Friday, October 25, 2013

"All of Him Is My Treasure"

End of an era: 
Johnny’s at the close of his exquisite 
Schindler’s List program, 
in his last public exhibition performance 
as a competitive skater. 
Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.
Please click twice for larger image.

Success in any endeavor
depends on the degree
to which it is an expression
of your true self.

— Ralph Marston

Dearest Johnny, 
There will never be another like you 
on competitive ice. 
Thank you for sharing 
your amazing 17-year journey with us, 
for all the ways in which you make the ice 
and this world a more beautiful place, 
and for inspiring so many to find the courage 
to discover and express their true selves. 
We love you always.

from Binky 
and the gazillion fans 
who have shared these thoughts 
with me since Wednesday

So I’ve pretty much been having all the feels since 8:30 am EDT on Wednesday, when I watched Johnny force himself to say the words, “I’m officially retiring from competitive figure skating.”

And I’ve been over-thinking this post ever since.

I put out a brief update on Wednesday, of course, in case anyone might stop by here and wonder WTF is going on with this blog being stuck in some kind of weird pre-Wednesday time warp because HELLO I think he retired or something, but I had a bunch of stuff going on and there was no time to write anything other than to point people to what Johnny himself had said in his official retirement statement, because it is his own words that are most important in heralding this huge transition in his life, and because what he said was so amazing and beautiful and poignant, and such an incredible tribute to his family, his coaches, his fans, and to the ice itself—specifically, the ice in a frozen cornfield that beckoned him nearly two decades ago to a life he could not then imagine, but which somehow he knew, as he wrote, “would have some magic.”

And so I’ve been agonizing over what exactly I wanted to post about all this, sort of standing by the side of the glorious road that is Johnny’s journey with tear-stained face and bittersweet smile, twisting my forlorn and sodden-with-feels handkerchief absently in my hands, and then I glanced up just in time to see him whizzing past on his way to commentating at Skate Canada (this Sunday on NBC! A thing that was totally not even on my radar because ughhhhhhh Johnny-less figure skating no thank you but now I’ll be watching intently since because Johnny! At 4 to 6 pm EDT / 3 to 5 pm CDT / check your local listings!), followed closely by an almost equally awesome thing that the Japanese fans have been tweeting about for a few days now, namely another stellar interview of Johnny by one of my other fav people on the planet, Shigesato Itoi, conducted when Johnny was in Japan this past July for his birthday, and the first segment of which was just posted last night, at which point I apparently dropped my hankie unnoticed as I sprinted off to read, after which I was mostly all better. Because life goes on, and in the case of Johnny, it tends to go on in ways that are pretty amazeballs. I’m beyond thrilled for him to be part of the NBC broadcast team this Olympic season, and I can’t wait to hear his articulate, thoughtful, and sharply witty commentary. And Itoi’s interview, titled “To Live, You Have to Dream,” is just wonderful, as expected, and you really must go read it right now if you haven’t already because this is one of the photos:

The series continues with three more parts next week: Part Two–Balance; Part Three–Olympics; and concluding on Wednesday with Part Four–Life. If you missed Itoi’s earlier interview with Johnny in 2010, please go read it here. It’s just everything an interview should be, plus bonus gently hilarious video clips.

Other things that were awesome the past couple of days include the four best non-cookie-cutter articles to cover his retirement:

(1) Yahoo Sports:  Johnny Weir, Figure Skating’s Biggest Attraction, Retires. Perfect headline is perfect. This excellent piece is by Martin Rogers, whose previous lengthy interview with Johnny also is one of the best ever.

(2) Jezebel: Newly-Retired Skater Johnny Weir Will Still Dare to Be Gay in Russia. Silver medalist for best headline, and a pithy piece contrasting Johnny’s outspokenness with that of... others. And also the comments section is one of the few that does NOT make you want to claw your own eyes out.

(3) Today: ‘I Looked Flawless’: Johnny Weir Scores His Skating Style. In a followup to his on-air appearance, Johnny critiques his own costumes. Love.

(4) And also from Yahoo: Johnny Weir Retires From Skating, Leaves Glitter in His Wake. This Johnny slideshow introduces itself thusly:

Perhaps no figure skater in history has drawn more unlikely people to become fans of the sport than Johnny Weir. But on Wednesday, the athlete-turned-author, reality star and fashion icon with a penchant for purses and fur announced his retirement from skating. ... He’ll become an Olympic correspondent for NBC at the Sochi Games ... so this is far from the last we’ll see of him. But let’s toast Weir anyway, for brightening up our lives both on and off of the ice.

