-way!" text at exactly the most awkward moment possible, evoking a text-back response of "Shit!" Plan A dissolves.

11 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. Ninjas move nimbly to Plan B. They select the medium-sized banner ("medium" in this case meaning about 50 square feet) and head to the lobby of the JW Marriott, the hotel nearest the Staples Center. Third party REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED. For now. So Ninjas giggle helplessly in the background of a very organized Stéphane Lambiel fan meeting near the bar as they roll the banner up and stuff it into the sleeve of Ninja 2's jacket. Creating, in effect, a giant banner condom. They also spend some time checking out of the Grand Good Lord No I Wouldn't Stay in This Part of Town Hotel and making new reservations at the Marriott. Then they head to the Staples Center for the 1 p.m. VIP Q and A / afternoon dress rehearsal. With high hopes and crossed fingers that no one (meaning Security) will notice the 40-pound banner condom they're lugging.

12:45 p.m. -1:40 p.m. Radio silence. I fret. Please don't let them be barred from entering after they've come all this way and paid all this money for plane tix / hotel / VIP tix etc.

1:40 p.m. Text received: "We're in. Banner is in the bldg. I'm freezing because I can't wear my jacket. Because it's still a banner condom. Told you we were ninjas."

2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Rapid-fire exchange of texts between Ninjas and third party. There's no way to hang the banner without being shot on sight. REDACTED is arranged.

6:45 p.m. Ninjas return for the show and retrieve giant banner condom from hidden location.

7 p.m. - 9 p.m. The Staples Center is "a sea of pink and black signs," according to Ninjas, in honor of Johnny. Ninja 2 holds the banner in its condom on her lap throughout the show, where it slowly cuts off the circulation to the entire lower half of her body. She is oblivious, of course, because JOHNNY! And All That Skate! It's AMAZING! INCREDIBLE! SPECTACULAR! A fantastic turnout, and everyone is completely enthralled with the show. Ninjas patiently await their moment.

About 9 p.m.-ish. At the end of the show's finale, the Ninjas stand (Ninja 2 briefly wobbly until blood flow returns ...). Having recruited everyone in their row to help, they unfurl the forbidden banner to its full 10-ft-wide glory, and wave it in the huge standing ovation along with the hundreds of pink-and-black signs. So much Johnny love! It's wonderful! It's everything we hoped for! Plus one medium-large forbidden banner!

Afterward: The banner returns to the safety of its condom, and the Ninjas depart. Mission accomplished.

And three banners are soon to be on their way to Ohio for their next adventure in the Covelli Center, which I'll be calling today to engage in a delightful parsing of their policy as articulated primly on their website: "Banners and signs may only be brought into building after authorization from Security, or Marketing Director. Banners and signs may not be hung up, and must be removed after conclusion of event," to determine whether or not ninjas are needed for a Youngstown mission.

Any volunteers ... ?

Another first-look video from Nicole Davis!
Here's Saturday night's finale, with near-total focus on Johnny,
who is doing all kinds of fun things with Stéphane
and choreographer David Wilson!
More of Nicole's vids are available on her YouTube channel here!


Yes! You can own a fine art print of Johnny
perfect for any/every room in the house!
Prints of artist Peter Jurik's "Showtime!"
are available for purchase from his website.
More info here!

Next Sunday, October 10, Johnny will be performing
in Skate for the Heart in Youngstown, Ohio!
Tickets are available here,
and there's a discussion page for fans here!
This show also will be televised on NBC
on Sunday, January 16, 2011, at 4 p.m. EST!

Please remember to register to receive
the JW Art Project's email newsletter!
They have great tidbits to offer,
and you get a special sneak peek at an exclusive photo
from the book when you sign up!
The Artbook is expected to be published
by the end of October--can't wait!

Coming up: A special holiday offer!
And more in the series
of translated interviews from the Mook Book
courtesy of the fabulous Akiko Nakata!

copyright 2010 / Binky and the Misfit Mimes / Lynn V. Ingogly / all rights reserved


germansoulmate said...

"please bring this show to Chicago and New york as quickly as possible"

And what´s about Germany?

I´m envious. Is there more to say. your secret mission and great all of you made it work. There shall be no bannerless event which Johnny takes part in...not ever.

Thanks for letting us stay at home fans take part...even if it´s just the aftermath.

akiko said...

OMG, OMG, I have been dying for these hours since I came home and visited your blog (now 10 PM here). I can't stop watching the vids (not only the "safety" pants), I can't eat, I won't be able to sleep tonight.

Thank you, Binky, Nicole, Ninjas (Debora? and?), Chinese Angels, thank you so much!!! The banner story also filled my heart.

Anonymous said...

