Friday, October 28, 2011

ITNY: Fabulous Pics, Favorite Moments

Johnny during his warmup 
before the ITNY performance and gala on Monday.
Photo © David Ingogly.

OK! We made it home in the way that only we--or possibly the family from Little Miss Sunshine--would do it: We left NYC at 2 a.m. on Wednesday because (1) that's the time of day at which I am most wide awake, and (2) hardly anybody else was awake--even in NYC--so no traffic! And thanks to Deb Walsh's awesome directions (kind soul that she is, she DM'd them to me after driving them herself just to make sure they were right), we actually did, in fact, find our way out of the city via the Lincoln Tunnel--just us and a whole lot of unmarked trucks all bearing NJ license plates...

Then about 100 miles later, my Starbucks wore off, so we stopped and got a room in Blakeslee, PA (IDK. I'd have to look on a map. All I know is there was a really nice, nearly empty motel there and a whole lot of trees), literally fell into the beds and passed out, then got back in the car a few hours later in the same clothes we started out in and left the East Coast yet again on Wednesday to drive the remaining 720 miles back to Chicagoland in about 12 hours.

Even though we have spent our time since then (BTW what day is it? Anybody know? Is it still October?) either in sleep comas or fugue states, I have to say, in my more lucid moments, that we had an AMAZING trip. Absolutely amazing.

There's such a jumble of fabulosity and wonder to share, but let's start with what I know you really want: A few photos of the man for whom we drove all those miles to honor, along with so many other wonderful fans...

Monday, 5:40 p.m.-ish
Johnny's warmup.

The kids and I spent the afternoon at ITNY on Monday, meeting with executive director Jirina Ribbens, founder Moira North (both entirely awesome people), a lovely staff member named Aretha, and other volunteers to familiarize ourselves with the two venues--Sky Rink and the Lighthouse--to make sure we understood how best to meet the photography requirements. My dear friend Jenn Kittler, a volunteer at ITNY along with Karen Weeks, was kind enough to come to our hotel and share a cab to Chelsea Piers with us since we were the utter definition of clueless as to how to get anywhere. But super excited! About everything! OMG in NYC you can buy anything you need at any time of day or night! Including food! It's actualfax 24/7 living! Which is MY kind of living! (Jenn was gently tolerant of our OMG!-ness. I don't know how she didn't totally lose her mind...)

We first saw Johnny, Patti, and Diane (Yes! We met Aunt Diane! Love her!) in the hallway outside Sky Rink around 5:15 p.m.--he had just arrived and was waiting for Jirina to show him where his dressing area was, and we were heading there to photograph his warmup. I recognized Patti first--squeee!!--and then realized the dark-haired guy behind her in the giant sunglasses seemed familiar... Hugs all around, and admiration for the vintage fur coat Alice was wearing, much to her delight.

He spent most of the time rehearsing "Meditation" 
while ITNY people adjusted the sound and lighting for him. 
They did quite a bit of switching the spotlights 
from color to color and place to place, 
working to create the most appropriate effects 
in time to the music.

Near the end of his warmup, one of the ITNY crew yelled down 
from the lighting area at the top of the bleachers: "Johnny, 
does that bother you, what we're doing, the changing spots?" 
To which he yelled back--right before this photo was taken: 
"No! I'm a professional!"

But even professionals get exhausted--
he had just returned from the MAC event at Millenia Mall 
in Orlando over the weekend. Here he pauses at the end of warmup, 
with his Original Media film crew--who introduced themselves to me 
and were a blast to talk to as we all tried to figure out exactly 
when and where everything was going to be happening--
right behind him, quietly capturing his every move.

7:48 p.m.

This program was stunning--a powerful and passionate performance. Later Deb Walsh (so thrilled to finally meet her in real life after countless hours cracking each other up on Twitter!) told me that this beautiful music, from the opera Thaïs, is used as a bridge between two scenes in Act II. Thaïs is a story of physical and spiritual love, longing, redemption, and despair; in the "Meditation" portion, the main character is agonizing over leaving behind a somewhat hedonistic past for a chance at eternal love... 

You can see his performance here on YouTube. One of his best.

His final pose, accompanied by a foreboding thunderclap 
at the end of the music....