Yes, this. Always. Even at the same time that he’s breaking our hearts with the beauty of his graceful exit from the icy stage upon which most of us first came to know and love him.

Tweet from the BBC’s fabulous Eleanor Oldroyd, 
who interviewed Johnny recently 
(audio and transcript on the blog here).

Instagram video tweeted by Johnny 
the day after his retirement: 
“Flying practice. #снег.” 
That gorgeous, gorgeous triple axel. 
Which made me cry all over again.

UPDATE!! New Instagram videos 
tweeted by Johnny this morning: 
“Ice Follies. #БелыйКонь 

And also
“One more to end the week proper. 
Again I say: WOW.

ICYMI Bonus Round

Picspam from the Today Show! 
Johnny makes his announcement. 
Video here and here.

With Samantha Guthrie, Matt Lauer, 
Natalie Morales, and Carson Daly.

Random: Instagram video tweeted by Johnny 
of him singing “Kiss Me in Public.” 
Desperately need this song on iTunes!

And one more:
Final bow.
Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.
Please click twice for larger image.

New on Johnny’s website, 
linked to his retirement statement
Thank YOU, Johnny!

Don’t miss Johnny’s broadcast debut! 
Tune in to NBC’s coverage of Skate Canada 
this Sunday, sure to be anything but boring...

Also on the blog: 
“Practice Is Perfect”
25+ exclusive new photos of Johnny’s 
Sun Valley rehearsal.
Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.

Also on the blog: 
“Dear Johnny...”
Selected black-and-white photos of Johnny’s 
hauntingly beautiful Schindler’s List debut.
Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.

“Something Beautiful Today.”
Johnny at rehearsal in Sun Valley — Part 1 
(much more to come!)
Exclusive pics plus practice video featuring 
his gorgeous triple axel.
Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.

“Sun Valley Sneak Peek: 
‘A Rare Human So Breathtaking....’ ”
Johnny debuts his Schindler’s List program 
in this stunning simple white costume. 
Exclusive pics and HD video.
Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.

Photo essay of 40+ starkly beautiful 
black-and-white pics featuring Johnny at rehearsal 
as young skaters watch, spellbound.
Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.

Quiet photo essay of exclusive black-and-white pics 
paired with Johnny’s quotes from his 
Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.

A number of Johnny’s auction items 
have been relistedwhich means if you missed out 
the first time around, you’re in luck: 
It’s not too late to own a piece of Weir Gear! 
Go check it out and see what treasures 
you could take home!

Please alert absolutely everyone you’ve ever met 
to “like” and follow the new 
on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr
Because he should be on all the things. 
With or without ice. 
But definitely with Viacheslav.

Please click to vote for Johnny 
once a day as “Best Sportsman”
Because he retweeted Luisa Lotka  to tell us he wants us to! 

Need to see Seasons 1 and 2 all over again? 
Watch episodes online anytime on Logo!
Please be sure to check in with GetGlue a
nytime you’re watching the show... 
or thinking about watching the show.... 
or wishing you were watching the show....

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 2013 / Binky and the Misfit Mimes / Lynn V. Ingogly / all rights reserved


Atomic Wife said...

I've been so weepy about this news. Hard to separate my life from someone I don't know. But nevertheless, sad for him and sad for his devoted fans as the end of a glorious era comes to an end. And yet thankfully a new chapter begins which will continue to keep Johnny in our lives thru commentary and hopefully many skating shows for many years and hopefully within geographical proximity.

Thank you for helping us through this difficult transition.

Debora Walsh said...

I can't pretend that skating will ever hold that special place in my heart as it has in the past. The sport was always beautiful, but Johnny made it something else altogether. I can't put my finger on it, or express it in any kind of lucid way, but it was HIM... the talent, the personality, the style, the sheer ballsiness-I guess it is the Johnnyness of Johnny that makes it all so magnetic. Whether it was an on or off-night, Johnny on the ice was always-exquisitely thrilling? - Whatever that “it” quality was or is…he has it in droves. We were all lucky to see him leave his very big stamp on the sport in real time.

aaaack said...

I just hope that Johnny keeps performing in skating shows. Have never seen him skate live, and want to do this.

aaaack said...

Happen to be reading Mika Brzezinski's interesting book "Obsessed, America's Addition to Food and My Own." Who would have known she, too, had that widespread problem?

I think it would be very interesting to hear a discussion between Mika and Johnny and others on how obsessed figure skaters are with food.