Thursday, January 16, 2014

"We're Bringing Fun To It"

Johnny on Katie Couric’s talk show Wednesday.
He’s delighted that she noticed his Chanel brooch.

Full video plus transcript below!

Plus: Johnny’s special brand 
of charming insanity at Refinery29!
Now updated with new pics + video!

Be sure to watch him with partner 
Tara Lipinski this coming Saturday, 
January 18, 4 pm EST / 3 pm CST 
on NBC (check local listings)!

Sunday, January 19, 4 pm EST / 3 pm CST 
on NBC (check local listings)!

OK, that was, in fact, pure fun, with some food for thought thrown in. Loved Johnny and Tara Lipinski’s appearance on Katie Couric’s show yesterday, and also loved the speed with which Katie’s team made clips available on her website. You can see two portions of their segment here, and we also have full quip-to-quip coverage in one handy video below, suitable for watching and rewatching as needed. Plus bonus transcript!

During the show, Katie joined everyone in the known universe by asking Johnny—but in her case, in a nicely non-aggressive way—to share his viewpoint on the upcoming Olympics juxtaposed against the “anti-gay propaganda” laws enacted last summer by host nation Russia. His stance remains as well-articulated and unwavering as ever, and he also explains his perspective further in a new interview with Reuters out today.

We also have more Johnny to look forward to, as he spent Wednesday morning being interviewed by NBC Philadelphia (pics below), and today he tweeted that he and Tara Lipinski are doing “an office Olympic ‘makeover’” shoot with Refinery29. I can’t even imagine what that’s about, but just a reminder: the last time he worked with Refinery29, this happened.

And also this

I can’t wait to see the glorious madness that ensues today. So far we have:

Via @GinaALilBit: “That time @JohnnyGWeir and 
@TaraLipinkski filled us in on hot trends. @ Refinery29”

Via @bobbyschuessler: “Can every meeting be led 
by @johnnygweir and @tara_lipinski? @refinery29”

Via @jillmeisner: “Two of these things 
are not like the other. (Aka the time @taralipinski 
& @johnngweir took us through the Spring trends) 
@conconwang photo stolen from @refinery29”

Via @fakeplanettelex: “such an honor to meet 
@johnnygweir. you are fabulous. #olympics 
#fashion #client #roadtosochi”

UPDATE!! But wait, there’s more. 
Via @borninflames: “When Johnny Weir and 
Tara Lipinski interrupt your SEO meeting.”

Via @theagg: “Two of these people are Olympians. 
(the other two just work here) @taralipinski 
@johnnygweir in the office today”

Via @kellybourdet: “Dressed in Johnny Weir’s 
skating costume. With Johnny Weir”

Priceless video via jayhillary: “Tara Lipinski (!!!) and 
Johnny Weir giving us excellent life advice today” 
(which was, in part: “It’s all about pomegranates, 
and all about yaks in Mongolia. 
[to Tara] Can you show them Mongolia for me? Yaks?”)

And then later, this:

Via Johnny: “In love with my Matryoshka 
jewelry pieces for Sochi by the amazing 
@mashamitroshina! They’re gonna be huge! 
#спасибо #mitroshinajewellry”

UPDATE! And also this, via @mashamitroshina: 
“With lovely athletes, fashionistas, olympic 
figure skaters and #matryoshka lovers 
@johnnygweir and beautiful @taralipinski! 
Hello sochi they r coming

Anyway, ICYMI, he got a shout-out from Stephen Colbert earlier this week that’s covered here, along with videos of all his on-air time at Nationals last week.

OK! On to some screencaps, then the full video below!

Johnny and Tara make their grand entrance 
hand-in-hand. #dreamteam

“Our favorite figure skaters... 

...between the two of them, 
they have more awards and sequins 
than we could possibly count.”

That awkward moment when Katie exclaims 
that the last time she saw Tara, the skater was only 15,
then asks how old Tara is now. 
“Um... 31,” Tara says. 

