Friday, April 30, 2010

A Signature With A Flourish

In the weeks leading up to the Chelsea Piers trip, I excitedly prepped for it like I was Marlo Thomas heading off to conquer the big city. My husband Slurpico, however, worried terribly that I would meet some horrible fate in the train station like the little Amish boy in the movie "Witness." Nevertheless, he dropped me off with a kiss and two little airport sized bottles of Hennessy and off I went.

I rode the train from Lancaster to New York. Whenever I thought of the prospect of meeting Johnny, I had the insane urge to laugh my head off. I managed to stifle it, not wanting to alarm the other passengers hurling down the tracks with me at eighty five miles an hour in a tin can.

Several fans met up at 4:30 in a Chelsea Piers restaurant. Imagine our delight when Johnny's mother and his long suffering aunt showed up to greet us. Patti was so warm and real. I told her I am from Lancaster, and she was happy to share that he wishes to build a house here someday (that creaky, swishing noise you are hearing now is the sound of my fingers crossing). I also thanked her, because her son has given joy to alot of people.

Having left Patti to her swarm of admirers, I made my way into the Sky Rink and lined up early. I could see Johnny in the rink through the doors. He was in the stands, talking to a camera. When he came through the doors and passed us in the hallway, you could hear a collective OOORRHGHGPHHHH!!!!

The doors opened and we took our seats, which were front and center. They even had little green cushions for us. The show started and I was happy to see that the Ice Theater had choreographed wonderful, sophisticated performances for their skaters. New York was a terrific venue. The elderly lady in the red hat, sitting just below me, was dressed oh so adorably like a society maven.

I have always been a fan of figure skating, Olympic competition in particular. But I have to say, I have never seen anything like the programs he skated at Chelsea Piers. "Heartbroken" was so artistic it took my breath away and left the audience in tears. It was absolutely the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, live or otherwise.

"Bad Romance" appears to have evolved and has now surpassed "Pokerface" in my opinion. The drama of his EYES stopped my heart. His program bio stated that he is "one of the most avant garde performers of his generation." Exactly. I highly recommend purchasing a copy of the performance available through the Ice Theater of New York. He gave it his all here, head tosses and all.

Ironically (in lieu of Misfit Mimes cognac and cigarette blog) after the show, I joined several other fans outside, bummed a cigarette, and slugged down one of those aforementioned bottles of Hennessy.

After a frantic search for my reception ticket (my tote was full of cosmetics, toothpaste, ice skates, etc...) I made it in and waited for Johnny. He was mobbed. When I had my chance I said, "Johnny sweetie?" I called him sweetie. I told him I was from Lancaster and he smiled and said "Oh!!" I told him about the nightmare flowers (the gift card was safe in the hands of his mom). He did receive the diva bitch mirror in Bensenville. He was kind enough to sign my skate. I told him "There is only Gordeeva & Grinkov and you." I also said that his hometown does love him, to which he replied by giving me a hug. I kissed his cheek (yes his face is soft).

He was so patient and accomodating. I had the impression that this family is one who gives of their very bone marrow. At the end of the night, we made our way out at the same time they did. I stood near the garage exit, so as not to crowd them as they entered his car. They appeared to be exhausted. They saw me there as they drove out and were kind enough to wave goodbye.

I enjoyed meeting the other fans, and seeing him live, at this time, in that place, was an experience I will never forget. If you have not seen him skate live, you have to do it, and you need to do it NOW.

On the return trip on the Amtrak Keystone, a man in a business suit, awaiting his departure, asked, "Who signed your skate?" I said "Johnny Weir." He replied, "Now that's a signature with a flourish!" Totally.

I returned to Lancaster without incident. Slurpico was relieved he did not need to rescue me from any precarious situations.

Thank you to Johnny and Patti for everything. There is a parcel next to my house on which you can build. My neighbor has a house on it right now, but we can work on that.


  1. Shelley, I'm so happy for you. It sounds amazing and fun and I have tears in my eyes because I know how much this meant to you. How wonderful to have also had the opportunity to meet Johnny's Mother and Aunt. It sounds like they were all touched by your sincerity and generosity! I hope someone got a picture of our mighty OPT with Johnny!

  2. FanTAStic blog, Shelley! Thanks for the shout-out, and I really loved how you described your whole experience. I am with you, spending all my energy spreading the gospel of "See Johnny skate live" because there is nothing in the world as beautiful or as close to heaven as doing just that...

  3. I wish I could have been there with you! His performance was amazing on video, I probably would have been sobbing uncontrollably had I been there. I'm so happy for you! We'll have to do this together some day soon.

  4. Have I mentioned that your husband is totally cool?

    Nice report on your Ice theater experience and on Johnny, of course. I wished I also could have been there.
    I loved his "Heartbroken" performance on video, and his "Bad romance" make-up.

  5. Shelley, I so love that you have a little icon of "That Girl" on your page. I was 14 when Marlo Thomas brought that show to TV. LOL, "That Girl", along with "Star Trek" which aired the next year were two of my faves back then. What a ground breaker Marlo was at that time.

    Hopefully, some day, I will be able to see Johnny skate live. I am hoping that he does compete next season and has Skate America as one of the competitions for that will be held in the city next door to mine which would make seeing him so easy.

    I very much appreciate the description you've given of your experience. In reading it, I felt that I was right there with you.

  6. "I joined several other fans outside, bummed a cigarette, and slugged down one of those aforementioned bottles of Hennessy...."

    That sounds so film noir, I love it!

    Now if Johnny were to build a house in Lancaster County... my insides are doing some kind of erratic electric-slide dance at the thought of that (my family is in Dauphin County).