Monday, July 16, 2012

The New Johnny Weir: "I Have Never Been So Energized to Fight"

Johnny shows off his Russian-flag-inspired manicure 
at the Russian fan meeting, December 2011. 
Photo © Tatiana Edrenkina.

So today we continue—for no reason at all other than that I love these pics and this interview and I want everybody to read it—our translation of Johnny's interview with Sport Express with parts 3 and 4, translated by the lovely Tatiana Edrenkina and graced with some random new picspam from the Russian fan meeting last December, also by Tati, because she's awesome, and also because yay Russia.

But first, the news briefs of the day:

(1) Go see Johnny skate in his home rink! Tickets are on sale now for Show of Champions, presented by the Ice House in Hackensack, NJ, on Saturday, August 18! Tickets are $25 for general admission, or $50 for on-ice seating plus the post-show meet-n-greet with the skaters. To purchase, please call the Ice House at 201-487-8444, ext 232.

Fireworks also is offering just fifteen Platinum VIP tickets at $175 each that include a coaching seminar, lunch, admission to the pre-show practice, on-ice seating, and the post-show meet-n-greet. Please note that Johnny will not be at the seminar, but is expected at the practice, according to the Ice House. IDK if these are sold out yet, but for more info, please send an email to

(2) Post a message of support for Johnny! "Leave a Message for Johnny" is a new feature now available on Johnny's Comeback Gift Fund website. From the site:

Many fans who have already sent a gift mentioned that they’d love to have included a message of support with their gift. You’re welcome to do so in the “Message” area of the PayPal screen. But now you also can leave a message here on the site!

Our hope is to build a wall of support for Johnny that he can visit anytime, if he’d like, to read and enjoy. Though he can’t offer messages in return (he’s a bit busy…), fans can share their encouraging thoughts and best wishes for him here.

Please check it out, and post your message today!

(3) Get ready for Husbands the Series Season 2! Love this web series created and produced by Brad Bell ("Cheeks") and Jane Espenson, and I was thrilled to see that Husbands fans fully funded the Kickstarter project to create a second season. I was even more thrilled at the news that came out of San Diego Comic Con this weekend: Among other amazing guest stars, Joss Whedon himself--yes, he of mega Buffy fame, who is now enjoying his most recent huge success as the director of the blockbuster film The Avengers--will be making an appearance in Season 2! This announcement was the number-one story in The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday, which gives you a tiny glimpse of the incredible drawing power Whedon wields. Catch up on Season 1 now, and don't miss the Season 2 premiere on Wednesday, August 15!

Photo © Tatiana Edrenkina.

Johnny Weir: 
“At Heart, I’m an Old Russian Woman"
Interview in Sport Express 
posted 06-06-2012
by Slava Malamud
translated by Tatiana Edrenkina
(Parts 1 and 2 available here.)

Part 3: Babushka Tarasova

So what will you be like on the ice? Will we see the same Johnny Weir, or a new one?
I hope that you will see a wiser Johnny Weir. When you’re young, you make a lot of different mistakes — no one can escape it. I was terribly bitchy, didn’t listen to anyone but myself. When you’re like this, you draw into yourself, and, on bad days, when nothing works out well, nobody is there to help you. I don’t need to be like that anymore. All that I could do for US Figure Skating, I’ve already done. If I don’t succeed now, I will gracefully leave the sport and I will be happy. So the new Johnny Weir is more peaceful and relaxed. I hope that will help me be a stronger skater than I used to be.

Will it really help? What if your will to win disappears?
I have never been so energized to fight. I’m not as much of a fighter as Plushenko, who fights like a dog to win every competition. Maybe because he’s Russian and I’m American, and we Americans don’t have to suffer and fight for everything like you do. Or maybe it’s just me. I’m not one who’s ready to cut my rival’s throat to win. You love hockey in Russia, so maybe you get your mentality from that. To score a goal, to help your team… I can’t ignore the fact that figure skating is a sport where your destiny is decided by fourteen absolute strangers who are much older than you.

George Foreman once told me that Russian boxers are more hungry and angry than Americans.
The Russian system of figure skating, as well, is much more serious. In particular, it’s related to the coaches of the old Soviet school. You either succeed, or you’re nothing.