MM- Thanks for that incredible story! the banners, the signs, the devious plans...I love it!!!

and bless the LA fans and their high definition cameras...the videos are so good!!!!thank you!!!

Beth-twitter bsontwit

aaaack said...

Thank you, Misfit Mimes and your partner ninjas in crime for shepherding the banners! What's a skating show without banners? It's as traditional as the seventh inning stretch to a baseball game, like kissing babies at a political campaign (truly feel sorry for some of those babes, though), and popcorn at a movie theater. They stand on thin ice trying to fight such an ancient tradition.

(The level of smuggling intrigue vaguely reminds me of the story of how Cleopatra had herself rolled into a carpet and smuggled in in order to gain a secret audience with Julius Caesar.)

Mimsie said...

Ok, i'm pretty sure I have been passed out on my floor for about 8 minutes. The video and the blog are just too too! I can't believe we will see him live in just a week in Ohio! Johnny Weir changed my life, continues to change my life and Bink i'm sooooooooooooooo thrilled he brought you into my life! Big Kisses and Hugs BB!!!
LOVE LOVE the JGW and LOVE LOVE all you do!!!

WheresMyKoppy said...

Despite all the rules I heard about, it was actually remarkably easy to get my video camera into the show. It is small, but I'm not sure all the security people checked things as well as might have been expected. Of course, it only takes one extra vigiliant person to find a banner, or camera, etc.!

Great Blog! Love those Chinese Angels, they are SO wonderful! And loved the Ninja story! Will try to watch the videos later, I am supposed to be applying for jobs right now. Hey, I just did two of them!

SO glad I was able to be there, and wish I could have arrived a day earlier and stayed a day later!

Anonymous said...

God bless Johnny's Chinese Angels for making those banners for US fans! What a crazy saga. Thank you Yunyun Li.

Also a big, fat thank you to all the super-fans of ALL the skaters, who went to ATSLA w/their cameras and their excellent seats and shot video from every angle to share with the rest of us. ATSLA Rocked! Pretty fantastic how packed the arena was for both the shows.


Princess Johnny-Love ♥ said...

yay! thank you to the ninjas and the wondrous Chinese Angels for making the banner happen! ♥

hmm . . . if banners aren't allowed for the Ohio show, maybe we should all sneak in the night before and paint "We Love You Johnny Weir" in 20 ft high letters EVERYWHERE!

in hot pink paint, of course!

just kidding . . . or am i?



Pink-AJW said...

All the angels are gorgeous~!

Debora Walsh said...

Yay!!!This makes me so, so, so heppi, Binky!!! There is so much win about this that the exclamation point is going to burn off my keyboard!
I was so angry that Johnny couldn't have a banner; and then was even more pissed that at the last minute the stupid policy could change, and then he wouldn't have one!!!

Thank you Thank you Chinese Angels!!! (State Department take note, Johnny Weir singlehandedly advancing East-West relations with the power of sheer fabulousness!)and thank you Binky for manning the War Room and coordinating the Ninja attack! Thanks to all of the people who made the trek and sent back the photographic evidence for those of us stuck back at home.

All accounts say that Johnny had the loudest, most enthusiastic, and most visible fan presence there--I've been sneaking peeks at vids and photographs all day at work and quietly squeeing at the shots of Judith & Michael at rink's edge, looking surprisingly contained while the ice just melted away in front of them!
I loved Lizzy Pine's photo essay that culminates in the conception of Deb Johnson's fantabulous new tattoo to be! And I'm not even gonna bring up the fact that he's holding her leg steady!

So we got a great event, had a lot of fun, supported and loved Johnny, who skated great, (and thankfully is on the mend), and had so many inhabitants of Weirlandia get to meet, play and hang with each other. I think we can all agree that this was a special kinda happening, and the memories will last forever.

Binky...have great time at the wedding :)

Princess Johnny-Love ♥ said...

almost forgot:

Johnny in a hoodie = supercute ♥

LOVE the new Pokerface costume, especially when he shimmies!

but Johnny in THOSE pants = I can die happy!

thank you sooooo much for wearing them, Beautiful!


Li said...

Thank you Binky for the excellent Blog, and Chinese Angels YOU ROCK for those can we ever repay your generosity?

Now, how many .gif's can you get out of these videos Binky????

Novia said...

I wish I could volunteer to be a ninja! Those are superb, surpassing and stunning banners!

And I'm so so sorry for the capslock, but...


Johnny deserves all that, and more, much more.

Thank you so much, Binky, for the behind-the-scene story, and for up steady communication with Staples Center.

You Johnny Angels rock my world!

Zulfi said...

Banners are used in the yearly Palio race of Italy to tell one individual contrade from the other. The race, taking place in many towns across Italy, ends in Siena, where the winner is awarded a silk banner.