Johnny says that he and Tara are “just beyond” excited 
to be working together in Sochi.
(Note: They're also doing commentary pre-Sochi 
for the Smucker's Skating Spectacular on Saturday, 
January 18, 4 pm EST! Check local listings for your area.)

“We have this sort of chemistry that cannot be denied.”

“We’re bringing fun to it!” Tara says. 

Next, Katie asks about Tara’s figure skating career
as the youngest Olympic gold medalist in figure skating ever.

(Before the show, fans were invited to tweet
 to Katie and tell her what they love 
about Johnny, Tara, or both. Yay!)

Then Katie turns to Johnny, remarking on 
his late start in figure skating at age 12.

“I know! And I’m now just 15!” Johnny replies.

Johnny explains his unique beginnings 
as a figure skating legend: 
“I taught myself to skate from watching TV—
on a cornfield.” 
“He’s just that talented,” Tara smiles.

Tweet from fellow fan Rachel Machinton! Yes. This.

In the second portion of their segment, 
things get more serious. Johnny listens as Tara clarifies
the controversial USFS decision that left 
Mirai Nagasu off the Olympic team.

“I’ve been in that situation like Mirai Nagasu, 
and I’ve been left off of a team, 
and it’s not a nice feeling,” Johnny says.

Listening carefully to Katie’s question 
about his opinion of Russia’s gay propaganda law.

Tara nods as Johnny explains: 
“There’s no easy way to say what my opinions are 
without somebody getting angry. 
But I’m an athlete. I’m an Olympian. 
I chose that for my life.”

As Johnny speaks, Katie airs a tweet from 
fellow fan Emily, who has volunteered her time 
to LGBT equality organizations.

Closing screencap.
Love these two together.
Can’t wait for their Sochi coverage!

Video and transcript!! The full segment, including the teasers before their appearance. Bonus pics below!

KC: And welcome back. We’re switching gears now to shine our spotlight on two of the biggest stars on ice. The Winter Olympics, believe it or not, are just 22 days away, and we thought we’d invite our favorite figure skaters to give us a preview of what’s to come in Sochi, Russia. Between the two of them, they have more awards and sequins than we could possibly count. Please welcome Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski and three-time US figure skating champion Johnny Weir.

KC: Gosh, I haven’t seen you guys in so long and now you’re all grown up!

TL: I know!

KC: Tara, I think the last time I saw you—

TL: —I was a baby.

KC: You were like 15 years old.

TL: Yes.

KC: So, and now you are....?

TL: Um... 31.

KC: Well, that’s OK! That’s young too, Tara, don’t you worry.

TL: [laughs] It’s OK, it’s OK.

KC: So how excited are you guys to work together in Sochi?

JWV: Just beyond. We have this sort of chemistry that cannot be denied. It’s so much fun going into the booth and working together, and really teaching America what figure skating is now, and who’s good, and why they’re good, and to have a young, fresh perspective.

TL: We’re bringing fun to it.

KC: Yeah, I bet! You want to make it fun, because I think your enthusiasm will be contagious for everybody watching. What are you doing to prepare? Are you memorizing stats? I remember when I used to cover the Olympics, I would be like, “Oh, they competed here, here, here, they placed this, this, and this...” Are you doing that?

TL: Well, when I first started commentating a few years ago, I did. I had research, I had binders—

KC: —spreadsheets—

TL: —yeah. It was a disaster. And now, I think just going out there and having fun and watching the skating, and then sitting next to this dude, it’s just so much fun!

KC: Well, before we talk about Sochi, let’s talk about your careers. I mean, you won a gold medal, as I said, when you were just 15 years old. And when you look back on that experience, I mean, is that a feeling that you’ll never forget, Tara? Or did you kind of go blank? I mean, what was that like for you?

TL: It was so magical. I think it’s really a surreal moment when it happens, because you think about it every day at the rink, when you go to sleep at night—all you want is to stand on top of that podium, and then between 11—you know, 10 pm and 11 pm, all of a sudden you have a gold medal around your neck, and you think, “How did this happen?” So it is, it’s that “pinch-me” moment. And it still happens. Sometimes I wake up and I’m like, “Whoa. Did this all really happen?”

