Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"My Dream Continues"

One of the highlights of this year has been 
Johnny’s amazing Bollywood-inspired program 
to “Nagada Sang Dhol,” which he debuted in Japan in June 
and in the US in August. While in Japan, he also gave 
a fascinating interview, now translated below 
for the first time for his US fans.

Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.

Special interview translation 
plus the final set of exclusive
Bollywood picspam below!

AND: a must-see video clip!!

Johnny looking amazing and cracking everyone up
at USA Swimming’s annual Golden Goggle Awards
 on Monday, November 24. He and Rebecca Soni presented
the first award of the evening for 
“Female Race of the Year” to Katie Ledecky.

Yes, there’s video of just his segment!
I love that he’s introduced as 
“a performer of singular style on the ice and off, 
who emerged with partner Tara Lipinski as 
a one-of-a-kind voice of his sport during the 2014 Sochi
Olympics: three-time national skating champion
and fashion guru Johnny Weir.”

Video link.

Fab Johnny selfie with Ryan Lochte here!

Johnny will be competing 
(yes, competing!) in the 
Medal Winners Open in January!
Info here!

Available on demand from EPIX!! 
Johnny stars in To Russia With Love
a new documentary about LGBT athletes, 
portions of which were filmed in secret during his time 
in Sochi as an NBC figure skating commentator. 
He also is an executive producer for the film, 
a project of Robert Redford’s Sundance Productions.
More info here and on the EPIX website.

The official trailer!
Video link.

Less than a month away! 
Evgeni Plushenko’s “enchanting fairy tale 
on ice for the whole family” begins December 5! 
The show is based on an adaptation of 
Hans Christian Andersen’s story, The Snow Queen, 
with Johnny playing the role of Kai. 
New teaser here!
Behind-the-scenes sneak peek here.

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, 
some are strong at the broken places. 
– Ernest Hemingway

Dear Johnny, 
we believe in you, 
we support you, and 
we love you always.

Note: Candles last only 48 hours, so please visit often 
to keep the love and light shining...

Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.

OK! Before we get to the interview, here’s a brief roundup of random stuff that happened since last we gathered here to enjoy some Johnnyness together:

Arthur Lookyanov posted yet another 
amazing portrait of Johnny in Red Square.

I discovered that while he was in Chicago covering 
Skate America last month, Johnny went to the very same 
Cheesecake Factory that we go to! Via @cstolemyheartk: 
“Met Olympic ice skater @johnnygweir at work 
the other night! Really awesome guy! Thanks for taking 
a picture with me :) ♥ #thecheesecakefactory 
#Olympian #johnnyweir #workflow 
#dontmindmyapron #iceskater #mademyday”

Hello! magazine did a wonderful feature on 
The Snow King. Please click for full-size image. 
Thanks to @PlushenkoNews for the scan!

Photos from the online version of the article:

This adorable fan art popped up on Instagram. 
Via @octoxiiic: “Johnny, how beautiful you are !!”

Aaaand this happened. Via Johnny yesterday: 
“I cracked a blanket in half.” #snappedmyhoof
Yikes. Also bonus points for 
the Bridesmaids reference.

“Dreams Realized, 
and Dreams to Realize”

Interview from Figure Skating Days Plus, Autumn 2014

This interview was conducted on 06-06-2014, the day before Fantasy on Ice in Makuhari, Japan. Translated by Maiko Ohtani.

Johnny Weir announced his retirement on October 23, 2013. His long essay was very beautiful and impressed us deeply. And now he is back in Japan for the first time in a year. Though this interview was done after his practice, he was kind enough to smile and say, “Don’t worry about the time.”

Figure Skating Days: This is your first ice show in Japan after you announced your retirement. What kind of performance are you going to show us?

