Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy Johnnyversary! Part 2

NYFW note: Johnny's collaboration with Adrienne Landau,
revealed in her show yesterday at the conclusion of Fashion Week,
is stunningly gorgeous! See tons of fab photos here!
Love all his designs!

Johnny prepares to perform his "Fallen Angel" free skate
at the Vancouver Olympics, one year ago today,
February 18, 2010.
He would later call this performance
"the moment of my life."

I sat on the couch with my two kids, wearing a small beaded good-luck bracelet that I had ordered from a friend I had met on the US Johnny's Angels site. The bracelet said, "Team Johnny" and "Go USA."

About six weeks earlier, a Twitter friend had retweeted a link from someone else with this message: "You HAVE to see this!"

It was Johnny's Poker Face exhibition from Festa 09.

I had never seen anything like it.

I was utterly transfixed the very first time I watched. And every time after that.

I remember thinking, "OMG. THIS is what skating should be. THIS is performance art. And THIS is what watching skating should always feel like."

I had to know more immediately. I Googled him and found his Wikipedia and the US Angels website, a treasure trove of photos, videos, and competitive history.

And then I realized who he was. I remembered him from the 2006 Olympics. I remembered thinking at the time that there was something very different about him, that he outshone all the other skaters. I also remembered feeling bad for him that his free skate didn't seem to be the performance he had wanted to give, and that he took a lot of unjustifiably harsh criticism for it.

But now, four years later, it was as if my whole world had been completely shattered by a deliciously dangerous, ethereally erotic beauty and passion and light and brilliance that could not be contained by the misplaced boundaries I had known all my life.

I watched the US National Figure Skating Championships for the first time ever in January 2010, and was thrilled that he made the Olympic team. Now I had a real reason to watch the upcoming Winter Olympics, which, until that moment, I had considered to be just an intrusion into my normal TV schedule.

Leading up to that week in February, I read everything I could in the Angels archives, found his Facebook fan page and Twitter account, and started chatting with a few other fans. And also began to dimly grasp that I was having an experience that was very very far out of my ordinary life up to this point.

I realized that God was showing me something really important. And that I should pay attention.

I realized that Johnny was very likely a gay man, though he remained publicly circumspect about the issue at that time—but thus someone that all my family and my church associates would have judged as less than a man, and really, less than human. The kind of person that every one of my pastors had preached against my whole life. The kind that all of my relatives would whisper darkly about, like that odd little man who had been one of my mother's English professors. They would speak in innuendo and code, shaking their heads with just the slightest hint of revulsion. The message was very clear.

And I realized how very very very wrong they had all been.

This man was beautiful, inside and out. To me. And, more importantly, to God. He was everything that God had made him to be, bursting with being exactly who he was, created with an extraordinary gift and doing everything he could, with almost otherworldly focus and determination, to fulfill the promise of that gift. And, along the way, being everything else God had made him to be: Kind and petulant, loving and arrogant, gentle and obnoxious, sensitive and insensitive, forgiving and grudge-holding, and just very very flawed and real and human.

Born this way. And so amazing.

I talked about it with my kids, about how I was undergoing this spiritually transforming experience brought on by figure skating, of all things, and how I was discarding these ridiculously misguided and hateful beliefs like ill-fitting clothes, to be stuffed in a garbage bag because they were not even good enough to donate, and that I was feeling like I had been completely broken to pieces in order to be rebuilt, for which I was truly, humbly grateful, because everything we had been taught up to this point was just WRONG. And they listened intently and then, with great kindness and patience, said, "Mom. We always knew all this. We were just waiting for you to catch up."

So we three sat on the couch that night, now waiting for his long program.

The other skaters seemed to take forever. I was so nervous for him I couldn't eat or drink. I felt that he had been terribly underscored in his short program, but I had so much hope for this performance. If he was as brilliant tonight as he had been on Tuesday, clearly he would be a champion.

And then finally.

With the first few notes of music, his first few gliding moves, I was transported.

About halfway through, I became vaguely aware that tears were streaming down my face.

And then, the finish—that incredible pose, and his reaction, his soul laid bare on the ice, and the roar of the crowd as they stood up for him.

And I thought: "When God looks at my life, I want it to be as beautiful to Him as Johnny's skating is."

And then.

The scores.

The crowd roared again, this time with overwhelming disapproval.

Suddenly the mood in the entire coliseum grew restless and dark.

And then Johnny stood, acknowledging the support, but gesturing—with almost unbearable grace and dignity—for everyone to please stop.

I whispered to my kids:

"See that?

Now that.

THAT is a real man."

And a true champion.