And the crowd loved him. Of course.

8:10 p.m.
"Bad Romance."

Looooooove this costume!! 
Super-sexy performance--crowd was feeling it and loving it! 
Watch him here on YouTube!

10 p.m.-ish and later....
My Favorite Random Moments at the Gala Dinner.

Johnny with two lovely young ladies, 
Michelle (left) and Pippa. 

The mother, I believe, of one of these girls--a warm and friendly ITNY volunteer who was never too busy to answer questions from tons of random people even as she worked quickly and steadily all afternoon setting up the Lighthouse--told me their story as Davey and I finished gathering equipment after the red carpet was over.

We had conversed off and on throughout the afternoon as we buzzed past each other, and then I saw her again around 10 p.m. while everyone was waiting for Johnny to make his entrance to the dinner. She explained that they couldn't afford to attend the dinner and they needed to be heading home, but the girls--huge Johnny fans--were hoping to have just ten seconds of his time as he walked past so he could autograph a program for them. And they shyly asked if Davey could wait to move his equipment to the dining area so he could maybe catch a picture of Johnny as he autographed it. If he autographed it.

Johnny had just ducked into the hallway behind a closed door at the conclusion of the red carpet session to do an interview with People magazine. So the mom and girls were waiting, quietly and patiently, hoping he might come back that way.

And they waited. And waited. And waited. Because that's how these things go, of course.

At one point Eric Alt opened the door and came out, got a quick rundown on why they were standing there, and smiled and said, "Yes, he'll be coming out this way. Just wait. I think it'll be OK."

So they waited some more. Nervous, and a little sad, the longer they waited, anticipating that he really was not going to have time to do this, and trying to prepare themselves, and feeling bad about even wanting to intercept him--but they waited.

And we waited with them.

The mom also was starting to feel bad--she knew we had to get over to the other area for more photographs--but there were other photographers doing a great job covering everything, so we were happy to wait and maybe help them have a once-in-a-lifetime moment. Although none of us were counting on it, because hello. The evening was for him, and he was super busy, and, well, you know.

Then finally we heard this faint, odd tapping noise. Quiet, but very insistent. Then louder and louder.

We opened the door to the hallway and peeked in to find that Johnny, Tara, Josh, and others had gone out onto the terrace at the far end of the hallway after his interview to have a moment in the cool, fresh air--and they had gotten locked out. It was Tara tapping on the glass, trying to get someone's attention to help get the guest of honor back inside...

So the mom hurried to let them in, and as they all went whooshing past, she looked at me pleadingly and I babbled in a rush, "Johnny, these two lovely young ladies have worked the event all afternoon, but they have to go home now and they were just wondering if you could just sign this really fast on your way...?"

And as almost everyone else went on ahead of him, he stopped in his tracks and smiled directly at the girls and said, "Of course. And thank you so much for all your hard work."

And he took his time autographing their program and chatting with them, and then he said, "Now let's do a picture."

And there it is.

And the lighting conditions were horrendous and so naturally the flash didn't go off, but still: This photo is a treasure.

Then he took yet another five seconds he really didn't have to receive some stuff from me that had been sent by other fans who couldn't be there, so they had forwarded it to me in hopes that I might be able to get it to him. And he asked me to thank everyone, and also, "Please thank the Show Johnny the Love group for the beautiful flowers. I love them."

And I said, "I will! They'll all be so thrilled! Thank you!"

Then I turned to finally get the hell out of the man's way, and he said, "Wait! Shouldn't we do a fresh picture?"

So we did. And again with the no flash, but whatever. He's fabulous in any light.

Johnny at the head table with friends and family, including 
his wonderful parents, Patti and John Weir.

At the end of the evening, as we were gathering ourselves together and Johnny was doing an impromptu meet-n-greet with fans, I was walking briskly past this now mostly-empty table when I noticed John Weir standing nearby, trying to get Patti's attention--she was across the table from him, deep in conversation--by silently making faces at her. Which totally cracked me up.

I gently touched his elbow and said, "Mr. Weir. I'm Lynn Ingogly. I write the blog that's on Johnny's website...? It's so wonderful to meet you!"