Were you shocked when you first encountered this school? I’m sure Tatiana Tarasova did not coddle you.
That was exactly what I needed. You see, my first coach, Priscilla Hill, taught me everything I know. But she was a very loving and gentle person, sometimes too much so. And Tarasova kicked my ass. But outside of the rink she was just a babushka [grandmother]: she tried to feed me, comb my hair. Galina Zmievskaya is the same: on the ice, she’s the toughest and most difficult person on earth; but in our regular life, we have a wonderfully warm relationship.

What is the characteristic feature of the Russian school of figure skating, from your point of view? What does it mean  “to skate like the Russians”?
I can explain that because, more than all the others, I have always thoroughly studied the Russian school. Even when I was a child, [I studied it] on TV. The characteristic feature is that for Russians, everything is very dramatic. Americans are more conservative in their movements. Russians have drama everywhere — costumes, music, technique. Like in hockey, Russians love speed. Movements of the arms and legs are very wide, with a big range. Americans are more restrained.

You used to give names to the elements of your costumes…
Don’t worry about that! I’m still as strange as before. If I feel the need to give a name to a program or a costume, I will. Why not have fun? The worst thing you can do is treat something too seriously. What is the sense in doing something that doesn’t please you?

Actually, it seems that all your weirdnesses are worked out in advance…
Worked out in advance? No. I’m really a very strange person, and I’m OK with that.

Others are not OK with it.
Figure skating is an old kind of sport. Well, not old; let me say, elderly. Traditions rule, and rather elderly people run everything. And by the way, they are not really interested in gay athletes. Although in America, figure skating has the reputation of being a rather gay sport. But it’s kept secret so no one will be upset.

But l decided long ago that there’s nothing more important in life than the right to be who you are. So it happened that on the one hand, I didn’t feel the need to comply with the norm. But on the other hand, I know without a doubt that all my competitive results suffered greatly because of that.

Part 4: Shower for Me, Platinum for Plushenko

If you had been judged without bias, what do you think your place would have been at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver?
Ugh… You know how much time passed until I found the strength to watch the performances of all the others? After Vancouver, my heart was broken. I was depressed and lost all interest in figure skating. Vancouver was a peak. Yes, exactly, it was the peak moment of my life. The most emotional, the most dramatic, the most beautiful. I went off the ice feeling incredibly high. But when the scores appeared, I immediately understood that I was being put in sixth place. I thought, “Oh wow, how did the others perform?” And when I went backstage, reporters started coming up to me and announcing: this one fell down, that one stopped in the middle of the program and shit on the ice, and the third one looked like he was on fire, with sparks coming out of his nose. Why didn’t I finish higher then?... So I watched all the performances only after seven or eight months, after I had calmed down a bit. I think I should have been third in Vancouver.

Looks like you passed through the disappointment more easily than Plushenko did.
You bet.

How did you take his reaction, that he deserved a platinum medal and so forth?
Figure skating takes all of your life, heart and soul. Plushenko sat out for three years after Torino, and if he returned to this hell, it wasn't for second place, right? If it's the only thing that you think about every day, if you wake up every morning only for this, and it slides out of your grasp... Anyone would be sick at heart.

To be honest, I have a much better relationship with Zhenya than I do with Evan Lysacek, and I support him much more. Of course, from the PR point of view, [Zhenya] hurt himself a lot in America. But everyone handles disappointments in their own way. Galina, for example, when I ended up in sixth place, went to eat French fries at McDonald's. To let herself do this, she had to have been very upset. I went to cry in the shower. And Zhenya started talking about a platinum medal. Everyone calms themselves down as best they can...

Can you say that your relationship with Evan Lysacek, who became a champion then, is poisonous?
I haven’t seen him for a long time. And the poison that we used to have was mostly created by American TV and magazines. And by the skating federation, of course. Of course we didn’t like each other. But when I got married, he was one of the first to congratulate me, which shocked me. I suppose we both grew up. We don’t have to like each other, but now I have more respect for what he achieved.

And now you’ve decided to return to figure skating. What do you think: will you have more chances? Have the judges become more liberal?
I think they have. I hope so. But if they haven’t, I will not go crazy over the heartbreak. By the way, our national federation is now treating me better than ever before. Perhaps they understand that I can boost the popularity of figure skating in America because of who I am. Evan won the Olympics, but no one remembers who he is. Yes, I can bring popularity back to our sport. I hope the federation will assign me to the events where I need to compete [Note: Johnny has been assigned to two Grand Prix events for the 2012-2013 season: Rostelecom Cup (Cup of Russia) and Trophée Eric Bompard], and will tell me how to skate in order to please the judges and not just the audience. In the last two years, I got used to performing for people who applaud me for shaking my ass for them.