Johnny: Japan has been a very special place for my senior career. I have taken part in shows here in Japan for the past eight years, and I am always working hard to be able to come back. I like it when the audiences have fun and feel something, seeing my performances, which I think is my job as an entertainer. This year I have tried something new, which was to use Bollywood music. I have never used this kind of music before, but Japanese audiences have always been supportive, so I can’t wait to show another side of myself. It’s kind of like a vogueing and it has lots of unique movements [demonstrates with his arms]. I’m excited to show the costume I designed myself. I think it’s really beautiful. I am also very nervous, but Japanese fans have always been understanding and supportive. They have supported me through good and bad, and they have encouraged me to become better, even now that I’m a professional figure skater.

FSD: Can you talk about your decision to retire? I have read your beautiful announcement about your retirement, which begins with “Seventeen years ago…” It was really appealing, but did it take long to write the draft?

JW: Actually it only took 30 minutes. [laughs]

FSD: Only 30 minutes?

JW: Yes. [laughs] It might sound like I didn’t put in any effort, but I was crying the whole time I was writing it. It is very hard to hew out a future, and it is difficult to say goodbye to something you’ve devoted yourself to for a very long time, so it wasn’t easy, but being a professional writer myself, I don’t usually find it hard to express my weakness. It didn’t take long at all. [Yuzuru comes in to check on him and they smile at each other.] Yuzuru now seems super busy... Well, about the announcement, I did write it from the bottom of my heart. I think that’s why it didn’t take long. If I had spent too much time on it, I might have read what I had written again and again, trying to make it perfect, but all I did was follow my heart, which made it easy for me to write it.

FSD: It was really poetic and impressive.

JW: Thank you. I could still cry, reading it. While I was writing it, my face got red and tears just kept falling from my eyes, so my son Тёма, who was sitting there, kept staring at me. I didn’t write it at my desk, but on my bed, putting my computer on the pillows.

FSD: Could you tell me why you decided to retire?

JW: To be honest, I felt that it was not for me anymore. Now is the era of Yuzuru and Javier. Watching the wonderful performances of all the skaters at Sochi, I felt that my era had ended. To compete as one of the world’s top athletes, you have to put competing ahead of everything else, which I thought I couldn’t do anymore, and that’s why I made up my mind to retire. I still skate every day. I really love skating.

FSD: Still, didn’t it take courage to announce your retirement to the whole world?

JW: Yes. I felt that it might disappoint the people who had always been there for me these past ten to twelve years, but thanks to them, I’m still skating. Watching the Sochi Olympics, I really regretted that I didn’t participate, because not all the skaters there were able to show their best performances. I thought Yuzuru was wonderful, of course, but I couldn’t help thinking, What if I had skated there too? I was so sad about the fact that I didn’t make it. But the decision was mine, and I am very proud that I made that decision on my own.

FSD: After retiring, you seem to have quickly moved on to the next stage of your life, working as a commentator, choreographer, costume designer, etc. Having experienced all that, do you have any messages for Mao Asada and Daisuke Takahashi?

JW: I think you can do whatever you want with your life. I am not an Olympic gold medalist nor a world champion, but I know what I have achieved as a figure skater and I know myself well. Whatever I do, I believe in myself and my strength, such as designing a costume for Yuzuru, choreographing for young Japanese skaters Momona and Nagisa. But sometimes I still leap to my feet while I am asleep, as if I were going to be scolded by my coach. [laughs]

FSD: Even now?

JW: Yes, even now. Actually that just happened at home the other day. I was like, “OMG, I’m late!”, but it was the middle of the night. [laughs] That shows that the spirit of an athlete is deeply rooted in me. I just want to tell Mao and Daisuke, who both have wonderful personalities, that there are so many opportunities for them. A lot of Japanese fans will give them support, and with their big support and love, anything is possible. It is natural to feel you want to avoid disappointing your fans, but the important thing is to think not as a figure skater, but as a human being. One of my fans recently told me, “I became your fan from watching your skating, but there are also people who like your fashion and style, so please always be yourself.” I think it’s very special that people like various sides of me. It is very hard to keep a smile on your face in front of people, but what Mao showed at Sochi and how Daisuke made it there with his injury must have moved so many people. Mao and Daisuke have especially touched people’s heart throughout their careers, so I’m sure they have bright futures ahead of them.