KC: Where do you keep your gold medal, by the way?

TL: It’s in a museum right now.

KC: Oh!

TL: So it sort of travels around.

KC: I remember that outfit. My daughter got a little skating outfit just like yours. I think there were girls all over the country who wanted to be just like Tara Lipinski. Meanwhile, Johnny, you were kind of a “Johnny-come-lately” to the sport. You started figure skating when you were 12 years old?

JWV: 12 years old.

KC: That is so late! And then you end up being—

JWV: —I know! And I’m now just 15.

KC: But I mean, why, why, how did you start so late and become so good so quickly?

JWV: Well, I’m from a small town in rural Pennsylvania, and we didn’t have an ice rink. But I fell in love with it on television, watching the Nancy=and-Tonya saga unfold, falling in love with Oksana Baiul, the Olympic champion in 1994, and my parents saw how much I loved it. They got me a pair of used ice skates at Play It Again Sports, and our cornfield had frozen over behind our house. And I taught myself to skate, from watching TV—on a cornfield.

KC:That’s amazing, isn’t it?

TL: It’s so Johnny.

KC: Because how old were you, Tara, when you started skating?

TL: I started roller skating at 3, and that was just for fun, and then I started ice skating at 6.

KC: Wow.

TL: I was—he’s just that talented.

KC: Now let’s talk about your outfits, because obviously you make a big splash not only on the ice, but with what you’re wearing.

JWV: Right.

KC: Is that Chanel, Johnny?

JWV: It is!

KC: Gee, how could I tell? [all laugh] But you enjoy, obviously, sort of the costumes that you get to wear and all the other fun things about figure skating.

JWV: Right. I’m very visual, and part of figure skating is—is the athletics, and the sporting demands of it, and, you know, what it does to your body, but also there’s a show. I have to give a performance. I have to wear these gorgeous costumes—and there I’m in a swan costume because I was skating to The Swan—and I design everything, and—

KC: —I love that, by the way. That is so cool.

JWV: You notice the red glove. That’s the beak of the swan.

KC: Oh! I did not notice that! Thank you for point—that’s cool.

JWV: So there you are. But I just—I’m inspired by my life, I’m inspired by what will entertain people, because at the end of the day, I’m an entertainer.

KC: Is it going to be much more fun, Tara, for you to be a commentator versus actually competing? It must be just—it’s so much pressure off your shoulders, or at least a different kind of pressure, right?

TL: A different kind of pressure. But it’s going to be so much fun, because going to the Olympics in 1998, I had a blast, but there was so much pressure, and when you step on the ice, you can’t fully just enjoy the moment. And I’ve gone back as a spectator, but now to go back in this capacity and still be involved—just, you know, behind the scenes a little bit more than on the ice—I’m looking forward to it.

KC: Well, we’re a few weeks away from the 2014 Winter Olympics: there’s been lots of excitement, and lots of controversy. Up next, we’re going to talk about all of that, right after this.

KC: And welcome back. Today in our spotlight: figure skating legends Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir. THey’re here to talk about the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. Let me ask you guys, first and foremost, about security, Tara. Obviously it’s going to be very tight in Sochi. There’s been some bombings, there was a shooting of suspected terrorists today. I mean, are you nervous about the security situation?

TL: I’m not REALLY nervous. I mean, we’ve been traveling since we were babies, and we’ve been doing this for a long time, and I feel at an event like the Olympics, the security is going to be so high that I think we’ll be OK.

KC: What about you, Johnny?

JWV: You know, I’ve been traveling to Russia for so long, and for long periods of time,and despite it being a democracy, there is still that ability, sort of “Soviet style,” to mobilize people. And if security is needed, there WILL be security, and I’m not worried. It’s very unfortunate, though, that these things happen and they’re so close to the Olympic Games, and in such a hard time for Russia.