So, will you be able to please the judges?
It will be difficult with them. It was difficult with them for Zhenya, too, when he came back. And I’m not as popular as Zhenya is in Russia… But there’s nothing to complain about. In general, I’m loved and valued in America. The federation knows it, and sees that they need me.

Still to come: Parts 5, 6, and 7!

Picspam!! Johnny signing autographs 
at the fan meeting...
Photo © Tatiana Edrenkina.

...chatting with the meeting's organizer, Irina Volkova...
Photo © Tatiana Edrenkina.

Photo © Tatiana Edrenkina.

...listening to fans...
Photo © Tatiana Edrenkina.

...enjoying the conversation...
Photo © Tatiana Edrenkina.

Photo © Tatiana Edrenkina.

Photo © Tatiana Edrenkina.

...and thoroughly enjoying himself.
Photo © Tatiana Edrenkina.

Bonus pic!! Photo tweeted yesterday by Johnny: 
"Sunday steam bubble at @mrericalt @ericaltsalons."
Fortunately for all the rest of us who are 
unfamiliar with such exotica, Tatiana once again 
came to our rescue with this link.
Also: Yay that his Twitter has finally reconnected 
with his Facebook fan page!

Very special thanks to Tatiana Edrenkina 
for the translation and all the gorgeous photos!

New on Johnny's website!! 
He's skating in Hackensack on August 18!! 
Tickets are just $25 for general admission,
or $50 for on-ice seating plus 
post-show meet-n-greet with the skaters!
To purchase tickets, call the Figure Skating Office 
at the Ice House, 201-487-8444, ext. 232.

Yes, YOU can be a part of Johnny's comeback!  
Please visit Johnny's Comeback Gift Fund today 
and chip in as little as $1 via PayPal. 
Our small gifts can help make his dream of competing 
in his third Olympic Games come true!
And now you can leave a message 
of support for Johnny, too!

More from Johnny's website!! 
He's heading back to Japan in early September 
for Fantasy on Ice! Info here!

Landing quads and kicking ass 
at a Grand Prix event near you!
Read his comeback statement 
on his website!

Johnny returns to Sun Valley this summer! 
He'll be the headliner at the Saturday, August 4, ice show, 
and tickets are on sale now!! Don't miss it!

Please click to vote for Johnny 
once a day as "Best Sportsman"
Because he retweeted Luisa Lotka to tell us 
he wants us to! (Note: With his "58.132" rating, 
he is currently in 1st place in both 
Figure Skating AND across all sports!)

It's not too late! Subscribe now 
and get the entire Johnny Weir perspective, 
including his never-before-heard free skate commentary 
available exclusively on!

Q and A! Go read it now!

with MAC is pretty much sold out, 
but I'm leaving this video on here 
for a little while longer 
because I love it so much.

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:
"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!

copyright 2012 / Binky and the Misfit Mimes / Lynn V. Ingogly / all rights reserved


aaaack said...

So happy to hear that Johnny is energized to train. I only hope that his scores this fall will reflect some reality.

IMHO, skaters who do not fall, not even once, should receive an extra two points in the artistry department. BTW, Johnny's costumes and original themes were the best of the whole Olympic lot, too.

If America continues to be manipulated by the 1% (actually, the 0.01%), Americans will lead hardscrabble lives and become more like Russians and fight like dogs, too. And that would be a very sad thing.

In old Russia, many landowners treated their serfs as badly as American plantation owners treated their slaves. This fostered some cultural practices (excessive drinking, domestic violence, coercive leadership styles) that Russia is still recoving from.

Think that Evan's last name sounds Russian, or at least Slavic. That makes it harder for Americans to remember. It took me a few tries to remember Evan's last name.

Johnny's name is almost too easy to remember. Having such a name helps innoculates him from criticism, which in the end makes his life more interesting and his life more dramatic, if stressful.

Thank you, Binky, for another great posting.

jenn said...

Amazing photos. I would love to see our happy husbands on Husbands! It could happen, right? Weir-Voronovs for season 3!