Thank you, Johnny, for this amazing journey. Thank you for teaching me to be fully myself, which is really the only thing God wants any of us to be, but I didn't get it until you. Others may win medals, but you win medals and you win at life. I can't wait to see where you'll go next. Whatever you choose to do, wherever your path takes you, I am a fan always.

~ with love from Binky

Fallen Angel

To see an angel, you must see another's soul.
To feel an angel, you must touch another's heart.
To hear an angel, you must listen to both.
~ anonymous

When angels visit us, we do not hear the rustle of wings,
nor feel the feathery touch of the breast of a dove;
but we know their presence by the love
they create in our hearts.
~ anonymous

OK, I know it's a few months away,
but you can get tickets NOW to see Johnny
in Skate for Hope on Saturday, June 18, in Columbus, OH!
(Same weekend as the Annually Awesome
And yes, a VIP package is available!

Johnny tweeted recently:
"Buy my single,'Dirty Love' via iTunes.
Tell all your friends to as well. The more copies sold
takes me one step closer to making a video! №1!"
You know what to do.
Please buy the song from Johnny's website,
or just click the "Buy" button on the player
at the top of the blog!

Hey, Welcome to My World also is available
as an eBook! More info on Johnny's website!

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!

copyright 2011 / Binky and the Misfit Mimes / Lynn V. Ingogly / all rights reserved


Maggie St. said...

wow. Every thing you just said. Beautiful;
your post and Johnny.

"I realized that God was showing me something really important. And that I should pay attention."
Yes! Yes! Yes!!

There are no words. I am simply so thankful that Johnny is now in my Life. Flaws and Perfection and the whole Shebang ♥

germansoulmate said...

Love it.

Beautiful quotes also.

aaaack said...

Amen, Binky, amen. And thank you for such a heartfelt and beautiful account.

If God keeps making gays, indeed so many truly gifted gays, indeed as many LGBT as ever before, it is because he truly loves them and sees a special value in them.

This direct evidence is stronger than any musty, dictated book. As a writer, I know how human editors function during rewrites--they're control freaks with their own agendas. And I have never heard of any lightning bolts coming after any human copyist making a bad edit/rewrite of the Bible. In fact, Thomas Jefferson literally took a knife to the Bible to physically cut out everything that seemed suspect to him and lived to grand old age (I own a copy of the uber slim Jefferson Bible).

When I saw Johnny emerging from the Faberge egg in the series advertisement, I promptly assumed that he was gay, which never bothered me. And I'm very proud that my kid was a member of the Gay-Straight Alliance in small-town Oklahoma (and peeved that our school would not let them hold meetings there).

aaaack said...

P.S. Folks present at the Olympics say that the booing of the judges was much louder than what I had heard coming from my TV screen.

theresa said...

He IS the most beautiful skater...

Thanks again for the memories of last year.


julief8486 said...

Oh my gaga, Binky. You've really outdone yourself here. How is it that you are able to look into my head and heart and put all the scrambled 'stuff' into words! And so eloquently! I hope Johnny reads this and contacts you to personally thank you; you deserve it with this one. Well done, my friend. You are my hero (as is our Johnny, of course!)

Anonymous said...

I can remember this like it was yesterday, so crazy its a whole year. I come from a slightly different place because you guys call me an "old fan", having been one since he was 16. So I knew he was amazing before he skated this program. I have loved his skating always whether he hits his jumps or not. But I was so so hoping that FOR HIM, he would hit it. I knew because of worlds the year before, he had little chance of a medal, politically, but there was a chance, especially if others screwed up....and then they did, one by one, the other skaters made mistake after mistake, leaving the door alittle bit open. so then its the 2nd to last skater, Johnny...I am freaking out in my living room, praying and skating the program with him...he is hitting every jump and omg I so happy for him at the end. I remember I jumped up and started screaming, with tears coming down my face. I really thought with the mistakes and his performance there would be A medal. of course he deserved the gold but there had to at least be bronze...then the scores, now after 10 years of johnny fan and decades of being a skating fan, you would think I would be better at handling this bullshit but I was not, I got so so mad and upset, how could they? how could they dash the dreams of a kid who worked his ass off and skates like a God for political reasons?? or because his costumes make them uncomfortable? then Johnny does the hand thing to let us know to calm down, so I do. but omg, this remains with me to this day! I choose to ignore the idiots though, and focus on the beauty....... Johnny, that skate rocked from the core of your existence and everyone felt it. You won more than a medal that day, you won everyones hearts. ♥♥♥


Debora Walsh said...

The very first tweet I sent out into this world was a statement of fact. It said something to the effect that 'Johnny Weir is the most effervescent and sparkling personality I've ever met, and he is so deserving of every success he seeks’ I’d followed his career since first catching his performances at 2004 Nationals. I loved his style, & his fight, & the fact that he was from the same area of Pennsylvania as me. As I watched his preparations to try to make his second Olympic team, all I hoped for was his success and his medal.