KC: Right. Let’s talk about the competition itself, because there’s been some controversy about the actual Olympic figure skating team. Tara, explain what happened in terms of some of the players.

TL: Well, in the ladies event, our Nationals just happened, and that’s where they select the Olympic team, and it usually is 1, 2, and 3. And this time, Ashley Wagner, who is two-time defending champ and is probably our best contender for the podium in Sochi, had very disastrous performances—

KC: —I’m sure she appreciates that photo being up there, but, you know—

TL: —and it was really heartbreaking to watch, and she came in fourth, which would have left her off the team. But our federation—they follow certain criteria that looks at the skater’s body of work in the years before, and so Ashley has that. But it was awful, because Mirai Nagasu, who came in third, thought she was going, and then got the news she wasn’t. So it was a really emotional Nationals.

JWV: And for me, I’ve been in that situation like Mirai Nagasu, and I’ve been left off of a team, and it’s not a nice feeling. I was sick, I was dealing with a lot of stuff, and despite having a great international record like Ashley, I was left OFF the team. So there’s guilt and horror on both sides.

KC: I felt sorry for her, but I thought she was incredibly gracious about saying that the federation had made the right decision to put Ashley on the team. I was impressed by that.

JWV: It was through gritted teeth, I’m sure. It was a very gracious thing to say.

KC:Let me ask you about something that I know you’ve been asked about a lot, Johnny, and that is the Russian law that was passed, I guess in July, that bans what the government considers “gay propaganda.” It’s pretty vague, but many people find it very discriminatory towards gay and lesbians. And I’m wondering about this boycott, because some people think that a boycott was necessary—we should have called for one. What are your views on that?

JWV: Well, you know, fortunately and unfortunately, I’ve been sort of at the helm of this issue since it was passed, and there’s no way to win it. There’s no easy to say—easy way to say what my opinions are without somebody getting angry. But I’m an athlete. I’m an Olympian. I chose that for my life. So for me to be in a situation where I watched my parents sell cars to buy tickets to the Olympics; to sacrifice a childhood—bleeding, crying, sweating, dieting—all of that stuff: to boycott that ONE opportunity I might have would be asinine. It would be completely against what I had chosen for my life. Being gay is something I was born into, and I don’t celebrate it in the way that many people do, where, you know: “I’m gay! I’m here! I’m queer! Get used to it!” That’s never been me. I’ve never thought that being gay would define me, the same as being white doesn’t define me, or being born male doesn’t define me. So, you know, there are many people that are anti-Russian Olympics because of their [Russia’s] stance on gay people. But I am pro-Olympic, and anywhere they’d be held, I would be there.

KC: I know that President Obama is not going to be attending the Olympics, but in the US delegation are three gay athletes, including Brian Boitano, Billie Jean King, Caitlin Cahow—is that how you pronounce Caitlin’s last name?

JWV: I think so, yes.

KC: Anyway, so do you think that is—it’s a good symbol coming from the United States, to make these athletes part of the delegation?

JWV: Like everything else, I have to sit on two sides of this argument. I think it’s a beautiful, wonderful thing that President Obama is doing by including gays and lesbians on his delegation, but at the same point, the Olympics is not a political statement. The Olympics is about the athletes. It’s about bringing nations together for a quiet, peaceful Games. It’s about marveling at the athletic abilities of these young people. And while I think it’s cool what he did, I think that there could have been a better time to make this political statement and not use the Olympics as a platform.

KC: Oh, so you don’t necessarily agree with him including them in the delegation?

JWV: I think it’s cool—

TL: I think it’s cool.

JWV: Yeah, it’s very cool. But I think the Olympics aren’t political. The Olympics are about sport.

KC: And what are you most excited about, Tara, when you think about just the whole experience of being in Sochi? Personally, I’m very jealous of both of you! Because I wish I could be there covering it with you. But what are you most excited about?

TL: I think just BEING at an Olympics is such a special experience: the environment, the energy, everyone you meet. You meet other athletes, not just your sport, and it just reminds you that this is so much bigger than figure skating or skiing. It’s incredible.