He smiled and said in his very quiet voice, "Oh yes! I know you! My pleasure. Of course you would catch me making faces at her..."

We chatted for a few minutes, and I told him how much I admired him and Patti, for doing what they've done for their children, for just being who they are. "You and your family are all so amazing."

And the kindest man in the world put his hand on my shoulder and said softly, "You're pretty amazing yourself."

Worth every mile we drove. And then some.

All photos © David Ingogly.

Please help a fellow Johnny fan out! 
John Barajas is asking everyone to
"like" this photo on Facebook--this is is his 
cheerleading team, and if they get the most "likes," 
they'll be featured in a magazine! Click here or on the photo 
to go to the USASF Facebook page, and then please "like" 
the photo there. We have until 12:01 a.m. Monday, Oct. 31, 
to get them into first place!

Yes! Holiday Dreams On Ice returns, 
this time to Philly! 
VIP tickets are already on sale! 
Get yours today via the Holiday Dreams On Ice website!

NEW! "Like" HDOI on Facebook
and use promo code "philadelphia" 
for 50% off your general admission ticket!!

Q and A!! Go read it now!

Yes! Johnny's dresses are now available
for purchase only on!

At last: Pop Star On Ice is now available on DVD!
Order yours today from the Pop Star On Ice website!

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!

The season finale of Husbands is here! 
If you haven't seen this yet, go check it out now! 
Then please "like" them on Facebook 
and sign up for their insider newsletter!

Please help us nominate Johnny 
for "Must-Follow Athlete on Social Media" 
in the Fifth Annual Mashable Awards! 
From the Mashable site: You can submit one nomination 
per category every day for the next 29 days. 
Mashable's editors will select seven finalists for each category, 
and finalists will be announced on Nov. 21. 
Then readers will vote for the winners. 
Award winners will be announced on Mashable on Dec. 19.
Click here to nominate him!

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


germansoulmate said...

Thank you! Thank you!

Thank you for all the pics and for the great account of this obviously great evening.

I´m on cloud nine right now, and it looks like I´ll be staying there for some time and there are still more pics and stories to come. I can´t wait.

Great start into the weekend...

Debora Walsh said...

Love this post, Binky! I was sooo happy to finally meet your smiling face, and you were just as awesome as I knew you would be. Davey & Alice are equally amazing...All three of you were working like mad!
And how awesome is Johnny's dad?!! This was the first opportunity I had to meet John Weir and he was just the coolest! He actually came up to Mario at one point in the cocktail hour to ask if he had seen where Patti had disappeared to! LOL...It was like they had known each other for years...Johnny really is part of an awesomely down to earth family.

The "Meditation" from Thais...breathtaking beyond belief. It has instantly become one of my favorite exhibition programs from Johnny. The choreography, musicality and overwhelming elegance of this piece are extraordinary. Johnny's lines and emotional expression are so complex and beautiful...when the ITNY issues the commemorative DVD-DO NOT HESITATE!

That so many Johnny Weir fans, outside of the skating community, were there to support him that night was fantastic. I'm gonna paraphrase here> When Anne Lichtblau generously gifted Johnny with that spectatular Faberge egg, she likened him to a masterpiece. She stated that,in Johnny, we ALL had a treasure with us in the room that night, that his talents would live on after us and that he would forever be remembered as someone with a gift beyond compare...truer words could not have been spoken.

aaaack said...

Awesome blog, Binky. Extraordinary, excellent adventures and slices of life.

Hope you are saving a hardcopy crash-resistant backup copy of all your blogs on CD or thumb drive.

PumaJ said...

Simply…Thank you, Binx:-)

WheresMyKoppy said...

As soon as I saw that one picture I thought, 'Johnny's dad is there! yay!' That's too funny you seeing him make faces at Patti, lol! And he knew who you were, that's awesome! And I have to say I think you looked terrific!

Great blog MM, and once again beautiful photos from David! And not only was it nice for Johnny to stop and pose with the girls and sign things, it was also nice of Eric to say he'd be by, and it was nice of you and David to wait with them!

And we already knew Jen and Debora were awesome, this just reinforced it. Last year Debora fedexed a whole pile of signs so that people would have them at 'All That Skate L.A.'.