FSD: Well, about yourself, what are you planning to do next?

JW: I have some TV projects going on in America, and I want to do some more choreographing. Of course I want to continue to work as a costume designer. Last season, I designed for four skaters that competed in the world championship, including Yuzuru, Eliska Brezinova, Jelena Glebova, and Alexei Bychenko, and three of them went to Sochi. It was so cool that I have done that much work. I felt so happy and excited to see Yuzuru standing on the podium, wearing the costume I designed in my apartment. As a commentator, I can be different from others, able to comment from my experience of actually competing with the skaters, and I can explain how figure skaters can make their dreams come true. I think that could help people remember the skaters’ performances or come to respect them. Oh, I never say bad things, because I hated having something mean said about me! [laughs] And in the fashion business, I want to make my own sports clothing line, something simple such as black-and-white tights. Anything I do, it’s all up to me, and I love trying new things. 

FSD: What did you dream of when you started skating seventeen years ago, and were you able to realize that dream?

JW: I never dreamed of performing in front of so many people when I first stood on the ice covering that cornfield. I never knew that all this would happen, winning a gold medal and experiencing moments of glory. But fortunately I was able to experience that at Vancouver Olympics. I got a standing ovation from the whole audience and I felt what it is like to touch people’s hearts. I never became an Olympic champion, but that very moment made me feel so special and grateful. My dream continues. I want to make another dream come true, which is to have a happy life. I want to create something fun, to be with my family and to have my own child someday. You can make your life however you want it to be.

FSD: Can I ask you about your marriage?

JW: Of course.

FSD: What is the relationship like now?

JW: We no longer talk to each other. We are divorcing. I have tried to feel happy about my marriage, just like I do about other things in my life, but it did not work, which I am very sorry about. Now I’m trying to believe that I was very lucky to have a chance to learn from this experience in my life.

FSD: What is your everyday life like?

JW: Now? Well, first I wake up, then go take a shower, but Тёма looks so sleepy and tired so I pick him up and help him get off the bed…

FSD: Oh, you are spoiling him! [laughs]

JW: Oh, yeah, but it’s OK. He is such a cutie and he is a very important part of my life. He is always tired from playing all day, and the time I get up is too early for him. Well, after that, I go get some coffee and put him back on the bed again [smiles wryly] and I get ready to go out. Тёма goes back to sleep again, though. I spend two hours practicing on the rink every day, and then I go do Pilates. I’m not an Olympic athlete anymore, but I want to stay fit and slim. I want to keep myself busy every day. For example, when I have some time at home, I rearrange my clothes according to color: red, orange, and white… [laughs]

FSD: I have seen some pictures of you doing hard training on the floor.

JW: Yes, I do Pilates for training. For figure skating, you have to keep big muscles strong and in good condition, and at the same time you have to be flexible. Right now I’m training a little harder, so my muscles have gotten bigger, which I think is too big for a figure skater. [laughs] Other than that, I am doing an exercise called TRX, using a practice bar. It is kind of acrobatic, including some dancing and circus moves, which is killing me. [laughs]

FSD: What do you think about the American figure skaters now?

JW: I feel like a new generation is replacing an old one, which will take some more time. I don’t really have any particular male skaters I am crazy about, but I like Adam Rippon. He can jump quadruple Lutz and he has been working on his mental side. I also like Jason Brown’s performances, and I enjoy watching Max Aaron, too, because he is very powerful. Those three skaters are my favorites. Oh, and I like Richard Dornbush. As for female skaters, I’ve come to like Gracie Gold. She is beautiful and a good jumper. What she needs to work on is skating which connects her to the music and the audience. Ashley Wagner has been the diva on the ice, and there are many young female skaters. America and Russia will have become strong by the next Olympics in four years.