I was more nervous during those Olympic skates, than any competitor in the building, just sitting on the edge of my sofa. After blowing us all away the first night, with the “I Love You I Hate You” program, working the ice and the crowd as only he can, then getting shafted with the scores, I still knew he could rally with another perfect performance. Time for “Fallen Angel”, edge of my seat again, fists clenched with anticipation, leg shaking up & down with nerves. Johnny was at the boards with Galina, & I was silently praying, “please, please, please” in my head over & over. My husband, sitting across from me, although far from a figure skating fan, had become a die hard fan of Johnny's over the years. “I love this kid”, he says in his cool Italian accent, “he knows he’s good and he doesn't take sh*t from people, that's the way everybody should be. He’s gonna be great no matter what happens."

When the music started and Johnny took off, I felt like I was performing every jump, every hand movement, breathing every breath he took. I could feel my stomach tighten every time he went into the air, I too cursed the ice that his skate caught in, and was going “regroup, regroup,keep going!” My head was bobbing on the couch as I watched every crossover & turn. My heart skipped every time he went onto his toe picks & then suddenly, when I felt like I just couldn't take it anymore; up he came out of that final spin and with leg extended and his gorgeous hand raised to the sky, dropped into that final pose. I LEAPT up onto my feet yelling, laughing & sobbing like a crazy person, "aaaaahhhh! You did it baby, oh my God, You did it!” The program was so ethereally beautiful; it looked like he had skated above the ice. He clutched his chest; hand on his heart, thumping the ice, the cry-smile broke onto his face, and then applause, oh my God, the applause! My husband was clapping & yelling at the set "Way to go, Johnny, who’s better than you?"
I will never forget that night. There had never, in my house, been a reaction to an Olympic performance like this. Johnny had achieved his goal, at least in the two hearts in my home, of taking us on that journey with him, from cornfield to complete emotional oneness with his art and the world.

I finally got to see him in person at the ITNY that April. We met him in the decidedly unglamorous public area between the two rinks, & he was completely...well, Johnny, warm and ingratiating. Leaving that night after having seen the debut of "Heartbroken", all I could think of was how much I still wanted him to succeed, at whatever he decided to do. To become everything he could ever dream of being. Johnny is an artist, and artists give everything they have of themselves, to express what they need to express and in the process bring beauty and joy to the lives of those who watch their visions and talents unfold. It was after the ITNY performance that I sent out that first tweet.
Who could’ve foreseen all that has taken place, after only 365 days from that final pose? I think Johnny, that’s who! Johnny Weir, artist, who took soul-crushing unfairness & disappointment, pushed it away & made something beautiful. Because he’s great, and he knows it, and he doesn’t take sh*t from people. This next leg of his journey is going to be spectacular. He still deserves every success, and I will love and support him to the very end.
Debora Walsh (@DauphineDW)

wendydolls said...

Johnny, I watched your LP again and again I have tears just watching you pour your heart out in the stunning skate. You are amazing and it is you people remember from those Olympics. I love you Johnny and thank you.

-K said...

I love art and travel, and I've seen many beautiful things in my life; but nothing, NOTHING I'd ever seen ever moved me the way this performance did. To think I almost didn't see it - I hadn't watched figure skating in a decade, I don't even have a tv, but I was reading afterwards about the quad/no quad controversy, so I was curious about what I'd missed. When I found out you could download the Olympic skating events on itunes, I thought What the heck, something to watch on the subway. Little did I know! I was completely captivated by his short program. But the long... Even watching on the subway on my tiny iphone screen, I was completely swept away. I can't even describe it.

A week or so later, I woke up in the night in excruciating pain, vomiting uncontrollably. I spent the rest of the night writhing on a stretcher in the emergency room. And though it turned out to be nothing serious, when combined with the stress of moving and financial worries, my nerves were raw for weeks afterwards. Whenever the stress got to me, I would take out the phone again, cue up this performance, and just float off into a beautiful dream world that he created. Nerves soothed, mind calmed, heart lifted, he gave me the strength to face the world again.

Over time, I discovered his other performances, and who he was as a person. I saw him perform live, and met him in person; friendships blossomed with other fans. He's touched my life in so many ways over the past year - and it all started with a performance that touched my soul. I'm so grateful.

WheresMyKoppy said...