KC: When you see those opening ceremonies and you see those athletes from so many countries marching together, it really is a beautiful thing, I think, to behold. And I hope you have a wonderful time! I’ll be watching. I’m sure you’re going to do a great job. Just have fun!

JWV: Do you have any pointers?

KC: Well, yeah, just to have fun! And I think some of the things you take for granted about skating, you know, that sort of “inside baseball,” so to speak—not to mix sporting metaphors—you know, I think people will be interested to know how long did it take you to perfect a certain move, or how long—how many sequins are in that outfit? You know—

TL: —We’ll do our best!

KC: I think you guys are going to be great! And collect some pins for me! Because I have an awesome Olympic pin collection.

TL: We’ll bring some home.

JWV: We’re on it!

KC: Bring some back! OK, thanks, you guys! And you can catch Tara and Johnny covering the Olympics on NBC beginning February 6.

Bonus pics! Via Tara: “Tune into Katie today! 
@johnnygweir @katiecouric”

Towering over his co-stars. 
Via Katie Couric: “@JohnnyGWeir & @Tara_Lipinski 
hanging out at the @KatieShow today talking 
#Sochi2014! Love these two!”

Via Tara: “West Coast tune @JohnnyGWeir @katiecouric 
@KatieShow Katie is the coolest. So sweet 
& real & down to earth.Love her!”

More bonus pics!! Excited for this NBC 
Philadelphia piece! Via Vai Sikahema: 
“Interviewing @johnnygweir in 
Hackensack, NJ ice rink where he trains. 
He’ll do color for #NBC in #Sochi.”

Via Johnny: “Glorious interview with 
my old friend @VaiSikahema 
for @NBCPhiladelphia this morning!”

Via Danielle Soyka: “Fun morning shooting 
a story with @VaiSikahema and 
@JohnnyGWeir for @NBCPhiladelphia.”

Very special thanks to 
Jenn Kittler for the video!!

Cannot. Wait.
More info on Johnny’s official website!

So there was some confusion over this, 
as Nickelodeon tweeted that he was guest-starring 
along with Hilary Duff, but his portion is not actually 
in the episode itself. But you can watch his spot 
over and over again here, here, or here!

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

Also on the blog:
“Because It’s Glorious.”
A look back at Johnny’s first national title 
and his thoughts on Nationals, accompanied by 
20+ exquisite black-and-white portraits.
Exclusive photo © Elena Vasileva.
Please click twice for larger image.

“Frost Giant.”
25+ exclusive pics of Johnny
performing Army of Me.
Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.
Please click twice for larger image.

“Without Words”
Gorgeous pics of Johnny’s Schindler’s List 
plus pics/vids from his Canada trip!
Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.
Please click twice for larger image.

“Some Happy for Thanksgiving”
Beautiful Johnny 
with very happy fans in Sun Valley!
Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.
Please click twice for larger image.

“Random Funday Roundup”
Links to Johnny’s TEB commentary 
for the mens’ and ladies’ events! 
Plus: A whole lot of Johnny heading our way, 
and exclusive new pics from the vault!
Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.
Please click twice for larger image.

“...That Boy With Wings on His Heart.”
Johnny, Fallen Angel, Vancouver 2010.
“The most beautiful performance I have ever seen. 
Inspired a young theater group in Brazil...” 
A poignantly uplifting story, now updated 
with a special postscript.

All of Him Is My Treasure.”
Fans react to Johnny’s graceful exit 
from competitive skating.
Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.
Please click twice for larger image.

“Practice Is Perfect”
25+ exclusive photos of Johnny’s 
Sun Valley rehearsal.
Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.

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

Johnny’s latest column for the 
Falls Church News-Press.
His columns are published every Thursday 
in the “National Commentary“ 
section—don’t miss a single one! 

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 2014 Binky and the Misfit Mimes / Lynn V. Ingogly / all rights reserved

1 comment:

aaaack said...

Looking forward to the "inside baseball" because these Olympic skating competitors make it look easy, but it really is not.