FSD: This is the very last question. I don’t know if it’s OK to ask this…

JW: I wonder what it can be. Is it something dirty? [laughs]

FSD: No, it’s not dirty.

JW: Then it’s fine.

FSD: Evan Lysacek, who was your long-time rival, retired after the last season. What did you feel about that?

JW: I was really sad to hear about it. I felt that it was the end of our generation in figure skating. Evan and I had always been at the top of US figure skaters. We were rivals, and of course sometimes I wished he would disappear. But looking back at the time when we competed against each other, I think it was good that I shared that time with him. He really was a good rival. We didn’t really get along nor were we friends, but I am very thankful that he was there, and I am proud of what he has accomplished. I wish him good luck in his future. But if we were to be in the same show, I think I would still see him as my rival. [laughs]

And in honor of this wonderful interview, we now present the final set of exclusive picspam from Johnny’s only US performance of his Bollywood program, in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Please click any photo twice for the full-size image. Most are huge, and many especially capture Johnny in motion; I love the movement of this beautiful costume’s peplum as he skates. These may take a moment to load, but, as always, are well worth the wait.

Exclusive photos © David Ingogly.

And finally: video clip!! Via stylist Jewlie Brooke, 
“@johnnygweir giving a military drag moment.” 
With bonus Colby Smith.

Very special thanks to Maiko Ohtani 
for her translation of Johnny’s interview!

Full video of Johnny’s  
Johnny’s segment begins at about 30:51.

ICYMI: 42 Seconds.”
Stunning new exclusive photos of Johnny’s “Human”
performance at An Evening With Champions.
Absolutely breathtaking.

Sweet Memories.”
Johnny returns to Russia! 
And he’s greeted at the airport by fans 
who have not seen him for two years. 
A wonderful series of photos not to be missed!

The first series of exclusive photos from 
An Evening With Champions, featuring 
Johnny’s debut of the spectacular dragon costume 
given to him by his Chinese fans.

Bold Beauty: Bollywood Revisited.”
A stunning new look at Johnny’s 
Nagada Sang Dhol program 
in a series of 35+ exclusive photos, 
plus exclusive video.

To Stand in a Ray of Sunlight.”
Gorgeous sun-drenched photos 
of Johnny at rehearsal in Sun Valley, 
plus exclusive video of his practice.

The US debut of Johnny’s stunning 
and hauntingly beautiful new program.
Selected exclusive photos, 
plus exclusive HD video.

Be Gorgeous Without Your Pants.”
50+ Artistry on Ice pics plus all-new videos, 
including Beijing and Guangzhou
press conferences!

Magic Becomes Art...
60+ spectacular pics from Shanghai,
including the most beautiful 
“Concubine” series yet.

Stunning fan art by 
@glace_icywaterdri on Weibo. 

Beautiful mega-picspam from 
the Guangzhou livestream.

Photo art detail from an exclusive photo © Joveta Leo.

Johnny and Tara’s brilliant commentary 
segment from Late Night With Seth Meyers!
Video link.
Watch their interview with Seth here.

Johnny and Dora!!
Watch his spot over and over again 
here, here, or here!

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

ICYMI: Johnny plans to discuss his personal difficulties just once, 
in an exclusive interview with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush. 
The three-part interview is available at these links:

UPDATE: In response to a rash of erroneous reports in the media, 
Johnny spoke briefly with Access Hollywood again
to set the record straight.

Also on the blog:
“Rise Like a Phoenix”
An exquisite black-and-white series 
of Johnny at rehearsal. 
Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.
Please click twice for larger image.

Johnny’s latest column for the 
Falls Church News-Press.
His columns are published on Thursdays 
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! 

Watch bonus clips online anytime on Logo!
Please be sure to check in with GetGlue
anytime 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

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