And some people seemed to think he was over and done with after Torino and I remember thinking how sad that would be. So for a few years I didn't follow FS much, because other than Johnny and Tanith and Ben (who I think should have won gold in Torino), there really weren't many skaters who caught my interest. And for a couple years it almost did seem like Johnny was done. Any time he made any progress it seemed like someone found some way to slap him down again. Any minor infraction was a major incident but others it seemed like could do a lot more and get away with it. I didn't understand it, because I saw this amazingly beautiful and relatively consistent skater with the best triple axel in the world, yet the powers that be treated him like an also ran. Maybe some of it was his own doing, certainly not all of it was! So he might be gay, so what? So he doesn't toe the line the way the Federation might want, so he's an original and all that...good for him!

Then came that night in Vancouver, the night of Johnny's long program. There are no words, certainly none I can add to what you've already said. I was transported the same as everyone else. I was expecting to be able to see it live and disappointed that I wasn't going to be able to. But i peeked...I looked at the live feed on line and saw the scores and the placings. I went on just as Johnny finished and saw tweets from Kristi Yamaguchi, 'Audience is booing'. Oh really? Why? A couple minutes later, 'Still booing' and something about Johnny trying to calm them down. What happened I thought? Now I've seen five hundred times and I STILL don't know what happened!

All I know is that I was angry, I didn't get it (still don't) and I fell in love with Johnny Weir all over again and now I started getting to know other fans and more about Johnny personally. Now there are two skaters who can heal my soul and Johnny is the other one. I can't explain it completely either, and he and Boitano could hardly be more different. But Johnny touches my soul, and I thank the FS gods for giving him to us! His talent, grace, beauty, intelligence, irreverence, perfection, imperfection, perseverance and on and on... He isn't even one in a million, he's in a class by himself!

Misfit Mimes said...

(Note from Binky: I'm posting this comment on behalf of my friend KAPEHCY on Twitter because for some reason Blogger is being completely WTF and just keeps losing the whole thing every time she tries to post it...)

Thank you, Binky, for all you do to allow us a place to share our admiration for Johnny. You have done so much for this community.

As for our dear Johnny,
I have been a fan since I first saw him skate in Junior Nationals. I thought to myself, this boy is something special. Finally, I saw what I wanted in Men’s skating. I saw beauty alongside amazing athleticism. I was reminded why figure skaters skate to music. I was immediately charmed and decided I needed to keep an eye on this kid.

I never regretted that decision. Through the ups and the downs of the following 10 years. Through the tears and the pure joy of watching Johnny skate, I have only come to love and respect him more.

I cried like a baby after the ’06 Olympics but proudly defended him against all the cynical critics I encountered.

I cried when he was left off the ’09 Worlds team because I knew the implications went far beyond that one competition.

I fell in love with his new programs in the 2009/2010 season. ILYIHY was sassy and fierce and as good as any SP out there. Fallen Angel was beautiful and heart-wrenching and haunting. I watched the programs improve over the course of the season and cried again, but this time for joy, when he rocked it at Nationals and earned his place on his second Olympic team.

Then, along with thousands of others, I watched his saga through Pop Star on Ice and Be Good Johnny Weir. What a gift he gave us as fans with that intimate look into his life. I don’t know many who would be so open and gracious.

When the Olympics started, I sat in anticipation because I knew what Johnny was capable of doing. He skated his short with passion and flair and he skated it clean. The blatant underscoring left me, along with so many others, in shock. Still, he was still in place to move up into medal position with a clean long. I held my breath the entire time during Fallen Angel. (ok. Perhaps I took a quick gasp of air so I didn’t pass out and miss anything) When he finished, so triumphant and proud and grateful, I was jumping around the room screaming. I know how I felt from my living room so far away from Vancouver. I cannot imagine the emotion in the building after that skate. That was something rare and special. Then the scores came. I honestly did not know what to do with myself. My tears didn’t come until Johnny stood and gestured to the crowd that “it was ok” and to settle. I cannot imagine the bravery that it took to do that. I cannot think of another skater who would even think of the crowd’s feelings during such an emotional moment.

As I commented to another friend today:
I choose to remember the beauty of that night, yet the memories of being curled in the fetal position on my bed in order to prevent myself throwing things through the tv screen in vain hopes they would travel through space and take out a judge or two still remain.

A night of pleasure and pain. Beauty and sorrow. Grace and contempt.

The brilliance of Fallen Angel will always shine through. No other light in that building could compare.

Thank you, Johnny, for many years of beauty and joy. For always being yourself and showing others that it is ok to do so. For doing it “Your Way”. And thank you for all that is yet to come because I know it will be fanTAStic!

Karen Sue (aka KAPEHCY)

Daleth Hall said...

Oh, Binky, this is just beautiful. Thank you thank you. What a beautiful way to say it all.

Anonymous said...

Well said Binky - - The first time I watched Johnny's skating on YouTube was a religious experience - - I've been converted ever since to him and a new respect for figure skating